So. Here I am. Struggling to not feel like a hypocrite. Wondering how in the hell I got here, the wife of a gaming addict. And feeling so incredibly stupid for denying the obvious for as long as I did.
But most of all, I am livid. At him. At myself. At that f***ing game that has stolen the man I love. I didn’t just enter the anger phase… I smashed into it with the force of a cannonball. And so there will be much venting in my initial posts, I’m sure.
A little backstory first: this is my second marriage. I have two children from the first marriage. Husband #2—whom I will call Mr. Hermit—has no children of his own. This is his first marriage. That should’ve been the first red flag for me right there. Mr. Hermit is in his late 40’s. Up until we met five years ago, he was what I call a “perma-bachelor”. He’d had several long-term relationships prior to me, but he’d never experienced the stable family household environment until we married and bought a home together. So I knew this meant there would be an adjustment period as he realized that staying up until all hours of the morning, getting drunk and spending—literally—half the day online was no longer a viable lifestyle choice. He now had a wife that gets up early to work every weekday morning and two young children to step-parent, so the transition from Bachelor to Husband was necessary.
And for a while, he managed the transition beautifully. A few bumps in the beginning, sure. But during that time it seemed as though he’d found a perfect middle ground: gaming was something he did in his spare time, after the responsibilities of adult life had been tended to.
Looking back, I can see this was the Great Calm before the massive Sh*t Storm that is now our lives. I became complacent in those days. I trusted life would always be that way. I was blind in my false security. And so when one hour of gaming became two…and then five…it crept up on me slowly. Even when weekend plans started being delayed, at first by an hour or so, then by half a day, I didn’t think much of it. Okay, yeah, Mr. Hermit stayed up until 4 a.m. playing that MMORPG again, but hey, I like games too so who am I to judge? And yeah, he wants to get just ONE more game in before we head out as a family for the day because, gee whiz, there won’t be any Internet where we’re going! So what if we’re now an hour and a half behind schedule…I got some wicked kills in that last match! Did you see? Didja, didja??
I’d like to say this is where things leveled off, but I actually look back at that period of time with longing now. These days, entire weekends are pis*ed away, with Mr. Hermit spending an average of 24 hours over the span of Saturday and Sunday playing that one online game that I wish had never come into existence. And that’s just an average estimation on my part. I’ve never actually chronicled his game usage on weekends, but I intend to start. I do know, however, that he’ll start playing almost immediately after waking—which is usually around 10 or 11 a.m.—and will continue to play until he passes out sometime after midnight, with only a few significant breaks to eat, get more beer, or maybe, MAYBE do something around the house (this last part typically only occurs when there aren’t enough online players to start a match and he’s waiting in queue. Priorities, ya know? /s).
Weekdays aren’t much better. Even if he has to work all day, he logs on the minute he gets home, pausing only long enough to grab a beer on his way through the kitchen to the game room, and then he’s at it for anywhere from 4-6 hours. As with his weekend usage, I have not kept precise track of the hours spent gaming during the weekdays. If I had to guess why, I think it’s because some part of me deep down knows it’s really, really bad. Once I put a number to it, then it becomes REAL. Just more denial, really. Well no more.
The tipping point for me happened this past weekend. In addition to ignoring his family for large chunks of time, he has now gotten to the point where he expects me to fetch beers and feed him while he’s gaming. Oh, he still has enough sense to ask politely, but his gaming has escalated to the point where he WILL NOT stop queueing up for another match long enough to get himself something to eat. The mere thought of taking 15 F***ING MINUTES to put together a sandwich or reheat some leftovers and eat is just unthinkable to him. “But babe, if I don’t ready up immediately after the last match, I might not get another game right away!”
Oh, the horror Mr. Hermit! You might have to wait another 5 minutes during the peak hours to get another match! Whatever will you do?? (See how bitter and sarcastic I’ve become? I hate what this has done to me as well.)
So now he’s trying to finagle his way into getting me to be his personal serving wench to ensure even MORE game time, as though me being a gaming widow wasn’t bad enough.
So I’m going to do what is suggested here for the friends/family/spouses and stop enabling him. I’m going to start living my life with my children and continue to plan fun things as a family. If Mr. Hermit wants to join, then he can be ready to go when we are scheduled to head out. Otherwise, he can stay home and rot with his precious game. This family is no longer going to revolve around his behavior.
Wow, that was long. Thank you for letting me vent. I didn’t realize how much I’d bottled up. This place will be very cathartic in the days to come.