His Erotic Roleplaying Addiction is destroying me :(
I'm not really big into support groups most of the time just because I like to handle problems on my own if I possibly can, but I really have no one to talk to about this and I'm at my wit's end with the situation. I have no close friends, I'm not especially close to most of my family and I guess it is easier for me to post anonymously on a forum about this sort of thing because there will be no pity involved with the suggestions, input or advice like there might be otherwise.
Anyway, sort of a long story (aren't they all?).
About a year ago, my husband became involved in a guild on World of Warcraft that was into Role-playing. No big deal, I have been in RP guilds before and we both played the game casually. This time, however, he was off on his own as I wasn't playing on the same server he was.
He's like me and very introverted, so we just don't have a lot of friends "in real life". That's not to say we don't want friends, but we're both shy and can't seem to find too many people who have the same interests in this region as we do and so it has always been easier to find friends online. At first, I just assumed that's all this was and it didn't bother me - of course I want my husband to have friends and if they're online friends, that's fine. I had a few online friends at the same time he joined this guild, though I've lost contact with them since (more on that in a bit).
But after a few weeks I noticed his behavior getting really odd. He would spend 12-15 hours a day on WoW during his days off, and didn't want to go anywhere or do anything but play the game. At first I just figured he was having a lot of fun and soon enough he'd get bored and want to go do something with me, so no big deal. I let him know my concerns that he was spending too much time on the game and he said he would curb it.
But he didn't. It just got worse.
I found out, at some point, he was doing some "erotic role play" with a few of these guild members. I will be frank, I had RP'ed some "erotic" roleplay scenes before as well, but there were several key differences between what he became involved in and what I did. First, I never ever flirted "OOC - out of character" with any of these other people. It was strictly all between the characters. Also, the actual "erotic" story scenes were always few and far between. Third, when he expressed that it made him uncomfortable (he actually cried at one point) I stopped doing it, cold turkey, and that was the end of it. My marriage and his feelings were FAR more important to me than some silly character role playing in a game.
At first, I just told him "as long as they know you are married and it's strictly an in character story, and you aren't flirting with them on an OOC basis, I don't really care." and then told him, once more, I still thought he was spending way too much time online.
Again, he told me he'd try to curb his online gaming time. Which, once more, didn't happen.
Around this time, he started participating in more and more Erotic RP and some of it was in the "whisper" ( like private message) channel in game. I told him I was uncomfortable with this because it gave me the vibes of some of these people crossing the In Character and Out of Character boundary. I admit I got pretty angry at one point and told him that if I had the chance to knock one of these girls (one who was particularly flirty ) upside the head with a two-by-four, I'd gladly do so. No, I wouldn't REALLY do that, but I was very hurt and upset at some of the messages she was sending him and he didn't seem to want to listen and thought I was just being the stereotypical jealous wife.
He started getting text messages on his work phone from a few of these people, and when I asked what they were about, he didn't really want to answer - and he started going to the bathroom or out of the way places to answer and send these texts. Meanwhile, we had gotten a puppy because he had expressed an interest in wanting one...and I wanted one... under the condition we both took care of her and shared responsibilities.
That didn't happen. I was pretty much taking care of the puppy except for a few nights when he was up on the game (2, 3, 4 am in the morning...long after I had gone to sleep) and took her outside. She was so little she needed to go out every 3 hours and needed almost constant watching and attention - as young puppies do- and I was getting exhausted because I had almost no sleep, still had house work and article writing to do and errands to run.
So after a few weeks, I re-homed her. He was sad, but at the time he said it was for the best because she was so much work. It really was a bummer but I didn't want the puppy getting neglected or stuck in the middle of a crumbling marriage. Around that time I had serious thoughts about leaving for a few days just to think things out, too. I had tried to talk to him several more times but by now he was just getting defensive and angry any time I brought it up.
So, one day I logged onto his character to check to see if he had an item I wanted for a character I had just made on the same server. I put up a little "friend list" message "This is not ______, this is his wife just checking the character bank".
I immediately got a whisper from the very flirty guild member: "I didn't know he had a wife."
Of course, one of my rules was - if you are going to involve yourself in this type of RP, you tell everyone straight out that you have a wife in real life and are NOT looking for anything but roleplay between characters.
So I was pretty mad. All I sad was "Yes, he does. I thought he told you."
"No, in fact I stopped RPing with him because he said he had OOC feelings for me."
Yeah. That was a bomb dropping and I immediately logged off and called my husband. I was a wreck. We have been together for 13 years and I have always, always been 100% faithful to him and have supported him when he was feeling bad, having a hard time in college or at work, put some of my own dreams and goals on hold until he was finished with his, etc. I am not a perfect wife, I have faults, I can be moody and depressed, I am currently out of work, etc, but I still don't think I deserved to hear that coming from some online hussy.
Anyway. So after being a little hysterical on the phone, calling back and being more calm and telling him I would see him at his lunch break and we really needed to have a long, long talk, - I was pretty determined that if things didn't straighten up I was gone and out of there. I have had a rough life and I did not need the person I thought was my forever soul-mate to treat me like garbage and make it worse.
We met, we talked. He agreed he had been very wrong, and he would stop talking to those people, stop his erotic roleplaying, stop playing so much on the game, work on our marriage, etc. He brought up the subject of having a kid, which was something we had previously just decided we didn't want to do. So we talked a long time about that, and how he had been depressed because he couldn't get a job in the field he had trained for, etc. He said the flirty girl -did- know he was married and was trying to stir up trouble (which was true, because I found a post he had made that mentioned his wife on those guild forums) because she liked drama. So I forgave him with the promise we work on our marriage and stop playing the game for a while to refocus.
For a few months, things went pretty well. And I got pregnant and was pretty happy. My husband found a job that had better pay, though he detests the work and the hours - I told him keep looking for something better, but the only job hunting that goes on (I had found him his previous few jobs too) is what I do. I am waiting to go to school in the summer myself and am doing some freelance writing here and there to help a bit, and do all the cooking, cleaning, errands, etc in the meantime.
In mid-summer, he expresses that he wants to start drawing some character art for non-WoW related stories.
I said that was fine, but no ERP.
Somehow, between then and now... he has begun to spend more and more time looking at erotic character artwork, drawing it, writing stories about it and...yes, I'm about 90% certain he's RPing it again. He is starting to hide his facebook updates from me, closes whatever site he is on if I walk into the room, and admits he thinks about character porn very often. He will not talk about the people he is chatting with on these sites, and refers to it as "his world".
So now I feel like I'm back to square one and nothing has changed, except this time it's not a puppy in the middle of it, it will soon be our daughter. While he is not spending -as much- time on these sites as he did on the game, he will spend as much time on them as I'm not in the same room. He seems to feel bad, he knows it hurts me, but he won't or can't stop. He says he thinks there is something wrong with him because it's all he thinks about, he admits it's a form of escapism, he says he mostly does it to watch people's reactions and that he has a hard time saying "no" to people who approach him for ERP. He says he has no feelings for these people,
I don't know what to do. The only thing I can do right now to keep my sanity is just walk out of the room when he's trying to log onto these sites. I just can't stand to sit there and watch it because it feels so constant, like that's all he does or wants to do. I know he's got an addiction, but every time I suggest getting help he says he doesn't want to. He doesn't believe in counseling, and to a degree I don't much like the idea either but at this point I'm so depressed and close to anxiety attacks that that option is looking better and better.
The only problem is we're broke anyway, and I don't know if his insurance would cover it if either of us went to any sort of counseling even if I -could- get him to go. We are not religious and do not belong to a church, so church support groups are out.
I don't believe in giving up on a marriage, but I really don't know what else to try. I already have the pregnancy mood swings and sometimes I feel like I'm a harpy getting what she deserves and other times I feel like the entire world has just crapped on me and what have I done to deserve this? On top of that, I have no steady job currently, no friends (my closest online friend stopped talking to me because of my pregnancy that they didn't agree with) and my education is sorely in need of being updated to get any kind of job.
I'm scared that I'm just being a jealous insane housewife with some sort of emotional issue I need help for and I'm equally scared that he's crossed the last line and this marriage is destined for ruin.
You're not crazy or insanely jealous....I wouldn't live with this long term myself. If he's spending 10 hours a day, there's not enuf time for your relationship, work, exercise, etc. I don't have the answer but you need a therapist, it will help.
Re: His Erotic Roleplaying Addiction is destroying me :(
Well as I said in the admittedly REALLY long post, he's no longer texting anyone. He's moved on from the original group and for a few months wasn't doing anything. Now he's hiding Facebook chats and forum chats from me with an entirely different group of people, and I know he's been doing erotic roleplay with some of them (aka cyber roleplay sex, for those not familiar with the other terms).
He even admits to this, and he knows it hurts me, but he gets defensive every time I tell him it hurts me, then is sorry....but keeps doing it anyway. I'm trying not to nag at him about it but I feel like I'm going to lose my mind he just doesn't seem to get it (or maybe he does, but doesn't care ) and won't stop. He says he just has this weird -need- to do it. I think he has an addiction. I need to convince him to get therapy or help but he's just so stubborn about it because I think he's ashamed and doesn't want to talk about it to some stranger, and doesn't trust doctors or shrinks.
Re: His Erotic Roleplaying Addiction is destroying me :(
Feel free to ignore me as this will sound really, really idiotic, and also playing devil's advocate here... is he any good at the drawings? There ARE some erotic artists out there that make a living, Heavy Metal magazine makes that pretty clear. You could try to approach it as something you could both share in and turn into 'work', if it's not too weird for you. As a side benefit, once it becomes work, it may no longer be fun. If the artwork is anything less than stellar I don't think he has a chance as there's more of that stuff out there than I would have ever thought possible.
I'm considering writing a paper about erotic cartoon characters and why some people, mostly men, are drawn to them. It's a bizarre subject biologically speaking, but I think I may have cracked a nut on 'why'.
Sounds like he has some sort of compulsion at this point though... good luck in your attempts to make things right.
Re: His Erotic Roleplaying Addiction is destroying me :(
He's not good enough to be a professional or make money off of this, no. He just posts his art to certain erotic art sites that take professional and hobby artists (basically anyone can post there).
If it were JUST the art or even doing some fan fiction, I wouldn't care. It's the fact he cannot STOP himself from cyber roleplaying with people and taking it way too far. He admits he takes it too far, and does it anyway. I agree, it's very much like a compulsion or obsession, and I do not think he can really control it.
He's crossed some serious boundaries and this definitely jeopardizes your marriage. It is a sort of sex addiction now, for him. Treat it like any other addiction. Time to quit the drug or quit the marriage. IC and support group for him, MC for you both, and a plan to commit more intimacy to each other is vital. If he isn't willing to put in work, you must let him go to hit rock bottom or you are enabling it.