August 28, 2008

New Widower

Filed under: Widows Corner — Tags: , , , , — GamerWidow @ 1:24 am

My wife started playing WOW in about December of 2007. Two weeks before our 38th wedding anniversary she came to my room and told me she was leaving me. She wanted to find “something different”. That something different turns out to be WOW. She plays 12-18 hours a day and ignores all other life. She refuses to answer the phone. She refuse to return emails. She is effectively gone into the game. She lives with my adult son and he tells me she rarely leaves the house and then only to buy food. She is supposed to find a job to support herself but after 2 months she still has not applied for a single job. I am destroyed by a video game and have no idea how to proceed.

Submitted by: Anonymous


  1. Hello, I´m Karla from México, and my english is not perfect, but I really want to share my experience with all of you.
    I have a boyfriend with the same addiction, I have tried with love, and words, to spend more time together but all is in vain.
    Now, we are in therapy, but he doesn´t admit the fact that he has an addiction.
    We still taken the therapy, but we don´t live togheter anymore.
    However, I think with the time and the “space” it´s working.

    Comment by Karla — April 22, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  2. How to proceed? The bitch left you for a video game. Forget about her. If you mean less to her than a video game, then there’s no point in trying to get her back. Find someone else who isn’t so shallow and heartless, and whatever you do: Do NOT give her any money. Wait until your son gets sick of her and kicks her out on her ass. Then it’s her damn fault she doesn’t have a job, so it’s her damn fault she can’t pay the rent.

    Comment by Anonymous(2) — April 26, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

  3. Dear anonymous:

    It is hard to hear that something that lasted 38 years has come to a situation involving an addiction that can severely limit her enjoyment of life, or worse, lead her into behaviours that will increase her chances of being bedridden or faced with a plethora of health problems (i.e. insomnia, diabetes, depression, etc) for which she may have limited monetary or social resources to deal with should these problems come about.

    The first thing you kneed to realize is that you, a man, are not alone in this problem, nor are your concerns very different from women “widows” who are experiencing the same issues with their husbands/significant others. Once you see that you are not alone in this, you will be able to reduce any instinctual self blame you may have “I caused this, I wasn’t ‘doing enough for her, etc) and realize that the primary reason she has come into this is through her own dissasticfaction with reality, for whatever reason, and has taken up and addiction to deal with it. We’ll talk more on the dissastisfaction with reality part later.

    I know this sounds crazy, but the fact that your son is living with her is good considering that it is at least one part of your relationship that has a connection, whether an emotional connection, a biological connection, or a spiritual connection. The point I am trying to make is that if you really want to try and help her, you need to look at what you want you be your first course of action. Of course, your goal is to “get back” what you had with her, which may still be possible, but it will take work and effort to do so. So how to do this then? Perhaps this is where your son comes into the picture. If you are close to your son, see if you can arrange for a time away from her doing an activity she may not enjoy or will be too busy playing games to care about (i.e. camping, fishing, going to a ballgame, taking a road trip, going for coffee). Enjoy yourselves at first, as bonding with sons is always a good thing, and when you feel the time is right ask him “Do you think mom has a video game addition?” and then let him provide his thoughts in an atmosphere away from her when she cannot be an influence.

    If both of you agree that she suffers from an addition, then both of you should form an action plan to begin to help her realize she has a problem and then get to work. One example for your son would be to have him keep a notebook detailing what you might call “slip ups” in her behavior that are related to video games. For instance, she may be playing video games one day and he will ask her if she god a job today. If her response is “no” then you mark the time in the notebook with the date and come back later. If she is still playing games, ask her “do you think you’ll need the computer to look for a job this evening? I want to look for some things on Amazon or wherever” and she replies “no,” note that and the time as well. Finally, when he gets up in the morning he should take note of the time and see if she is playing, and if she responds to any of the previous questions. This should be repeated when he goes to bed and sees if she is playing the games, asking her again if she found a job today or if she looked. The important thing here is to document dates, events, and what was said, and also not to let her know your’re doing this (in fact you should probably keep your notes in a safe place away from her).

    After no more than 2 weeks of repeating this process, it should become evident that your wife is potentially addicted and other signs should also be watched for. Has she spent large sums of money on video games and video game systems. Has the amount of soda pop, alcohol or junk food increased in her diet. Does she stay up late and sleep late, with very little energy when waking up. Does she have difficulty sleeping? Are there a lot of credit card bills showing up at frequent times or does she worry about things and feel afraid to say why? If all of many of these things are occuring with her, she is almost certainly addicted at that point.

    The next part of the process involves intervention, and again if you are on close terms with your son, friends of hers or other family members aware of the situation, consider having a meeting (maybe a bar or a starbucks) where you can all share your thoughts about what is going on with her. If you have been seeing signs of addiction in her the others there will almost certainly say that they have noticed changes in her, and probably a great deal of them not for the better. If you find you are all in a agreement then bring up the subject of intervention and see if the others would be willing to be involved in it.

    If an intervention is decided on, several things must be decided before it is initiated. Where can we take her for help? Is this covered by insurance? Is one person going to tell her or will it be done as a group? Will there be something that has be to witheld or given to her in order to agree to a session of intervention?

    Continuing on, once it is decided that an intervention is to be initiated and what it will entail, the person closest to the Mom should approach her and explain in clear terms that he and others who care about her believe she is a video game addict. Once she is told this, she will either become angry or go into denial or both. The next step then is to play the diplomat and ask what can be done for her if she agrees to go and see a therapist. There will almost certainly be resistance to this, but what is often helpful is when there are several people in the room telling her the same thing, which will indirectly pressure her to go.

    Regarding therapists: many psychotherpists today are still learning about the medical issues with video game addiction, and some dismiss it as an addiction outright. What you want here is someone who has a working knowledge of its symptoms or is at least aware of it, and is willing to work at an agreeable fee or can be covered by insurance. If you’re going as a group find out who wants to go and be sure that your wife is also able to go at that time. Most therapists work or have worked in group settings, but not all of them are comfortable of equipped to handle a group setting, so check with the therapist on how you want to proceed, and if there are no problems and the service can be covered or paid for, set up the visit.

    Before the day of the visit: You will no doubt be asking endless questions, some even of yourself. “What did I do that she left me for video games?” “Did she say I wasn’t nice enough to her or paid enough attention to her or that I did things to her that have made her resent me over the years?” I know these are tough questions to ask yourself, but by asking and thinking about them if during the first session or later on she begins to lash out at you with the explanations as to why she broke it off, you will be well prepared to answer her. But don’t just talk generalities; think of specific instances where you did do wrong and specific instance where you made her happy, and stress that despite all that has happened you still love her and want to make it work. For a time this will put you playing on offense, while she will be more consumed with thinking of ways to defend her addiction.

    On the day of the intervention, it is essential that everyone participating go together, if not in the same cars then at the same time. Be sure to have an medical history ready if she is a new patient, as she will almost certainly be asked to fill out a form that asks for prior history of addictions of family members, what medicines she is on, past conditions, etc. Calling ahead or even going to the office before going to the session will dramatically reduce time spent in the waiting room.

    When the session starts, he or she will most likely introduce himself and then ask some direct questions to your wife, want to see how she will respond. After he has built a bit of rapport with her, he will probably indicate that she is the reason everyone else is there, and that they all are concerned about her and want her to get better. Talking one at a time helps, and in stressful situations a spoon can be used. The only one allowed to talk is the one who has the spoon, but once 4 minutes is up the spoon has to be passed. By doing this she will hopefully get a picture of how she is hurting those around her, at least a realization of it and then the work can begin. It is important to say we are willing to come back to these meetings with you to help you out because we are concerned about you, but only if you say that you have a problem and are willing to work on it.

    At this point, it is no longer a secret to your wife that people do not think of her as an addict. It will be more easy to confront issues of addiction if they persist, as those concerned about them can verbally tell her she is acting like an addict again “like I told you in that meeting.” Always, always refer back to the meeting. Always, always, point out anything you feel is addictive behavior.
    With enough time she will hopefully agree to more therapy and maybe at the same time finally alleviate the pressure enough if things start to go upward that you can begin to work on your relationship with her. But you don’t want to do that until the issue of the addiction is solved first. Healthy people cannot make an addict make healthy choices until they themselves are healthy.

    The last thing of course is that there are several outside resources you can go to talk with this problem at no charge. Social Workers, Teachers, Ministers, Rabbis, Clerics can all help with coping with an addiction and provide spiritual/emotional support if needed.

    Hang in there!

    Comment by Iowerth the Forest Lord — June 29, 2009 @ 2:29 am

  4. One more thing…

    The reason fantasy and sci fi games have caused such problems in families is that they are an extreme form of hyperrealistic environments that allow you to solve “problems” with fantastic abilities and great rewards, a form of escapism. Escapism occurs especially when someone’s needs in the real world are not met and they prefer to spend their time and focus on a world that is totally artifical. Therefore, to break the cycle requires two questions to be asked: What in her real life caused her to feel this way and fall into this behaviour, and now that she is in it, how can we get her back from it so that she enjoys her real life again and has…..drumroll….balance. But there is one hard question you alone have to ask yourself, how much does this mean to me and how far am I willing to go to try and get my wife back?

    Comment by Iowerth the Forest Lord — June 29, 2009 @ 2:34 am

  5. Sorry to hear that. If she refuse to answer the phone, maybe you should try to speak to a relative about her situation?
    Have you tried to confront her by going to your son’s house?

    Remember that you aren’t responsible for her acts. Her addiction depends of her unwillingness to see that she has a major problem with her playing computer games.

    I’m a former game addict my self, ironically from the same game your wife is addicted to.

    I wish you good luck.

    Comment by Patrik — July 7, 2009 @ 7:31 am

  6. I am new to this forum, so please excuse the length of this post. I gave my wife WOW as a gift three years ago because I new she would enjoy it. A few short months afterward she was spending 9 to 12 hours playing WOW. She rejects any attempts I make to engage her or connect with her in any way. Each time I would try to discuss this problem with her it only drove a greater divide between us. I’m eating myself up inside. I’m at the point where I feel like a complete failure of a husband, and I hate myself for ever introducing this game to her. She stays up until four or five AM playing and chatting with her fellow guild members. She recently said to me that her WOW friends give the perfect companionship she’s search for all her life. I have to wake up very early to report for work, so it’s been years since we’ve shared a bed at the same time. I haven’t slept well since, and I feel like I’m loosing my grip on reality. Sometimes I’ll go two days with only a few hours sleep. I lay awake listening to her talk, laugh, and whisper on her headset to people who are complete strangers to me. She has no desire to be close to me at all. She refuses to acknowledge that the amount of time she spends playing is unhealthy. I’m not sure it is unhealthy if it gives her the companionship she wants. She says my need to have her company sucks the life out of her, that I am like an emotionally needy vampire, and she will no longer give me her insincere affections. It wasn’t always like this with her. The other day I lost my judgement and threatened to cut the wire on her ventrillo headset. She became instantly angry and struck me on the head with a vodka bottle. I don’t know how much longer I can live everyday in the same house with the woman who broke my heart, waiting for her to recognize her problem or just become board with the game. I stay because the one thing I would hate to happen is for my son to grow up in a broken home. But everyday staying here makes me feel like I’m destroying myself. I have sought professional help for myself, but I don’t think it will work unless she does the same. I recently thought of starting to play WOW myself so that we could play together. If you can’t beat ‘em, joine ‘em, right? My wife said she would be glad to show me ropes of gameplay, but that she didn’t wish to play with me persay.

    Comment by Lower Wolf — October 25, 2009 @ 8:09 am

  7. I play MMoRPGS all the time…and i just realized how deadly….yes, deadly they can be. I dont play none stop..but my gosh..reading all these posts scares me.AND it’s saddening if that’s how u spell it.

    Comment by Cody — November 12, 2009 @ 12:49 am

  8. ALSO….take a fucking baseball bat and hit the damn CPU…whats is the person playing gonna do? attack you? if so…leave before this is even a thought…but honestly..steal the power cord and tell them they need too do such and such before u give it back…

    Comment by Cody — November 12, 2009 @ 12:52 am

  9. I understand what you are all going through. My husband bounces from game to game, whether it is WoW, LOTRO, or Conan. He is not as bad as some of the people I am reading about on here, but he has tried to quit the gaming on several occasions, and has succeeded for only a short period each time he tries. He is not skipping out on life because of the games or anything, but he definitely plays 4-6 hours a day when he thinks I won’t say anything about it. And I can’t even mention the gaming in a benevolent manner without him flying off the handle; the topic of gaming addiction or gaming period is off limits. He gets really upset really quickly. He admits he has an addiction, but refuses to do anything about it. I worry because while it is managable and controlled now, it may not always stay that way. I feel like at any time, he will just give himself over to it completely, because I know he wants to. We are thinking about starting a family, and I am scared to do so because of the gaming. He just says that this was something he has done since before we met and it is what he likes to do and will not change. He always reminds me that he could be out chasing other women at the bars instead. But it is still frustrating. Sometimes I feel like he regrets marrying me because he would rather be gaming than spending time with me. He sometimes gets upset when I ask him to stop gaming to just sit and watch TV with me or do something away from the computer. He admits he games because he has a deep dissatisfaction with a lot of aspects of his life and just wants to escape. But I feel like while escaping from all of the outside stuff like work, social issues, things like that, he is also escaping the marriage for long periods of time. Last week, his ridiculously expensive game card died and it was like watching a heroin addict in withdrawal. I was extremely concerned that he was so upset about not being able to play a GAME for a few hours. It disgusted me, quite frankly. Now he is playing sans video card, and apparently the graphics just aren’t the same. I know this is not as bad as most of the people on the site are going through, but it feels good to vent. To all of you who are experiencing broken marriages out there due to an addiction to MMO’s, hang in there. You are not alone.

    Comment by Irrelevant — December 7, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

  10. I have been reading through these posts and I see the word “addiction” show up a lot. What I do not see is “disassociation”. One aspect of it allows the individual to ignore the real world and they believe the world or bubble they have created for themselves is much easier to deal with than real life.

    Addiction: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine , or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

    Disassociation: to separate from association or union with another

    Lower Wolf- You said you threatened to cut the cord on her ventrillo headset and she got so angry she hit you on the head with a vodka bottle.

    I am sorry but it sounds like gaming is not the only issue she has. It seems as though in your case there are several issues at hand.

    I am married to an alcoholic/gambler… by gambling where we live he can not stay away from the poker machines because he claims he can just feel it when it is getting ready to hit big. Funny thing is it never does and he knows the owner of the bar he frequents will play the game late at night and roll the machine over.

    My spouse is a prime example of someone with an addictive personality. Alcoholism and the illusion that the machines are going to pay out big. He does this when he knows financially things are tight and he just cannot stop himself. With the alcohol he can goes days even weeks without drinking and during those times he knows financially we cannot afford it.

    Where does the gaming come into this picture you may ask? I am the gamer; I play WoW and Sims 3. I started to play more and more when he decided he would rather go to the bar and drink and gamble. Are we both wrong? Yes. Are they entirely different situations? No. They are disassociation, I use games because I have nothing else to but work, take care of the house, make sure the bills get paid and our pets are tended to. He works as well and makes decent money when there is work to do.

    Iowerth the Forest Lord — I agree with the term escapism, as it is a more relevant term in the situation that has generated this posting. I play because I am bored as you can see from my posting. I am sorry that after 38 yrs an obsession with an online game will destroy a marriage. I am also sorry that our society has made it so easy for us to “escape” from the real world.

    Comment by Arwina — December 8, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  11. Well I used to be a chronic WoW addict a number of years ago. I used to come home from work, play till 2am in the morning, get 4 hours of sleep and go back to work. 6 Months of this schedule tired me out. Fortunately for myself i ended up having huge fight with some members of my guild, for which i was expelled. It was the switch that made me quit for 2-3 years. The closeness that the guild brought me was broken and then the “need” to be on and brag about my exploits went away

    recently i have started playing again after my relationship ended ( wasnt playing WoW during this time as it was almost 2-3 years since I had played).I play no more than 90 minutes a night, if I have nothing else on. I joined a few social groups, such as Toastmasters, do some charity work, and go see my parents each saturday or sunday. If I dont play for a few nights I dont feel the “urge”. so I have found the key to playing is to live a normal life and if you have time then its ok, but not to excess.

    There is no harm in playing games - just has to be done in moderation. I note that in China there are limits as to how long users can be logged into the game - 3 hours I believe. It’s a shame that Blizzard doesnt make this a mandatory rule for all users.

    The game is relatively cheap to play $15.00 a month. Going to the cinemas to see a 2 hour movie costs the same. If it was charged at an hourly rate I think people would think twice about investing 100’s of hours per month. I personally wouldnt even play if it was an hourly rate.

    The “end game” content is huge and time consuming - some of the required dungeons can take 5 or 6 hours to complete. I myself dont even bother with this stuff as I consider it a waste of time. People spend countless hours playing raids for a specific piece, only to have a new patch released that makes the original sort after piece second rate. This also ties in with the fact that the game just never ends. Constant updates and patches continue to place new objectives etc. When I first started to play there was Tier 1 pieces, now I believe that they are at Tier 10. the player level cap went from initially 60, then to 70, now 80, and in the future the new cap will be 85. To get from level 1 to level 80 requires hundreds of hours..

    It appears to me that the people addicted have lost focus on the important things in life, such as family and friends, exercise etc. Maybe there was an issue to begin with, something underlying to that wasn’t addressed and the game became the vehicle to escape from all the troubles of their lives. Such was the case in my life when i first started playing.

    Some may consider me to be an addict, I personally dont, as my life doesnt exclusively revolve around it anymore. If I have time, have no social or family obligations and everything else is in order then I’ll play.

    Comment by Steve — January 12, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

  12. I just moved in to my husband place when he start playing WOW game and we’ve been living together for 3 years now but all these years he hasn’t paid any of his 3 credit cards and interest.. interest..every month and phone ringing from morning until night from credit card company.He cannot afford to pay even interest and he’s been asking money from his mom to pay his game and electricity :(.He wake 7am straight away to play wow until 3am in the morning
    or anytime he wake up he’ll straight sit in front the pc until I came back from work and asked “whats the dinner honey?:(

    I’m completely fed up!!!!!!i hate myself repeating telling him how our real life in such messed and I felt like a broken CD …

    Comment by MG — January 17, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  13. I can’t believe this a friend of mine was just here and told me how this game is breaking up his marriage of 20 years and following 7 grandchildren. He’s so distrough about this, I could see it in him. I told him to leave her he says not yet…this game really does ruin people from everything I’ve heard about it. I had never been into anything like this my bf plays the PS3 for several hours but when I’ve had enough I leave or push the power button. Women that are mothers have abondoned their families for a game that is witch craft and also bringings that into there home. Have they ever stop to think about anyone but there selves. Normal people dont practice witch craft HELLO!!! I thought I had it bad I guess I really haven’t seen bad I feel for those of you that have no control over the whole situation. But you all deserve alot better than your getting so stop moopn around and get out and live this summer leave them at home if they can’t get off there asses long enough to spend time with their families apparently their sick in the head and you need better.

    Comment by AG — April 12, 2010 @ 11:26 am

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