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Drama Mamas: When a partner wanders astray

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

The internet is a hotbed of faux-mance. Other players seem infinitely more fascinating and attractive than the very real partners sitting just across the room, when seen through the lens of fevered imaginations. Add the spice of risqué chat, the attraction of regular time spent together and a dash of Vent and IMs, and you have the makings of the beginning of the end. Infidelity is an ugly subject, and the Drama Mamas think it's best to deal with it in the same manner we advise handling other problem situations: head on, with respect and with firmness.

Dear Drama Mamas: Hi, I am a wife and mother who plays WoW. I started playing with my husband over two years ago. I am a stay-at-home mom, so during nap time and after the kids go to bed for the night, I play. My husband plays when he gets home from work until he goes to bed. The raiding guild me and my husband are in is very family-friendly and is full of husband-and-wife teams.

Earlier this year, we had a large group of players join the guild (which me and my husband are officers of). I befriended one of the female players when she and her friends joined after her husband joined. We became fast friends. We talked about our kids and even became friends on Facebook. She never really grouped much with her husband; it was just mainly me and my husband and some of her friends. As we became better friends, she confided in me about the issues between her and her husband.


Now, me and my husband had been having our ups and downs, like any healthy couple, and I had noticed that he was acting different after we talked or argued about something. I brushed it off, thinking that, I don't know, he was just tired or something. And I then noticed that he and she were spending a lot of time together in game and on Vent. At first, I didn't think anything about it. But after a month or so, I started to fell weird about it, and I told him. I said I really feel weird about the time you are spending with her. I mean, he was staying up later then he used to, much later, and was always in Vent when before he was only in Vent when we did a raid or a five-man. He told me that he understood and that he would try to keep it down and that it didn't mean anything, that they and us were all friends. Well, I brushed it off for a week or so, thinking I was just being crazy.

And then I noticed after another month that I was getting left out of the groups, and for some odd reason, she just kinda only talked to me when she wanted to know something. I again went to my husband and said this time I feel uncomfortable about it, and I didn't know really what their relationship was but I didn't like it and I wanted it to stop and just be game-related stuff. Since we are officers, I didn't want him to just ignore her. Well, things changed for a bit, and then it got really weird. I noticed that he was spending more time outside before he came in after work and that he wasn't calling me as much. I brushed that off as a rough work week over and over again. LOL

Well, one day I happened to go to his computer to do something with his character and noticed a whisper from her, and I was floored. I knew then what was going on. They were talking on the phone with each other every day. I checked phone records, and lo and behold, he had been talking and texting her for months. I was heartbroken.

I did not say anything to him until the next day. I just was so upset. I told our guild leader that I was taking a break from game and I would let him know when I was coming back. I then told my husband this the next day. He wanted to know why and I told him. We yelled at each other and we talked for hours. I told him it needed to end. He said he would end it the next day; I said no, tonight. So we went together to his computer and he ended it. She ask if she needed to leave the guild and we both told her no, that we didn't want to hurt the guild by her leaving.

And here is my question or questions. Do you think I did the right think by not asking her to leave or not leaving myself? Or how do I get over something like this? They never were physically together. We live thousands of miles apart. This was just over the phone and the computer. But they did share things with each other that should have been meant for only me. I was very hurt by this. And since I found out and he ended the affair (that is what I call it), she has been really mopey in guild and raids. They do not talk anymore on the phone, and in game, it is only guild- and raid-related stuff. But she is still stuck on him, and she is almost 10 years older then him. I don't understand what I need to do about this. I was just wondering how you would handle this kind of situation. I would love to know what other WoW women would do if they found themselves in this jam. Please help! Brokenhearted Raider

Drama Mama Lisa: I am so, so sorry to hear of your troubles. I think it might help to step back for a moment and review our advice from Wife aggro two weeks ago. As with Aggrowifed, whose new wife was feeling threatened by his play schedule, World of Warcraft isn't really the root of your problem. You probably already know this -- so you have to also realize, then, that the solution won't be found there, either.

It's not fair to anyone involved for the three of you to face one another regularly in your guild. This isn't about keeping up appearances or making concessions; it's about throwing a life preserver to your marriage in a murky sea where your husband is already sinking fast. By failing to end this affair after months of repeatedly being confronted about his behavior, your husband has already shown that he's unable or unwilling to moderate his contact with the other woman.

It's time for you and your husband to take a WoW holiday. If you think that continuing to spend time playing with your husband would be helpful to your relationship, you could try transferring or re-rolling on another realm. Since this affair has spread beyond the game's borders, however, it's not much protection from the other woman. She already knows plenty of ways to get in touch with your husband. You can bet that she'll find out where you've transferred, if she really wants to know. Best to simply make a clean break from the game. You and your husband need a new dynamic and fresh ways to relate to one another right now. Ultimately, the time you've been spending in WoW would be better spent in counseling and in pastimes that are exclusive to your partnership and family, working on getting your marriage back on track. Best of luck, Brokenhearted. Stay strong.

Drama Mama Robin: Brokenhearted, I really feel for you and you are not alone. This story is as old as online communication. Before MMOs, before chat rooms, there were BBSs. People with modems have been surreptitiously carrying on affairs while appearing to be busily working/playing at their computers for more than 20 years. Before WoW, it happened to a very close friend of mine in EQ -- she made me search the chat logs to confirm her suspicions. It was a painful experience for all of us.

I think it is important to face the harsh realities of your situation, so I'm going to be blunt and I'm sorry if it hurts.

Online romances are intoxicating. It feels like the minds are meeting and directly communicating intimate thoughts and feelings -- without the distractions of physical imperfections, unpleasant smells and annoying mannerisms. And the participants who are in committed relationships with others rationalize their behavior with "it's not cheating if we don't touch." You call it an affair because it is an affair. People can argue that they didn't have physical sex and therefore didn't cheat all they want. But the fact is that he spent time, resources and emotions on another woman in the place of spending these things on you.

So I ask you, what if the three of you belonged to a softball team or poker club together instead of playing WoW? Would you still be attending those functions and enabling interactions between those two? I know that physically seeing her would be harder than the virtual interaction, but the principle is the same. She is going to keep tempting your husband and even if he is now completely trustworthy (with the woman he was untrustworthy with so recently), he still will have the stress of having to constantly turn down her advances.

As Lisa said, this isn't a WoW issue. Though it happened in Azeroth, it wasn't caused by the game. But to answer your question, I highly recommend that you sever all contact with this woman. Unfortunately, even if you get her to leave the guild and you both put her on ignore, she can always get on an alt and whisper your husband that way. In fact, she's probably doing that already. So you need to decide whether you want to get her to leave the guild (risking alt contact) or transfer/reroll on another server without telling her or any of her friends where you are going.

There are many successful marriages that have survived a straying spouse and many horrible marriages that have never undergone cheating of any kind. I hope that you are able to achieve happiness again, whether you are able to work things out with your husband or not. Regardless, life is too short to allow that woman any more influence on your mental well-being. /hug

Drama Buster of the Week

If you've finally talked a friend into playing WoW, give it up and spend some time playing with him. Give him some bags and a five-spot to get started, and be available to answer questions via /whisper while he works out the basics. Once he starts gaining a little ground, try to block out time once or twice a week to play together. Cover his butt when he's ready to hit Hillsbrad. Offer to run him through Scarlet when he's high enough to get the quests. Invite him to five-mans when he finally dings 80. Your circle of friends just got a little tighter – enjoy!

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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