Posts Tagged ‘widow’

Moving On

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

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.
We divorced.
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


Monday, September 26th, 2005

I joined the gamer widow ranks but a month ago, stumped on how to proceed with my husband being “gone” so often that the “widow” title seemed fitting.    This was not to say we weren’t in love.   We were.   In fact, we were still so in love that I would sometimes catch myself in the very process of memory-making and think, ” This is what it’s all about, we have it, it’s here”.   Lack of love was not the problem.   The problem came when this enjoyment of such moments was eclipsed by the fear that the sun would go down with these “lovers” in separate rooms.

In reading and listening to the experiences of those in similar situations I began to believe the only route to peace-keeping was acceptance; tolerance; and “letting go” of the hope…and sometimes resentment.   I looked inward, certain there were changes I could make that would will him to change, will him to act .   Each strategy seemed to make his fortress of retreat more necessary for his survival.   In even approaching him I began to envision him peering at me through a small, sliding port-hole of a large door with inspecting eyes which begged, “What do you want?”   If I then made clear my intentions were only to demonstrate my affection, find out what he wanted for dinner, or tell him a story…the 1-foot thick door would be pulled open slowly and I would enter, tip-toeing over literal eggshells to hug him and settle down in his company.   However, if instead he heard, “We need to talk” through the peep-hole, the slide was closed and the reply given, “Go ahead!” through the door.   And I would.   I’d “go ahead” even though I knew he couldn’t hear me.   He was somewhere deep inside his creation; his stronghold of defence, feigning listening badly.   It was this imagining that led me to talk with someone else.   Someone wall-less for a start.

Everyone will have their own brand and type of support system; the people they turn to.   I found mine, and went there.   4 hours and a waste-basket of tissues later I felt justified in my concern.   I was willing to make sacrifices to have more than just a marriage, I wanted an awe-inspiring marriage, and I knew then that it wasn’t wrong to want that.   I drove home rehearsing my request that he think about “sacrifice”, and whether he’d factored that into a successful marriage.   I planned to explain how “compromise” sometimes isn’t enough…that if something is truly destructive it just doesn’t make sense to say, “Just a little bit?   Please?”   To explain how the bed was cold and the stone fortress was really not in harmony with the feng-shui of our home.   30 minutes of rehearsing, and 32 kilometres later I was home.   Target: Stone fortress hidden inside young-marrieds’ apartment; Mission: Share willingness to work and make more than compromise, but GIVE UP things to make more than a marriage, but a great marriage; Only established game-plan: Don’t say, “We need to talk”.

I don’t remember how it started, and I don’t remember all that was said, but I can recall this:

•  I expressed my feelings and hopes for us rather than the reasons why he should quit playing the game;

•  I repeated that I loved him and wanted to show that in my actions;

•  I begged him to consider my request in a space free of the “wedge” (between us); and

•  It hurt.

4 nights of worrying, 2 packets of M&Ms and scores of prayers later the hurting stopped.   Location: At the door of my school classroom; Event: A message from the office for the teacher; Contents: “Your husband loves you”.   Having heard and seen nothing of the man I love for days (even with the fortress in our lives this was highly painful and unusual), this note dissolved every illusory chain I felt now imprisoned me.   I re-entered the classroom and taught two damn good lessons.

I don’t know that it’s necessary to fill in the finer points of how this night ended, but I will list you this:

•  The account and game are gone;

•  He found a new job; and

•  I’m no widow.

I believe each of us lives in unique circumstances and relationships and expects unique things from their relationship.   I know we have different methods and ideas about the solution, and even how we perceive the problem we’re attempting to solve.

I can’t advise anyone on what will work for them or what they should want.   But I can tell you what I wanted, and what I got, and the three things it took.


I wanted to support my husband in 100% overcoming his addiction.   We tried “moderation”, we tried, “I can control it”, we tried it all.   I wanted wholesome recreational activities together and apart, I wanted active, affordable, reasonable activities with consequences in the real world; fitness / a stronger marriage / skills / peace of mind…instead of “hand-eye-coordination” and “friends” who are 90% likely to be in some way something other than who they say they are.

I got it.   I have it.   I love it.


1.   It required hurt for both parties, not anger

FOR ME what made this time different was that I hurt more than ever.   Every other “discussion” was dominated by anger and his pain.   This time was governed by love, expression of willingness to change on my part, and importantly expression of hope that he was willing to do the same.

The results hurt.   Both of us.   And I feel it had to.   Arrows that hamper one’s movement may be painless on piercing our armour, but will tear and bleed on being pulled out.   It had to hurt, and it required time and space.   What I hadn’t considered was that I needing to be willing to hurt while he figured it out. I believe if I had continued to wear my cape and non-verbally proclaim, “It’s your problem, so you’ll hurt while you give it up and I’ll watch” we would still be arguing.   Offering to hurt with him, even if more than I had foreseen, has made all the difference.

2.   It required a respected third party

Fishing, away from the distraction of his addiction, with a listening and encouraging friend separate from the situation worked something miraculous.   In speaking to this other person since, and telling him of that note I received in class he said, “I’m glad he took my advice”.   In asking why he’d made that specific instruction he explained, “I’ve learned that opposition to a happy marriage will creep back in without invitation and with the door of opportunity left only slightly open.   In order to ensure there’s no opposition to moving forward the door needs to be closed before the couple even enters the room of reconciliation.   I told him he had to do something between now and his seeing you for the first time that would guarantee you hugged when you saw each other, not worked up to a hug.”   We hugged.

3.   It required believing it could be an awe-inspiring marriage, and shutting up when it looked like it was happening.

A devout perfectionist and romantic, I desperately resisted accepting this was what marriage was about.   The moment I conceded that “this was him” and “this was it” I knew I was signing the prophecy of my future for more of the same.

Since that hug I have never raised the subject since.   Neither of us has apologised for anything and no one has accepted any blame.   The problem is gone, and we’re moving forward.   The “me” of two years ago in our marriage would have insisted “sorry’s” were said, accountability was taken, and things were “put in place” to prevent a repeat of the episode.   The me of now believes every “nagging” word and every heated “discussion” about the game has been enough.   He’s acknowledged his mistakes enough THROUGH HIS ACTIONS (i.e. stopping), I don’t need to hear it.   I don’t want to hear it.   I want to move on.   After all, a “Sorry” isn’t enough, it’s the ACTION I wanted.

I’ve acknowledged my mistakes by giving him the space to work it out.   I didn’t run after him when he slept somewhere else and beg him to tell me what he was feeling; insist we talk it out; and come home and play “happy family”.   I showed THROUGH MY ACTIONS that I knew my nagging and single-direction talking were only making things worse.   For him, my apologies after each “We need to talk” had only sent mixed messages - I wanted him to stop, but then I was sorry for nagging.   Finally I said what I felt and hoped for, and then SHUT UP, instead of then blurring my message with apologies.

Space and time have proven him, and I am the happiest and most secure in my marriage I have ever been.   If we can get through that, we can get through anything.

The beauty of leaving widow-hood is realising the one we love was never dead at all, but rather was “blinded potential” inside a fortress of defence we think we cannot penetrate.   Thus, without death, my husband is neither “re-born” or resurrected, but I have renewed and improved our mutual association, renewed our willingness to make sacrifices for each other, and renewed the reasons why we “signed up” for an eternity of each other’s company in the first place.

See you in the forums,

- The Katipo

Submitted by: The Katipo

A Lion’s Tale

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

I‘ve been a ‘Gamer Widow’ for about two years now.  My husband and I were married last May, we’re newlyweds, but it doesn’t always feel like we’re newlyweds.  In my own personal stereotype of what newlyweds are supposed to be like, they are all happy and romantic and all over each other in love and mushy and we are not exactly like that.  In fact, perhaps my husband and his video games are newlyweds!

Currently I’m a ‘WoW Widow’ also known as a World of Warcraft widow. World of Warcraft is a very popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing game, MMORPG, created by Blizzard Entertainment. My hubby started playing almost as soon as WoW, World of Warcraft, was released. Recovering from being a SOCOM II and Final Fantasy Online widow, I really tried hard to not get him the game and so I held out till about Christmas, but then his really good friend got it for him, so what could I do?

He convinced me to trade in the FFXI, Final Fantasy Online, subscription and get a WoW subscription for him instead, since I handle all the household finances, and I succumbed.

At first it wasn’t too bad, but very soon after he was starting to become really addicted and I didn’t understand it.  I would constantly talk to him about it and get very angry. So he cleverly decided that I needed to play too so that I could understand him better. I decided our marriage was worth it, so I joined up as well.

When created my own character on World of Warcraft he was already 15 levels ahead of me, and he was so enthusiastic about my playing and so excited about us playing together.  He even helped me level up, which translated to non-gamer-speak means he stopped progressing in the game to help me progress at a fast pace.  It actually felt really good to make those achievements as I reached higher and higher levels and doubly wonderful to see his reaction and enthusiasm as I advanced in the game. I felt like at least we were doing it together and I was a part of this crazy gaming world of his.

It wasn’t long before I got addicted too.  I found myself one day sort of ‘waking up’ after 12 hours of playing the game.  I realized that in that week I hadn’t cleaned, I hadn’t paid any bills, and the worst thing, I didn’t answer a phone call from my mom. (All my family lives in Canada, I live here in the US with my husband.  His family is my only family and a call from my mom means a lot to me).  When I realized what this game was turning me into I immediately quit.  I found myself dreaming about the game, having urges wanting to get back on. Boy did I ever start to understand my husband!

However, seeing myself reduced to that, I also realized how sickened I was by the addiction and disgusted that I could become that sort of person.  Thank goodness we don’t have children!

So basically, my situation is this: I still play from time to time, I am now a level 32 undead warlock. I try to play only once every week or two because the game never fails to make me stay on for over 5 hrs at a time, which I hate. My husband is now a level 60 undead rogue and still as addicted as ever.

The only thing is that now he can’t lie to me anymore. That is something I realized too. He used to lie to me, for example, saying ‘Oh baby I can’t pause the game, I’m not safe’ when I’d ask him to pause the game and I’d believe him. But now I can totally debate about how long it actually takes to get to a safe spot and judge when he actually CAN pause the game or not.

Likewise I know that when he says ‘Oh I’m just going to do this instance really quick,’ I know that means it will take him 3-4 hours because no instance is ever short. So I have the lingo pretty down pat and I find that so incredibly helpful.  Even armed with that though, I still feel lonely often.  I have chosen to really embrace that Latina in me and totally let him know how I feel.  The thing is, he doesn’t see it as wrong.  For him it’s his way of having ‘down time’ whereas I watch tv or read for my ‘down time’.

One thing I’ve definitely learned as a newlywed is that you really have to prioritize what you consider integral to your relationship.  For me it’s having an attentive husband who loves me more than anything or anyone.  Do I have that? YES.  I’ve learned to not have unrealistic expectations of my husband, no one is perfect 24 hours of the day.  I know him very well and I married him for who he is.  Do I still feel neglected at times? Oh most certainly.  But when I find the feeling of neglect to be really overwhelming I write about how I feel and talk to others who are in my situation or I talk to him about it, when he’s not playing of course!  All in all, the thing is, I accept that I am a Gamer Widow but I know that when I hurt or feel neglected, I can count on the gamer widow community to be there for me. I hope that my experience serves as a jumping point for some discussion and I hope that I can be of some help with other gamer widows or gamer widowers in terms of deciphering the ‘WoW-speak’.

Submitted by: Lyoness