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”How to Deal with an Internet Addict?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My husband is addicted to the Internet. He’s always online, preoccupied with chat rooms with a group of people with whom he has more of a relationship with then with me. He surfs pornography, but denies it. He is dishonest about what he uses the computer for (“I was writing a letter”). He spends our money with unnecessary shopping online. How do I get him away from this destructive cyber activity?

Addicted to Cyberspace

Dr. Gelb Says . . . .

Dear Addicted:

Although for most people the Internet is a way to gather information and communicate to others, those with an Internet addiction may face serious problems on a personal, family, occupational, academic and/or financial level. This addiction is similar to pathological gambling (see this column’s Q & A, “Gambling Problems,” posted January 5, 2005).

Reasons why Internet users become addicted can include becoming emotionally attached to online companions, escaping from reality, and satisfying emotional needs in a way that is less threatening than reality relationships (e.g., creating online identities where they can pretend they are different to whom they really are).

This behavior can be resolved via competent intervention by a qualified professional. Talk to your husband about his unhealthy use of the Internet and urge him to get help for this dependency before it does severe harm. In a recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, findings indicated that 63 percent of divorce cases involve some form of online infidelity.

For more information, ironically, the following Internet resources may be useful: http://www.addictionrecov.org; www.netaddiction.com

”Why Was I Dumped?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

Last Thanksgiving our family invited some people to dinner at our home, with the agreement that after dinner we would all go to a movie. Our guests included two married couples, a single dad, and his 12-year-old daughter, Tina. After a nice dinner, Tina

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