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Is my wife addicted to the internet?

answered 04:27 AM EST, Thu January 03, 2013
anonymous anonymous
My wife is a stay at home mom. She is one of those iphone and ipad addicted people who check facebook in the middle of the night for updates. I thought it was kind of annoying but basically harmless before we had our daughter but now that my daughter is 6 months I can see that my wife’s habits are very destructive. She may be in the same room with our daughter but her mind is elsewhere and she is supposed to be talking and singing and doing all those things that stimulate the brain and help kids learn to talk. My wife says I am overreacting but she gets so defensive and angry when I question the time she spends online that I think it is like denial. It is a very touchy subject. I feel like she is protecting her addiction. She won’t stop and I don’t know what to do?

Penny Bell Says...

Penny Bell P. Bell
Grad Dip Counselling, Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy, MACA
LinkedIn.com

It sounds as though you and your wife are disagreeing on the issue of your wife’s penchant for social media.  Although internet addiction is being considered as a disorder for inclusion in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V), it has not yet been established what the diagnostic criteria are – how often or for how long, for example, a person would have to use the internet in order to qualify for a diagnosis.

As I do not know the dimension of your wife’s internet use, I could not advise you as to whether or not she actually has a diagnosable problem.  I can see, though, that it is a problem to you, and this is where you are experiencing conflict in your relationship.

This sort of difference of opinion about one another’s behaviour can be resolved through marital or relationship counselling, and I strongly suggest that this is where you should take it.  In relationship counselling you can both express your feelings and fears about the behaviour of the other in a safe environment, and having properly listened to one another with the help and guidance of the counsellor, and properly heard and validated one another’s feelings, you can then look for and find a compromise so that you are both satisfied.  If it turns out that your wife’s internet use really is an addictive behaviour, the counsellor will be able to explore this with you both if its cause is seated in the relationship, and with your wife if it is an individual problem.

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Page last updated Jan 18, 2013

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