How to cope with non-gaming wives

And how to avoid the wrath when you don’t hear the phone ringing because you just jockeyed someone ever the edge in L4D2…

Anyone? Anyone?

I could use an answer to this as well. Having a wife that games seems like some sort of beautiful dream that simply was not meant for me. Or one that cooks…

I’ve had a non-gaming wife for 19 years now. It took her a number of years to realize that gaming is my outlet while hers is watching TV (and I generally detest the boob-tube). It finally clicked with her that I wasn’t out drinking, cheating, smoking and cavorting to all hours of the night. Furthermore, I was available if she really needed me to be.

I’ve learned over the years that if there’s something that I really want to do - a raid, spending time with a new game, etc. - I’ll give her some advance notice so she knows I’m “occupied” that evening. She also has learned that some games I can get up from easily (turn based strategy) and some I can’t (in the middle of a MMO instance run). But mostly it just took time for her to realize that “wife aggro” isn’t the way to solve anything.

I don’t share the problem, as my wife games and posts here regularly, but I’m perfectly happy to try and help solve the problems. What are the issues that are happening here? Is it opposition to gaming itself, or to doing something that’s not with her?

My wife has known from the beginning that I have a “challenge” with personal time. I tend to need a lot of it or I quickly turn into an unhappy jerk as the stress generated by job/kids/life overwhelms my normal charming and friendly nature.

She’s adapted well to my quirks, and I definitely think she has times when she appreciates that I’m essentially at home in the other room, but there are still a lot of times when it drives her absolutely batty that if I’m in the middle of a r@!d (four letter word) that means that I’m not available to come check out the web page that she needs help with or carry something for her or hang up the such and such.

Then again at least your wife doesn’t read Qt3 so you can get away with posting things like this, lol.

This. And the fact that you’re not looking after the kids or on random chore patrol.

I’m sorry. My wife loves to play videogames. In fact, she’s sometimes more hardcore than I am. If she really likes a game, she can spend a whole Saturday or Sunday playing that one game when the mood strikes her, while I have never been able to play any one game for more than a couple of hours at a time. (I think my record was one of the Civ games for six hours.) She will play until she completes everything. Every sidequest, achievement, and activity.

On the other hand, she absolutely refuses to have anything to do with PC gaming. If it’s not on the console, she wants nothing to do with it.

Edit: Oh, and she dislikes shooters. The joys of the FPS are not for her, unless it’s Bioshock. She really got into those two games.

My wife used to game on old-school systems (nes, snes, etc). I guess I can call her a more “casual gamer” than non-gaming. She knew what she was getting into when she married me and she knows that it is a big hobby of mine. I “usually” play when she is asleep. However, she will occasionally watch me play some games such as Stacking or Shatter. I’ve also been teaching my son to play games, which she doesn’t mind.

Yah the online games are the biggest problem. Can’t pause, have to finish.

I found a girl (not wife quite yet, but on the way) who is more than happy to have time to herself. My gaming time is her chance to knit or do craft projects, read, watch TV or whatever. She really doesn’t seem to mind.

In the interest of helping the OP I’d have to ask why it is that gaming gets singled out. Of all the reasons you could miss a phone call (shower, mowing the yard, TV/music turned up loud, wearing headphones, etc) why is gaming the problem? I tend to think some people are just childish in that anything they don’t enjoy is “stupid” or a “waste of time.” Can’t say if that’s true here and I would hope its not.

I type slow, so this is mostly what Blackadar said. As with most any relationship issue, communication and compromise are key. My wife and I have come to the understanding that I won’t jump off of an online game to do something trivial for her… this isn’t much of an issue, since I don’t game online all the time.

My wife is, for the most part, a non-gamer. She’ll play a few games on her DS, and once she had a Monster Rancher thing going, but she’s really more of a book geek. Every now and then, she’ll get into a game, but never for too long… whereas when I get into a game, I try to stick with it until I reach some kind of completion.

She often gets tired of the games I play. Last night, she mentioned that she wouldn’t mind watching me play through something like Final Fantasy… I didn’t know, though; I’m pretty much done with JRPGs.

Similar to Blackadar, together for 19 years and she’s never touched a game. The only time it became an issue is when WoW had me in its raiding clutches …deeply. I’ve since quit WoW and explained that this is my outlet and she’s fine with it.

I don’t give her grief about watching Fringe, V and Stargate and she doesn’t give me grief about gaming.

Hmm I gotta think about this one.

It’s probably more about the general public perception of gaming which isn’t exactly positive.

Got my wife playing Oblivion now and it’s become an obsession for her. Good thing games aren’t addictive!

From my experience (married 25 years), anytime your wife blames gaming, you are doing too much of it. Just like chocolate, you need to have balance. Take a log-sheet and write down the time you are at your desk and the time you are talking with your wife. My guess is the time you are spending with her is a fraction of what you spend at your desk.

Note: It doesn’t matter if you are gaming or not. If you are at your computer, for all intents and purposes you are gaming. They don’t see any difference. Nor should they.

I gamed too much at one time. I got a a wake up call and fortunately I saw the light and am still married. Do you see the light?

In the same token, take a log-sheet and write down the time she is sitting in front of the TV (or whatever her hobby is). Compare your computer number and her TV or other hobby number. :)

I can’t speak to the relationship issues specifically, but I do try and adjust the type of gaming I do according to the interruptions I expect. That is, if I’m expecting a call or something, I would avoid playing online multiplayer.

  • Alan

I can’t give any useful advice on how to cope with non-gaming spouses because I failed miserably at it. My first wife didn’t game, and now she’s not my wife. My second wife is a gamer, and we’ve been together 14 years. Gamers benefit from marrying other gamers–if you’re heavily into the hobby, you’re asking for trouble if your spouse isn’t. A non-gaming spouse doesn’t guarantee a failed marriage, but it does add stress and a potential flashpoint that I decided I’d rather avoid the second time around.