“Warcraft Widows”

I couldn’t help looking through this thread on “warcraft widows” and the wide gamut of comments.

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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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Posted in Gaming
5 comments on ““Warcraft Widows”
  1. Scott M says:

    Well said. We’re pretty good bout making each other the highest priority but leaving space for hobbies and interests. Work’s the killer– hard to say no to, and the time it steals can break the balance you’ve worked so hard to establish.

  2. Thank you. Work is definitely the killer, and caused us a real problem for quite a while. Eventually the solution for us was that my husband switched jobs. Unfortunately the hours and commute were just so horrendous that there simply wasn’t time for anything else, and although the benefits were good, they weren’t worth ruining his health and happiness over.

    Toward the beginning of our marriage the balance of work and play were definitely off. We were both somewhat loners growing up, with workaholic parents, so it took us time to learn to honestly say what we needed and balance that with allowing the other to have what they needed. It was hard at the time, but it really made our relationship stronger in the long run. It’s a continuous learning experience of course; there’s never a perfect balance of time available vs. time needed. But we work on it all the time.

  3. Map Mod v2 says:

    I thought my wife is the only person who enjoys playing world of warcraft. We usually play together. Some people think that playing online games is a waste of time, but we think that thiese people have never played WoW =))

  4. heather says:

    Heh. It’s like the guy my husband works with who insists all-too-stridently that he only has the wii so his kids can play it. As though it’s somehow wrong for adults to admit they play video games. My husband, naturally, ribs him mercilessly about it. 😉

  5. voivod says:

    Well all I know is that my ex- wife became a WoW addict over a period of 2 and a half years and it was the final nail in the coffin of a very unbalanced marrige. I never wanted to play that game because of the time investment. For God sakes 8 hours to do a run? She talked,ate,breathed and slept that game even cyber cheated on me with not one but two guys. It was the second guy she met in person and had an affair with. So there were a lot of other issues of wants,needs not being met for a long time. That was both of our faults but in the long run I had to do what I had to do. It’s been a few months since our divorce(which she did not even participate in) of 16 years of marrige. Did we play games together on a ps2-yes, did I have hobbies-yes but the reality was she wanted out of our marrige way before warcrack. So to the ladies there are male widows out here as well. to the guys- pay attention to your ladies or they will go elsewhere.

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