August 23, 2007

Moving On

Filed under: Widows Corner — Tags: , , , , , , — GamerWidow @ 9:43 am

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


  1. I utterly and completely understand your past experience with a gaming husband. I have a very eerily similar story that almost ended in divorce if not for me threatening to leave - if he did not phone for help (he has a very supportive professional assosciation for phycisians).I too wondered if he had a relationship with someone on the game and he may have for all I know. I really know it was bad when he preferred to play the game(till 6 am) than go to bed and be with me - we always had a healthy sex drive and relations so for him to NOT want this, he was hooked badly. He made the right choice so far and dialed the association which quicly placed him in a residential addictions treatment facility which is the appropriate help for his addictions…but his ‘drug’ of choice was WOW and he became an alcoholic while playing the game - double whammy!

    I have 3 children and for the past 16 years (he has always been on the computer be it programming or playing other game, addicted to something) by day, I worked part-time, shopped, cleaned, paid the bills, cooked, by night - drove all over God’s creation dropping and picking up kids - he wasn’t sober enough to drive or was deep in an ‘instance’ so couldn’t care less.

    I put up with it for far too long… I feel your pain, loneliness, fatigue, anger and stress. This not only affected me but my three children whom are now teenagers and my parents, his family, his social networks - which ended entirely. Years of neglect and ‘back talk’ from a father wears on one emotionally. So much so that my kids don’t miss him all that much right now which is not surprising!

    Enough about the negatives, but he is currently in rehab and it is working - the 12 step program is set up primarily for drug addictions but he has vowed to NEVER play again. and, as he puts it “the game is the head and the alcohol is the ass of this beast called addiction’ therefore he has to quit both cold turkey. He has 3 months to go of intensive treatment and I truly pray it works enough so that he will not relapse - an always looming and real possibility.

    He is aware of the seriousness of my leaving and is calling me 2-3 times a day, as he has heard of other wives of men in treatment permanently leaving their husband( his roomate’s circumstance right now!) I do not plan to do anything of this sort but, he knows if this doesn’t work - I AM outta here…or he is gone. This is no way for him or us to live. His condition he now describes as a terminal illness and abstaining is the only cure - he holds the cure - not playing or drinking! I am so glad to hear him realize this fact. A 12 step program works! In such severe cases of addiction like your husband’s, a residential program is the only method to reach these people - I am convinced. He is the only one there with a gaming addiction and alcoholism - i am sure there are other gamers out there in similar dire need.
    I will continue to post as he continues in his treatment so as to help other people learn and move forward in their lives.
    He realizes he has a disease and I believe gaming addiction is as much a disease as alcoholism…even more so since it is so accessible.

    Comment by Sharonot — February 13, 2009 @ 2:43 am

  2. I believe my gamer husband had been an alcoholic and instead of partying now is addicted to food and WOW. I had many of the same experiences. Thank God some of the ladies have gotten to move on. I am in process.

    Comment by Alpha89 — August 29, 2009 @ 1:07 am

  3. I find it interesting that Sharanot relates the gaming addiction to alcolholism with her husband.
    My husband’s father and all his dad’s brothers were alcoholics. He also has a brother who is a pothead and alcoholic, but just manages to keep a day job. My husband is very non-confrontational and I am beginning to wonder if his family upbringing left him with unhealthy coping issues. He had an affair about 15 years ago, and after counseling we agreed to try to work on our marriage and stay together. For a while our relationship was much better, but before long he quit making the effort to do things together and focused on other obsessions, i.e. motorcycle hobby and friends…. so I think he has intimacy issues. Trying to tell him that relationships take work, they don’t just happen, and that a healthy one needs to watered like a plant needs nourishment is something our pastor and I have both emphasized. He agrees, then just does whatever he wants. I am so tired of being the only one who tries to keep the marriage going. Last year on our 30th anniversary we were in a financial crunch, so I didn’t expect a gift, but a card, even a handmade one would have been nice. He didn’t even take the time to do that. The next week our finances were better, so I thought he would say let’s go out to eat, but of course, it didn’t happen until I suggested it. I really love my husband, but let’s face it, I don’t have a husband in the sense that it matters in the important things in life. To him, WOW is all he thinks about, all he does and all he wants to do. I could have put up a fight against another woman, but what can I do when up against a fantasy that is all in his head?????

    Comment by sewgirl — September 24, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

  4. I’m a reporter interested in writing about video games and divorce/relationship issues. I asked Sherry to post a note about this — which she did — about six months ago, and then I promptly went on maternity leave! I’m still very keen to write about this. So if you left your gamer or divorced your gamer and you’d like to talk about your experience, please e-mail me at [email protected].

    Comment by Kristin Kalning — December 15, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  5. I have an INCREDIBLY similar story. Unemployed husband, gaming 20 or so hours a day. Me working 2 jobs. I have left before, he got straight and now we are together again. It has been fine for a year but has escalated badly. Because I am supporting all of us, I have no money for a deposit on a rental place and no transportation. I could save a little I’m sure, but I also worry about what he will do. He has never really had a super stable job, has never lived by himself and has never paid bills or had to support himself in any way. He is 29. How did you leave him? Any advice please email me at [email protected].

    Comment by Kaylen Jackson — July 7, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

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