In 2009 my marriage was in serious trouble. We had been together for nearly a decade, had one delightful minion, a daughter, and I was pregnant with our second child. Shortly after we discovered I was pregnant things seemed to go bad. My husband was in school earning his BA, and was not home 3-4 nights a week. On evenings that he was home I would get the minion ready for bed, and once she was down I sat alone in the living room watching T.V. or reading a book while he spent the evening in the office on the computer. Finally one day I went back into the office to see what the hell it is that he does in there. I had assumed he was working on school work. What I found I thought was far worse. He was in there… playing a video game??? WTF! I inquired into what he was doing, he explained he was playing World of Warcraft and had been doing so for a couple months. He really had no idea how hurt and upset I was at finding out he was spending every moment he could on a game; not on his school work or organizing our lives, but a freaking game. I was pissed, here I am pregnant with his gosh darn child and he couldn’t even tell me about this new hobby of his? By hobby I mean obsession. I had never known him to become so absorbed in anything that he ignored everything else. Between his time at school and all the hours he was investing in “Warcraft” it was like I never saw him. Our time was precious and here he was “wasting it”. I was beyond hurt. Once I was aware of what he was doing in that other room I began to get more and more upset. Every night I went to bed alone, hating the game he was playing in the next room. Angry and hurt I went on day by day hoping once I had the lil minion it would get better. I was resentful and silent. I did not tell him I didn’t understand why he would want to play a game other than spend time with me. I did not tell him how often I cried myself to sleep or how I dreaded coming home after a day at work. The silence almost killed us.
In July 2009 our younger daughter was born, it was a happy time. She was healthy and adorable, at least to us. She had some phantom of the opera style bruising going on. I say it gives her character. But our relationship was the same. Just as distant, we barely spoke other than when it was about the children. I have to give him credit he has never hesitated to help with the kids, baths, diapers, and feedings. He has done it all willingly. That was a big part of why it hurt so badly when our relationship as a couple, as partners was disintegrating. There was such a void between us, we would get the girls ready for bed, and he’d read to the big minion and put her in bed as I nursed the baby. He would play his game while I tended to her, and then at about three weeks she became colicky. That is when all hell broke loose. I slept little he gamed at night the distance just seemed to increase.
Fast forward eight weeks or so, it’s late the lil minion screams the second I put her in her cradle so she is asleep on my chest. I am tired from lack of sleep and I am on the couch being forced to watch some stupid gaming thingy that he bought on pay-per-view. I was very annoyed and since I didn't have a second T.V. at the time I was stuck in the living room watching blizzcon. I had no clue what Blizzard was, I didn't even know what an MMORPG was. So here I am sitting in the dark with a colicky baby watching the Cataclysm announcement. Now say what you like about the expansion as an outsider that initial trailer looked awesome. At the time I did not want to admit that the game did look interesting to me. How could I have interest in something I hate? Over the next several nights we would watch what had been recorded during the day while attempting to keep the lil minion calm and comfortable. By this time we had moved the computer into our bedroom and had converted the office into a nursery. When I came to bed he would usually be playing, and I started to watch him more and more and I was asking more questions. I have to admit that the game was growing on me and I was secretly interested in it.
Several weeks after blizzcon my hubby mentioned he had noticed my interest and did I want to try it out. So I did, and found much to my shame that I really liked it once I got the hang of it. We eventually got another computer and we started playing side by side. During this time the strangest thing started to happen. I stopped being so mad, I was no longer crying or wanting to leave. The physical proximity of sitting next to each other led to us just feeling close again. We started talking again. I started trusting him again, and actually talking. Our communication was more open, I was no longer so disconnected and unapproachable. It took about a year before we really talked about what had happened, how close to disaster we had been. It is easy for me or any other partner in my situation to blame him, it’s the game, it’s his addiction, he was neglectful, and he was a bad partner. Trust me I did, but once I really looked at it, and we really discussed it we both admitted that we both were at fault. If I had just been open and honest at the start he would have made adjustments, which he did once he knew there was a problem. If he had thought it through he would have known that not talking to your pregnant wife is not a good idea. Which he fully admits now.
The lesson here isn't just play WoW and your relationship will be fixed. (It may help though, just sayin). The point is to be a present in your relationship, own your half of it. If you know you are ignoring those in your life by playing too much, you have the power to fix it. I was the angry passive aggressive wife and through coincidence and happenstance I had my eyes opened to a whole new world, a world I now share with my spouse. Even if I had never picked up the game I owed it to my husband to be open to his hobby and know the joy he gained from it. To help him find the balance he needed. A balance he is much better at now. We are partners we build each other up not cut each other down. We have come so far and I look forward to our future. We like to say that thanks to World of Warcraft we have a future.