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So your spouse hates video games: pt. 1 – dropping your threat

Note: This is actually a re-post of something I wrote for my last blog, Fires of War. I like it though and I think it has a place here in case I ever decide to write the part two to this series. Besides, if Werit can do it, so can I!

If you live with your significant other, you’ve probably experienced the disturbing phenomena known as “Spouse Aggro”. This behavior is usually typified by exasperated comments, sideways glances, or the ever popular guilt trip (”You’re always on the computer…”) however, it has been known to escalate to yells or even physical violence.

Fear not, you’re not alone! Across the country, nay, across the world men and women are forcing their way through spouse aggro into the lairs of evil dragons and forelorn wizards. You can do the same.

Want to get your Waaagh on? Want to strut through Stormwind? Then read on!

Step 1. Diagnose the Problem:

Let’s face it, gaming is a prejudiced hobby. If you’re spending your time playing a video game, you’re #2 on the threat meter and approaching the number #1 slot fast. The first thing you need to do is figure out what her problem is. Why doesn’t she like gaming? Is it a blanket prejudice? Bad gaming experience? Misinformation? Or, are you just playing too much? Listen to what she says and then use that to level your avoidance.

Take her words and learn from them. Educate her if need be. Remember, success if based around a level head. It’s a situation that requires more DoTs – but you must also know when to stop the DoTs. Under no circumstance do you blow your cooldowns. I repeat, do not use burst damage. If this is your first encounter, use it to build your strategy. You two can come to a reasonable conclusion but don’t expect epic loot your first run through.

Scenario: But Chris, she says I play too much and I know I don’t. A few hours a night isn’t a lot to ask!

Answer: Actually, it is. To the non-MMOer, three hours a night makes you as hardcore and negligent as they come. If your spouse is throwing this at you, the first thing you need to do is evaluate your priorities. If you know she’s blowing things out of proportion and her needs are being met otherwise, then figure out a schedule that works. Play more when she’s not home or is, you know, unconscious. You’re an MMO player. Sacrificing sleep is in your nature. Think of it as stealth. If you can’t, however, set a time to get off the computer. Reach a consensus.

Step 2. Educate Don’t Berate

To the non-gamer, MMOs tend to look pretty darn stupid. I mean, seriously, what are we doing killing boars all the time? And why is some kobold more important than spending free time with her? Just let her know that you happen to find boars exceptionally tasty and elven women very attractive.

Now, if she’s a common spouse, now’s the time for a threat dump. First, tell her you were kidding. Your sense of humor should be able to help her see that there’s something more to gaming than that. Or maybe, if she’s a rare elite, you should just avoid joking all together. Explain to her, in non-fantasy-gamer terms, what you like about the game. Focus on the social aspects, so she realizes there’s lots of other people you’re interacting with. Downplay the spell-casting and up-play the aspects of the game that she could relate to – or that she could see you relating to in a real life way, for example, engaging storylines. Don’t explain the stories, if you can help it. Glass Eyes is a debuff that negates your previous 10 attacks. The aim here is to appeal to her sense of reason and humanize the enemy without exposing it.

Scenario: I tried to tell her but she just thinks it’s pointless! Guh, she just doesn’t get it!

Answer: Well, what’s the point of any video game? Fun, enjoyment, relaxation. Explain to her what the game does for you. You’re at home, so you obviously want to be near her, so you’re trying to get what you do from your hobby while being close to her. The truth, that sweet frosted Cinnabon of relationships, will set you free.

Step 3. Join Forces

We all know that two healers are better than one, so come together with your partner and get those HPs back. This can happen in two ways, first get her to try the game out as a means of spending time with you and doing something together. If you’re lucky, she’ll bite and run away with the proverbial worm. You can be a Tauren and Gnome in love, spreading steak and rainbows to the kiddies.

Failing that, join her in her disdain for the game. If you’re invested enough in the game to want to play it despite aggro, you’re probably invested enough to recognize its negatives and other silly aspects. Use this to your advantage. Sometimes an unconventional strategy is the one that leads to the purplest of epics. If she thinks you’re only playing for “something to do” or until something better comes along (a little less demanding on your time, perhaps?), the crystal face of “video game addiction” will start to crack for her. And let’s be honest, if something as much fun as your current game came along, and actually took less time, most of us would be down for it. I’m still waiting on that game myself.

Scenario: Chris, you doorknob! I tried to get her to play and she got offended! Now what do I do?!?

Answer: You have a few options. You can apologize. Or, you can turn it around. You were just trying to spend time with her, after all. We’ll get to guilt tripping in the next article in this series though, so stay tuned. For now, placate the dragon. Be nice and she may come to see your true intention.

And that’s it for this installment of “So Your Spouse Hates Video Games”. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself better equipped to manage that aggro and maybe even get a boost to some of your stats. Until next time, equip your sword and board, build up your resists, and get ready for that incoming tank and spank.

4 comments

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  1. Pai

    Marrying someone who loves games as much as you do helps a lot, too. If games are so important that you want to be able to spend large chunks of your time playing them (when most nongamers would want to go out and do more ‘active’ things for fun), then ideally you shouldn’t be dating someone with such incompatible expectations. To the average nongamer, playing for 3+ hours more than 2 or 3 times a week is probably ‘too much’ to them. Ditto once you have kids on the ground and other things that further encroach on the time you have to spend together. Unless you have someone who is comfortable being basically ignored by their significant other for large stretches of time, they’re going to have problems with that. Once you grow up and enter into an adult relationship, you can’t put everything second place to a game.

    People who ‘hate’ their spouse playing games don’t actually hate them -playing games-… they hate feeling like they’re second place or not worth hanging out with as much as the computer screen. That’s something that you really can’t sell as a ‘positive’ thing to someone with no gaming interest or history. If you marry/date such a person, you have to be real with that truth and either compromise with them, or else you’re going to have a serious problem as time goes on and they get more frustrated with you.

    I’m a bigger gamer than my husband… but I have to admit that he gives off a vibe of ignoring me and neglecting outside socialization more than I do to him… he’s much more obsessive about it to the exclusion of other things like going out and taking breaks… I don’t know if that’s a basic gender issue or what. But with us both being gamers, it’s easier for us to relate to each other and talk about any problems we have about gaming schedules than if one of us thought point blank that games are stupid and pointless and threatening to our relationship.

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      I agree. My wife isn’t a gamer at all, which really caused me to write the blog. What you’re saying is absolutely true and gives some sound advice. My wife and I have had disagreements before about gaming, right about when we first moved in together. I found out what you said first hand. It’s all about finding the balance and keeping your priorities in the right order.

      Thanks for the insightful comment Pai!

  2. Blue Kae

    Nice post, I’m glad you reposted it, nothing wrong with reusing your own content.

    While it’s great if you managed to find and marry another gamer, I think that’s a pretty rare occurrence. I’ve had the discussion with my wife a couple of times about my “wasting” time on the computer and I found it helpful to contrast gaming with watching television on the wasted time scale. Just be careful how you present it.

    In the end though, it is all about balance.

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      That’s funny. I had a similar conversation with my wife about Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives! We’ve been able to balance things out well and I think we understand each other a little better for discussing it. I’ve posted this in a couple of places and it’s funny how people will relate to the issues I poke fun at. Most times, everyone can smile along since most of us have our priorities in the right places. It always surprises me when people suggest ending the relationship over gaming though. Those are the ones that worry me 🙂

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