I couldn’t help looking through this thread on “warcraft widows” and the wide gamut of comments.
Blaming World of Warcraft is a lot like having your relationship ruined by your spouse’s affair and blaming the person he had the affair with–it’s only part of the picture. The spouse is the one who strayed and there’s a reason he did it, whether it’s because he’s a cheating bastard or because he doesn’t really care as much about you as you do about him. The same is true for Warcraft addicts. If someone is putting a game first to the detriment of their relationships with others, it’s because of their own addictive personality or lack of caring for or sense of responsibility to those around them–the game is just the expression of that.
The trick of course is understanding the line between allowing your significant other time to enjoy hobbies that you don’t understand (some folks just can’t stand seeing their spouse spend time on something they don’t see as a “legitimate” hobby, and many still don’t recognize gaming as a legitimate hobby) and recognizing when there’s a real problem. Some people have a real problem on their hands, while others just don’t want to recognize that gaming is a hobby like gardening, writing, or reconditioning cars, and a person is entitled to use some of their time for such pursuits. At the same time, some others don’t want to recognize that there are folks who really do have a problem in this area, and just want to see it as spouses who don’t understand their loved ones’ hobbies.
There is no “one size fits all” answer. There never will be.
I’m married, and both my spouse and I play Warcraft. We often play together, and at times we play quite frequently. However, we don’t use it to shut out the outside world. In part we use it to be able to hang out and do things with friends who live more than an hours’ drive away, whom we otherwise wouldn’t see often. We also have other hobbies we engage in, and before settling in to do something on any given evening we ask each other what we’d like to do, go through our options, and settle on something we can both be happy with. Sometimes one of us will ask for time to do something that’s a solo pursuit–my husband has programming projects that I’m not involved with, for example, and I have interests of my own as well. If one of us particularly needs to spend time with the other, however, we also make that clear and find a way to do something together that we can both enjoy.
No two people ever have the same exact needs for time together, or the same exact hobbies and interests in the same proportions. Warcraft is like any other hobby you might not share. You have to talk–actually talk, not hint, not yell, not expect the other person to get it–and make choices so that both people in the relationship get to do the things they want to do and both people get their needs met. If one person in the relationship is unwilling to make this kind of compromise–either person–then things aren’t likely to work out. And it can be either the “widow” who doesn’t want to let her SO enjoy his game, or the gamer who shirks his relationship responsibilities by hiding in Warcraft, who causes a problem. An inability to balance personal needs and desires with the needs of your spouse is a problem that is hardly confined to one gender or personality type.
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