This is one column I never thought I'd be writing in to, but I sense trouble brewing on the horizon and I'm not sure how to deal with it.
I recently got married and love that my new husband also plays -- it was one of the draws when we first started dating. I rolled a toon on his server, and joined the guild that belongs to him, his brothers, and one of his male coworkers. I even moved over two of my max level toons, much to the devastation of my siblings, who play on my original server.
The trouble has started with their little used Alliance guild. My hubby wants his Double Agent achievement, and I agreed to make a little alt to play with him even though I have mine already. The boys had their guild, though they all played Horde, and we joined it for the leveling boost. Where the Horde guild is GMed by one of my new brothers-in-law, the Alliance on is GMed by his coworker that I am not overly fond of, and right away there was trouble.
The first problem came when we logged on and I discovered that my rank was Porn Star. This isn't appropriate, period, but my new husband is also a recovering porn addict (something this coworker knows) and it added a whole new level of uncomfortable to the situation. The coworker thought it was hilarious, and wouldn't change it for me until I got my hubby to step in.
Then we discovered we could do nothing with the guild bank. Nothing could be deposited, or withdrawn, and we couldn't invite when my sister rolled a little alt to join us on the server. I asked this coworker to change it, but was again ignored until my husband stepped in.
Now this coworker has taken to calling me "her majesty" and while I'm fairly certain its in jest I know I'm starting to tread a very thin line. The boys don't play the way I do, with me being the much more serious WoW gamer while they play multiple games. I'm understand that, and I'm trying not to cause to many waves in this long established set-up. My husband and I don't flirt in game, for example, because it makes his brothers uncomfortable, and I've been asked (and am trying) by my husband to reign in my game play a bit because my better DPS and healing-- the later being more due to gear than anything-- is upsetting the boys.
But I will not play where I am not comfortable or when it is impossible to play normally. I'm afraid that if something else comes up that the coworker will lose patience with me and it might cause a rift between him and my husband.
How can I deal with such problems in the future to keep the peace?
Drama Mama Lisa: Bad news, Gamer Bride: These guys can't keep up with you. They feel threatened by your gender. They feel threatened by the fact that you have a relationship with your husband that doesn't include them. They feel threatened by your skill and performance in game. All their machinations represent an attempt to regain a sense of control.
Many women would take this situation as inspiration to roar forth beneath the banners of feminism, but I'm not sensing that's quite your style. You can still reclaim your space, though, by doing things your own way. So stop playing their game -- literally.
Trust me when I say that it is absolutely not necessary for gaming spouses to play together. My husband is currently playing an entirely different MMO than I am. Sure, he pounds his chest and bemoans the agonizing deaths that could have been avoided if only I'd been there to heal him, but we chatter about my adventures in Azeroth, too. And we're not alone in cheering one another from our respective fields of play. A quick scan of players interviewed in my 15 Minutes of Fame column shows that a large proportion of these passionate, dedicated players have strong, affectionate relationships with spouses who enjoy their own WoW playstyles and projects.
If you do want to play with your husband, though, there's no reason you should give up your character advancement, love of challenge, or existing relationships to do so. Sit down away from the game with your husband and tell him you miss playing full-tilt. Explain that you're planning to move your advanced characters back to a realm or guild where you can play more seriously; it'll be hard to argue this point in light of his buddies' requests that you hold back and stop showing them up. Come to an agreement with your husband on a partnership of characters to play together, whether that means a duo or a character you'll play with the group only when he's online too.
The important thing is that you help your husband understand that you miss all the parts of your old WoW -- the challenges, the relationships, the things that made it your game -- that are things he wouldn't want to give up from his gaming experience, either. This is part of establishing clear lines of identity in your new marriage. You're preserving your own personal space and pursuits and identity while blending your life with your partner's. It's tricky to find the right balance, but it doesn't have to be an antagonistic process. Be the person you are and the person he fell in love with –- that's the partnership he's really after!
Drama Mama Robin: Gamer Bride, you've got yourself a Bad Friend Dave. A Bad Friend Dave (actual name and gender may vary) is the friend your significant other used to spend a lot of free time with and is now jealous of and meddling into the time he is now spending with you. The phrase "ball and chain" was almost certainly invented by a Bad Friend Dave, as was the concept of being whipped. Most relationships have had to put up with one. In your case, it's your husband's coworker.
It bothers me that you talk of your Bad Friend Dave losing patience with you. He has no patience with you. He's pushing your buttons to make you lose your patience and leave. Which, when it comes to that Alliance guild, I think you should. I know it seems like he wins, and in a way, he does. But you win too. You're not under his power and you can spend that time playing the way you want to, as Lisa suggests.
Explain to your husband that it's obvious from Bad Friend Dave's antics that he would like to spend some more time with him. Suggest that he help your husband get the title instead of you. That way the boys get more time together and you can spend time with your husband in some other ways.
I completely agree with Lisa, that you should play how you want to play, where you want to play. I think jumping in with the Boys' Club was premature (though I would have done and have done the same thing). Finding a guild (your old one with your sisters?) to play your main with should be a high priority.
Do leave an alt to play with the boys as well, if you like. If your alt's gear is still better than the boys' gear, just tell them (or have your husband tell them) that it will just make it easier and faster to gear up everyone else. Don't tell them they're being jealous, it will just make them defensive. Just say you're helping the team. Yay team! And otherwise enjoy your time playing at your level, without Bad Friend Dave and gang.
Good luck and let us know what happens.
Dodge the drama and become the player everyone wants in their group with advice from the Drama Mamas Drama-Buster Guide. Got a question? Email the mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.