Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY:  My boyfriend never gets off his phone -- like ever! The first thing he does in the morning is wake up and grab his phone. He was off one day last week and -- I'm not exaggerating -- he didn't put it down for 13 hours.

He plays this one particular game, and it's all he does. It's affecting our relationship, but if I say anything about it, he laughs, gets mad or ignores me. I don't know what else to do. Help!

-- Woman vs. phone in Ohio

DEAR WOMAN: Was your boyfriend always like this? If the answer is no, he may have become addicted to gaming, which, as of 2020, had become a multibillion-dollar industry. According to The Addiction Center, the "average" gamer spends six hours a week glued to his or her cellphone. That your boyfriend went on a 13-hour binge is cause for alarm. One sign of addiction is when it interferes with daily life or relationships. That he blows you off when you try to discuss it tells me he is deep in denial.

There is treatment for gaming addiction, but only if the addict is willing to admit there's a problem. Treatment may involve private counseling or, in some cases, inpatient care. However, if this is unaffordable, On-Line Gamers Anonymous (olganon.org) may be a helpful alternative. It is a 12-step program based on the principles of AA. If you go online, you will find there is a fellowship of friends and family members of gaming addicts. You might want to check it out. If you intend to continue this romance, get out of the house when he binges and do something you enjoy.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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