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Q: Internet Addiction? ( No Answer,   24 Comments )
Subject: Internet Addiction?
Category: Family and Home > Relationships
Asked by: hyphenga-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 15 Oct 2004 20:26 PDT
Expires: 14 Nov 2004 19:26 PST
Question ID: 415573
Hypothetically...let's say that you think your stay-at-home wife (with
no kids) has developed an internet addiction. First to online poker
(not for real money), then games, then chatting, etc. It's as if she
seems to form better (more satisfying?) relationships online then at
home and/or in "real life" (for lack of a better term). We're talking
100+ hours per week - and she even fell in love with a guy (20 yrs
younger than her) in another country and she plans her internet and
real-life schedule around his (he can devote just as much time to it
because he also doesn't work), so when she does housework
(occasionally) or errands (rarely), it's usually when he's not online.
She'd spend every waking moment "with him" if possible (and she often
does just that some days), although no actual "cybersex" is taking
place (or phone or in-person communication) as far as I
know...hypothetically. And she has no immediate plans to meet him (but
that could change) because this faceless romance is an exciting kind
of love to her, while our own love/marriage has grown a bit stagnant
(that part is probably my fault). And, in fact, although we're
separated and headed for divorce unless things change, she doesn't
think there's anything wrong with her online activity - calls it a
harmless escape, not unlike reading a juicy romance novel.

Oh yes, my hypothetical question(s). Is this internet addiction?
Irrational behavior? Or just a person having fun doing what she likes
to do all day? Can you point me to a few pertinent articles that I can
read (and maybe get her to read) or a book or something? I can't
suggest that she get help if she doesn't think anything is wrong. I
saw a few book choices on Amazon (searched "Internet Addiction") but
the few I clicked on were all from 1998 or 99, so I'm not sure how
informative/helpful they'd be.

Sorry for typing as much as I did. Helps to get it out. For a
hypothetical situation, this thing hurts really bad. All comments are
welcome. Thanks.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: probonopublico-ga on 15 Oct 2004 23:28 PDT
She obviously lacks other interests.

Cheer up, there are many worse things that she could be doing.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 16 Oct 2004 00:37 PDT

Can't find it now, but earlier tonight I saw something online about
actual extended residential recovery programs for various addictions
that included an Internet addiction, listed right there among various
drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex.  It appears to be a real affliction
for which people seek help and for which some, at least, are providing

The odd thing about this one (and why I wish I could find it now) was
that it boasted that the residential facilities included Internet
hookups in the rooms.

It sounds like your hypothetical wife has a real problem, one that
isn't trivial or funny just because it might sound odd to those of us
who think we can quit anytime.  Anything that can consume a person's
energies and attention to the exclusion of normal interests and
behavior, as well as distorting the person's judgment to the point
that he or she doesn't care what it does to personal relationships and
well-being, ought to be taken seriously.  I am not a health
professional, but I have been near enough to problem behaviors to know
that they afflict everyone within reach and not just the person who
has the problem.

I know what Dear Abby would say, because I must have read it in her
column a hundred times:  she would say, "Try to get her to seek
counseling, and if she won't go, you go yourself."  I don't know
whether that advice ever worked for anyone or not, but I don't have
anything better.

For what it's worth, I know how it hurts.

(Not a researcher)
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: gaaaaaaaaaa-ga on 16 Oct 2004 01:05 PDT
Most important qn:
Do u want to get back to the gud reln u had...or do u think its better to scrap it?

If you do want to get u seem to want to...take immediate
steps to do that.

- involve her in activities...rather than make her stay home
- take her out for dinner or dance out...freak off...go for a holiday...
- do stuff together...things that will bring her back to realising
that there are more gud stuff than fake-romancing with a

i suggest u dont focus much on the romancing part...which i guess has
crept in in answer to her 'need' for 'life and activity' in her
when she finds interesting things to do and 'living and seeing people'
to love and be friendly with...the internet thing wont matter at all.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: frde-ga on 16 Oct 2004 04:09 PDT
At least she is not sitting on the sofa, staring at Oprah
- or even worse a shopping channel

That she did not play 'real' online poker also sounds good.

Obviously, you are a bit hacked off that she has developed a
'relationship' with a guy a lot younger than both of you, but that is
more your problem than hers.

I am going to give you a bit of evil advice, and strongly recommend
that you do not suggest this to her.  It is very likely that the 'guy'
is not quite what he seems, 'he' could be a lass or a pensioner, or a
mound of acne.
Thinking that should reduce your anger, but if you were to suggest it
to her your decree nisi would be brought forward.
Personally I would be rather interested in talking with her about the
guy, if nothing else it would be a common subject for conversation.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 16 Oct 2004 11:26 PDT
Hi hyphenga,

Here is an interesting site about internet addiction:

Dr. Young also wrote a book called "Caught in the Net - How to
Recognize Signs of Internet Addiction and a Winning Strategy for

Although it was copywritten in 1998, its a very informative book that
includes real life stories about internet addicts, their families and
loved ones.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 16 Oct 2004 12:55 PDT
Excuse me, please, hyphenga, but I'd like to have a quick off-topic
word with Steph53 here.

Hi, Steph, nice to see ya!  I'm always interested in your comments.

I got a button-push out of your message, though, because it's in my
field, so I have to mention that the word is "copyrighted."  A
copyright is the right to copy (= publish, distribute) something. 
It's not about something's being written, even though, coincidentally,
it's written material that is subject to copyright.  Forgive me, but I
just had to speak up on this point for once.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 16 Oct 2004 13:01 PDT
Hi Tryx!!!

Thanks for the correction to my comment:)
My writing can be atrocious at times :(

Are you ready for the party here on Friday????

I'm wearing a cute little black number with matching heels...

I'll be sending out invites tomorrow or Monday.

Keep an eye on the boards ;)

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 18 Oct 2004 06:39 PDT
Dear hyphenga-ga: 

Technically it is impossible to be ADDICTED to something where a
physiological dependence does not exist. I think you are lokking in
the wrong place for your answer. What you described is an unhealthy or
abnormal "OBSESSION" - not an "addiction" in the literal sense. I
recommend you explore this subject further because you're probably
wasting your time studying her "addiction" (she doesn't have one).

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 18 Oct 2004 06:54 PDT
I have to disagree with you Tutuzdad. 

One CAN be addicted to the internet in much the same way as one can be
addicted to alcohol, nicotine or drugs.

Gambling is considered an addiction, although it has no "physical"
control over the body. The same goes for addiction to the internet.
For a net addict, the simple act of logging on, can bring on an
euphoric experience. There are countless stories of people who
couldn't tear themselves away from the computer and consequently lost
their jobs, families and friends.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: probonopublico-ga on 18 Oct 2004 07:34 PDT
Hi Steph

Tutuzdad may be technically correct ... he usually is.

Me? I would NEVER dare to question anything that Tutuzdad says.

However, whatever the correct technical name, hyphenga-ga still
requires help in coping with the problem.

Hope you sort it out hyphenga-ga!
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 18 Oct 2004 07:41 PDT
"Addictions are compulsions to engage in activities at any cost, often
leading to self-destructive behavior. Examples include those who are
addicted to gambling, drugs, alcohol, among other things. The
compulsion overtakes one's sense of self-control. By exhibiting no
control, they give their lives over to the addiction, usually losing
all that they have in the process, causing them to hit rock bottom.
Often they can rebound with therapy, but usually are forbidden from
ever participating in the activity at any level, as moderation can
rarely be accomplished after therapy. Certainly, gambling addiction is
seen in poker players, but that is not always the case.

Obsession is different, though of similar intensity. Obsession
involves immersing oneself in something or some activity and devoting
oneself fully to that entity. While there is a dogged commitment to
that activity, self-control is never lost. If the entity ceases to be
satisfying, the obsession may wane. I do agree that there can be a
fine line between obsession and addiction, but there is a clear
distinction, though not perceived by all."

-- Dr. Mark Burtman

I rest my case.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 18 Oct 2004 07:47 PDT
Sorry, but I still disagree.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 18 Oct 2004 08:25 PDT
You might find this useful then:

Denial: An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to
acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: xpertise-ga on 18 Oct 2004 12:18 PDT
problem=your relationship
internet addiction=symptom (escape)
that guy=part of symptom (escape)

work on problem, not just symptoms

note1: you both want a different situation, but do you both want to
improve your existing relation? try to find out what's left.
note2: ignore the guy (most women would go further than she did).

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: bcguide-ga on 18 Oct 2004 13:53 PDT
You're having a problem dealing with her denial - whether you want to
call it an obsession or addiction - one of the typical behaviors is
denial. As long as she doesn't see her behavior as a problem, it isn't
going to change. You have to figure out a way to get her to accept
that her "harmless" time spent online is a problem.

The problem is not what she's doing or who she's doing it with. It is
that she is involved in an activity that interferes with her life and
is causing a breakdown in your relationship. Don't focus on the
flirtation, it isn't real and is no different than the poker phase -
except for your reaction.

Have you thought about joining her fantasy world for a while to bring
her back into your world. If you have access to another computer, just
log in and join the chat. Be an online friend for a while and she may
rediscover that she enjoys your company - and can have it both on and
offline... it may seem silly to chat online with your wife --- but if
that's where she's hanging out and you really want to connect with
her, it may be where you need to be for a while. You can flirt with
your wife online and both have a great time...

Good luck!

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: probonopublico-ga on 18 Oct 2004 21:42 PDT
Wow, bcguide-ga, that would make a great movie!

It's a bit reminiscent of 'Shop Around the Corner', really ... but
updated to an Internet Cafe.

Can anyone conjure up a good title?
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: daniel2d-ga on 18 Oct 2004 22:04 PDT
If you are separated and headed for divorce accept that and don't
concern yourself with what she is doing.  You have to make the break.
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: hyphenga-ga on 19 Oct 2004 21:14 PDT
Wow - a virtual (pun intended) roller coaster ride of comments,
opinions, facts and fallacies. Thank you all so much for chiming in.
I've been so focused on what to do about my wife's situation that I've
been foolishly closed-minded about my own. Your eye-opening info and
remarks are very much appreciated and are helping me see things I may
have missed before. In case you're wondering, I am still hoping for
the best, but I'm now thinking clearly enough to realize that it is
also prudent to prepare for the worst. And, yes, I got a real kick out
of the off-topic comments too. Special thanks to Tryx for righting
Steph's copy, to Steph for describing her party outfit, for Tutuzdad
for proving that denial is more than just a river in Egypt, and to
Bcguide and Probono for collaborating on a movie inspired by my life.
The best I could do for a working title is "Love At First Site."

Whatever happens, I am obsessively addicted to Google Answers. Thanks
again and keep 'em coming.

Hypothetically yours,
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 19 Oct 2004 21:39 PDT
You come to the party, too, Hyphenga.  Watch for a message from Steph
on Friday.  It's for Probonopublico's birthday.  You're *all* coming,
of course, aren't you?  (Yes, you, too, Bryan.)

Hey, Hyph, stop back in after a while and let us know how things turned out, okay?

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: probonopublico-ga on 19 Oct 2004 23:32 PDT
Hi, Hypo-Hyph

I just love Denial!

And the title 'Love at First Site'.

We can ask Pinkfreud-ga to make some funnies;

Kriswrite-ga to develop the story line;

Omnivorous-ga to provide our air transport;

Easterangel-ga to suppy the Banana Herat;

Here's the plot: Steph53-ga and Archae0pteryx-ga (Have I got that
right?) are two Internet junkies who start 'a relationship' through
Chat Rooms, etc. Steph (who is really Stephanie) believes that Archie
is a guy, but she's isn't!

And Archie (who is a broad) thinks that Steph is a Stephen.

Get it? 

Anyhow, it all becomes truly hilarious.

So where do you and I come in?

Well, you put up the dough; and I put up the brains.

Wow ... 

Let's go for it!
Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 20 Oct 2004 12:59 PDT
Hi Hyphen,

Much thanks for your comment about me. Please do come to the party!!


"I'm wearing a cute little black number with matching heels"...

Now why would a *Stephen* say something like that???

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 20 Oct 2004 15:20 PDT
Because Stephen's a cross-dresser?  This could really get interesting.

Hey, I'm starting to worry that we are claiming too much of Hyphenga's
attention.  Next thing you know he will be behaving like someone with
a 'net addiction.  Obsession.  He does sound like he's feeling better,

As already noted, the rest of us are sure we can quit anytime.

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: steph53-ga on 20 Oct 2004 17:11 PDT
Hi again Tryx,

I think that Hyphenga would make a welcome addition to the "peanut gallery".
What say you, Hyphenga?? You now have 23 comments to your very
interesting question.

I bet Bryan is now *stumped* about the plot of his new book. Aww well,
its good to know he is focusing on other things besides GA...LOL!!!!
Mabe we'll be invited to the book signing??? I'm always ready for a
trip abroad :)

Subject: Re: Internet Addiction?
From: probonopublico-ga on 20 Oct 2004 22:27 PDT
Hey, Steph

That's a clever twist ...

Really, Archie should have figured it out from that but she didn't!

The plot thickens!

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