My wife and I have been married for just over a year, and she’s a big World of Warcraft player. I started playing when we were dating so I could understand the game that she took so much interest in, but over the months my interest has waned while hers has remained strong. That would be fine, except I wonder about the special interest she seems to be taking in one of her clan members, a guy who lives on the west coast. They’re always texting, even when she’s not playing. She says this is a critical time for the clan and that she needs to stay abreast of developments, but I wonder. She used to talk about him a lot when we were playing together—how smart he is, how funny he is—but lately she doesn’t really mention him to me. Of course, this could be because she knows I don’t really want to hear it. What do you think I should do? Should I shut up and take one for the clan?
Well, I hate to say it, but it sounds to me like you’re losing ground in a battle bigger than a man can handle. I think you’re right to surmise there is some covert action above and beyond the call of duty. That being said, it hasn’t been long, and I think you can win her attention back (and her heart, if it’s headed for the West Coast) if you are strategic.
Sometimes people get caught up in the game, until it takes over their lives at various levels. I’ve seen this happen with D&D—we lost one to the game, to the point where he never left character and we couldn’t reach the real guy. We shook our heads and had to walk away in silence. Its really difficult to tell here whether she’s more interested in the game or the player. It may well be she’s completely caught up in the game, as you say. Or not. It’s time to take action, be fierce, sit her down and say “hand over the phone, wife. I need to know if you’re really playing games, or if you’re sexting with your clanmate. This is a critical moment in our relationship. I need to know whether I’m losing you to the clan in a fictional way, or for real.”
Of course, she’ll likely resist handing over the device, but you have to be clear that this is hurting you and causing you confusion—that you are jealous, you need some answers! Once you see the texts, you will know if she’s really playing the game, or flirting outside the marriage at inappropriate levels. You can plan your next move from there—that’s up to you. If you demand “World of Warcraft or me,” you may not like the answer. It would be best to remind her you’re only one year into the marriage—actually a time of getting to know each other better, learning who your partner really is. It’s not always pretty.
In her defense, this clanmate may just be a great friend—just because she finds him smart and funny doesn’t mean she’s in love with him. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean she loses interest, or even attraction to others—she is human, after all. You have to have confidence in yourself. Tell her you need to know how she feels about you now. Ask if this other player is more to her than just that—a virtual clanmate. She may not be honest about her feelings, but at least you’re bringing it out in the open for discussion and can begin to deal with it. Once you have this candid discussion, drop it for a while. Overbearing jealousy and acting threatened and defensive will not gain you points. Act confident in her love, and know you deserve it, and often this is enough to keep her attracted to you. But completely shutting up and taking one for the clan? Don’t be a pussy, she might need some boundaries and will ultimately appreciate you for it. There’s a balance to strike here.
Not to get too personal, but how’s your sex life? Has that remained the same or diminished? That’s an indicator. Does she still have real conversation with you or is she slipping away into World of Warcraft or another warrior’s arms? Is there a 12-step program for gaming addiction? You may want to consider an intervention if this gets out of hand. Or, on the flip side, as much as you hate it, you may reconsider your decision to give up on the game. If this is such a huge part of her life, it may keep your connection stronger if you play it with her, and she’ll feel better with you being a part of your world.
This is a battle you may lose. You have to face it. But be strong, be firm, don’t let her be Guinevere to your King Arthur and mess around behind your back.