May 23, 2010
Is My Husband Addicted?

COLlive.com presents: Sholom Bayis, a new advice and anonymous counseling blog for married Chassidic couples by author Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch. Question #1: My husband goes online instead of spending time with me.

Question #1:
After we put the kids to bed, my husband surfs on the Internet until late at night and it makes me crazy. He is always going online (not work related) which I feel it is a big waste of time. What should I do?

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch:

There are two possibilities to understand your husband's behavior. The first is that he has lost interest in the relationship. The second is that he has an Internet addiction.

In regards to your relationship, it's possible that you are both having difficulty communicating with one another. And, I might add, you are not alone. There are many couples that have difficulty in their marriage. Sometimes the problem relates to poor communication, but often, I find that many couples don't show a sufficient amount of affection towards one another and their relationship has been put on the back burner.

The good news is that according to statistics between 70-90% of couples can improve their marriage through marriage education, and if necessary, marital therapy that seeks to enhance your relationship. Often I find that many couples indeed love one another but need to set aside time to talk (without internet, blackberries, or videos) and build their relationship in a non-stressful way.

The second possibility is your husband has an Internet addiction. There are many people who like surfing the Internet for many hours at a time and it drives their spouses crazy. The problem begins when a habit crosses over and becomes an addiction.

Internet use and addiction is pervasive in America. A recent study revealed that 1 in 8 individuals displayed at least one "problematic" sign of excessive Internet use. Some psychologists liken these problematic behaviors, such as the constant need to check email or visit online forums and chat rooms, as being similar to the cravings drug addicts experience.

Some statistics from the study found:

• 13.7 percent of those interviewed found it hard to stay away from the Internet for several days at a time

• 12.4 percent stayed online longer than intended very often or often

• 12.3 percent had seen a need to cut back on Internet use at some point

• 8.7 percent attempted to conceal non-essential Internet use from family, friends and employers

• 8.2 percent used the Internet as a way to escape problems or relieve negative mood

• 5.9 percent felt their relationships suffered as a result of excessive Internet use

Treatment:

So other than shutting down forever, how does one treat an Internet addiction?

Most treatment involves therapy, including getting to the root of the addiction. What does the addict do when online? Socialize? Gamble? Shop? If so, the treatment might not necessarily be to control Internet use but work on socialization skills or addictions to shopping or gambling. In fact, many argue the addiction isn’t to the Internet itself but what one does when one is online.

Other therapies rely on motivation. What will motivate the user to spend less time online? Since most people can’t function at work, or even at home without at a computer, the key is moderation rather than abstinence.

Conclusion:

If you find your husband spends more time on than off and that your relationship is being sacrificed I suggest you seek therapy and work with the right kind of marriage and family therapist who can help reduce the addiction and improve your marriage. Additionally, if your husband is reluctant to seek help, you should take the first step and begin therapy for yourself. Often your husband will eventually follow your lead and seek help.


---Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch is a trained marriage and family therapist who maintains a practice in Crown Heights specializing in couples therapy and families with teenagers at risk. Visit JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723. Questions for the Sholom Bayis blog should be sent to rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com and will be answered appropriately and anonymously.

Most Read Most Comments

Bookmark and Share
Opinions and Comments
1
New Therapy Center
Yasher Koach, COL is the new therapy center. First teenager rants, now marital issues.

COL is getting more and more juicy each day. I love it!
(5/25/2010 2:16:08 PM)
2
agree with #1
I am waiting for the Shidduch therapy aka SOS to be updated...
(5/25/2010 2:22:34 PM)
3
to 2
I'm keeping the momentum here. The Shidduchim were recently very updated! COL..u guys are doing a great job. How about this.. three blogs..SOS Shiduchim with Mrs. Junik, Shalom Bayis with Rabbi Schonbuch and a teen blog with Rabbi M. Friedman. Teens Q NEED to be answered! The comments are too controversial. You need an intelligent stand with wisdom and experience intertwined! Please! Waiting for some updates! Thanks for everything!
(5/25/2010 2:39:27 PM)
4
i have a idea
some people spend time reading the news online for hours
encourage and legitimize their connection to the news and not the computer by getting them a newspaper or 3

and encourage them to spend time with you goto functions

i agree with the fact its about what they do online not the fact alone
(5/25/2010 2:46:38 PM)
5
im not so sure
Probably most situations of husbands who spend time on the internet dont fit in the above criteria.
(5/25/2010 2:52:11 PM)
6
Chaim
Any post which speaks about internet addiction needs to address the issue of 'non kosher images addiction' which is unfortunately very widespread in the Jewish community.
(5/25/2010 3:06:04 PM)
7
facebook
some people are to addicted to facebook.
(5/25/2010 3:18:36 PM)
8
not always a problem to be fixed!
BTW women can be addicted too.......
but I don't necessarily agree with you that this preoccupation with the net is indicative that something is wrong with the relationship.....sometimes, both spouses just want peace and quiet and downtime. Further, they are secure enough in their relationship that they don't need to prove it, exam it or fix it and run off again to yet another therapist....If both feel secure enough in themselves and in their relationship, as long as said use is within moderation and subject matter is kosher, I don't see any red flags here. G-d only knows there are so many other battles to fight and work on. often when he comes home from work ,the last thing he feels like doing is communicating with me or with anyone else for that matter. In fact, right now my spouse is sound asleep after an exhausting day, and I am on the net chatting with a good friend and also just finish chitas courtesy of Chabad.Org....and maybe that's okay, as we celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this summer!!!.............
(5/25/2010 3:21:18 PM)
9
computer games
how about kids or teens who are addicted to computer games? what can they do to stop?
(5/25/2010 3:41:49 PM)
10
Yechiel to #8
Children should not be allowed to use the computer (online or offline) or any other device like the xbox or the wii more then designated time slot.

The internet has introduced the world to a wealth of information (umala haaretz de'ah, like the Rambam says) and yet it has negative information too.

Games and videos are good and many stimulate the brain like no other medium can, but there must be limits and alternatives.

Books, human interaction, self restraint and physical activity are a must.

My conclusion:
All things need moderation including the good.
(5/25/2010 3:57:30 PM)
11
keep in mind
besides the fact of spending crazy amount of time online there is also the question as to WHAT EXACTLY one is doing online...there is a lot of garbage out there
(5/25/2010 4:09:30 PM)
12
facebook is dangerous
and has been the cause for divorce in marriages involving people from all walks of life (not just Jewish). Ask a marriage therapist or divorce lawyer, they have many stories if you dont believe this.
(5/25/2010 4:11:51 PM)
13
COL is becoming an addiction
My wife hasn't had a meal prepared on time lately....
(5/25/2010 4:37:32 PM)
14
wake up and smell the cofee!!
Why aren't the real issues being addressed ie; what are these 
husbands doing on the internet? 
I personally know a marriage that 
have fell apart because after a while the wife found out that her 
husband was frequenting different inappropriate websites, 
inappropriate is an understatement. 

It came a point when she coudnt 
trust him and that was the end. So wives: either get the computer 
out of the house or the husband shouldn't be on the internet without 
her putting in half the password and him the other half, that way he 
can't go on without her being there.
(5/25/2010 4:50:47 PM)
15
to # 8
what u r saying is not desagreeing with the writer.
he is talking about excessive useof internet and when it bothers the marriage. if in ur case u r using for a good cause and ur husband is fine with that, thats ok. but in cases where either spouse is adicted and instead of beeing in the marriage , he is there but hes mind is somewherelse most of the time, dispite what is it thats takong his att!
(5/25/2010 5:07:40 PM)
16
to #8
I think this article is talking to ppl who are obsessed- spending hrs in front of the screen!! thats not normal!
(5/25/2010 5:33:18 PM)
17
hey
whats the internet?
(5/25/2010 5:51:00 PM)
18
guardyoureyes.org
Great site for people who are addicted.
(5/25/2010 5:57:50 PM)
19
i completely dissagree with this guy
I'm a husband and I find myself spending time online doing productive and non productive but relaxing things. My wife (who agrees with me as apposed to the author) understands that every human being needs some time for themselves. If I'm needed somewhere else and I get stuck online she'll gently hint it.

The author wrongfully does not suggest in any way that its possible that the husband or wife needs down time after a long day of work nor does he make a distinction between how much time he spends surfing.

In conclusion, it is normal for anyone to spend some time online. If you feel that your spouse spends too much time then have a disscusiion about how much time on or off line respectively would meet both your needs.

(5/25/2010 6:02:25 PM)
20
to #8
duh...
obviously the person raising the issue is not ok with her husbands excessive online browsing bc it is infringing their relationship
i'm glad you and your husband enjoy spending lots of time online.....
and anyhow, why do you feel the need to justify it when the article is not even referring to your situation?
(5/25/2010 6:06:44 PM)
21
facebook
yes, facebook, specially for BTs,that know ppl from the past, could be very dangerous
1 in 5 cases of petitions for divorce, mention facebook
ppl reunite with ppl from old times, and old places
it is scary, the destruction is doing in many families
(5/26/2010 1:44:15 AM)
22
why
why is it that just bc your husband spends time on internet dosnt mean that he dose not whant to spend time with his wife a man needs time for himself
(5/26/2010 4:40:05 AM)
23
men
i am a man and am offended that this is all one sided. this makes it sound like only men have the problem but women can use the internet as much as the want without getting addicted. that's ludicrous.
(5/26/2010 5:01:14 AM)
24
A book to read:
Get the book: "Married to Distraction" by Edward Hallowell and Sue George Hallowell. It hits the nail on the head.
(5/26/2010 5:12:45 AM)
25
re re
It IS possible that the husband needs to unwind from a long day, and the internet is an easy way to relax for some people. If that IS the reason, you can stop it from becoming an addiction and get your husband to spend time with you by doing the following: AGREE ON A NIGHTLY TIME TO SHUT THE COMPUTER! The time after that can be used to spend time together or at least doing other construction leisure activities such as reading, learning, exercise, a walk, etc. TRY IT!
(5/26/2010 7:39:30 AM)
26
consider yourself lucky
Boruch Hashem, he helps you get the kids to bed-some people's husbands are too busy on the computer to even do that.
Also, this article did not focus on what the wife felt would not be a waste of time.
(5/26/2010 11:17:26 AM)
27
Relax
Everything in moderation people, the author is obviously referring to extreme cases, and leaves what needs to be left unsaid, unsaid.
(5/26/2010 1:09:39 PM)
28
Facebook #21
Silly man, facebook is like everything else, specially for BT's!

I have reunited with old friends and influenced them in good ways, they see the pictures I post of 770 peulos etc!

Plus it's mainly about ahavas israel and being in touch with other yidden.

If you meet the wrong person there it's your own choice, just like everthing else in life.

Bottom line: Facebook, internet etc is a tool like a knife etc, use in moderation and it's positive.

Now turn off the computer and go have a tea with your wife.

To author: Did you try talking to your husband first? Hmmm....
(5/26/2010 1:28:28 PM)
29
I agree with #15
I agree with number 15!!!
I have a friend of mine who's husband has an internet addiction and cant seem to get his life straight, I question whether hes really commited to his wife.
It seems that he has a real addiction and he cant seem to stop, at this point she is thinking that she might be better off getting divorced better than living with this animal.
He cant seem to get his life straight, and she has treid everything in her power to deal with it.
But now she thinks that her marriage has no hope and that is very sad.
To all those people who think that is not a problem that is plaguing a lot of people in our community is sorely mistaken.
I spoke to a psychologist who told me that he gets calls from Shluchim who are suffering with this as well, and the sholom bayis is suffering terribly in those cases obviously!!
Don't have any answers as to how to deal with this, but I think # 15 has it very straight and maybe people should not have internet at home or none of the spouses should know the whole password, instead each spouse should know half the password.
That way none of them will be able to get on the internet wothout the other spouse being present.
(5/26/2010 2:32:48 PM)
30
to #28
"Bottom line: Facebook, internet etc is a tool like a knife etc,"... inthe hand of a infant which has no control over the knife
(5/26/2010 3:24:49 PM)
31
safe guards
one word: Jnet...
or decide with your husband what websites you computer can access. you'll each have 1/2 the password to add more websites so neither of you can add sites without the other's insight...
(5/26/2010 3:35:52 PM)
32
#15
Very good take there, I wish people would take your advice seriously.
(5/26/2010 3:39:38 PM)
33
facebook
i don't think it's just a problem for BTs, shluchim also connect with non-frum people, and it is a wonderful tool to reach people, and they use it only for work etc but at the end of the day they are exposed to very inappropriate pictures and posts.
What do you do? You can't not use it, but how do you protect yourself???
Ideas please.
(5/26/2010 6:05:28 PM)
34
to 29 and 21
In most cases the internet addiction is a symptom of the problem not the cause.

Does your friends husband have a job? maybe there are other issues that she and him are not addressing. Sounds like he's running to the internet to get away from the other issues that are harder to deal with. If he didn't have that place to run to at home he'd be going elsewhere. Instead of banning the internet we should focus on getting our community educated so people have real jobs and are too busy to be online all day.

To 21,
If you think that BT's should not have contact with their family and friends from the past cause they might be a bad influence I know of a nice place for you to live. It's called Afganistan and the Taliban there make sure you have no bad influences there. Normal, healthy people make their own choices.
(5/27/2010 2:42:41 AM)
35
it goes both ways...
what about wives who do the same thing?????
(5/27/2010 4:45:33 AM)
36
#33
shluchim can connect to people via email not just with facebook.
(5/27/2010 4:58:27 AM)
37
Agree with #36
I do a lot of work and some non-work stuff on my computer; I even make some of my parnassah from it.

I have made a point of not joining Facebook or the other purely social networking sites. I also don't go to You Tube, which is really just another entertainment site; one can get their news elsewhere, and IMHO You Tube is just another form of TV.

I do not feel my life, relationships, or career are lacking, as a result of my not using Facebook, etc. The people who know me (socially and professionally) and want to reach me know to phone (yes!) or email me, and I do the same with them.

It works great -- try it!
(5/27/2010 5:58:29 AM)
38
Sure, discuss with your husband is good advice...
... but when you bring it up and he insists, "I'm an adult. I am free to make my own decisions," well, this marriage has bigger fish to fry...
(7/6/2011 9:12:41 AM)
What's Your Opinion? Post a Comment
Title:

Your Comment:


Comments must be approved before being published. Thank You!

Make COLlive® your homepage | Contact Us
© 2017 COLLIVE.com