After two consecutive C-sections, I was out the door to my job. Other than kids and helping clean around the house a little, he spends the rest of his time on a PC game. For the last two years, he’s been obsessed and spends most, if not all his free time playing (every day from 9:30 pm till 3 or 4 am).When kids take an afternoon nap, he plays. On weekends, we discussed taking turns sleeping in. When it’s my turn, he doesn’t wake up with the kids because he was up until 4. It happened so many times. He neglects his religious practices as well. I’ve had enough. I don’t feel any love, friendship or compassion from him.
When I try to discuss how I feel, he always ignores that and starts complaining about something completely unrelated. I don’t believe he’s a good role model for our boys, and after another weekend with the same issues, I asked him to leave and go back to Europe where he can act like a bachelor. Am I justified in my behavior?
In this counseling answer:
“Consider resetting yourself, taking some time to regenerate, and then preparing to discuss the matter with your husband either candidly and empathically face to face (if you can do this without becoming so upset that you are speaking harshly to him) or in a letter (to help you write from your heart in a nonjudgmental manner while providing empathy).”
As-Salam ‘Alaykum D,
Do not worry about whether you are justified in your behavior at this time. I can sense how frustrated and tired you are. Your feelings are valid; things definitely need to change the home in order to give you some relief.
Shift your focus to two areas and away from determining who is right or wrong. Focus first on what you need in order to maintain good spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Don’t worry about what your husband is doing or not doing, or what he should or should not be doing. You may not realize it, but this focus actually takes energy away from you. You need your energy so that you can do well at work and with your children.
Take the time to work out a way for you to get your basic needs met including regeneration – with or without your husband’s help. The reality in this situation is that you do not have a partner. You will need to find some sources of help that will work for you even if that means getting a friend to help you.
Now, to get to the second area of focus; keep in mind that the natural state of a happy human being is that of exploration, motivation, and joy. Your husband is not behaving like a bachelor – on the contrary. A bachelor might be even more motivated with the extra ambition to achieve in a worldly sense as he does not have any responsibilities at home holding him back.
When a human being escapes into the wee hours of the night with distractions that do not benefit him in any way, he/she may actually be suffering from a type of depression that doesn’t present itself in the classic sense with full-blown crying episodes. There is a long-term chronic type of mild to moderate depression that can creep up in a person’s life. The person, who is afflicted, will not even know that what he is suffering from is depression. Sometimes, this is called dysthymia.
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It sounds as if your husband is not involved in anything really on an emotional level. Likewise, he is not participating in any other level either. He may have been depressed before he met you. Meeting you might have alleviated him of his depression for a short while, but whatever is underneath the depression is hiding from him and from you. It appears as if your husband might be addicted to the video games, and this kind of escape is keeping him unconscious about whatever he is actually unhappy about.
Oftentimes, these kinds of depression have an existential kind of root where the individual never realized how he fits into the world. He has given up on feeling connected to others while not knowing what his purpose in this life is. You and I know that none of this is a reality, but the person who suffers from these feelings is truly suffering. The person, who medicates himself with drugs, or video games, or other forms of distractions, tricks himself into not feeling his depression.
Consider resetting yourself. Take some time to regenerate, and then prepare to discuss the matter with your husband either candidly and empathically face to face (if you can do this without becoming so upset that you are speaking harshly to him) or in a letter (to help you write from your heart in a nonjudgmental manner while providing empathy). When you bring the issues up this time, you will be candid about the fact that you will be taking care of yourself. Any help that he is willing and able to offer will be appreciated. But you must get the rest that you need and the emotional support you need. Then let your husband know that you are concerned about him because his behavior is abnormal. It is indicative that he may be suffering from an undetected depression, and that you would like him to seek out help.
Now, you get some counseling for yourself. Then, you can support your husband to get professional counseling, too. Eventually, it would be helpful if your husband consented to couples counseling. You may even begin with couples counseling and then progress to additional individual counseling. Whether your husband is amicable to this, I do encourage you to get counseling for yourself. Take things one day at a time and see how things unfold.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.