Updated: Sep 16
You did the hard thing, and made it to the second half of Level 2. Continue on to see what your journey holds for you.
If you just jumped in. You die, start over with a new life here.
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There's vomit on his sweater already, Nat’s spaghetti. He's nervous, but on the surface, he looks calm and ready.
I keep telling myself she’s worth it. She deserves it. I can face my fears enough to go see the counselor. I mean I don’t have to open up, right? I don’t have to actually get deep. As long as I go. That’s the great thing about counselors, they aren’t allowed to tell anyone your secrets, which means they also can’t tell your lack of secrets. Loopholes.
Counselor: So what brings you into counseling?
Gamer: Well… my wife thinks I have a problem… and insists that I need to get help. So I’m here to try to make her happy.
Counselor: Okay, it sounds like its really important to you that your wife sees you making an effort. What does she think is your problem?
Gamer: She thinks I game too much *scoffs* it's a little ridiculous
Counselor: So you don’t think you game too much?
Gamer: No. All of my friends game as much as I do, if not more. At least I go to bed at decent times and go to work unlike some of the people I game with.
Counselor: Hmm, sounds like you are better at balancing your life compared to some of your friends. What exactly makes it a problem for your wife?
Gamer: She thinks I give games more attention than her. I guess she’s right. Games are just easier. They are how I unplug and decompress.
Counselor: It sounds like you don’t feel like you can decompress with your wife as much as you used to.
Gamer: Exactly. I feel SO pressured to maintain conversations with her and sometimes my brain is so waterlogged after working as long as I do that I can’t think about anything other than relaxing.
Counselor: Working as long as you do?
Gamer: Yeah… I guess that is part of the problem too. I work later hours and frequently am not home in time to eat dinner with my wife.
Counselor: Okay, so just to get a quick snapshot so far: you work late hours making you home less than your wife would like, and then when you are home, you’re gaming.
Gamer: yeah, it sounds a little bad when you say it like that.
Counselor: I mean, I could be totally wrong, but it seems like your wife is really just wanting more time with you based on the little bit that we’ve talked about.
Contemplative Gamer: ...damn. I guess I don’t always think about it like that. I normally am too busy thinking about how she’s demanding and is complaining about me doing something that makes me feel better. I want her to feel like I want to spend time with her, and I do. I just also want to play games because they help me feel better.
Counselor: Sounds like you’re feeling a little stuck.
Gamer: What do I do?
Counselor: I can’t really tell you what to do. I can only help you find your own answers.
Gamer: Thanks Yoda. I mean, I sound like a dick when I think about the fact that my wife wants more time with me, and I just want more time on my games.
Counselor: I don’t necessarily think so. It sounds like you feel unhappy in some aspects of life.
Gamer: Yeah, I guess so. Doesn’t make me feel like less of a dick.
Counselor: I guess you feeling that way shows that you care about your wife quite a bit.
Gamer: Of course I do.
Counselor: Enough to put the controller down for a little while to tune into the world around you?
Gamer: She’s worth it.
Counselor: So where do we start?
Gamer: I don’t know.
Counselor: Okay. When your wife talks to you about her concerns, what does she normally say?
Gamer: Lots. She says I never pay attention to her. I never spend time with her. I never ask her about her day. I never help her around the house. I never listen to her when she’s trying to share what’s wrong.
Counselor: Wow, that must be a lot for you to take in whenever she brings those concerns up. How much would you agree with them?
Gamer: Well… I work long hours. I’m sorry if the first thing I want to do when I come in the door after a long day is talk about everything under the sun. I swear she doesn’t want to do anything but talk. And I do help out around the house a little bit.
Counselor: Let's start with the helping around the house. Give me the average breakdown of chores around the house for a week.
Gamer: Well, Nat does all the cooking. She’s an amazing cook. Like, ambrosia of the gods level cook. She also does all of the dishes. It's not that I wouldn’t do them. She just gets bothered by them before I do. I guess she does all of my laundry too. If it were up to me, I’d probably not even realize it until I only had one clean sock left one day. I guess she also takes care of picking up the living room too. I do take out the trash though! Although, I have let it slide a couple of times.
Counselor: So she does the majority of the housework?
Gamer: Yeah. Like 90%.
Counselor: Does it seem like a fair division of labor to you?
Gamer: Fuck. No.
Continue to do what you’ve been doing and ignore the insight your counselor imparted upon you so delicately.
Continue on to Compromise even though it’s not fun, it will be hard, you will have to give up some things, but your life could end up better.
Level 2: Contemplation Transtheoretical Model of Change.
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