[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Wives and Girlfriends

My last couple articles have been about the average guy and the average trip to the store. Someone had to pipe up, talking about the ladies in the lives of gamers, and both being one and knowing them, I had to take on the challenge.

I’m going to do this anyway, so nyah.

I want to make some important points here: I am talking in general terms, and I am talking about what I have seen.

For the most part, wives are thrilled their husbands have hobbies; especially ones that get them out of the house NOW AND THEN. Wives are usually pretty understanding about the need for playing with “little toy men”- while they may not personally understand the point or get why it is fun; they DO understand that it is important therapy to maintain sanity. I have MANY wives who send their husbands off to me with their blessing and talk about how my shop helps keep their marriage sane and happy.

How does this happen, you ask? I’m here to help!

The reason this works in most cases is two fold. One, the wives in question have their OWN hobbies and are equally encouraged to enjoy their past times. This is a very important part of the equation. Dudes who do not smile and nod while their wife shows them their newest knitted blanket or give their wife time for her own pursuits is probably not going to get this treatment. Guys, make sure that even if the soap making is weird and takes up the kitchen that you appreciate her and her work, or you will be sad later.

The other part is that their relationship is based on things like trust and honesty. (I was going to say that it was based in reality, but that seemed harsh.) Good relationships where BOTH parties feel secure and loved are going to garner this kind of reaction from their partner much more than ones with insecurity or jealousy. If for any reason whatsoever, there are concerns about truthfulness, the likelihood of going out to do ANYTHING is lower, not just hobby stuff.

A couple of real and sad situations as examples: Guy A was underemployed and his wife was working full time and going back to school. He would tell his wife he was out applying for work or watching their child, but instead be at the store. This did not go over well when she discovered his actions. His subsequent trips to the store were under scrutiny because he hadn’t been truthful, and he was miserable a lot of the time. In my opinion, he did this to himself.

Guy B is in a relationship with a woman who had an incredibly warped sense of reality. She saw literally every interaction he had with another female as an attack on herself or their relationship. With the exception of his mother and his sister, she questioned *every single* woman he knew on Facebook and why he had them as friends. It was relentless. He rarely came in the store, and when he did it was just for a few minutes each time. He made the mistake of mentioning my name after one such visit, and she proceeded to call the store and attempt to interrogate me as to why a MARRIED WOMAN would be interacting with her significant other. While he certainly chose to be in this relationship, he has not done anything to generate this paranoia. He is not untruthful to her and he works hard to provide for her. Her unhinged situation negatively impacts his ability to enjoy his rare free time, and he has drastically reduced his visits since the occasion I mentioned.

I did say NOW AND THEN. I don’t have a real hard and fast rule on how much is too much time at the game store. I am not in your relationship and I don’t know if you are avoiding doing something you said you would, or if your wife wants more time with you, or anything like that. YOU have to be an adult and figure out what works for YOU. Sometimes that is once a week and sometimes it is once a month. Some guys it is more and some it is less. I can’t say, but make sure you know what works best for you and your family. You are smart guys and can make those decisions.

There are situations and times when no matter how loving, supportive and trustworthy you are, going to the hobby store is NOT A GOOD IDEA.

1- When you are newly seriously dating someone. For the most part, when you are trying to establish a new relationship, there’s an expectation that you spend your spare time with that person. Now, I know a couple guys that absolutely made it clear that hobby was inviolate and any attempts to squash it would be met with an abrupt end to the relationship. If that’s your deal, cool; I’m just passing on the standard understood information. Gaming is usually something that slowly gets added back into your life, so the SO can’t say they didn’t know you had a hobby; and so you don’t lose your mind.

2- Important days like holidays, birthdays, etc. Again, there is always a guy who hangs out with us because his in-laws are terrible or whatever, but for the love of all that is sane and holy, don’t come to my store on your wife’s birthday unless SHE IS OK WITH IT. I will NEVER hear the end of it, and it isn’t my fault.

3-When there is major surgery or illness involved. No matter how easy and outpatient it is, if your wife had surgery today, STAY HOME with her. Don’t come to the store; because I WILL hear about it and again, I didn’t do this, YOU did. Same for major illness like cancer or a massive car accident. Take care of your wife and family, and let us do what we can to help you. (Like raise money or send care packages.)

4- When you have had a baby recently. Yes, I want to see your darling; so bring him/her/them in to visit. But make sure you are taking care of that baby and the baby’s MOTHER. Babies are exhausting and the physical recovery is not an easy thing to do, so please make sure you are doing your part. You will have lots of time after the baby is bigger to come in and hobby. Heck, some guys bring their little ones with them in strollers or carriers, and get a game in that way.

5- When money or time is tight and the store is a temptation to spend either.  I have plenty of guys who can come in and not spend money. I have a lot of guys who can come in and not spend a lot of time. If either one is something you struggle with, and you and your wife/girlfriend/SO have agreed that you should try to avoid the store because of it, then AVOID THE STORE. If you are moving across the country tomorrow and you aren’t packed or haven’t picked up the moving van yet, why are you at my store? If you don’t have cash but the newest whatsit is shiny and you want it, either say no to buying it or don’t come in. Don’t torture yourself or me. I understand. I really do.

Now, get out of the house and game!

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