Gaming Widows- What we are doing to look after ourselves.

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Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
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Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
Gaming Widows- What we are doing to look after ourselves.

Hello fellow gaming-widows :-)

Coming here to Olganon and posting our stories is a fantastic first step in learning to heal from the neglect and frustration of living with a game-addicted S/O. Learning that we aren't alone , and that we aren't the Cause of, nor can we Control or be the Cure for our S/O's addiction can lift a huge weight from our shoulders. Congratulations on reaching out and looking for a way to improve your situation.

I first came to Olganon some 2 years ago, devistated by my S/O's insane addiction to World of Warcraft. I shared my story here, and vented a lot, and found comfort and solace in talking to both other game-widows, and recovering gamers. But after venting for a long time, I found I needed more. I needed to find my own sanity.

In fact, I posted what I have learnt during the past 2 years here.

During this time, my life has improved dramatically, because once I decided that I wasn't ready or willing to leave my S/O, and accepted that I could not force him to stop being an addict, I decided to work hard on myself (using the recovery model and 12 steps) in the hope that I could find some sanity and joy in my life, in spite of his addiction. To anyone that asks "why should I have to change when HE/SHE is the one with the problem?"...the answer is simple. Because they WON'T change, if they are an addict, (NO MATTER WHAT WE DO!!), until they are good and ready, and in the meantime, why should WE be miserable? If you are really having a hard time living with an addict, recovery and "12 steps" aren't a chore, they are a gift. Well, they have been for me.

I attend alanon and I have found a fantastic support base there. I urge anyone who is living with a game-addicted spouse (and not willing or able to leave) and feeling significantly neglected or miserable or angry to seek out an established "anon" group like alanon or nar-anon or coda for assistance.

The main thing that we learn in these groups is to care for ourselves, and to place our own wants, needs, feelings and sanity above those of the addict that we live with. When we become able to really care for ourselves (and children if we have them) without trying to "manage" the addict, life becomes much more enjoyable. Our anger and dissapointment with our S/O's becomes less intense and we start to find ways to make our partnerships more equitable, so that their addiction does not disadvantage us or make our lives unbearable. As a side-benefit, even though we cannot force them to quit their addictions, as we become more confident and self-sufficient, our addicted S/O's often become more respectful, attentive and responsible and they may even begin to question their choices, as they see us enjoying our lives and " getting on with things" without their involvement.

So I'd like to start this thread as an opportunity for spouses and S/O's of game-addicts to share what we are doing for ourselves, to improve our enjoyment and quality of life.

No mentioning what HE or SHE is or isn't doing here please! This is about YOU, and what YOU are doing to take control of your own happiness.

I'll begin with me.

-I am attending alanon. It is fantastic to meet with other people who have experienced or are experiencing life with an addict. I feel as though, no matter what happens, I have a family of people that absolutely understand and support me. They are teaching me to find myself again. Going to alanon is the ultimate "me-time".

-I am enjoying being a parent. I have no time for worrying about whether or not my S/O will be joining us when we eat dinner, go out or do something fun- we just do it. My daughter and I laugh a lot now. I plan activities based on what she and I will enjoy, and we just go and do it. I feel like I am doing a good job as a parent now. That's a good feeling!

-I read fiction again. For many years, I didn't. I felt like if I wasn't "learning something" by reading non-fiction, it was a waste of time. I learnt that this was part of my need to be "in control" all the time so I started reading for fun. Now I can happily read fiction until I fall asleep and that's a perfectly good evening for me. I'm happy that I've learnt to enjoy reading again.

-I exercise because I want to feel healthy. (I used to exercise in fits and starts because I wanted to be more attractive to the gamer and entice him away from his game). Now I just exercise because I want to feel good and experience having a healthy body.

-I force myself to be sociable. If someone invites me to do something, or even wants to stop for a chat, I don't make excuses and run away. I just do it, even if I feel awkward or inconvenienced or even bored. I have recognised that it isn't healthy to shut myself away with no-one to interract with other than the gamer, so I don't. I get better at being sociable every day; I've even started to make some real friends! People that actually confide in ME and seem to value MY conversation!!

-I take proper care of my health. (This was a big one for me). If something hurts or doesn't feel right, I see a professional without needing approval from the gamer. I go to the dentist weekly to have my very sad neglected teeth fixed, and if something is wrong, I don't ignore it or try to get HIM to make me have it seen to, I just go to the doctor. I am important and my health matters.

-I work on my career. Hard. I don't allow things like "I'm trying not to game so I need your attention" to stop me. If I'm working, or studying, then that's what I am doing. If he is "trying to quit" or "having a night off" then he can entertain himself. If I am working, I am working. This is not up for debate.

Well, thats a start, and some of the significant things I am doing for myself.

I hope others will add to this list :-)


Scott's picture
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
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Joined: 07/01/2010 - 1:17pm
Thanks for posting this

Thanks for posting this Mel.


after venting for a long time, I found I needed more. I needed to find my own sanity.

During this time, my life has improved dramatically, because once I decided that I wasn't ready or willing to leave my S/O, and accepted that I could not force him to stop being an addict, I decided to work hard on myself (using the recovery model and 12 steps) in the hope that I could find some sanity and joy in my life, in spite of his addiction. To anyone that asks "why should I have to change when HE/SHE is the one with the problem?"...the answer is simple. Because they WON'T change, if they are an addict, (NO MATTER WHAT WE DO!!), until they are good and ready, and in the meantime, why should WE be miserable?

This awareness is great. I'm happy for you and happy you found support in other recovery groups for spouses and family/friends of other types of addicts.

They say in Al-Anon (and AA) that the disease of addiction is a family disease. All are affected and develop dysfunctional coping patterns and crazy thinking. Very sad but true.

I hope a fellowship of OLG-Anons in recovery develops here. You all deserve the same level of support that we ex-gamers in recovery enjoy.

What you feed grows, and what you starve withers away.

troubled_fish's picture
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
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Joined: 02/19/2013 - 12:59pm
Hey Mel, Here's what I'm

Hey Mel,

Here's what I'm doing to improve my happiness:

- Following a healthy diet and sticking to it, which has helped me lose weight

- Spending more time reading. Not just stuff about this issue, but some of my old favorites from yesteryear.

- Spending more time with my son. Once I dealt with my own addiction to games, I found I had a lot more time to play and take care of my boy.

- Rekindling old friendships that had fallen by the wayside since I got married. Trying to be a better friend by reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

- Building a support network for family, friends, coworkers, and online contacts.

- Establishing boundaries, which simply didn't exist before. Not just at home but all over my life.

- Working on rediscovering my faith and how that shapes my identity

- Becoming vulnerable about my problems with friends, and discovering that others have the same struggles

That's all I can think of for now, but I'll come back and add stuff if I remember it! :)

Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
Scott, thats exactly it.

Scott, thats exactly it. Living with some-one else's addiction, and trying to manage it, cope with it and hide it from the world made me quite sick myself. I wasn't thinking my own thoughts anymore; I was thinking about HIM 24-7 and I started to believe that making HIM understand what I was going through would make him change and make my life better. Alanon taught me that I had actually come to think that my addict was my HP!! My life revolved around his every word and action. His approval and love was the only thing I cared about. That's what living with someone else's addiction can do.

Fish, thank-you for sharing what you have been doing.

I have to laugh about "How to Win Friends and Influence People". It's a great book. My step-dad, who is very into self-improvement gave it to me to read when I was a teenager and I loved it.

Until I came to the last chapter, entitled "for wives". They don't include that chapter anymore as it is so politically incorrect but he gave me an old edition to read.

This chapter explains that women should be demure, always behave as though they are very interested in their husbands conversations, have a great meal prepared for him when he arrives home and be dressed attractively. Also, we should take the time to read the newspaper daily so as to have interesting things to discuss with our husbands and that we should never, ever question him or become angry if he "gets drunk or doesn't come home at all".

That last chapter was the ultmate codependant handbook lol.

Anyway, good stuff and keep it coming :-)

Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
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Joined: 06/20/2013 - 3:08pm
Hi mel , since  coming here

Hi mel , since coming here I've started going out with friends and my sons. We don't really drink but go to our local pub and have a bar meal and glass of shandy , we really know how to live it up lol. I go walking with my youngest son and watch films with both sons. The biggest thing is I'm paying off my credit card it's not a huge amount but feels good . In three weeks I'm going away for a couple of days with with my youngest son . Coming here has been so invaluable to me and I've stopped thinking how bad things are and instead making them better . I rely on me but accept support whereas. I was to proud and ashamed befor . I have 2 great sons great friends and 2 lovely cats and my health is getting better too . Monday x

Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
Great stuff Monday! Going

Great stuff Monday!

Going for walks with my daughter (and dog) was one of the first things I started doing to get out of a toxic environment and enjoy the world outside. My daughter is very into photography so she brings her camera and we go walking and looking for interesting things for her to photograph. Its so good for the soul

New stuff for me:

1) I went to a guided meditation class yesterday. I'm going to go on a weekly basis. It was great and the place that I attended has other groups and classes on all kinds of things that I am very interested in as well as a huge library and bookshop and various social clubs attatched. So I'm going to take full advantage of it and become a member

2) Booked driving lessons. For those that don't know, I'm a grown woman who has always been too scared to get my drivers license. I would have a few lessons and then something would go wrong (like someone would toot me lol or something silly like that) and I'd get disheartened and give up. Well, no more of that, I'm going to see it through this time and in a few months I'll post a picture here in this thread of my license

3) I'm writing again (fiction) for the first time in many years and I'm going to start submitting stuff to publishers instead of hiding it away and being too embarrased.

4) My daughter is planning a halloween party again and this time, instead of trying to keep it low key and children only and avoiding inviting the parents in past the hallway, I'm getting the house looking great, going all out with the food and throwing open the doors to the grown-ups too. Life is too short to keep hiding away and feeling ashamed in my own home. Daughter wants a party, so lets make it a PARTY!!

Those are my latest "me" things and I'm quite pleased with them.

Hope you guys are all finding things to enrich your lives whether your S/O's are still gaming, not gaming or whatever. Please add to the list, I'd love to know what others are doing to create happiness and security in their lives!


Maggie's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
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Joined: 08/26/2013 - 6:59pm
Thanks for sharing Mel,

Thanks for sharing Mel, great insight! I am going to add this to my blog :-) for families who are suffering.

It's good to have goals and dreams, but while you're waiting for things to change, waiting for promises to come to pass, don't be discontent with where you are. Learn to enjoy the season that you're in--Pastor Joel Osteen

Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
Thanks Maggie, it's good to

Thanks Maggie, it's good to see people focus on some of the positive things we can do for ourselves :-)

cdgoldilocks's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
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Joined: 10/28/2013 - 8:14am
Hi, I am new here. This is a

Hi, I am new here. This is a "me" thing I have done. It is nice that at least the loved ones and gamers themselves have a place to go to connect with others here.

Another thing I have done is we have an employee assistance program through my work that I got connected with a really good therapist to help me deal with some issues, one in particular I wanted to work on: boundaries. I think this will help me in all aspects of my life, but it will really help me to set limits/discuss my feelings in a more healthy manner with my gamer.

I am healthier/work out more.

I am getting more hobbies. I get lots of ideas from Pinterest. Who knew there were so many things/ways to repurpose things!?!

Reading. I am reading a LOT more.

I have so much more time when my focus is OFF the gamer and ON MY life.

Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
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Joined: 10/17/2013 - 5:14pm
I am new here sure

I am new here sure has been a blessing. This is what I'm doing for "myself":

I've started a workout.

I'm spending more quality time with my children. I've always been the one to take them to all of their extracurricular activities, but now I'm spending more "unstructured" time with them. We take walks, we go to places like parks and zoo's.

I'm eating better...more healty so I've lost some weight.

I've worked from my home office for years, even though I had an office to go to. So now I go to that "outside the home" office.

I have given up focusing on her addtiction.

Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
More new things :-) 1) Since

More new things :-)

1) Since daughter's halloween party was so succesful, she wants to have an "end of year school breakup" party and I'm all for it. In fact, no-one tell her, but grandma and grampa are buying her a kick-ass trampoline for Christmas and they are going to drive down here and set it up early, in time for her party. And I'm getting her an above ground pool (nothing fancy, just a cheap portable kinda thing) that I will have set up at the same time. So she's going to be one happy little girl. It might not sound like a big deal, but we really have been hidden away for so long, and I have been too ashamed and embarrassed to have anyone over to the house (I don't really know why). Other nameless members of the household have been making efforts to keep their mess confined to their room now that we have more vsitors. It's actually a huge step for me. Does it sound like it's just for daughter? It's not. It's about me meeting other parents and not feeling "less than" as much as it is about my baby having fun.

2) Since I've always wanted to be a writer but have always been too embarrassed and insecure, I started a blog. And it has NOTHING to do with gaming or drinking or addiction or codependence or any of the "isms" I have been consumed with in recent years. It's just inane babble at the moment about nothing in particular, but it's FUN and it's another way for me to "come out of hiding".

3) More time with family and friends. On Sunday I travelled for 4 hours just to spend the evening having a Downton Abbey marathon with my mum. And then 4 hours back again at the crack of dawn on Monday to get my daughter to school. And it was WORTH IT. In a couple of weeks, mum and I are taking my daughter to a stage production of King Kong. (A giant mechanical ape. How can that not be fun?)

So these are just fun things, but it can't all be about personal growth and development! Life has to be fun as well, doesn't it?

Hope everyone is doing well today and enjoying "doing for ourselves".

Big hugs to all.


Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
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Joined: 05/12/2013 - 8:47pm
That sounds really awesome,

That sounds really awesome, Mel. I'm glad to hear that you're insisting on having fun from time to time, and that party for your daughter sounds really cool. Hugs, and keep it up... :)

When you're going through hell...keep going. --Winston Churchill There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still --Corrie ten Boom

Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
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Joined: 11/30/2013 - 4:40pm
At first when I started

At first when I started reading some of the posts on this site, I thought it was strange to hear all of the talk about taking care of yourself instead of shuttign down the addiction. But I think I get it now that it's about not being consumed by someone else's dysfunction. So it's only been 1 day, but I've done 2 things:

1. I ate the leftovers. Usually if I make a meal while the hubby is at work or on his computer, I leave half for him. I always felt bad about not leaving him something. But screw that. I made the food in my free time that I have because I am NOT gaming. If he wants to eat, he can make himself some homemade Alfredo sauce.

2. I set a deadline for myself to move. We've been talking about moving since the summer because my new job is 65 miles away. We've been trying to save for a down payment on a house, but the savings has been depleted twice. (I'm pretty sure now the reason he gave for the first time the savings was gone was a lie.) I decided that by the end of July, I will be living within 10 miles of my job. He can make a decision whether he wants to help save for a house. If not, my dog and rabbit and I can find ourselves an apartment. I'm leaving as his choice, not an ultimatum.

I almost allowed being a WoW widow destroy me once. I'm not goign to let it happen again.

Maggie's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
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Joined: 08/26/2013 - 6:59pm
Hi Grub, Welcome to Olga! My

Hi Grub,
Welcome to Olga! My name is Maggie and I am a gaming addict. The priority is different for an addict, game is #1 and real life is #2 and action speaks louder than words. You have learned a few things about taking care of yourself, which is very important because family often get really frustrated and burned out from the stress of dealing with the addict. It is not that I did not care about my family but I was just too consumed by the game to realize what was going on. I had lost tracked of how much I lost due to the result of gaming.
I also created a personal blog to share my experience with families who are suffering, and I hope you will find it helpful.



It's good to have goals and dreams, but while you're waiting for things to change, waiting for promises to come to pass, don't be discontent with where you are. Learn to enjoy the season that you're in--Pastor Joel Osteen

Tommi's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
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Joined: 09/13/2012 - 7:39am
Wonderful share Mel. Thank

Wonderful share Mel. Thank you for this.

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness

Melissa Evermore
Last seen: 5 years 4 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 05/29/2012 - 4:09am
Cheers guys. Great choices,

Cheers guys.

Great choices, Grubb :-)

It is a really weird concept at first, and I remember when I first came here and I was told that I should focus on myself and leave him to deal (or not deal) with his own addiction I was really angry. Why did I have to change? I wasn't doing anything wrong! But that was just the point. I wasn't doing anything "wrong" yet I was suffering so many of the consequences of his addiction for him. How unfair is that? And it certainly wasn't helping him to get better. It was actually making it easier for him to stay sick! It is such a strange, wonderful, liberating thing to realise that by making ourselves happy, we are actually doing right by everyone!

My latest:

1) This Friday just gone was the big King Kong stage show with my daughter and parents. The gamer couldn't come because he has lost his job again, due to playing WoW instead of going to work. I didn't offer to pay for him. We had a fantastic night out! It was such a memorable occasion. I had to force myself to enjoy it, in the beginning because the gamer was pretty nasty that day and said some awful, hurtful things when we left. I almost didn't go. But I kept the thought in mind..."fake it till you make it" and in the end, it was awesome. "Fake it till you make it" is awesome. It works. Eventually, I just forgot about his nasty words because there was so much fun going on around me.

2) Yesterday my parents came here and helped me clean up the yard and mow, and we set up my daughter's new trampoline. We had such a nice weekend together as a family and I am so, so pleased that I have made an effort to re-connect with them and also to accept a bit of help from them instead of being proud and suffering in silence. They seemed to really enjoy the time together as well. Next time they are working on a big project at their house, I will volunteer to go and help. I have been isolated and ashamed for so long; I had forgotten how good it feels just to jump in and work on a project as a team. We laughed so much! My mother actually sent me a message afterwards saying 'It was so nice to work together as a unit again". She was so right. I pushed them away for so many years because I was ashamed and defensive about my choices and my miserable life with an addict. Swallowing my pride and joining my family again is one of the greatest things have done for myself.

3) Now, this might sound ridiculous but I'm a very fearful person and some of my absurd phobias really stop me from enjoying my life. So I've made a list of silly things that I am afraid of and I've decided to confront at least one of them every day.

Can you believe, one of those fears was jumping on a trampoline. I hurt myself on a trampoline once when I was a child and I've never been on one since. So this afternoon, like a little kid, I got on to my daughter's new trampoline and jumped myself silly. OMG it was so much fun. My daughter was absolutely delighted!

I am also afraid of touching seaweed. Yes, I know, completely ridiculous. Don't laugh. So this afternoon I also walked to the beach with daughter and dog and I walked barefoot on seaweed for ages. And guess what? Nothing bad happened!

I hope that doesn't sound too silly. Confronting those dumb fears and having some silly childish fun is awesome. On the list for this week is

-climbing a tall tree

-making/ lighting a bonfire

-having a go on my brother's motorbike.

Of course, I'm still attending to my responsibilities, being a mother and paying the bills lol. I hope I don't sound like I have lost the plot completely. But this "fear list" is a really big deal for me. I am capable of so much more than washing dishes, paying bills and enduring other people's sadness and stress. I am capable of having fun! For no reason!

How good is that?

Last seen: 2 years 12 months ago
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Joined: 11/02/2013 - 9:04am
Looking after myself and

Looking after myself and having fun is something im having a lot of trouble with. I dont drive either, and me the boy live a fair way from most of our friends and family. I can hop on two trains and be with my mother in about two hours, but its also expensive.

I went to see my mother last werk. the boy didnt come with me. usually when he decides he doesnt want to come out ill be hurt, frustrated and disapointed, but this time i just said nothing and left the house without even saying goodbye. it was a lovely sunny day. both my brothers were out so i just spent hours talking with my mum, and it was amazing, so enjoyable, and i didnt have to pretend to be a happy couple, or get disappointed when he asks when we're going home.

a couple of days ago a friend I have been missing a lot rang me and we talked for almost an hour, which i never do, im not a phone person! but i was so happy to speak to her, just like i had been with my mum, and that happiness spread out into the rest of my life and i enjoyed the whole day more just because of a phone call! so i've decided its time to try and spend more time with people who make me happy. Its mothers day soon and im planning to invite my mother to a 'vegan' fair (she is vegan and im vegetarian) which i know we'll both enjoy.

its strange, because i was always so independant. going out alone never bothered me, in fact i would deliberately seek time on my own. I guess the isolation of where we live and having an overload of unexpected and undesired alone time got things mixed up in my head and now im almost afraid to go out alone. Yesterday I got fed up of being inside alone again on a sunny day and so pushed off into the woods outside my house where i used to go walking when i was younger. I wanted to see if i could find my way back to an old clearing i used to go to. despite the weather and the woods being perfect for dog walking i had them all to myself, and within 15 minutes i was smiling and swinging my arms and investigating trees that had fallen after the recent storms. I reached the clearing, which was just as awesome as i remembered. after walking round it a few times i knew i really did not want to go home, but i didnt know what to do. i hadnt brought a book or even a drink of water with me, but it was so warm and relaxing, i just laid down on the grass on my jumper and dozed for an hour or so, listening to the birds.

it was good to feel like me again, someone who does her own thing, not someone needy or 'miserable' . And it also made me think; I had been annoyed because he didnt want to come out with me. But had he been there, i undoubtably would not have enjoyed myself as much. I would have been anxious, over sensitive and over defensive, worrying about whether HE was enjoying himself, whether he was just humouring me, whether he was thinking that he wanted to go home, whether our conversation was flowing like a normal couples...etc. any mention of the game would have completely ruined it for me. I've focused a lot on not telling him just to get off the computer, but trying to provide fun alternatives for us to do, but really, if he's not enjoying himself and is resentful of me for 'making' him do it, and im just worried sick all the time, then how much 'fun' are these alternatives im providing?

Im currently applying to go back to university to top up my degree, and when i do, i/we will be moving to a bigger town where we have friends and family and more opportunities to do things. I cant wait, and have started thinking of all the things i want to do for MYSELF once i get there; driving lessons, joining a club, a library, going swimming in the new pool, hopefully making new friends at uni, etc...

Evenings are still rubbish, so im just reading and going to bed early. Slow progress but definately going somewhere!

Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
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Joined: 03/14/2014 - 10:27am
I just posted a new topic on

I just posted a new topic on my story. Give it a read.

What I am doing now:

Making a conscious decision to leave the online game I'm playing with my wife. I'm just not as into as she is and the people on there are young and annoying.

Focusing more on playing with my kids. They want to get into my RC car hobby, so I'm going to do that with them every chance I get.

This was a little passive-aggressive, but I sabotaged my wife's PC by deleting the registry and messing up her master boot record. Granted I have some work to do now for her, but she needs me. I know it was petty and in the end I'm spending the weekend rebuilding it. But hey, its 48 hours where she doesn't have the game.

Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
Joined: 08/20/2014 - 12:57pm
That was a good thing to do

That was a good thing to do thumbs up

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