Do You Get Spouse Aggro?

More terrifying than any dragon, more extreme than any death penalty and more difficult to manage than any DPS threat, spouse aggro is a dangerous thing indeed. Usually it builds up slowly, sometimes over days or weeks, often silent and undetectable until eventually it hits with a wrath of a billion suns exploding inside a giant volcano.

I count myself pretty lucky in how tolerant my wife is about my gaming habits although there is a limit to her patience as I’m discovering. It usually starts with The Look followed by The Noise and eventually concluded by The Howling Bloodthirsty Scream. Knowing how to interpret these signals and when to intercept them is key to my survival… and trust me, begging after the fact never helps. “But my brother’s wife is letting him play longer!”, I whine to no avail.

I end up feeling guilty too because I know I shouldn’t be playing silly computer games and I should instead be devoting all of my time to making my wife more happy than an Olympian Goddess. But I suppose I’m just a mere fleshy male meat-bag that can’t help but be selfish in my desire.

Do You Get Spouse Aggro?

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-Gordon

P.S. If anyone has any tips or tricks for dealing with spouse aggro, please, oh please, share them with us all.

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65 Comments

  1. Fremskritt says:

    Stop reminding me that I need to get a life. ^^

  2. Docholiday says:

    My only salvation from spouse agro is I’m an insomniac and she needs lots of sleep. So, I game while she sleeps ;) Oh, and we both travel quite a bit for work so that helps too.

  3. Quix says:

    D. My spouse and I game together! :)

    When we don’t, we both have laptops, so he can be playing something and I can be watching TV and dorking out on the internet, or I can be playing something on the PS3 and he might be playing facebook games… it just works.

  4. Sharon says:

    I keep my husband faction at exalted by making sure I do my dailies. ;)

    Here’s a guide for you:
    The Look – means you’re falling below revered.
    The Noise – You’ve hit neutral faction.
    The Howling Bloodthirsty Scream – You’re at war and have a long grind ahead.

    I’m fortunate. Although my husband isn’t a gamer, he’s been *very* supportive of my habit as long as I “keep the game spending reasonable.” He jokingly says it’s cheaper than me taking up drinking to stay sane, and at least this way I’m at home! Seriously though, it’s a balancing act that I think gets easier over time. We’ve been together for 14+ years. He knows he’s my first priority, so he’s now more forgiving when I start to overextend my gaming stretches. I’m also better at picking up when I’m losing faction and he needs more attention.

  5. Yes and let me tell you about it. It gets reallllll a;ldfas ‘;f’ds l fsdl

  6. wilhelm2451 says:

    Where is the option for somebody who used to get spouse aggro but whose spouse now sighs with wearied resignation about online games and just tries to make the most out of nights when I don’t log onto an MMO?

    I have totally over-played the “at least I’m home where you can find me card” but the “inexpensive relative to other husband’s hobbies” card still has some leverage.

  7. Ethic says:

    Turn your wife into a gamer. Worked for me!

  8. I voted yes, but I want to add a little detail. She only cares when it’s excessive. I can pretty much do what I want when I want, unless it starts to look as though I’m falling back into my pseudo-obsessive addiction phases I’ve written about. When I start to change personality-wise (I get cranky or just don’t care about non-gaming tasks/conversations), we end up having a small spat through which she makes me realize I’m regressing.

    As long as I keep it under control, she’s happy. As long as I don’t spend, you know, 6+ hours a day on the computer or in front of the TV, I don’t get these signals.

    And lately, I’ve been trying to get her into games, and it’s working pretty well. She loves Mario Galaxy, Lego Batman, Castlevania on the DS, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mario Kart, and most recently, Kingdom Hearts. She has yet to finish a game, but she has a lot of fun while she’s working through them.

  9. mhacdebhandia says:

    I can’t really answer this poll, because my wife plays more computer and video games than I do.

    She’s the one who’s done three playthroughs of Mass Effect 2 and trailed off during a fourth, not to mention several games of Dragon Age: Origins.

    She’s the one who got me into playing World of Warcraft, is an officer in our guild, and runs dungeons and raids much more consistently than I do.

    She’s the one who spent much of last night curled up with her DS Lite while I played only a little Team Fortress 2 and did a raid weekly in WoW that took about ten minutes, tops.

  10. Caladwen says:

    Get her to play whatever game you are playing! There won’t be anymore screaming if you succeed :)

  11. Usiel says:

    My advice:

    - Play together

    In most cases, women are just ashamed to play. It’s still considered a child or Kellerkind habit.
    Make sure you level together or that you have at least a character that you just play, if she is around. Fish for kind people, to play with, so she finds out that it is actually not that geeky.

    We are in a community with several couples in our situation and age, playing online games. Once a year, we have sort of a community meeting, with one couple usually giving us a tourist tour. Actually the social component of online games, usually wins every woman’s heart.

    Search for something that she does like and you do feel comfortable with as well. DvD, Cinema, Biergarten. So you both have something to do aside, that usually will please her.
    My girlfriend convinced my of alpine hiking. Since I am from the Rhine, I always considered it to be an old folk sport, but it turned out that I really like it in the mountains. You will definitely find something comparable.

  12. amcl says:

    Yes, I think we need to start setting aside gaming nights. I get the same :(

  13. I am quite good in multitasking…so I can play and have a conversation with my GF. Thats a huge advantage because my GF is totally not able to do more things than breathing and an other action! :)
    Means we are talking quite a lot while I play (beside I am not in skype/vent what ever)

    It also helps a lot in keeping my faction positiv by saying, after I switched off PC late in the evening: “Well, my friends wanted me to kill that uber, great loot dropping dragon with them but I said no since I want to spend at least a bit time with you, honey!” Little kiss and everything is perfect….yeah its cheap but its working!!! :D

  14. Ardua says:

    My wife plays MMOs with me. Instant group mate.

    Win.

  15. Forjador says:

    Sorry Gordon, I can’t really vote as it was my wife who introduced me to MMOs! :D

  16. Mojeaux says:

    Unfortunately my wife doesn’t like computer games, thinking them a waste of time. So I don’t think I’ll ever get her to join me. However, she realizes that I DO like them and she’s mature enough to allow me the time to play them until it gets “excessive”.

    Normally, I try to please her by doing things like making her breakfast on the weekends, helping out with the dishes after meals, taking care of the dogs, yard etc. As long as I do those things (especially if she doesn’t have to ask me to do them) she doesn’t give me too much grief when I want to play during “primetime”. For the most part though, I play after 10pm on weekdays (she’s usually sleeping by then) and all night during the weekends. If I make her the aforementioned breakfast I also can squeeze a few hours during the weekend days.

  17. Brooke says:

    She used to get quite annoyed because even though I only played 15ish hours per week I still had a crap-tonne of non-gaming related hobbies that took my time away from her too.

    I’ve cut out MMOs completely and given up one of the sports that took up 2-3 nights per week (mostly because I wasn’t having a blast anymore and the gear upgrades were going to cost thousands). We started working out, taking more walks, and watching a few weekly TV shows together and now she has no complaints.

    From the MMO angle I simply came to realize spending hours grinding out worthless pixels wasn’t worth causing a fuss over (for her or me).

  18. Helen McLachlan says:

    I only let him play longer because I am currently welded apathetically to the bump, the sofa and my book, and am very fond of early bath n bed. I give you both fair warning now that this is due to come to an abrupt end in the not-so-distant future…

  19. Luke says:

    Ooh! Gordon, you just got pwned! ^_^

  20. Elleseven says:

    Is there any player that can’t use vent or headsets while the spouse is around? Because talking to “strangers” (especially of the opposite sex) online when your married isn’t’ kosher in their books.
    When I play a mmorpg, I play in windowed mode with the tool bar hidden at the bottom. I pretend I’m surfing the web and if he comes near me, I minimize the game and look at Perez Hilton’s site. I have mastered typing very quietly and with one hand while the other plays with my hair so you wouldn’t know I’m conversing on a game.
    Pretty sad eh.

  21. jo says:

    find a spouse that is just as much into gaming as you are.. or find them a game they like, introduce more to them and they ‘may’ slowly understand why you like to play :)

    • Gordon says:

      Not sure my wife would ever ‘get’ WoW :) I tried showing it to her once when I was running around Booty Bay. She asked me what those small green people were and I told her they were called ‘goblins’. That word is now her new favourite nickname for me :(

      • amcl says:

        My lovely little goblin….! Jolly green giant, more like :)

      • Galurana says:

        I actually started on the other side of this one. My boyfriend lived with me and played 6 days a week (even when he was working, he’d get home and boot up). I got him one evening a week for 3 hours, it really didn’t work. 2 years after he moved out and our engagement ended, I tried WoW. I figured 2 things; a) I can’t tell him it sucks if I haven’t tried it and b) it was the only way to get more than a few hours a week with him. We were seeing each other again and we started new toons together, but he was running heroics and raid with his friends and I got sick of waiting. So I ground out a resto druid knowing nothing about the game and ended up passing most of his alts.

        We raid together now and I’m happier. Not so jealous of the game, but I’ve learned to tease him in game a lot and our guild loves it.

        My tip – encourage her to try leveling a toon with you. She’d probably have fun with a mage or priest, and a female at that. Something attractive to her. Giving her gold to play in the barbershop might help too. Sounds silly, but being able to change my toon based on how bored I am of her appearance is fun. Then level a bit together. I’m betting she’ll get curious eventually.

        Though, I’m surprised it’s not available in Japanese.

        And remember – set aside time every few days to spend the evening with her!

  22. Rose says:

    My other half plays wow and eve while I play eq2, we try to play games together but we end up fighting about stuff more than if we play seperately. We also tend to like different games so one of us will get bored a lot quicker than the other.

    It is nice to find someone who understands how important it is to attend a raid slot when you have signed up for it though.

  23. Linedan says:

    No spouse agro here, and there’s a simple reason why.

    I have five level 80s.

    My wife has SEVEN.

    >.>

  24. Spice says:

    I’d probably pull aggro but she’s too busy playing Team Fortress 2 normally. So much so that she has now joined our weekly ladder team.
    Still can’t get her to play either WoW or Eve with me though. :(

  25. Phaedra says:

    My spouse aggro is that we have Dragon Age installed only on one computer (mine) and have to take turns.

  26. Bootleg says:

    My wife and I have a system and mutual understanding of my gaming habit. In fact, she’s seen what life is like without my gaming habit and prefers that I play. ;)

    The only time I get aggro any more is when she gives me a honey-do, expects it done right now, and I tell her to wait. Even those times are getting farther and farther between. She’s gotten more understanding that I have other people counting on me and can’t just pause the game. I’ve gotten better estimating and following through when I say I’m going to do something.

  27. I nearly lost my wife to playing wow 2 years ago. I quit the same day she moved out. Fought tooth and nail to keep her and she came to realize that I wasn’t lying when I said she was more important than anything else. Course a few months after that she realized that I needed something else to focus on besides her (I was overly affectionate and she is naturally stand offish) so I came back to wow with her blessing.

    About 6 months later she started playing wow herself and here we are a year later still playing together. I’m much better about how much time and focus I have on wow compared to what I used to. I was at the point where I was planning out our lives around wow and not the other way around. Once I got my priorities straight the aggro dropped down big time.

    Every now and then I start to get the look… but at the point we are both feeling like we need to back off of gaming a bit and just enjoy each other.

    • Gordon says:

      Incredibly story. Really happy everything has worked out for you both. I guess sometimes we all just need a wake up call to realise what’s important in our lives. I for one need to make sure I never take my wife for granted and keep her as my number one priority.

  28. [...]  Have fun without drawing wife aggro (another significant problem when you’re trying to get the most out of your waking hours as [...]

  29. Naithin says:

    You can reduce the wife agro by being present when you’re actually spending time with her. Dinner, time outs from gaming, just whenever you are away from the game and with your S/O, don’t be in a rush to depart back to MMO land. Don’t skimp on assisting with the work to rush back to the game, or in any way make it seem spending time with them is a ‘duty’ rather something you actually /want/ to do.

    And then also while playing, go and spend a few minutes here and there talkin’ to your S/O in the downtime that inevitably crops up from time to time, if none is occuring, make an effort to make some. Call an AFK break yourself or just pause before hitting that ‘Queue for Dungeon’ button one more time.

    Again, in those times, even if they’re just brief – it’s likely your partner is doing something of her own anyway – don’t make it /seem/ rushed.

    Master this and wife agro will rather naturally be reduced! :)

  30. Rose says:

    Came across this site through a google search.. I am actually the wife, source of the agro, if you will. Before we met, my husband used to play wow every second of the day that he was not at work. Would skip sleeping except for 2 or 3 hours a night, hopped up on dew to stay awake. His friends (the ones he still had) finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing him good, playing that much, and not doing anything out of the house except for work 40 hours a week. He cut back shortly before we met, and even then would turn down dates on monday and thursday nights. I could never figure out why until his best friend coaxed him out on a group date one thursday night and teased him about how difficult it was to get him to skip a raid. He’s since had to quit wow when we came down on some difficult financial times – we both had to cut a few things to be able to pay the electric bill. He still plays a text-based game and on an EQ character his friend just gave to him (paid for the next 6 months), and even now when he’s home i barely have contact with him. He will ignore his homework (he’s ALMOST done with his online bachelors), and doesn’t help me with hardly any chores. He will only do the laundry if I’m not home and he runs out of work clothes. Our dishwasher is broken and I can only do so much by myself – he also doesn’t cook at all. If I don’t feel like it, or if I’m not home, he’ll eat some cereal or lunch meat and ice cream for dinner. I don’t bother to try yelling anymore, that did more harm that good but it was unintentional. He agrees to do anything if I ask nicely, but then never does it. When I go to confront him, he sincerely apologizes for not having done it, but still doesn’t make much of an effort to do it. Honestly, I work 40 hours a week too and try my best to clean, but the house is an absolute disaster. It’s like having a small child who can’t clean up after himself.

    Please don’t get me wrong – he is a sweet, kind, loving man and when we’re not at home he’s the ideal husband. But you must understand, I’m at my wits end. I’m almost to the point of giving up, and these are games he’s playing that he doesn’t care about! Our money is back where it should be and he’s been BEGGING to get his wow back. What am I supposed to do? How is he going to act when it’s a game he has a passion for and good friends to play with? I thought maybe I’d get an answer from of his fellow gamers..

    • Gordon says:

      Thanks for your very powerful and poignant comment, Rose. I was very moved and affected by it – I want to write a proper full article about gaming addiction and hopefully address some of the concerns you’ve raised or, at least, find other people who can. I have some friends who have suffered from the same thing and it can be a very big problem.

      Unfortunately I’m not qualified to diagnose and help your husband but it does indeed sound like he as a real problem and all I could suggest is that he tries to seek some professional help to get the root of the problem. For instance, I’ve been for cognitive therapy and the likes before (for other issues, not addiction) and it’s helped me tremendously. Don’t underestimate the power of psychiatric help, it might just do the trick.

      Best of luck.

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