My hubby is a gamer. The very first time I talked to him on the phone back in the nineties he was clacking away at his keyboard playing a game.
I had no idea what that even meant back then...or that it would be something that he would do for the next 23+ years.
The things I have learned are these:
Don't let the game drown out your voice.
You are more important than his game and if he can't see that he is wrong...not you.
If you aren't getting your relationship needs met he needs to know.
Him blaming you is an out and out cop-out tactic.
Don't back down about what you need from him.
Do not get into a war over how much time he games-vs-how much time he does other things.
Ask for what you need. If he doesn't give it to you or care that you need it he is choosing a virtual reality over you.
Call him on it!
Gamers like you are describing your husband don't have a realistic grasp on time.
They actually think that hour was only 15 minutes or that they spent much more time with their family than they really did.
My husband has a self imposed timer...for a while he actually had the wifi shut down at midnight in order to force himself to come to bed.
Now his current game is not online so he has an alarm that goes off at midnight.
But he sees the importance of that because I've told him how lonely I feel without him in bed and what's the use of being married if we don't even sleep together?
Like your H he is social, responsible, and makes a good living.
My H is an introvert and requires a lot of down time or check-out time in order to rejuvenate. It's just that sometimes he gets carried away.
For a long time he didn't think I cared. He assumed that since I was dealing with it that I was fine.
Now I realize that I was letting him off way too easy by not talking to him about how his game playing was effecting me.
Your experience is very valuable to me, tigerlily! I thank you for offering it. It is nice to hear from someone who has made it work! I so admire you and your husband both for being able to communicate your needs and respect each other enough to follow through with providing for them. You describe my H very accurately - he has zero concept of time. He often says he came to bed at 1 or 2 am, when I know it was more like 4 or 5 am. He is often late. He will wait till the very last minute to do things like shower or get ready, and then say it will take him 10 mins to get ready and it takes 30 instead.
Telling him what I need is a major hurdle because we have a massive fundamental communication barrier. When I say "I need...." or "I feel...." he automatically gets defensive and can't handle any input from me at all. He claims I'm always mad, or some other feeling than I SAY I'm feeling. In every discussion we've had over the past year (I have them all recorded), I tell him how I'm feeling, and he says "no - you're lying. you feel (xyz)" instead. When I say "you think I'm mad, but I do not FEEL mad, why do you think that is? What am I doing that makes you think this?" he says "your body language". I've worked hard to employ communication strategies. Sometimes I'm not 100% efficient at it yet. But his reading my body language is a constant problem. Just yesterday I was standing in our master walk in closet, trying to decide on a plan for organizing something. He was there fixing the light switch. He read me standing there in the closet looking around as me impatiently waiting for him to get out of my way, so he got frustrated with me. I wasn't even thinking anything about him or regarding him at all. What was going through my head had nothing to do with him. I didn't say any words (normal, rational people say "excuse me please" if someone is in their way, right?). I just stood vertically looking around the room, one hand in my pocket and one hand hanging at my side. I've become hyper-sensitive of how my body looks in these scenarios as a way to hopefully dispel any false assumptions by him, so I pay a lot of attention.
Yesterday he told me he didn't want to live in misery anymore. I said I didn't either. But, I've been in therapy for two years, read dozens of marriage and communication books, employed tons of strategies for making this better - but it isn't working because I'm doing that all alone. It's like I'm playing on this football team but I'm the only one who knows the play or the strategy. You can't win with only one team mate knowing the play. He has shown no interest in trying any of these things, as to him it's simple: I change how I talk, feel, and act. He says I'm the cause of every single issue, since he's so laid back nothing bothers him, so it must be me making all these problems up. It just feels like such a joke. He sincerely believes none of his behavior impacts me or how I feel at all. Last night I told him that in order for me to be willing to continue I need him to STOP telling me my feelings. It's so disrespectful to have your spouse say "no - you don't feel what you say you feel. You're lying. You feel this instead." Like I don't have the mental capacity to know whats happening in my own head. I NEED that to stop. His response? "Sorry, I can't do that until you stop acting the way you act - your body language says you're mad, so whatever you verbally say doesn't count". But his history of reading my body language is regularly inaccurate, so I'm upset that he's willing to base the entire fundamental of all of our marriage issues on an assumption that I feel a certain way when I'm TELLING him that's not what I feel....ugh. It's so tiring to even think about all of this. For so many years he'd say those things to me, I actually started to believe I must be unstable. I've been assessed for bi-polar and personality disorders because he had me questioning my own sanity. There is no other person in my life who reads my body language and gets it so wrong.
I told him last night. We go to marriage counselling ASAP or after the New Year we need to work up a separation agreement. My initial plan was to give him until June - but it's just enabling him to push the counselling off. I desperately need him to hear me in a neutral zone with an impartial third party present.