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Drama Mamas: Games vs. relationship

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.

When leisure activities take priority over responsibilities and relationships, bad things happen. In this week's case, the leisure activities in question are MMOs.
Hello,

I've read your article about Love, marriage and WoW. Unfortunately, I am in a situation that looks alike.

My fiancé and I have been together for 5 years and we've gone through a lot, but we still have issues because of his gaming habits. We both are gamers and it is our main activity, but we don't really play together, which is alright at some point. I mostly play console games and he's into pc games such as Mmos or online games on Steam. I tried to play with him at some point, but it never lasts.
In fact, the main problem now, is that he's so much into Mmo rpgs that he doesn't care about anything else. Our apartment is getting more filthy everyday as I stopped doing the chores, because I'm tired of it. I'm not his Mother and I tried to get him out of this shell many times already. I don't bring up the issue anymore because I'm always the one to bring it up and we always go through the same conversation.

I like gaming, but when your partner is more interested in gaming than making love to you, what can you do?

Sincerely, someone that never thought gaming could be both pleasant and unpleasant.

Xabeix

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: You're in a terrible situation and you have my sympathies. I'm no health care professional, but it seems pretty obvious that your fiancé has a destructive habit. The biggest sign is that he's making no effort to keep up his relationship or his home. I can only imagine that his work is suffering too, though you don't mention it here. Is he playing at work or does he call in sick in order to play? These would be further signs that he has a behavioral addiction.

You can't fix him, but you may be able to persuade him. The way I see it, you have three things you can try.
  1. Time management Attempt to work with him to come up with a schedule. You can use our guides to time management to help. Include household chores and couple time as well as time for some gaming. Make sure the schedule coincides appropriately with raid times or whatever he most enjoys doing in the game. Schedule the things you do as well, so it's a together thing. Maybe this is just the nudge he needs to realize how much of his life he is wasting.
  2. Counseling If he won't even try the time management, or he does but doesn't stick to the schedule, then he needs professional help. Couples counseling is a good place to start and then maybe he could get a referral to an addiction specialist. You don't need to handle this serious situation all by yourself.
  3. End the relationship If he's not willing to take steps 1 or 2, then he's not willing to work on your relationship. I know this is an extreme step, but you have come to an extreme impasse, if he won't compromise. I also know that this is easier said than done. Many people in the comments will just say "Leave him! You deserve better!" And you do. But leaving is so complicated when you've been living together. It may seem near impossible financially or from some other factors we don't know about. But however difficult breaking up is, you cannot marry someone who is treating you and his own life like this.
You've been together a while, so hopefully steps 1 and/or 2 will help him see the light. Good luck and let us know what happens. /hug

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Obviously, you know better than to vilify gaming for causing this situation. We've all seen this happen with people who enjoy TV, reading, partying, going out with friends ... The more deeply some people dive into these kinds of activities, the more difficult they find it not to to shuffle the rest of life aside.

For some couples, the issue is more the old "taking your partner for granted" dynamic. If that's the case, help drag the basics back in sight. Remind him that you haven't gone anywhere, but you aren't likely to stay around if there's nothing in it for you emotionally and your daily life is made more burdensome by his lack of participation.

Robin's suggestions make a good plan. More than anything, I would caution you to make sure that your fiance understands that you don't intend to raise this subject again. Every time you raise this issue and then allow things to slide simply digs the hole deeper. He needs to to face the stark realization that his lack of engagement is placing your relationship in jeopardy. If he's unable to accept the gravity of the situation and reacts to your approach like one more gripe session he needs to steel himself through, you'll know you are facing a behavioral Möbius strip. If that's the case, it's time to step off the path with the assurance that he can always join you back in real life if he should find a way to break free.
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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