December 28, 2019 by Rick

My Husband is a TV Addict

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A client writes: Over the years, my husband has become completely engrossed with the TV… truly a TV Addict. It is on first thing in the morning, before I wake up, and is on throughout the night.  Most nights my husband does not come to bed.  When I want to discuss issues of our life, he says we’ll talk later, then we never do.  We have three wonderful children, ages 13, 11, and 11.  They are aware of this over-indulgence and tease their father about it.  He makes it apparent that what he is currently watching is more important than anything his kids would want to show/discuss with him at the moment.  I feel he would be happiest if he were somewhere else, alone with himself and his TV, with no one to bother him.  It is his greatest friend and companion.  I have tried to discuss this with him and he brushes me off.  We not longer have a relationship… I wonder why?  What will happen when he comes to the end of his life and realizes he wasted a good portion of it on The Box?!  I don’t know how much longer I can hang on to this joke of a marriage.  How unfortunate… I strengthened my relationship to the Lord and he did with the TV.  It may be extreme but I’ve come to think of the TV as a form of Satan.  I can’t think of any good it has created for our family.

First, I want to acknowledge your pain, frustration, and feeling of neglect and betrayal. To have someone you co-created life with turn away from the blessings right in front of him and immerse himself into an alternate world… wow, it hurts. Immensely. He’s become a TV Addict, with all the pain addiction inflicts on loved ones. In the paragraphs that follow I share some of the reasons why, and hopefully help you strengthen your resolve to focus on your own emotional and spiritual strengths. 

Second, in the time since this was written, screens of all kinds have gotten even better at addicting people, taking them out personal, intimate connection and into a world of likes and tweets. Facebook can addict people, too. Instagram. Twitter. If there is hope, for me it is that more people are awakening to the core emotional needs and looks for ways to get them met in healthy and nourishing circles of support.

And, if you are reading this and want to connect around your specific situation and some ways you can use emotional tools we have developed to feel better and find a path that is true to your heart, your invited to email me at Rick@Thrivingnow.love. Here’s what I wrote in 2005 that has provided insight for many thousands of visitors since then:

Television is a form of passive, impersonal “entertainment.” Indeed, it is one of the most socially acceptable forms of “self-soothing” we have in this culture. If people are stressed, sick, can’t sleep, bored, lonely, afraid, or depressed… the most common thing we do is watch TV (or scroll Facebook and Instagram)! It has become the universal antidote to what ails a person. It doesn’t FIX the emotional pain; it distracts us from it. And it does so extremely well. The human brain goes into an extremely passive state when watching TV. We escape awareness. While we watch, we feel disconnected… disassociated from the world around us. We escape the PAIN.

A normally healthy, engaged, emotionally free man would rather play with his kids and have sexual relations with his wife than watch TV. However, a man is not emotionally free if he has tons of guilt, shame, fears, secrets, worries that overwhelm him, self-doubts, self-hate, overwhelm, inadequacy, depression, suppressed anger and rage, disempowerment… you name it! And if he’s suffering from these negative emotions with no clear way (in his mind) out of his trap, an escape into the world of TV seems pretty logical, doesn’t it?

Again, it comes down to the very basic human need to self-sooth and self-manage our pain. My assumption is that people seek out ways to avoid pain. TV is there. So he uses it. Take away the TV, and I assure you, it is very unlikely he’d suddenly be a connected father and husband. Other men with exactly the same emotional issues—regardless of what they are (and we cannot know what is inside another person)—might turn to alcohol and staying in bars all night. Or drugs. Or internet pornography…  We humans have a wide selection of ways we escape emotional pain, don’t we?

We’d love to be able to FIX the emotional pain of those we love. There is only one problem… and it is a biggie:

*He* is not the one asking for help!

Nobody can create joy or force healing in anybody else’s experience.  All you can do is shine a spotlight on something they already want and then make the trail to what they are wanting easier for them to find. If you make it your mission to change his behavior, you guarantee your own suffering. By contrast, if you make unconditional love your mission, you guarantee your own freedom.  I don’t mean unconditional love that accepts all kinds of unacceptable behaviors and puts perfume on them. I define unconditional love precisely as: “Conditions do not need to change outside for me to experience love inside.”

That’s different, isn’t it? We’re not being asked to focus on the lazy TV-aholic and feel love. Unconditional love means that whatever is going on in the world, I use my intention, energy, and focus to stay connected to Source, and from that connection with spiritual energy, I allow a feeling of love to flow in me.

Is this easy? Hell no! This is a world of contrast. Even on the TV we’re flooded with images of what we DO NOT WANT in our lives or in anyone else’s. But we cannot get sick or depressed enough to make a single soul well. Our own well-being cannot be offered in sacrifice to help our children or spouse or victims of any disaster. All we can do is connect to Source, get to a place that is even a bit lighter than where we were, and do the same reaching for a lighter feeling over and over again.

If we do, we start vibrating in a way that will attract relationships for us and our children that nourish them. Old relationships (and even marriages) will heal or transform into a different arrangement that is better suited to everyone.  What holds people in places that feel horrible is the focus: the watching, endless watching, of that which we can’t stand. Watching your husband watching the TV is clearly not working for you. So, even if he is still in the same house, doing the same stuff, my encouragement to you is to focus 99.4% of your attention on anything and everything that is pleasing to you (even if just a little more pleasing…).

Turn off the Husband TV channel in your mind. Focus by shining light on the kids, on new friendships and activities for you, on making your own spaces pretty and peaceful, and as you mentioned, on your spiritual relationship.  A suggestion that has helped others: If your husband DOES do anything that even slightly pleases you that isn’t related to the TV, write it down and add it to your prayers of gratitude.

Why? Because it shines a light on the path to connection and joy. And it will make YOU feel better. (To clarify, let’s say your husband does something with one of the kids. The appreciation probably doesn’t begin, “Heavens to Betsy! The lazy beast is finally realizing he has CHILDREN!” Be honest, of course, but consider how something like this might make you feel: “Lord, I really appreciated when my husband spent that time with the kids today. Thank you for supporting him in doing that.”

Whether your husband comes around or not is His Business and God’s Business. Your Business is to clear out the negative thoughts and energy and move to a place where you can feel good. I would consider using EFT Tapping for Stress Relief for 20 minutes a day, for a few weeks at least, on all the emotions, specific events, and body sensations around your husband, the TV, and the loss of relationship. You may want to work with a skilled EFT coach on these aspects so you can master the skill (and it is a skill) of “changing your mind’s channel” to thoughts that feel better to you.

I know this is HARD. You don’t have to do this alone. As you can see from some comments below, others struggle with this, too. You’re invited to comment here, too. If that feels too vulnerable right now, my private email address is Rick@Thrivingnow.love.

Originally posted Sep 2005, Updated December 2019

 
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  • What a amazing response!  Connecting with the Source is forgotten by so many of us.  This response is such a reminder that positive intention and unconditional love when given to to universe is such a powerful energy that can be accessed by all.

    With loving intent and unconditional love, the universe and collective conscious will support all for the higher good.

    Thank you for the reminder!

    Reply

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    Karioimaunga says:

    I love this article. I too have a partner that is so addicted to TV, movies, playstation games and porno. I didn’t know this until well into the 3rd year of our relationship. Many times we have parted over lies, and other differences. I love the explaination of why people escape into another world,  “If people are stressed, sick, can’t sleep, bored, lonely, afraid, or depressed… the most common thing we do is watch TV! It has become the universal antidote to what ails a person. It doesn’t FIX the emotional pain; it distracts us from it. And it does so extremely well. The human brain goes into an extremely passive state when watching TV. We escape awareness. While we watch, we feel disconnected… disassociated from the world around us. We escape the PAIN”. 

    This is exactly how my boyfriend is.. he suffers from depression, and has bipolar, he has so many personal issues I find it so difficult to help him. He believes there is nothing wrong with him… I have turned to god for my strength. I talk to god regularly to direct me and help me with my relationship.  In the past I would have just left a loser like this. But somehow it has taught me about being compassionate, kind, patient and understanding. These qualities I never knew until I met this person… 

    Reply

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    Anon from Oz says:

    You have my fullest understanding and sympathy. I have
    exactly the same problem, except that it is my wife who is glued to the box for
    7 or 8 hours an evening, from
    the second she walks in the door after work. I know how hurtful it is waiting
    hours each day just to get a few moments of her attention, only to miss out –
    again. And on top of it, please remember that us males have another natural
    need that (all things being right) that only she, in all the world, can fulfil,
    and she is refusing to do so, making thinks for me even more difficult yet.

    We have been married many years, and have a number of
    wonderful children, but I despair that her habits are being passed on to them.
    To be honest, I don’t know what to do about it. If I ever mention it, she
    either denies any problem, or, depending on her mood, out come the claws,
    another behaviour that I have noticed developing simultaneously with the TV
    watching one. But the problem stays.

    I am determined never to leave her, and, despite all, I
    still do love her very much, but I wonder if I will need to face the face that
    I will be living with a stranger for the rest of my life.

    Yes, TV addiction is an utterly destructive thing, and can
    be incredibly hurtful to the loved ones of the addicted.

    Reply

    • “I am determined to never leave her.” Okay, just understand that your one-sided commitment does enable her to have your support and presence without having to do anything or change anything. I respect that you are a “go down with the ship” kinda guy.

      There are things you can do.

      Take your attention off her. Tap for the specific things you need to grieve: her attention, her participation, and sex. Tap and let go of them as best you can. Acknowledge that she is not going to change, and that you’ve decided to make the best of it anyway. You might even imagine that your marriage has evolved into something similar to if she had dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

      It IS what it IS. None of us have the power to change an addicts behavior. That is always their choice and their choice alone.

      Now what? Well, if you need sex but can’t have it, get HEALTHY TOUCH at least. Get a massage regularly. Maybe take up physical activities. Give your body a focus that helps you feel alive and vital. Reclaim your power to have a life, too.

      If that approach appeals to you, drop us an email. We’d be happy to help.

      Reply

  • I am totally depressed by dh choosing tv over our relationship. When he ignores me – I still can find myself doing something positive, but when he (all the time) ignores our 10 years old son – it hurts.
    So many times I tried to talk to him about how I hate television generally and him watching it 12/7 particularly – no response except him getting irritated. yet in between of those lines and movies he wants to talk to me a small talk about what he just watched… Poor man, he is missing so much of the ‘real’ life. And did I mention – I HATE him watching tv, i hate it, hate it, hate it.
    Why do I choose this poor life to something else?
    I don;t have any strength to leave that’s why. I have doubts about if our son would gain from the separation, or loose. I still believe he’ll loose – so I am staying.

    Reply

    • Have you considered that you can create a vibrant, vital life for you and your son without needing him to get off the coach?

      Yes, TAP on the “I hate it!” And also decide how you’d like to feel even if he doesn’t change at all. When we focus all our attention on what we do not want… what we hate… the Law of Attraction makes it really painfully BIG in our life. 

      I’ll hold a Good Thought for you! -Rick

      Reply

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      kathleen59 says:

      I am 55 yrs old and believe this… this pattern usually continues.. get out while you can. My husband sits downstairs for 50 hours a week watching tv. Ive raised my kids it seems alone. Thank God for the strength of mothers who endure this addiction. It is isolating lonely and erodes your self esteem. I have wasted the past ten years thinking I must do whats best for everyone but me.

      Reply

      • My husband won’t even move from the tv to eat dinner, he leaves his stuff on our table so there’s no room to sit. My complaints don’t bother him a bit. It’s hard to ignore and think clearly when it is constant and replaces all communication and yes , no sex life here.

        Reply

        • That sounds intensely frustrating, Clarissa. If he’s not going to engage (and change his behavior) what would it take for you to feel free to enjoy life anyway?

          Reply

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      Karen Keyser says:

      Everything you said is exactly how I feel. I’ve been with my fiancé for almost eight years. We are not married because of the T.V. I went out of town and saw my friends, and I saw their men being attentive. I realized I was with the wrong man. Right now my fiancé is watching Harry Potter for the God only knows how many times, and all I can think about is how I want to leave. He is not loving. My father was an alcoholic. My fiancé’s addiction to T.V. Is just like being with an alcoholic.

      Reply

      • What is the emotional block that keeps you from moving on with your life? It seems you have CLARITY — he is a TV addict and not the one searching for ways to change… and YOU can’t change HIM. What stops you from having the emotional freedom to pursue a thriving life and amazing love relationship?

        Reply

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      Karen Keyser says:

      I loved how you wrote, “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.” When I first met him, he spent a good amount of time on the computer, but it wasn’t so bad. I thought, “This isn’t so bad. I can have time for myself.” We have nothing because of his T.V. Addiction. The only time he spends with me is in front of his family during the holidays, and went we get home…..it is right back to the T.V. I have never felt this alone.

      Reply

  • Same here.  From 9am till late nite hours.  I need to paint the living room, but hey, I’m lucky to get in there long enough to dust and vacuum.  He is convinced his work in life is done.  Wants to let me do all the work. He is so content, it’s sickening to watch.  He should have stayed single with his tv. 

    Reply

  • I’m very certain that my husband needs his TV as much as the air he breathes. Its so very sad to think that a person can be a TV-aholic when there are so many things in the world better than mindless chatter from a box.

    Reply

  • Thank you for your sermon on this subject. My situation is wired and difficult. My husband and I are 29 years different in age. I am 46 and he is 75. I was innocent and young. When we got married we had such as a wonderful time together. It doesn’t seem anything wrong. To cut long story short, we are the poor version of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. We have four children arrange from 18 to 9 years old. I don’t mind him watching TV on his own, but he always watches TV right in the middle of dinner time and kids’ homework time. I feel so disrespected by him. He is arrogant, boasting, proud of him when he answers quiz shows mind you he is very knowledgeable when he watches programs and shows, he has to comment everything. He thinks he knows the best especially on the news. He can have all kind of solution to solve the world problems but he can’t solve any problem with kids discipline and disrespectful manor toward me and him. My kids have problems at school and my elder son and daughter drop out school before year 10. He seems that he can’t do anything about it. Sometimes he is wonderful father in some ways like picking up children and take them to bush walking but he prioritizes TV over anything else. I have to ask or remind him repeatedly to take care of chores, childcare errands and so on . Even if he ends up doing about 50% of the labor, I am doing 100% the mental work and that feels more like a mother child relationship than an equal partners relationship.
    What disguises me that he enjoys all the benefit in the expenses of my sacrifice . I am a devoted Christian. I take my younger children to church, but they refuse to go church because they want to watch TV with dad on Sunday. When I teach them the Bible story, some of the story in the Bible like Virgin birth Mary had or God created the heaven and earth etc… He will comment that if you believe that you are fool. My children used to go the church with me but the older ones refuse to go anymore. I swear at Jesus , use God’s name in vein in front of my children that it hurts me so badly. I have to talk to him, but he doesn’t change at all. In the Bible talked about love your enemy and do good to those who hurt you. I have been doing for over 20 years. I just can’t stand it anymore. I serve the Lord and I am musician playing music to old people in nursing home. I try to direct my pains and frustration towards other who are lack of love and care. I feel like I have been wasting my life with this old man and I feel that I am living with the devil. The verses I read just describe like him For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will
    exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of
    the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above
    the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”I know his age has made a different and I can’t expect too much from him. At least respect me and my kids, It really hurts each day each hour for him steer away my children from the Lord. When I teach and discipline them, he will jump in and try to change the subjects. They love their dad because he does what they told him to do with money and free taxi driver, cleaning up their mess. He doesn’t feel it is wrong to be like that. Please help me

    Reply

    • Yes, that is amazingly difficult. Your description is not one of equal partners or even of mutual and abiding respect.

      As an emotional freedom coach, I know the reality is that people do NOT change unless they choose to. With that in mind, the only empowered path I know of is one of getting clear how YOU want to tune yourself, walk, talk, act, and BE in this environment… and even whether to continue in that environment. Such sacred choices are deep and call for both introspection and perhaps in your case engagement with spiritual counselors that you know, like, and trust to work with you in this?

      It is SUCH a challenge when the “outside influences” you want to caution your children about are in the other room watching television. Yet, sometimes that is Life, and a holy walk using tapping to calm the primitive brain while staying centered in your internal intuitive divine guidance can give you strength and clarity.

      I’ll hold a Good Thought for you,
      Rick

      Reply

    • One thing to know about people who are dyslexic and in some cases ADD is TV can be a tool. I found this out when my daughter was diagnosed with both. I happened to manage a clinic of mental health providers at the time so was able to load up on information.
      My current husband, who is not the father of my daughter with these conditions, is also dyslexic. He also has some obsessive compulsive tendencies. He does not read very much, but is smart. He picks up more from videos and you-tube, or the internet. He feels inferior in other areas and seems to exaggerate his knowledge of world events, every detail about the movie industry, music industry and the biblical record. He likes to cook and bake but sticks to only his favorite recipes without vary. It’s easier for me because I already knew about the dyslexic tendencies and more. Things do get out of balance and setting boundaries sometimes seem like more work than it’s worth due to the energy it excerpts. He is easily put out in group situations.
      I was seeing a therapist for a medical and medication induced depression. The relationship, of coarse, came up. The bottom line is: Talk with your feet. He only sees your lips moving when you are talking. That can be hard when you do not have a support system and your children are young.
      He has no right to disrespect you or the family Christian faith. I could say more about things I do to balance the relationship but have already taken up enough space. Just remember, talk with your feet, set boundaries and have some get away happy time for you and the kids. Pray!

      Reply

  • This is one of the best insightful articles I’ve read on the subject of tv addiction. Has really helped me to see it is coming from somewhere within that is causing his need for distraction rather than taking it personal. Thank you this will hopefully help how I can encourage him towards things that could give some happiness and choosing healthy activities for myself!

    Reply

  • My husband is so addicted to TV, that he can’t have sex without TV being on, can’t stay aroused ( his words). I will not allow tv in the bedroom, because he watches in all night. I can’t fall asleep, nor stay asleep, taking care of 5 kids, I am already sleep deprived. During the day he jumps from computer to TV, could spend all Saturday this way, I am teaching , playing, washing, cooking etc. I have never been lonelier in my life.

    Reply

  • My husband is so addicted to the tv he gets so upset if you even turn it off going out the door! I’ve learned to resent the tv it never goes off from the time he wakes up all thru the night, he ignores me and my son it is so hard to get him to focus on the outside world and if I say anything I’m a nag. He doesn’t do anything around the house thank god he works or he would never leave it. He even while we were sitting in traffic watching a football game in a pizza place nearby. I can’t talk to him cause he’s so wrapped up in some game I wish I could just throw tv out the window.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      Eli Livingstone Betancourt says:

      Hi
      I’m married to a man older retired
      Whose a sports addict I too resent tv feels it destroys all of his relationships
      It’s his best friend & we have had many many many talks & arguments over it
      We’ve done counseling & I have to focus on the good that I do have
      One of my comments is if you would hold me the way you do a remote
      How happy my wife ❤️ Would be
      I’m disabled & cant work
      &
      I’m being challenged to find a hobby
      It was shopping but that’s an addiction too
      So I too have work to do on me
      Hammer Where are you

      Reply

      • Appreciate your honesty and all you’ve done to help him come back into relating in a healthy way.

        I’m hearing your disability keeps you from working outside the home. I am wondering, if there was a way you could be emotionally nourished by being of service with others, what might that be? Hobbies can be distractions; emotional engagements can help us meet our needs for contribution and meaning.

        Does anything light up in your intuition with that?

        Reply

  • That’s where I’m at this point…he’s just shown me nothing more than he could care less about anything else I just focus on my child

    Reply

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    Steph Plost says:

    That’s AWFUL!!!!! Sorry to hear that.

    Reply

  • Thanks to all those (over 50,000) who have visited and shared this article over the years. It goes to the significance of the problem, and I WISH that more of the spouses with the issue would reach out for emotional support. In the absence of that, I’m grateful so many who are confronted with addictions their spouses have DO reach out, heal their emotional distress, and tap into their own inner wisdom. It’s HARD, immensely hard. You’re not alone.

    Reply

  • I really needed to read this today. I am struggling with a TV addict who also likes to frequent the bar every night. I know that this is avoidance. Thank you for your suggestions.

    Reply

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    Wendi Grice says:

    Hi I’m Wendi, My husband likes to watch a tv show which is filmed in Canada that hes addicted to, hes already seen all the seasons of the series but goes back into the DVR recording of that series and watches the series again, again and again. It seems like hes more married to that show than he is to me. It seems like him watching that show over and over again is kinda ruining our marriage. I need help on getting him off this addiction of that show before it really ruins our marriage. We would have arguements over him watching that show over and over again. I’m lucky that we have another tv that I can watch. But please! Help me get my hubby off the addiction of that Tv show thank you!

    Reply

    • Does your husband see this as a problem or addiction himself? Meaning, is he open AT ALL to shifting this? I’ve helped men shift an addiction like this when I get a chance to work with them directly, and that can only happen if they are willing to explore why they do this.

      Arguing about it never seems to work. Have you considered writing him a heartfelt letter about what this feels like to you?

      Rick

      Reply

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