My Spouse Watches Too Much TV

Did you know that the average American household has more televisions in the home than people? And, did you know that the average time spent per month watching television for the AVERAGE television viewer is over 151 hours per month. 151 hours per month equates to around 37.75 hours per week, and just over 5 hours per day.


According to market studies, this number is on the constant increase as television viewing availability is becoming more and more convenient. Several years ago, without 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and other forms of internet access that makes television viewing on the go possible, it was not possible to spend your time away from home watching your favorite sitcom or sports program. Today, people are stuck to the boob tube in their vehicles, on public transportation and can even access their favorite shows on wireless mobile devices (including phones) from nearly anywhere on the planet. Suffice it to say that we are quickly becoming a society of couch potato television addicts.

But what happens when television viewing becomes an obsession? What should you do if your spouse watches too much TV and it begins to affect the management of day-to-day life? How do you respond to someone when they are constantly complaining that they don’t have enough hours in the day to get their work done, or tend to chores yet haven’t missed an episode of their favorite show in 6 months straight? After all, 37.5 hours per week which is on the ‘average’’ end of television viewing time, is quite a bit of time spent in front of a television screen.

According to Thriving Now psychologists that offer an online resource to empower people to live their best lives, television watching is one of the most accepted forms of passive entertainment and self-soothing mechanisms known to society today. Unfortunately, because it is so generally accepted, most people have a difficult time admitting that they are watching too much TV, or that TV in general is getting in the way of their happiness and effectiveness in life. The website also goes on to say that a spouse who spends their time watching TV, rather than interacting with their family and in lieu of getting associated tasks done is simply using television as an escape.

it’s easy for you or for other people to pinpoint the problem in someone else’s life. The busy wife would have time to get everything done in the course of the day if she was willing to turn off the television a few hours per day. Or, the husband whose life is scheduled around the different seasons of sporting events, so much so that he would rather stay home and watch TV than leave the house and who stays up so late that he is left tired day after day, would benefit greatly from knowing when to say when as it pertains to his television viewing. But it is not so easy to force someone else to change.

If your spouse watches too much TV, or is watching too many movies or is spending an exuberant amount of time playing online video games or Facebooking, it is no doubt disruptive to the relationship. One of the only things that YOU can do, is to shine a light on the situation and let them know how YOU feel. Before you go on the attack, you might want to spend a week or two keeping accurate track of how much time they spend on passive entertainment so that you have facts to present them with. When you show them that they just sat down and watched 41 hours of television in a week’s time, or played online for 60 hours per week it becomes sort of difficult for them to refute your claims that they might be obsessed. Plus, presenting them with facts void of emotion and nagging enables you to get your point across without causing anger or resentment. Most often, in relationships, when a spouse is constantly nagging the ‘nagged’’ partner will often react in a manner that is counter productive. For instance, by tuning out even more or watching more television.

According to, a group designed to help people break free from the addiction of TV viewing TV is an addiction when the following occurs:

‘when the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.”

As far back as 1990, a time in life when television viewing was less accessible than it is today The American Psychological Association dubbed television addiction as an addiction similar to pathological gambling. In 1990, a symposium at the convention of the American Psychological Association developed the definition of TV addiction as “heavy television watching that is subjectively experienced as being to some extent involuntary, displacing more productive activities, and difficult to stop or curtail.”

When changing any habits in life, it is important to replace them rather than try to simply give them up or quit cold turkey. If you are married to someone who watches TV too much, you can be extremely helpful in helping him or her find other, more useful things to do with their time. Perhaps your entire family can learn to monitor and restrict television viewing. It is also important to come up with activities that will help you and your spouse connect to one another that do not involve television watching. Slowly, but surely replacing TV time with other more meaningful activities will help to curb the TV addiction.

At the end of the day, it is your partner’s decision whether or not they will break the excessive TV habit or not. For many people the obsession with the television can and will cause such a divide in the relationship that it may difficult to fix and separation may be necessary. If you are at this point, you may want to hand your partner an ultimatum and let them decide for themselves whether their virtual world is more important than their real world.



30 Responses

  1. My husband is retired & we have 23 year age difference
    I almost died 3 x in the first year of our marriage
    We just celebrated our 4 th year anniversary in July &!were hit head on
    So with all this being said
    We both can’t drive we are both injured
    I have dealt with the tv addiction he did his 33 years of labor & I understand that
    He’s wonderful around the house he treats me like a queen but he’s addicted tv like I’ve never seen politics sports reruns
    The remote lays over his chest & I said what would you do if you lost it
    He said I would tear the house apart
    I asked again
    What would you do if you lost the remote
    He said
    Order a new one
    I said
    You can’t order a new wife
    If I decorate the remote with silky nightgown material put a cord on it
    He’s happy
    Ive said treat me like your remote

  2. My guys needs to have all the channels . Sports . + Netflix , and starz play. Apple TV and all that extra … And a tv in the bedroom and living Room with full surround sound . Out tv in the living room
    Broke last week . He got a new tv , he almost died without a TV I’m sure . The volume is aooo loud and I keep telling him to turn it down. I don’t wanna sound Naggy, but whyyyyy dosent he get it that it’s 1pm in the afternoon and we don’t have to have the volume on surround loud cinema feeling all day every day,? Why do I need to tell him
    Over and over again to turn it down, is he deaf?! my head is so exhausted from the series and loud sounds , I become depressed , tot day I didn’t even bother getting up from bed because I don’t wanna go down to the living room , my bedroom door is open and I can still hear everything that is going on on the tv. And I pray that the tv will break and the Netflix and everything will be frozen just for a week. But I don’t get it why he can’t thjnk for himself that he actually dosent live alone and he can be a bit more considerate that he now lives with someone and it’s not nice to be on the TV all the effing time . Other than that we’re great. We been living together for a year. This is my only problem with him. But this annoys me so much so one day I will explode . I’ve asked him nicely to turn the volume down. A thousand times. So I don’t understand why he can’t remember this in his own. And now I don’t wanna be Naggy… so I’m sharing my frustration here. Haha . How can I tell him in a nice , pedagogical way , to just keep it to a normal level . We’re not a cinema all day erryday. Right?! I want him to understand that it’s ok to watch tv but we don’t have to be in a cave with the volume so loud that I can’t focus on work… even the dogs avoid the living room because it’s so loud.

    1. Get out while you can. Been married 30 years and things might get better for a few days or a week, but then back to TV whenever he is home.
      I am so lonely!!!!!
      Have tried talking and even professional counseling….guess he just doesn’t care.

      1. Just been reading your article about your husband and his tv addiction. I’m having the same problem but much worse. I’m staying in bed also because I just can’t bear it any longer. I’m at my wits end now. It’s been a while 2018 and I’m wondering was your problem ever resolved. Did you stay

    2. Try a wifi or Bluetooth headset connected to the TV. It helped me work while my partner watches TV in the same room during quarantine. Sure it’s still addiction, but at least I can get my peace at the same time.

    3. Yes, small house and when my husband watch Gilmore Girls I would her the non stop fast talk in the next room, it drove me inane. I actually had to watch that with him to stop the mad chatter and actually know what was going on. The show was good, but I’d rather go to my local coffee shop and see my nieghbors than watch two strangers go to their local coffee shop and see their fake neighbors.

  3. My wife averages 5 hours a day on the iPad alone. I can’t even track tv time. And somehow she never has enough time in a day and is ALWAYS TIRED. When I come home I clean up, put the kids down for bed while she goes upstairs and has a break. Wish I knew what a break was like. Never mind a sex life. Lol. Sex 2 times in nearly 2 years just doesn’t cut it. I brought home flowers today as a surprise and she liked them but these small grstures become forgotten about very quickly. Oh my youngest is crying and she literally just texted me to go get her…she can’t be bothered to stop watching her show in our bedroom or reading her book she has on iPad.

      1. I’ve been married since 1979. my wife gets up at 8 am, turns on the TV, starts up her laptop, and iphone and nothing happens till 5:30 pm. I’m so tired of this nonsense! The TV is her life and cause she isn’t active, she’s now over 350 pounds with all sorts of medical conditions. I’ve purchase a sports car and drive it whenever I get down, which is almost everyday. I’m not a clean freak, but if I don’t do it, the house doesn’t get cleaned. Cheaper to her used to apply, but at this stae since we’re both over 66, I don’t want to split the hard earned dollars with her with a divorce.

        1. Don,

          It’s Politics all day long except during World Cup Soccer! I am 58, my hubby is 71, retired 2 years he used to be addicted to work & politics. Now that he is retired I thought he would do a things with me which he does at times after me pleading and nagging then he’ll come but clearly shows that he doesn’t have any interest in being out with me.

          We just returned from yet another lonely, boring vacation cruising in the Caribbean where the highlights of the day were dressing to go to the main dining room where I watched him stuff his face eating several entries every night then going back to the room to sleep early. We didn’t do any of the fun activities onboard. He just stays in the room and flips from one news channel to another just like he does at home. I spent my time onboard in the adult pool area where I

          We haven’t had an active sex life since 2008 when he started on Blood pressure medication, apparently it interferes with his ability to get hard and stay hard so he tries to stuff his shit up in me… Oh yeah daddy that feels good! Really? I’m so frustrated.

    1. I feel like we are married to the same person but mine has excuses for everything and wants to be mad at the world instead of being accountable for herself. I have voiced my concerns to my wife several times but she either ignores me or says I am criticizing her. It’s sad to see a person so talented and with so much potential slowly rotting away in front of a TV or tablet.

    2. I feel you man. Mine is pregnant and has that same media addiction problem. I’m kind of concerned where that all leads, any attempts to talk about things just creates everything worse.

  4. My gf of ten years watches bones and a few other series that have corpses. Its almost 24/7. Tv in the bedroom, livingroom, but its melted bodies, unless its something from the 80s she’s watched 40+ times. I for one, do not like tv, anywhere in the house. Its negative, useless and that’s it. Ruined any feels for her because she is dead inside to me. She can find another guy to fix thing and leach money and services from. 100% RELATIONSHIP KILLER

  5. I’ve given up expecting my wife will change her addiction to spy movies and TV. Her male siblings are the same way, but they are buried in their smart phones. I don’t invite one of her brothers over anymore because he stays up until 3:00 a.m. watching TV and keeps the volume excessive when we’re trying to sleep. I have come to the conclusion I’m being used and will now present a separation agreement and file for divorce. She can go live with herself and her lover, the Television.

    1. I like reading your comment. I am in the same situation but a female married to a tv. He shuts the tv off after 4hrs at night and says I am going to bed, gets himself a bowl of pretzels. Then goes to bed but turns the tv on to fall asleep with his pretzels on his stomach. He hasn’t once asked me to join him but his pretzels do get the intimate chance of going to bed with him. . So 2 bags of pretzels a week and the remote. I have come to the same conclusion since he is really blinded by tv and the addictiveness. But then again he has an addictive personality to begin with, cigarettes, beer, scratch offs. He is comfortable in that world. For me, nah… Curious did you file or have you given her more hope, like I do with him. I have found myself spending to much energy trying to make it work.

  6. I think it’s just best to say the truth. That you just don’t feel loved. That you forgive them but you can’t enjoy this one life wasting away watching Tv. It’s ok that the relationship ends. Embrace it and be kind. Just walk away and if they come back to you then things will change for the better. Things will change for the better anyway because you are standing up against addiction. Addiction comes in many forms. Tv, scratch tickets, shopping, gambling, porn, drinking, hoarding – it all stems from us not feeling loved or needed or having a purpose. We don’t have to sink into the addiction to love this person we can just be truthful and have the grit and integrity to take a stand. Kindly.

  7. hate it , soooo depressed. he says, Oh, we don’t have money, I’m retied, what else am I suppose to do.. He also has the iphone talking to it all day with the tv on. Politics, Politics, Politics, Politics, Politics, when that ends, it is just movies and crap. Hey, he cooks and does the laundry, why should I care? hell no answers about this anywhere, but live with the damn stuff. He is fat ass and doesn’t do anything else. won’t do anything else, can’t get him to do a damn thing. Oh, yes, I have money for hobbies but hey, they would be a mess, I am a perfectionist , so If he doesn’t have everything to the T and I mean everything that is required he won’t do it.
    AT a loss, depressed and hate it all.

  8. It’s hard for me to say anything to the person because I am renting a room in their house and am so thankful for their hospitality. But I have noticed my usually motivated housemate increasingly bury himself in tv and sleep. He is a pilot and rostered himself on night call shifts for the past three months and I haven’t seen him actually do any work. He watches hours and hours of crap and is partly deaf so it’s really loud. Most nights he doesn’t even cook dinner anymore. In the open plan house the tv dominates the entire vibe of the house which has become low vibrational due to the tv and I’m stuck to my room. Don’t get me wrong sometimes I have the occasional binge session where I’ll watch a series but I keep my viewing limited most of the time as I’m very picky about the quality of shows I watch. Furthermore, the iPad, phone or laptop is running at different occasions at the same time. He takes several naps a day and says it’s because he might get called to fly at night but he never does and if it was that important he would have food prepared ready to go which I know he doesnt. I am a combination of worried and disgusted by them especially the not going to work part because I know they love and are passionate about their job. It’s so sad because there is little about tv that is real. The commentary, news presentation, actors, editing. It’s all designed to influence you and almost nothing about it s real.

  9. Pretend you’re single and do all the things you like. Get busy and make stuff or start a class.
    Don’t let the habits of an addiction of someone else hold you back from being happy. Try and look deeply and see if you are in a codependent relationship.
    My husband watches political news and sports an extreme amount. The worst thing for me is hearing all the sport commentators growl and debate the next day. My husband is even more argumentative and sounds like them when confronted.
    I put a tv in my bedroom and watch documentaries in the evening. Tv can be educational and enjoyable. If the tv in the den gets to be too much I go for a walk or call mom or a friend and GET BUSY!
    Remember no one can make you unhappy unless you give them permission. You are dealing with an addict. Either accept it and do what you can to be happy or decide to leave.
    If you can’t leave, then you’ll have to find a way to cope. Walking around lonely angry and resentful sucks.

  10. When I first got together with my man, the TV was never on. We talked, played games had lots of amazing sex. We talked about future plans and moving forward . Then life got crappy… the “plandemic”, he had a heart attack ( I had to perform CPR) and my life-long depression set back in. Fast forward … I had to move in 4 months ago because my rental was sold. I am appreciative of his hospitality in letting me live here. I’ve been able I save a lot o money. I do pay the bills and buy food and bought him a 1000$ birthday present. I’ve done everything I can to make him feel loved and special but when there is little reciprocity, my efforts stop. He doesn’t clean so if I don’t, it doesn’t get done. It’s gotten to where I wash my dishes and leave his so that he has to either look at them or take care of them. He’s a true genius and capable of so much but …. the television and the games on his phone! One TV in the living room, one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom! Constant television and loud. I swear I have a least 6 commercials completely memorized. He falls asleep slouched on the couch with the tv on, he falls asleep in bed with it on, he spends hours a day every morning and night in the bathroom with it on. Hours upon hours of marathon shows… he won’t go for a walk or do anything with me. I’ve retreated to my own room in the house. Our connection is lost. Before I moved In here, I had not lived with a tv for 30 years. I hate it. It’s an enormous waste of time. From what I’ve read here, he’s probably self soothing. He’s had a lot of trauma in life but I see him ending up just like his father who was never active and still sits in front of the tv all day everyday, slouched in a ball in the couch and on death’s doorstep because of it. I have lost myself being in this environment. My depression is bad and I find myself like so many of the rest of you, hiding. I’ve decided to leave. I can’t make this work. He is stubborn and will never change and I cannot go on living like this. I find myself on my phone more now, seeking my own escape. My motivation is gone. The sadness I had at the thought of leaving is slowly being replaced by an optimism I can feel when I think of having my own space again. He smokes hand rolled tobacco and never used to smoke in the bedroom and now he is chain-smoking and I can’t even sleep in the bedroom because of the smoke. I’m truly better alone than in relationships. Every time I get into a relationship the same thing happens. My “picker” is broken and I’ll never live with anyone ever again. Even though the world is very unpredictable these days and I may be walking into the fire, walk I must and forget about all of his good qualities that entice me to stay. We have chemistry but not compatibility. I’ve seen my future with him when I look at his dad and his dad’s wife and I rather die a sooner death. So, I’ve told him I’m leaving. I’ve also told him that I love him but as I’ve also told him, love has nothing to do with it. I’m sure the day I leave he will become an overnight billionaire but I can’t think of these things. Money doesn’t change people either. He’d just probably put a cinema in the house.

  11. These posts are so therapeutic because I always felt like I was the only one experiencing living with a tv fiend. My wife watches television shows like Highlander, which is great, but watching all the episodes and seasons 4x over is too much. I’m happy there is no tv in the bedroom because I would not allow it but she would just be on her phone watching something, get up at 4am just to continue watching something and say I couldn’t sleep in the morning. She’s obese and I’m looking better than ever since I joined a fitness center that cost us less than HBO max. She’s 43, I’m 49 and contemplating leaving her with the tv, kids, dogs whatever she wants. She is the main income but money is not my worry. I have totally falling in love with..MYSELF!! I love how I feel and what I created. She’s probably gearing up for Stranger Things return, I’ll be enjoying maybe the last good times with my children and crafting an exit plan. Don’t get me wrong, tv is great together but she is gluttonous and vocarously watching tv too damn much and gets defensive every time I tell her that should be enough after saying” just one more episode” at midnight on a Tuesday. Fine I’m going to bed and turn on the best tv…my dreams.

    1. No wonder your wife has turned to TV. I would too if I were married to someone as narcissistic as you. Seriously, do you actually believe your own BS?

  12. I was raised by parents who didn’t have a tv until they were married, watched the news not much else. Tv was for rainy days or when your sick I was told. They told me TV was a boob tube and a brain drain.
    I married an English as a second language man, his parents plopped him in front of their tv for free babysitting, to learn English and to learn our culture. Husband thinks TV is educational.
    When we first moved in together I said NO TV… he said, his mom had three, so could we just bring one old one to our house? I said when that tv dies we are not going to buy a new one. His mom died a year later and we got her good tv. For the year she was in the hospital he visited her everyday after work, I didn’t see him much yet he came home at the exact same time. I said oh, you must just happen to be catching the same set of buses, on the same schedule. He said no, he came home specifically to watch Star Trek. Not to see me.
    I said NO to cable…just a few rabbit ear channels but then he found free VHS tapes at the library, then DVDs… He would tape tv shows when he was at work. Now somehow he watches you tube through kids Xbox. And he’ll watch things he’s already watched before.
    House is small so we eat in front of the tv. To be with him I watch his shows… To be nice to me he finds me a show that I might like to watch. I’ve even found myself watching tv alone if on a rare case he gets up to do something. Then I realize what am I doing??? I only sat down to be with him and now he’s gone. Now we have internet and wifi, but really his love is the TV. I call it his IV.
    When I was in the hospital for our first born, he was drawn to the computer contraction monitor and after when I got a room he had to turn on the tv. Most restaurants have TVs now, so if we go out to eat he’s looking over my head at the Tv.
    I find myself on the internet more than I want because he is so boring.
    It’s been 35 years, nothing will change. Kids are grown, I finally found my own friends to hang out with. He’d rather be with his tv than out and about with me. Sometimes we fight about this and he’ll turn the tv off and just sit on the couch and radiate negative vibes. Then taunt me, so what do YOU want to do. I then have to cheerleader him into doing something. It’s not together time, he sees it as ” you wanted me to do this with you, so I’ll grace you with my presence.”
    He works and pays the bills but our life is so boring.

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