Life Advice



Screen-Addicted Husband

Annie Lane on

I hope my letter enlightens hearts and minds. -- Dancing in the Rain

Dear Dancing in the Rain: Thank you for your beautiful letter. Your situation is difficult but not uncommon. My hope is that your message will help others know that they are not alone in the grief they feel for the person they once knew.

Dear Annie: Please tell me, how do I deal with my husband's depression and phone addiction? It's starting to hurt my self-esteem, leaving me feeling as if I'm incapable of making him happy.

He has never been medically diagnosed but says depression runs in his family. His mom and all of his siblings have been diagnosed and take antidepressants. He can easily switch from being a fun-loving husband to a very crabby one in less than a minute. I constantly feel like I'm walking on eggshells because I don't know if what I'm going to say next might trigger him.

Sometimes it could be something as small as my not wanting fish for dinner. Then he gets upset and doesn't talk to me for days. Days! I ask him what's wrong, and he says he needs his space from me and our girls; hence, he escapes into his phone or video games.

He spends countless hours on his phone. He hides in the restroom with his phone. He wakes up and goes to bed with his phone.

I try to be the fun girl I used to be. I schedule camping trips and little outings to give us something fun to look forward to as a family. I try to run my household as smoothly and neatly as possible by adopting a minimalist lifestyle so he can unwind from a long day at work and not come home to a chaotic household, and he simply resorts to his phone once again.


I'm emotionally drained. I don't fit in his virtual world, and when he's not on the phone, he's depressed. -- Living with Grumpy

Dear Living with Grumpy: You are doing a wonderful job trying to create a loving, adventurous and nurturing household -- all while living with a man who is unhappy and needs professional help for his depression. It can be hard to tell whether too much video game and phone time is making him depressed, or if his depression is making him self-medicate by withdrawing from the family with his phone, video gaming and temper. Regardless of which came first, he needs professional help.

Try to focus on your daughters and yourself while he gets treatment. Don't allow his sadness to take away your joy.


"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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