Gamer widows

I found this interesting story on MSNBC.

I love this little quote from the article:

I was a Everquest addict from 99-04, I admit I played that game WAY to much. But I can’t recall a time where I put the game in front of my then GF, now wife. I would have to think that if some pixels on a screen are more inviting then your spouse, then you have other issues that have nothing to do with gaming.

Of course we have this gem:

Really? I may be way off, but this just strikes me as another example of the ever growing (IMO) “not my fault” attitude that can be found across our great nation.

Anyone here actually lose a spouse or SO to a game? Do you really think it was the game that did it?

No, I think it’s definitely the person. I think if you can’t separate reality from fiction in a game, and the game is taken from you, why you’ll just find something else.

But he was ttthhhhhiiiiiisssss close to finishing completing his epic gear set.

People can get addicted to anything-- sex, gambling, drugs, Star Trek. My son and his friends, all avid gamers (as is his mom, btw) were thinking of running an intervention on a buddy. This kid would sneak home after pretending to go to school so that he could play WoW. He did this for 2 months. He got left back in school and did not graduate with his friends. That’s some serious addiction.

I think this type of addiction is more of a symptom of a greater underlying problem. I believe people who get addicted to games like this are trying to shield themselves from reality. There is, of course, the gaming nerd stereotype: A person (generally male) who is very socially awkward and feels more comfortable interacting online. But I’m sure there are other posibilities- people with social anxiety disorders, loners (due to personal preference), people harboring real or imagined insecurities, etc. The gaming world of course shields them from those problems and the judgements of others, and they can be whoever they want to be.

Sometimes a person meets their SO and might not immediately identify this. I’ve noticed a lot of people who end up being trainwrecks don’t usually seem that way at the beginning- in fact it is a very gradual process over time (maybe denial gets in the way).

But yes, I’ve heard the term WoW-widow coined before. I was really into WoW for about a year and a half, but even in my peak I generally only played it on the weekends, quit when I met my ex, and don’t have much interest in it even if I were single again.

Those games can be addictive, and for some people with addictive personalities it can be poison. Fortunately for me, if a game is so addictive I have to spend rediculous amounts of time playing it (taking time off work, blowing off hanging out with friends, turning down sex :dubious: ) then it easily has become too tedious to be fun anymore. I like games that can be fun in 1-hour increments, or don’t necessarily require a huge time investment to make the most out of.

I am sort of a gamer widow and I am a guy.

I started playing WoW and after about 6 months was finally able to convince my friend to play. He started playing and found out one of his other friends was an original member of a guild. Well my friend convinced me to get into the guild with him and his other friend and I did. We quested together for awhile but then he started pulling ahead of me level wise. He was also raiding a lot and moving up in the ranks of the guild.

Fast-forward to now.

He is one of the main officers in the guild and raids four times a week and some of the other days he is getting mats for the next raid. He plays everyday after work. And all day on the weekends.

We don’t really hang out that much anymore. When I go over to his house to hang out within an hour he is in his room playing and I am hanging out with his roomates who I like and like hanging out with but we’re not that close.

So I have nearly lost a friend. The only time we really hang out, besides an hour or so here and there when I go over there to hang out with him, is when they throw a party.

I played WoW for almost two years. I got three characters to 70 and they all have their flying mounts. Since I don’t like to raid I pretty much considered that I had beat the game for as far as I wanted to go and now I am playing Lord of the Rings. I consider myself to be playing too much. I don’t play every day and when I do it’s only for a couple of hours and then I start to get bored. On the weekends I play more. I’ll play for a couple of hours in the morning and then if I am not doing anything that night I’ll play for a couple of more hours.

ya know, thats a simple statement, but a very sad one!

I know just as many couples where one spouse’s love of sport has just as much an impact on their relationship - so I don’t think it’s only video games that causes these sorts of problems.

Disclaimer - I’m a pretty enthusiastic WoWer, but then me and my husband always play together. We probably spend 10 hours a week playing WoW and we both really enjoy it.

I always take these stories with a grain of salt. Sure, there’s definitely people out there who play too much. But there’s also a great degree of misunderstanding about gaming.

Let’s say that the OPs story of the guy who won’t talk to his wife because he’s raiding is instead a guy who is in the middle of his softball game, or his bowling league, or his ultimate frisbee tournament. First off, he probably wouldn’t even have answered the phone in those circumstances, and secondly, everyone probably would be on the other side of the fence if it had been the wife being upset because hubby wouldn’t talk because he was in the middle of one of those sorts of games.

Online games, like other sorts of games, require you to be available and not interruptible for a given period of time. Because they’re played at home and not out somewhere, people don’t seem to understand this. To me, it’s no different to say “Tuesday and Thursday are my raid nights, I’m not available unless it’s an emergency” than it is to say “I bowl/go dancing/play softball on Mondays and Wednesdays.”

Of course, it’s different if it’s every night, or if you’re not paying enough attention to the kids, or whatever. But simply not being able to talk RIGHT NOW because you’re doing something else isn’t cause for divorce, either.

That was pretty much my opinion after reading the OP. Yes, there are people who spend too much time online gaming.

But that Quintana lady just comes across as petulant and needy. She leaves for weeks to visit her family – yet expects her left-behind husband to drop everything the moment she deigns to contact him?

Yeah, probably exaggerated to punch up the story, but hubby should have answered “I’ll have to call you back I’m in the middle of a raid – I’ll tell you all about it at the couples counseling I’ve scheduled because, dayum woman, wake up and see the signs, yo”

one guy I was guilded with in EQ lost his wife to games…she hated his gaming until he got her an account. then she was suddenly a bigger junkie than he was and she left him for some guy she met in game and got married to in game. she seriously went to live with a guy whos character she married in a game.

as much as that must have sucked I had to point out that he was better off losing her now so he didnt have to find out after another 10 years she was a complete moron.

I’ve called myself a “gamer widow” before (I thought I’d made that term up but I guess not). I distinctly remember lying naked in my boyfriend’s bed once or twice while he banged away at Homeworld on the computer - in the same room.

I am very leery of dating guys now who list video games as their hobbies. Not that I don’t date guys who play video games - all guys I know play video games. But I’m pretty quick to ask if it’s a “GTA once or twice a week” type of hobby or “I am teh master guildwarz d00d” type situation. I know to walk away from those.


I think another factor that should be looked at here is what you are doing with that time. At least physical sports help to keep you active- if you are really into it than you might even train/condition yourself on top of playing. But if you are playing a game, you are sitting in front of a computer, burning relatively few calories. Personally I’d be a lot more tolerant of someone infatuated with a physical activity.

Other non-gaming activities may not be physical but have other merits gaming might not; take my mom for instance. She is the most hard-core l337 bluegrass fiddle player I know. She spends as much time practicing the fiddle as these people play on the computer. She goes off to bluegrass jams and plays/takes lessons from musicians. While her hobby isn’t as physical as say, playing basketball, she is spending time with these people in person and the skills she builds as a better musician can actually turn into more of a profitible hobby (being in bands, playing gigs, etc).


I think you’ve probably got a better chance at earning money selling gold on e-bay than on making a living as a professional musician. Also, why does “in person” make a difference? On-line gaming is still a social activity, and obligations to the group are as strong there as they would be for a scheduled jam session. It seems like you’re drawing arbitrary distinctions between these hobbies based on which one you personally prefer, instead of any actual intrinsic difference in the hobbies themselves.

I’m no WoW player, but I think that’s just old school thinking, Incubus. It took me some time to come to grips with the idea that you can actually have a legitimate, meaningful friendship with someone that you only know online.

I’m with Miller. What activities people do in their free time is completely their own choice, as long as it’s legal. Playing games does not equal being unhealthy. While we’re at it, being physically in-shape doesn’t equal a balanced, healthy life (I’ve known lots of people who use working out as a convenient excuse for why they are messing up other parts of their lives.) People relax and wind down in different ways; if someone wants to play a game, or watch TV, or read a trashy dime store novel, it’s not my business.