October 28, 2008

Husband’s View-Point

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — PsykiBlue @ 8:14 pm

This is written by my husband, I asked him to write this, as I wanted him to journal his thoughts and ideas as he transitioned from hardcore gamer to actually putting me first and how he viewed things. So here it is.

As a start, I’m not normally a writer, but my wife (Karla) asked me to write this little segment for her.  I figure it’s rather easy to appease my wife’s desires in this one, so here goes.  The focus of the segment?  A sentence that she sent to me.  And I quote…”I was wondering if you could write a piece about how/why/what happened/your thoughts on how you changed your mind on gaming and your habits and putting me first.”  In all, an undesirable topic, but one that I completely understand the need for it to be written about.  Personally, I think the gamers out there and the gamer widow(er)s all have a generalized idea of what goes through peoples’ heads when they think about quitting gaming and getting back into what some in society might call a ‘normal’ life.

For me, my gaming was never -about- a ‘normal’ life.  I started playing video games as a kid and never really have stopped since.  I pick and choose my fascination…usually on a whim on the day I want to play something.  From there, I set myself up and relax with said video game until either a) I get frustrated to the point of wanting to throw the controller/mouse away (I don’t do that…that’d indicate anger issues and I resolved those when I was in 3rd grade :P) b) I realize I have somewhere to be or something that I absolutely need to do… or c) someone wanted my attention and I felt that I was willing to give them that attention.  To most gamers, I think, that pretty much sums up their desires in a nutshell while playing.  If they realize that something absolutely -needs- to be done, someone they want to spend time with wants their attention, or they get frustrated with their game, they’ll stop playing and do something besides play.

When I started into the online gaming with World of Warcraft (WoW for short from here on), I had just gotten into a relationship with a girl (now my wife, Karla, thank you very much) and was playing all the time when I wasn’t talking to her or working in the US Marine Corps.  I was introduced to the game by a friend of mine (my room mate at the time and still one of my closer friends), Jared.  When I played, I lost track of time unless it was military involved, I lost track of anything I needed to do unless it had dire consequences and I basically didn’t have any desire to do anything else.  The game was not necessarily -all- that mattered, but it was a large chunk of what I was thinking about all day long, every day for a while there.

My playtime waxed, my interaction with anyone outside WoW waned, and a lot of people started noticing that I was playing a lot.  A big kicker was when Jared told me that he thought I was playing a little too much even for a hardcore gamer.  He thought I was ignoring life.  (there’s lots of background details with Jared, but let’s just say that the tables turned and he’s where I was and it’s not as easy kicking his habit as it was kicking mine…we’ll get into that later)  Karla was getting upset because at times, when I said I’d call her, I would, but only at 4am the next morning (to me, the same night because I hadn’t gone to bed because I had been playing).  Other times, I’d just sit there and not think there was anything important to talk about when she called, so not pick up the phone (the desiring to talk to her had kinda not pushed through my gaming…read the above reasons ‘worthy’ to interrupt gaming).  About the only thing that was guaranteed to get me off the game was if I had to go to work.  Even then, I was complaining about it.

So shortly after the 4am calls and the friend telling me I played too much, I started to realize that I hadn’t, in fact, been spending any time actually talking to my friends or my romantic interest.  I felt that it was completely reasonable to be completely distracted by something sometimes, but felt I had gone a little ‘overboard’ with it.  So I pushed away from WoW for a bit and started talking on the phone a lot more with Karla, started hanging out and doing things with Jared and other fellow marines.  Basically, I weaned myself from the game bit by bit.

Then came one of the happier times in my life:  marriage.  Karla and I got married on June 24th, 2006 in my hometown.  I brought her back home to meet my mother before I married the woman, and we had a pretty wedding in the middle of the Yakima Arboretum.  Only the respective parents were there and it was very small and what most people would call ‘quaint’.  Karla went back to Newfoundland for a little while whereas I went back to the marines, started the ball rolling on getting allowance to live off base and in my own apartment (well…we lived with room mates for the first 6 months and that was a disaster, but not part of this diatribe) and got everything ready for Karla to come down and stay with me.  I also bought a new computer because my laptop fried itself.  The desktop came in probably about early August.  Between June and August, I hadn’t played WoW much.  A little playing here, a little there, but nothing to even make someone say something about me playing.  Then the computer arrived, and it was new, it was shiny, it ran fast, it had no issues playing WoW like my other computers I had played on had, and it was mine, all mine (yes ours, Karla, but at the time it was in my possession without anyone else drawing time off of it so MINE!  :P).  So I started playing WoW again.  Not a lot at first, but between early August and Sept 8th when Karla came down to the states to stay with me, I went from playing once in a while to playing almost to the point of earlier, where someone was thinking I played too much again.

The killing blow on the whole ordeal was actually 3 days after Karla got down to the states to stay with me.  I hadn’t thought about playing a lot and I really didn’t know how life with my wife was going to be.  I figured I could work her in on the side somewhere alongside my gaming.  I figured SO wrong.  Karla, when she’s around, doesn’t seem like a dominating person.  She seems nice, cuddly, bubbly, and generally just a great person to be around.  I love her for that and SO much more…but when she thinks you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing and she is right there able to tell it to your face…well…she gets scary.  Not as a person, no, just the way she wont take any nonsense, doesn’t allow you to weasel your way out of it and just stands right there and says ‘This is not right and I wont let something not right be around me’.  Basically it got into a series of -huge- fights for us.  To me, though, my relationship with my wife (and I must use the stress on the word wife because to me, every relationship prior to this was just a boyfriend girlfriend thing in actuality and in my head) was supposed to be about happy and generally peace-filled times.  So from roughly mid-September for a few months there, I didn’t play at all.  Didn’t get on to check anything, didn’t do anything, didn’t go near the computer.  Yes, I played other video games, but I didn’t have anything to do with the dreaded WoW.

I must point out, at this time, for me to play just an hour a day seemed ludicrous.  Anything having to do with WoW required at least a 3-4 hour time commitment and to spend anything less than that was a waste of time.  So instead of playing WoW, I played Gears of War or Halo 2 or anything else that didn’t require time commitments and that I could put down at the drop of a dime to do anything and everything that my wife wanted.  The problem still wasn’t fiixed by any means, but I had circumvented it to keep the peace.  Around Christmas, there was a flareup of relationship issues that I wont get into on here, but basically, it caused me to re-evaluate how much I cared about my wife and how much I wanted to make everything work.  So I looked at my gaming from an honest perspective and asked myself ‘can I honestly want to play more than I want to have a family?’  To me, it took a while to get the answer to come, but the answer was ‘no’.  I wanted to take care of my wife.  I wanted her happy.  I wanted her to be completely, utterly blissful.  Playing WoW wasn’t doing anything like that.

I don’t know when the transfer of thought processes from ‘I must play WoW!’ to ‘I want to be happy with my wife and later as a family’ occurred, but I know that it did.  It all came down to me making the decision that the woman that I decided to spend the rest of my life with, well, I had to spend the rest of my life with her.  I had to focus on her, love her, care for her, and pay the attention to her that she deserved as my wife.  I think it’s a misconception that gamers don’t love their spouses.  I don’t know where I’ve read that some people think that, but honestly, I know I’ve read it somewhere.  Gamers -do- love their spouses. They just have found something that so completely entertains them and draws them away from reality that their spouses are just put on the back burner.  I don’t know if that’s the case for everyone, but I do know that it was the case for me.  My wife became my reality when I made the choice that she was the more important thing in my life.  She was physically there, whereas WoW and all of its’ idiosyncracies was going to have to take the back burner.  I never stopped liking the game and I still play it every once in a while.  But the decision to stop focusing on it and becoming an actual caring husband took precedence over my desire to have fun and play a game that doesn’t really effect anything in real life.

So in essence, there was no real defining moment that took me out of my WoW-world.  The decision that came upon me was influenced by a lot of outside factors besides gaming and my relationship with my wife.  I think I just wanted to keep Karla happy.  To me, that has become the end-all be-all of my world.  If I can keep her happy, I think I’ve done something worth saying something about.  If I can’t?  Well, then I’m lacking as a husband, and I can’t stand the idea of being lacking in anything.  My habits changed to make way for Karla as the fore-front of my world.  I no longer play hours on end (often), I make sure that if I say I’m going to do something that I’m damn-well going to do it when I say I do it.  I don’t make excuses to play or to spend time doing something other than what I should be doing.  Basically, I became a completely reliable adult rather than a semi-reliable adolescent.  The difference is slight, but the focus on doing what I say I will, how I say I will, -when- I say I will became and sitll is the focus of my world.  My wife comes first always, and because of that, I’m satisfied that I’m doing a decent job as a husband and as a person.  Gaming hasn’t gone completely away from my life, but the habits I had when I was playing WoW too much, the ideas going thru my head and the focus I put on them have changed.  The decision to make that happen was just that: a decision.  Best served with deliberation, intent, and a good helping of common sense.  But in Karla’s words ‘common sense is remarkably uncommon’.  So there you go.

I don’t know if this will help anyone to read this, but I hope you get a generalized understanding of at least -this- gamer’s passage from being obsessed with WoW to becoming a reliable, loving husband.

Thanks for reading.



  1. I am speechless…. I have got not much to say but…..this is my husband…but he hasn’t seen the light yet…. he can play all day and night and I am the one to deal with kids also… You guys are just so lucky there wasn’t any kids involved cos they can feel neglected too…

    Comment by kate — February 27, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  2. “can I honestly want to play more than I want to have a family?” that’s a good question to ask yourself but what happens when the answer is yes?

    Comment by josh — April 7, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  3. I can’t honestly answer what happens when the answer yes, however, you can either work it out or leave, no one should be second best to a game.

    As for not having kids, well I wouldn’t say we’re lucky one way or the other, each situation while similar can be stressful and painful, its difficult to measure what’s painful or more difficult.

    If you do have kids involved in your situation, you have to ask yourself this- do I want my kids growing up to be like this, to see this and to think its perfectly acceptable to be second best or third best to a video game.

    Comment by Karla AKA the wife — April 14, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

  4. This gives me hope, because I truely enjoy gaming, and want to get the balance right with my family. I really want to be able to do both confidently, but know that gaming is just that, a game, and not important. I find it difficult not to get sucked in, but would like to control it without having to give it up altogether.

    Comment by Pupster — April 23, 2009 @ 7:02 am

  5. I am so hurt from being pushed to the side and forgotten that I am thinking about divorcing a man I love and that I have been married to for 25 yrs. He is in denial and I am lonely. The thought of living with that game going on for hours on end everyday while I am waiting for him to spend some time with me is painful. He makes and I mean makes my son who is 14 play with him. My son plays far more than what my rules allow, because my husband disregards my feelings and thoughts about this.

    My son doesn’t read near as much as he used to read.

    My husband talks about the game when we are driving down the road sometimes.

    We are Christians but the game seems to be worshiped a lot more than God.

    Praying for a change.

    Comment by Vickie — June 3, 2009 @ 3:46 am

  6. really? I think if someone gets mad or feels neglected becuse you arent spending enough time with them they have their own issues..like they need a hobbie or their own personal obsession. What is it with people in relationships thinknig that everthing has to revolve around the relationship?


    isnt a relationship 2 seperate lives combined to be together..if so..there still are those 2…bah nvm pointless.


    Comment by faceroll — July 16, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  7. Grow up, faceroll. You’re obviously a child. Yes, a relationship is two separate lives combined together, and people who are completely codependent of another person have problems that they need to work out. This is not the same thing.

    Why would someone get into a relationship with someone if they’re just going to be completely immersed in their own separate personal obsessions all the time? What’s the point? Why should you marry someone if that’s your goal in life? That’s stupid.

    The fact that people get completely ABSORBED in games like WoW for hours on end is completely ridiculous and unacceptable. Life itself is put on hold while these people can’t seem to get a grip on what is going on around them. It’s an addiction like any other, and just like an addiction it will ruin a relationship. When you get out of your diapers and get in a real relationship, faceroll, maybe you’ll understand. And maybe you’ll feel some empathy for people when your significant other would rather play a video game or whatever else catches their fancy rather than have to spend one moment with you. See how that feels.

    You’re the failure.

    Comment by Monique — August 4, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

  8. I am so hurt from being pushed to the side and forgotten that I am thinking about divorcing a man I love and that I have been married to for 25 yrs. He is in denial and I am lonely. The thought of living with that game going on for hours on end everyday while I am waiting for him to spend some time with me is painful. He makes and I mean makes my son who is 14 play with him. My son plays far more than what my rules allow, because my husband disregards my feelings and thoughts about this.

    My son doesn’t read near as much as he used to read.

    My husband talks about the game when we are driving down the road sometimes.

    We are Christians but the game seems to be worshiped a lot more than God.

    Praying for a change….

    Comment by Angelini — September 7, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  9. Hi Faceroll & Vickie,

    You both have a point :) I think that someone being involved in ANYTHING for ridiculous amounts of time can ruin a relationship - whether it be work, a game, sports, etc. - if it isn’t a passion that both people share. If it is shared, then great! I know plenty of couples who are totally satisfied sitting in front of the TV together for 3-4 hours a night. Great! That is something that they can share! But to be cleaning up after someone because they don’t want to leave the computer… that is inexcusable!

    Also, if the husband (or wife) who is the ‘addict’ is only playing for 1-2 hours a day, well, maybe, the significant other on this forum should stop nagging ;) Guaranteed in any relationship, not all passions and hobbies will be shared. Maybe you should look into learning a new craft, instrument, or some other hobby of your own!

    As a wife who started playing WoW just to see what her husband was talking about (and now plays with him 4xs a week for 2-3 hours), I have found that it is nice to meet your spouse in the middle. WoW allows us to interact more than sitting in front of the TV (I think)… and my husband knows that when there’s an art show in town or new museum exhibition, it is his duty to reciprocate & go with me :D

    The only ‘fail’ in a relationship is when people can’t meet in the middle.

    Comment by Ashley — September 23, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  10. I am in agreement with Vickie’s post, thinking that just maybe the threat of an actual divorce will wake my husband up to what he’s putting me through. Even though our kids are grown and in college and mostly out of the house, they still see how lonely and unhappy I am. Every time my husband chooses to log on, instead of connect with ME, it is another stab of rejection….and it happens every day. He used to be obsessed with his motorcycle and before WOW he watched television endlessly. I don’t feel like I’ve ever come first with him, even though we’ve been married 31 years. Anything that interferes with his WOW time is resented, and unless he has to be at work or doing yard chores, etc. then his is ALWAYS on the game. We have no social life, he rarely visits his mom and never calls her, and our physical contact rarely extends beyond a hug or quick kiss. This is a situation that has been going on almost three years. Unless he can make a hard decision and realize our marriage is at stake, I can’t picture myself still waiting around 20 years from now.

    Comment by sewgirl — September 24, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  11. Did anyone else read a lot of “her happiness, for her, about her” in this blog. I might have missed it, but I don’t seem to recall to much of what this man was doing for himself AFTER giving up gaming. It gets a little frustrating when people consider that they put up with or tolerate their significant other’s gaming habits as actually doing compromising or giving up a part of themselves. Everything seems so black and white in these threads and blogs, you either game and a horrible person with no life and no ability to maintain relationships and be successful OR you give it up completely to pursue your other goals. I’m married, own a home, a decent car, work for HP, AND play video games(Basically the American Dream minus the video games). Scary isn’t it? My wife is understanding enough to know that the 4-8 hours a week I play just World of Warcraft with maybe 2-4 additional hours of other games throughout a week is perfectly acceptable and something that makes me happy. We still spend time together, we still have communication, and no issues with our relationship. I also know when we are ready to have kids, that they will require more of my time and energy, and that it can only come from my gaming, but in making the decision to have kids, I’m also deciding to restrict or give up that part of my life. It’s not a consequence or even a sacrifice its a re-balancing of priorities.

    I understand there are people that take it too far, and there are those left to pickup the pieces and I have compassion for you, I simply wanted to point out there is a Grey/Gray area and it’s possible to do the things that these people have left you with a foul taste for.

    Comment by Dave — October 14, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  12. Hm.

    This seems like an acceptable view point to me. I like the fact that Mr. Husband guy found the balance he needed in his life.

    I’m not sure how this sort of thing happens to gamers, where they end up spending hours on end playing a game. I mean, once a year there is a game that comes out that I really really enjoy and maybe the first day I play it I play for around 4 hours tops and then from then on out I play it the normal amount of time which is about 1 to 2 hours a day.

    I think video games may be like alcohol some people can manage to have a -single- drink like twice a week and are satisfied with that and some people just drink and drink like crazy all the time and have a sip and just need more and more. I don’t have that addictive of a personality so I’m not really sure what that feels like.

    I’ve lived with my girlfriend for about 3 years now and not once has she ever felt neglected by my playing video games. I think that’s just because if I’m playing a game and she asks me to take a walk or something I put down the control and go out and take a walk with her. It’s not hard to do, save the game, get out of the house and take a damn walk. Plan to do other shit every now and again. Doesn’t hurt to go see a movie or go to a miniature golf course once a week or so.

    WoW itself seems to be somewhat of a special-case because it just requires so much damn time! It’s silly to because most of that time is spent walking from one side of the world to the other…or hitting the number keys in a repetitive order, over and over again. I played it for about 2 months or so then quit because I would find myself thinking “uggggh. I don’t want to have to spend 30 minutes walking to my next quest!”

    I got to say though that some girls just need a damn hobby. My girlfriend crafts things. Like you know, makes top hats, paints, makes little baskets, things like that. She gets really into that and sometimes spends 3 to 4 hours doing that and I don’t complain. I play my games while she’s doing that. She actually does that for more time then I spend playing games. I don’t go to her and say “look, your spending to much time with that sowing machine. It’s not real, I need more attention.”

    I’m just not sure from reading this that my thoughts are “gaming=bad times for couples.” I mean that would almost have to mean “Reading=bad times for couples.” I know people who spend hours sitting in a chair reading a book. “Watching T.V.= bad times for couples.” but anyway good luck to the couple in the article (I doubt you go down memory lane to visit this all that often.)

    Monique, if you stroll by here again, just got to say, watching an “adult” chastise and call someone she suspects is around 14 years old a failure is kind of sad.

    Comment by Elijah Kaine — October 22, 2009 @ 3:31 am

  13. I’m sitting here reading this blog and I want to cry… My husband is 35 years old and plays for hours and I do mean hours on end!!! He is not a WOW player but Madden 10 and NBA Live has him on lock! He will come in the room with me and the kids for a few minutes ask what we are doing and leave to go back and play his game. When he is not playing he is watching football on tv and when he is not doing that he is in the different blog spots for Madden. I am left totally alone in raising the kids, in thought (cannot even have a convo with him) and in living life! I feel miserable all the time and I have become EXTREMELY and I do mean EXTREMELY angry. I feel betrayed and disregarded!!!!!!!!!!!!! When he does talk, its on the phone with his friends who are also married w/children and neglecting their wives also. They talk on the phone all the time about their combo’s and codes, blah, blah, blah. People who haven’t been through this don’t understand what I mean and act as though I’m the one with the issue but this is a huge problem for me. I seriously don’t know what to do and I am so ANGRY and sad. I have seriously thought about busting up the game, pouring water in the console or leaving him because I’m truly at my wits end. He travels alot for work and whenever he goes out of town he takes it (ps3) with him so he can play while he’s out. People say its better than him having another woman on the side but I can tell you its the same thing, believe me!!

    I have come to one realization, video games like any addiction or distraction is a heart issue. People who are only focus on themselves and are self centered can only focus on what they want and don’t see or care to see the suffering they cause around them. In the bible the Pharisees ask Jesus why did Moses grant a certificate of divorce? He said to them, “Because your hearts are hardened”! Nuff said!!

    Comment by Tonya — November 9, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  14. Wow, that’s sad…..i play lots of video games especially online ones…its not more the time and absorbtion then it is the costs…like 15 dollars a month is ALOT…but its easy to kill the adiction….offer them stuff besides video games, ten times better then that..if u know what i mean..cus that would definantly make me quit playing..lmfao…if u create things to do, a list, a schedule….dinner, and so much stuff that they have to get done…then they will ween off it..create projects around the house that need to be done, but put ur son/daughter or wife/husband, w/e combination together working on the same project…then they will bond. Not that hard, gotta be smarter then the computer technitions over 100s of miles away

    age 16
    source- I play lots of MMOPRGS. Not as much lately

    Comment by Cody — November 12, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  15. I don’t know what to say. I have been playing my whole life and after my last relationship I vowed never to stop playing for a girl. I wasted a 7 year relationship for a game. I moved and wow was the only way for me to interact with my old friends and I resented her for trying to take that from me.
    I do not know why I did not see that, the girl that moved 2000 miles away from every one she new (for my job) gave me more time than most would have. I am trying to stop playing so history dose not repeat its self but I think I am too late and I don’t think I can quit. I know that sounds lame but I am trying to quit and I am failing.
    But it is good to know it can be done

    Comment by greg — November 20, 2009 @ 4:18 am

  16. Billy, good for you! My husband recently came to the same realizations that you have and we did have kids through the toughest part of his “addiction”. I am happy to say that since learning to control himself and deal with real life more often, his relationship with his sons has become 100% better. Our relationship is regaining strength more and more every day. We also have gone back to putting forth equal efforts to make each other happy. It is 50/50 again like it was always meant to be. Of course none of this came without horrible fights, screaming matches, crying, threats to leave etc.. I pray those days are now behind us for good but, I will always keep a little fear. My husband still plays but, not when I am home. Only when I am at work and all of his parent and home duties are fullfilled. This I would have never had a problem with if it had happened in the begining. I congratulate you and Karla, Happy endings are so few and far between these days. Good luck and Thanks for all you do to Protect our Country, I know I speak for many who are greatful for our Military.

    Comment by DBR — December 10, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  17. Hi Guys,

    I just noticed there were more comments here then I orginally thought.

    When my husband wrote this, he wrote it from his perspective, and he did write a lot about my happiness, which for us is wrapped up in the both of us being happy not just my husband’s happiness for playing WoW 8-12 hours a day. I wasn’t upset he played an hour, I was upset when he’d play 8-12 hours and sometimes 8-17 hours on weekends, that’s a lot of time folks.

    In actuality, we both play now- I enjoy WoW as does my husband because he has found a balance. It was never about taking his happiness away, never. I can’t stress that enough. I actually enjoy Halo and Gears of War as well, but again in moderation. Sure its fun to just take an afternoon on the weekends and just have fun watching movies, gaming, doing whatever but those things cannot negate your real life responsibilities, when it does there’s a problem.

    I think gamers come to this site, some to seek help for their problems, some to lend solutions and an ear to listen to and some just to be assholes and ‘teach’ us widows a lesson- we’ve had all manners of trolls here, gets pretty funny sometimes actually.

    But this is what it boils down to when you’re in a relationship with a gamer who will not stop, and who will not admit they have a problem- you’re angry and sad most of the time, you get depressed at the thought of seeing/hearing from your partner because all they talk about is gaming, you’re pissed because they renege on responsibilities and dates and doing things like household chores.

    Its kind of funny actually because most women who take responsibility in that way are called bitches or overbearing, or dominating/domineering but in reality we’re just doing what needs to be done and acting like adults should. Taking care of the responsibility first, then relaxing.

    I would ask all males who comment here, or who read this go find the book called the 2nd shift, to see what women have to do in this world because men deem it so. How some men don’t partake in parenting because they’re relaxing after a hard days work, well its like this, things need to get done and be done, and relaxing until later is not always an option. You don’t ignore your responsibilities because you want to relax, that’s just being selfish.

    Everyone and I mean everyone needs to partake in the family and relationship, or else you’re not going to have much left eventually. Except being alone, with pixels on a screen wondering where your life and family went.

    Comment by Karla AKA the wife — December 25, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  18. Interesting blog…I have just separated from my husband due to excessive gaming. His answer to my ‘threat’ waas….he has now played 36 hours on modern warfare almost straight. No shower, ignores his children and calls me a heartless bitch. I am so proud of the men who ‘get it’ and because my man won’t get it….I will get if for him….

    Comment by Aly — January 3, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

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