I’m not a Gaming Widow anymore.
I’m not sure if this site was in existence when I was an Everquest widow, between the years of 2000 and 2003.
He began gaming in 1998 (maybe sooner?), and was a gamer when we were in our courtship. However, it seemed he knew when to stop. He had a job. He was working on his advanced degree. We spent time together and he spent time with his friends. His gaming was relegated to late night and some weekend hours. And since it’s a hobby, that’s totally acceptable.
After we were married, it seemed his gaming increased. His friends also joined in the game. Instead of spending time together in the real world, they spent time together in the everquest world.
After our child was born, we decided financially it made sense for him to stay home for a few months with the baby. While his job had many rewards, it did not pay well. My job was enough to sustain us for a while. The plan was to have him go back to work once our child was no longer an infant and thus, daycare costs would decrease substantially. As it turns out, this plan was a HUGE mistake. Rather than use the time just to care for the child and our home, he spent a lot of it in front of a PC screen.
His gaming increased dramatically. So much so, that even on a trip to visit my family 1000 miles away, he tried to load everquest on my family’s antiquated PC. I was disgusted by his inability to give up the game even for two days.
A few months of unemployment turned into years.
Dishes were never washed. I had to hire out the lawncare. Garbage duty became mine. He did do some cooking, but I had to manage everything else in the house. Why? Because unless it was in Everquest, it wasn’t important. They even had gatherings of gamers….get togethers in reality in which non-gaming spouses were once again not the focus. After all, these people had important ‘camping the dragon’ reminisces and ‘looting plans’ to make. Anyone who didn’t understand these conversations was not even a consideration.
When my child turned two, the toddler began to attend a preschool. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for my spouse to begin a job hunt, unencumbered by the need to stay home and care for our child during the day.
How mistaken I was. This became an opportunity to game more.
At one point, he wanted me to join the game. I tried. But of course, by this point, his character was light years ahead. My character was a burden to him. And thus, it was not fun for me to participate. He didn’t help by mocking my inexperience in the presence of others. It was even less fun for me to participate when I learned that his ‘character’ was involved with a female ‘character’.
I was told repeatedly that it was just ‘for fun’, and nobody ‘took it seriously’. However, one afternoon, I was in the game by myself. I game across one of the people that knew my husband in the game. He asked how my inexperienced character got my ‘advanced level gear’. I joked that I was sleeping with (my husband’s character name). He flat out asked me if I was that other female character using a new account.
That was it. I was done.
Whether or not it was ‘all in fun’, other people recognized HER as his significant other. The fact that he made no effort to correct remained a sore spot for years.
At one of the gatherings, I was introduced to her. I could tell by the way she looked at him that whatever he thought their relationship was, she thought it was more. She was married at the time. I don’t know anything more about her situation except to say that shortly thereafter, she divorced.
I was tired of bearing the burden of absolutely everything. I was abandoned for a GAME. Reality was left behind for an imaginary world. Who tolerates this nonsense?
All of this was coupled by an obvious romantic relationship with someone who was not me.
The weekend after the divorce was final, the woman from Everquest had moved in with him. “All in fun” my ass.
But apparently, even she had her limits. After two years with him, she moved out. Apparently, the explanation was that she was disenchanted with what their life had become. I imagine she had visions of them building a real life, but I well knew: she became his income and housekeeper….just another person onto whom to pass obligations so he could keep gaming.
I still have to maintain a relationship with this man (little boy?) because we are parents. And he is still obviously addicted to gaming. I have seen the computer screen with a game on it on numerous occassions when I’ve picked up my child.
Makes me wonder what my child does while his father is busy in the world that he finds more important.
I’ve moved on with my life. I know I am better off now then I was during my marriage.
I know most ‘gamers’ don’t hook up with members of the opposite sex. However, I find that point to be completely irrelevant. Any obssession that excludes a spouse, whether it be an online game, golfing outings, or time at the bar, is not healthy.
Relationships have to be nurtured. There has to be mutual respect.
Anyone who makes choices that disrespect their spouse, that shun responsibilities because they interfere with ‘hobbies’, that continually put ‘fun for self’ over ‘fun with family’, who can’t find the line between relaxing and excessiveness…..those people need therapy.
And I firmly believe ‘gaming addicts’ are seriously in need of a 12 step program. They have the same problem as alcoholics…..and the only way to make them stop is for them to give it up cold turkey. They obviously can’t be trusted to find the middle ground.
For the gaming widows/widowers out there, I hope your significant other’s obsession is short lived. Perhaps they, like the ‘other woman’ in my story will grow weary of the ‘imaginary life’….even if it takes years. However, it should be noted that not even divorce or unemployment will deter some addicts. Those are the type of people who will never stop unless they are forced to.
I wish all of you the best and hope you find what you need.
I found that what I needed was not to be ‘roommate’ and ‘housekeeper’ for a man-child that could never learn to find his way out of the gaming labyrinth.
Submitted by: EQEx