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Drama Mamas: Should a WoW widow become a WoW player?

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

We are all for couples spending time in Azeroth together to strengthen their relationships, but is that the solution to this week's drama?
Boy, do I need the Drama Mamas advice! Here is my dilemma....my husband is a devout WoW player (we have been together for 2 years), my adult son and teenage daughter from my previous marriage live with us and they also play WOW. I feel sad, left out and jealous (of the time he spends on it, having to wait for raids and dungeons to be over with so I can talk to him, him getting to have fun while I have to work and last, but certainly not least, of his relationships with certain guild members.) I have been kicking around playing with him, but I get totally overwhelmed just thinking about it.
The obstacles as I see them are:
  1. Time -- I work full time, trying to start my own business and have 2 kids still in school. He does not work and has many hours a day that he devotes to playing.
  2. Understanding -- I'm not a gamer and I am so intimidated by the game...I just don't "get" it when I'm watching them play.
  3. Perception -- I don't want to be seen as the jealous wife that is playing just to worm her way into the guild.
Should I try to play or should I just stay out? If I play...do I ask him to help me? or do I try to learn and level on my own? What if I put time/energy/heart and soul into getting my character to a level that can raid, etc and the guild doesn't want me?

Thanks for your help,
Shannon
Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Hi, Shannon, thanks for writing. It's tough being the odd man out, but it's important to make sure that's really what's going on here. I'm not sure WoW is either the problem or the solution.

I have some questions for you to consider about how you're balancing everything in your life right now, as well as a few considerations of focus you may want to step back and ponder. If you'll think through all of these and then act on what you find to be pressure points, I think you'll find the flow you're looking for.
  • You sound less frustrated by demands of your current schedule and your own lack of downtime than by the imbalance between your available downtime vs. that of your husband and family. Which way does the imbalance swing for you -- is it that you wish you had more time to relax with them, or is it that you wish they would help you with your business?
  • If you wish your family would engage more with your business, is there a realistic way for them to do that? Or is this something that only you can do?
  • Do you already have a hobby that you enjoy (or would like to, if you had more free time)?
  • Are you interested in playing World of Warcraft because you think it looks fun, or are you more enthused about the idea of sharing a hobby and recreational time with your family?
  • It sounds as if you're not able to wrap up your own day before your husband becomes ensconced in Azeroth. Have you ever talked with him about ways the two of you might connect more regularly? (He might be able to sit down and visit with you while you're wrapping things up, before he sits down to play, or you might find another time of the day to spend time together. He might be able to help with your business. He might take responsibility for home and family matters, eliminating any need for you to worry about a second shift.)
  • Can you and your husband find a regular evening or evenings when you can put work on hold and he can stay offline, so you can do things together?
  • What's your own social support network like? Do you have friends or even online contacts you can share your day with when your family's occupied?
  • If you did play WoW, would you want him to play with you and help you from the start? Would he want to? Would doing that be enjoyable for both of you, or would it feel like an obligation?
  • If you did play WoW, do you envision joining him in his regular activities and his guild? Or would you rather do something different as a duo or family team?
  • What would happen if you leveled a character with the intention of playing with him in the endgame, but then his guild didn't invite you for membership?
  • Where are your kids in the WoW mix? Do they play with him? Would you be joining them in game?
  • Do you tend to get swept away in activities (video games, reading, social media, TV, whatever) that nibble away at your free time? Do you feel confident that you'd be able to limit your time in WoW, or do you suspect it might eat up the time you'd prefer to devote to your business?
  • Do you actually want to play World of Warcraft, or are you simply feeling isolated from the rest of your family?
You might find that some of these points whip up a real emotional turmoil, while others remain pretty cut-and-dry considerations. Even if you don't come up with answers, you should be able to identify where the emotional hot spots lie.

World of Warcraft is definitely the smallest consideration in your situation. As far as the game goes, sign up for a trial account and give it a whirl all by yourself. That will show you whether gaming's even something you enjoy. If it seems to hold potential as a fun way for you to connect with your family, give it a shot! If not, you can log off armed with a deeper understanding of their hobby and primed to tackle the larger issues of sharing family responsibilities and free time.

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Warning: I'm going to get a bit judgmental here. This is my judgy voice:

Your husband doesn't work at all and is unable to find time for you when you come home from work?

This has nothing to do with WoW at all. Of course, if you answer Lisa's questions and come up with the fact that you would actually like to try World of Warcraft, go for it. And don't worry about seeming like the jealous wife. Significant others who play just to hang out with their gamer partners are a dime a dozen, and you aren't going to be considered ultra-clingy if you try to join in. But that is a completely separate issue. It's time to get your husband to spend a little less time in Azeroth and a little more time on your marriage.

I know you can't force change on anyone. But it is obvious that there is a whole lot of one-sidedness to the responsibilities in your family. Your adult son, almost-adult daughter and adult husband play WoW while you work and pursue your business. (I understand your kids are attending school, but they seem to have a lot of extra time on their hands as well.) It looks like you are carrying all of the burden and getting none of the leisure time.

Yes, I think that having your own hobbies separate from your husband is extremely important. Yes, I think that your husband is entitled to his own hobbies even if he is not out earning a living. But you both need to spend time pursuing interests together as well; otherwise, it's not so much a marriage as a roommate situation.

Work out a schedule with your husband for some couple time when you are available. He can still attend raids (or at least some of them, if he is in a heavy raiding guild), but arrange for togetherness as well. Don't issue ultimatums, and try not to get emotional about it, but make sure you let him know how important sharing leisure time is to you. Bringing up his close guild buddies (are they female?) is not a good idea. It's not about them; it's about him and how he treats you.

If he refuses to adjust his WoW schedule in order to cultivate his relationship with you, then I'm sorry to say that it is time for some counseling. Maybe he needs someone outside of the family to tell him that he is not appreciating what you do for him and is not respecting your time. You deserve better treatment than this, and I hope you get it. /hug

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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