Husband is obsessed with news & it’s driving me mad in quarantine

sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
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214
USA
Hi all, obviously these are strange times that we live in. I hope this post is okay for this thread.

My husband has always been a news junkie, but now that we’ve been in quarantine together for months (neither currently working due to this situation), I feel like his news obsession has intensified. There are only so many things to do as distractions (gardening, baking, neighborhood walks, books, etc.) before he goes back on his phone to read the news for hours at a time.

My husband tries to talk to me about politics, current events, etc. and it inevitably leads to us fighting. (Our differing views don’t help, either.) He has gotten increasingly paranoid about things and it makes me very anxious. I tell him I don’t feel comfortable getting into any of these topics because they are so stressful, but he says he wants to talk to me about these things. He doesn’t seem to understand how damaging this is becoming for our relationship, especially while we’re in quarantine together.

I’ve asked him to get off his phone since I don’t think reading the news so much is healthy, but I’m not getting through to him. He doesn’t see anything wrong with his habits and feels a need to constantly stay informed.

It would be nice if we could do couples therapy (albeit virtually), but money is a lot tighter these days. He is on anti-anxiety meds and checks in with his therapist periodically, but I wonder how much that’s helping.

We generally have a good relationship, but these days I feel like there are a lot of “triggers” that can send our conversations in the wrong direction, and I’m turning into a ball of nerves. :sad: I get that you can’t force people to change, but I’m becoming very frustrated and really sad.

Any thoughts/advice, please? Thank you.
 
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sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
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214
USA
Can you divert his attention towards other hobbies and activities? I hate to recommend video games since there are already too many addicted gamers in the world but at least it would keep him busy and away from monitoring the news.
Yes, I’ve tried redirecting him to other hobbies. He’s not a gamer type (though I should probably try games with him, haha) but he loves stuff like cooking and gardening. He’s already been doing those things, but when he has nothing else to do, he’s back on his phone.

It’s hard to keep coming up with ideas to keep him preoccupied more frequently.
 
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bag-mania

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Apr 6, 2007
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Yes, I’ve tried redirecting him to other hobbies. He’s not a gamer type (though I should probably try games with him, haha) but he loves stuff like cooking and gardening. He’s already been doing those things, but when he has nothing else to do, he’s back on his phone.

It’s hard to keep coming up with ideas to keep him preoccupied more frequently.
Perhaps you two could start an exercise program together. That is time-consuming, stress relieving, and yet healthy. It should have the added benefit of tiring him out so he wouldn't be glued to the phone as much.
 

sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
97
214
USA
Perhaps you two could start an exercise program together. That is time-consuming, stress relieving, and yet healthy. It should have the added benefit of tiring him out so he wouldn't be glued to the phone as much.
Thank you, yes. We’ve been doing about an hour’s worth of exercise per day (either walking or something athletic in the backyard), depending on the hot weather.

But maybe upping our exercise time is necessary, even if it has to be indoors. It would be better for him to be more physically active.
 

limom

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Mar 24, 2009
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Tell him straight up that you refuse to discuss the subject.
Also encourage him to talk and hang out with his friends/family.
You are not alone :flowers:
 
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ccbaggirl89

Member
Mar 26, 2015
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11,796
My mom is obsessed with every single news story online, watches basically all day and yes, wants to chat about it with me, and I don't want to hear it 24/7. Our system: I spend 30 minutes each night letting her talk about it (as obviously the news junkies need to express their thoughts), and if she needs more than that, she can engage in online forums and call friends to chat. You should devote time to listen because he is obviously interested and/or troubled by the news. Maybe set a time limit - tell him you are willing to hear an end-of-the-day recap of the news and talk about it with him for 30 minutes, but that's it. I don't think you should tell him 'not to' though - many people need to hear/read the news to feel safe and secure and informed. Just divert him to other avenues - forums, calls to family and friends, etc. and find something to keep yourself occupied so you're not always available to chat.
 

sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
97
214
USA
Tell him straight up that you refuse to discuss the subject.
Also encourage him to talk and hang out with his friends/family.
You are not alone :flowers:
I’ve already told him I’m not interested in discussing these topics, but somehow they have ways of sneaking into our normal conversations.

Like yesterday while we were having lunch, he asked me if I would consider moving to X country in case “things get worse here,” like if there’s ever a “war.” I was really annoyed/appalled though he insisted he was joking. But knowing him and his train of thought, I don’t think that was a genuine joke.

Also, he’s glued to his neighborhood watch app too. He’s often concerned if people are stealing our mail, especially when we have days without mail being delivered. I know no neighborhood is perfect, but we live in a decent area. It’s hard to convince him that his fears are at times unwarranted.

So it is hard to avoid paranoid topics sometimes, and I’m on edge.

I do agree he should call his family and friends more, though. I’ll suggest that. Thank you for your support.
 
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sparklebunny

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Dec 16, 2019
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214
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I'm your husband in my relationship. For me, excessively reading news oddly calms my anxiety about it. My husband brought it up and now I turn off CNN when he's in the common area.
On your husband’s behalf, I thank you.

Do you ever get into news-related talks together or is that off-limits?
 
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mrsinsyder

Member
Mar 8, 2013
5,469
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I’ve already told him I’m not interested in discussing these topics, but somehow they have ways of sneaking into our normal conversations.

Like yesterday while we were having lunch, he asked me if I would consider moving to X country in case “things get worse here,” like if there’s ever a “war.” I was really annoyed/appalled though he insisted he was joking. But knowing him and his train of thought, I don’t think that was a genuine joke.

Also, he’s glued to his neighborhood watch app too. He’s often concerned if people are stealing our mail, especially when we have days without mail being delivered. I know no neighborhood is perfect, but we live in a decent area. It’s hard to convince him that his fears are at times unwarranted.

So it is hard to avoid paranoid topics sometimes, and I’m on edge.

I do agree he should call his family and friends more, though. I’ll suggest that. Thank you for your support.
It may also be worth looking at an adjustment of his meds. I know with the ones I take, when I went up a bit in dosage I stopped worrying about a lot of extraneous things!
 

sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
97
214
USA
My mom is obsessed with every single news story online, watches basically all day and yes, wants to chat about it with me, and I don't want to hear it 24/7. Our system: I spend 30 minutes each night letting her talk about it (as obviously the news junkies need to express their thoughts), and if she needs more than that, she can engage in online forums and call friends to chat. You should devote time to listen because he is obviously interested and/or troubled by the news. Maybe set a time limit - tell him you are willing to hear an end-of-the-day recap of the news and talk about it with him for 30 minutes, but that's it. I don't think you should tell him 'not to' though - many people need to hear/read the news to feel safe and secure and informed. Just divert him to other avenues - forums, calls to family and friends, etc. and find something to keep yourself occupied so you're not always available to chat.
I applaud you for finding a compromise with your mom, and I’m happy it works well for you guys.

I understand your suggestion, but my husband and I have many opposing views, so bringing up the news becomes a battleground. It is very hard for both sides not to get fired up and emotional, so talking about stuff will drag into many, many heated hours. This never works out well for us, which is why I would rather avoid it.

It’s not that I’m saying he shouldn’t read the news at all, but doing it for hours on end daily only feeds into his anxiety (instead of relieving it). And it does not impact our relationship in a positive way.
 

sparklebunny

Member
Dec 16, 2019
97
214
USA
It may also be worth looking at an adjustment of his meds. I know with the ones I take, when I went up a bit in dosage I stopped worrying about a lot of extraneous things!
Perhaps during his next (phone) session with his therapist, I should sit in and possibly suggest it. My husband does not like being on meds, truthfully, and sometimes tells me he wants to decrease/stop being on them. But I think that would be a bad idea, especially nowadays.