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How I Survive Being a Video Game Widow
'World of Warcraft' Took Over My Husband
About six years ago, before I had my first child my husband started playing an online MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role- playing game), called World of Warcraft. If you haven't heard of this game, consider yourself lucky, or just completely oblivious. When he told me he was going to play this game I had no idea what it would entail. Another random video game? Another couple of days of playing and then tossing the game out? Maybe I would sell it on Ebay a couple weeks later. This was definitely not the case. My being pregnant at the time he began playing was probably a good thing, I wanted to sleep when I got home from work so I didn't really care what he did, so I didn't notice that this game was slowly taking over big, big chunks of his time. It wasn't until after we brought our daughter home from the hospital that I had noticed this had become his new hobby, and maybe even more than that.
This Game Had Longevity
It had been almost six months of playing this game and he was still consumed with it. I began asking questions about its content and I was left more than a little perplexed.
I tried many techniques to get him to leave the computer and come watch a movie with me or have a conversation that included something besides what I would call "WOW" lingo. None of my techniques seemed to work. It didn't help that most of his close friends were playing as well. They would have lengthy conversations about how to better their characters, and beat dungeons, join guilds, create better potions, and so on. My husband was turning into a complete geek and I wasn't sure how much longer I could take it.
Now I know that times are changing and video games have developed into a new pass time, especially since there are layers beyond layers of challenges in these new games. My husband, being the perfectionist that he is, plays most games almost non-stop until he beats them, and beats them perfectly. That is where World of Warcraft beat him. This game had no ending, and that really scared me.
If You Can't Beat'em, Join'em Right?
I began to accept his time playing the game. I had to give him some credit as he wasn’t missing work or anything really important in our lives, but I was missing my husband. So I decided to see what all the hype was about. When I first signed up to play World of Warcraft my husband was excited. I know he didn't expect me to like the game as much as he did, but at least I would know what he was talking about when he spoke about, druids, shaman, priests, and all the other classes and races that you could create. I have to admit I had fun making my character, choosing her name, and the way she looked reminded me of playing Barbies and dress up as a kid, but this was no Barbie or dress up game. This was a whole new experience.
I Didn’t Have Enough Time for the Game
The game was fun, and I really did enjoy leveling my character with my husband and his friends, but it was short-lived as I discovered there was no way I could keep up with their level of commitment, and it just became too time consuming to me. After a couple of months of playing I called it quits, but I was definitely more aware of what was going on in my husband’s head 90 percent of the time.
For some time I began to resent this game. I didn't really have time to play and my husband spent most of his time away from work with members of his guild, running dungeons and raids, discovering the ever expanding list of things to do on this game. I really wasn't enjoying nights alone and my husband skipping social events or date nights so he could join his guild in a raid.
Learning to Accept 'WOW'
It took me over a year to discover that even though I hated this game with all my heart it was a part of my husband I was going to have to learn to live with. One of those habits he had that I would have to find a way to work with. Either that or divorce him, and I wasn't sure even that would wake him up from his daze, and I didn't want to end my marriage over a video game. Talking to him about it didn't seem to make too much of a difference because he became defensive so I resorted to other strategies.
How to Survive ‘World of Warcraft’
Spend time on your own hobby. I loved to read, write, watch movies and spend time with my friends so I did those things. Once I started to spend more time nurturing my hobbies, I noticed my husband coming around. The less I bugged him about the game the more he realized that life around him was going on without him, and he started to participate again.
Bargain with him. Instead of making the game a 'bad' thing I decided to incorporate it in our lives, as a respected hobby as his. So in turn I would bargain with him. I informed him about social events and things I wanted to attend in plenty of time so he could plan to go with me. I then told him if he would take the time to attend those with me, then I wouldn't mind him spending the next weekend raiding with his guild members.
Accept him. I know that many may not agree with me when I say to accept his hobby, but it works. The more I let go and accepted that this was something he wanted to do, the happier I was. I always knew where he was when I needed him. He didn't have a habit that I couldn't deal with like drugs, alcohol, etc., and he held a great job. He had a great relationship with me and our daughter. Sometimes I wasn't sure why I was complaining. As our relationship grew I started to realize that I didn't mind World of Warcraft anymore. Some nights when he was raiding I felt free to go visit friends of mine, or watch a chick flick that he wouldn't enjoy. We now both have our own hobbies and he doesn't complain about mine and I don't (well rarely) complain about his.
After six years my husband has scaled way back. He still enjoys playing but it isn’t the same addiction that he had before. It has become much more of a healthy habit. However, I do have my concerns about the upcoming expansion Cataclysm. I have a feeling the next couple months might consist of many World of Warcraft nights.