I think most people who play MMORPGs are familiar with the concept of spouse aggro. We’ve all either read about it or have experienced the dangers of it first hand. I’m happy to say that Mr. MMOGC and I are fortunate enough to live our lives relatively spouse aggro-free, because we’re both avid gamers.
Nonetheless, we never let our games get in the way of real life obligations like dinner dates, important chores, appointments or outings with friends. We both agree that real life stuff should always take priority. Even so, there are times when one of us will allow the other a certain degree of leniency. For example, if we had a grocery shopping trip planned in the afternoon but he tells me he’s still in the middle of a heroic instance (“I swear, I just need fifteen more minutes to get one more little badge so I can buy epic shoulders!”) I’d be like, no problem, we’ll delay our trip for another half hour or so, it’s not a big deal. It’s because I’ve been there, and I get it. He would be affording me the same courtesy if it was the other way around. There’s no badgering at each other to log off, or grumbling about how video games are nothing but a time suck.
That’s not to say that our gaming habits never cause problems in our relationship. My husband and I were joking about this last night over dinner and had a good laugh over it, but there’s some truth to what I’m about to say. Basically, we do our share of gaming-related bickering, but every time it happens, it’s always about one dreaded thing (cue ominous music) — the “Spousal Leveling Contract”.
Or more specifically, it’s when someone is in breach of it.
Simply stated, the terms of Spousal Level Contract are:
Both parties must maintain at least one character for the purposes of concurrent leveling in each MMORPG applicable to this agreement. Under no circumstances may either party advance said character without the presence of the other, unless prior consent has been conferred. A failure to abide by the terms of this contract will result in reparations in the form of back rubs or any other method of compensation deemed appropriate by the aggrieved party.
We’ve both been quite good at honoring the contract, though I won’t deny it, once in a while someone slips up…and it’s usually me. I acquired a number of infractions with Star Trek Online, for instance, and I blew it big time when I went back to level my old character in Age of Conan, though to be fair I still don’t think that was my fault (I gave plenty of notice, as per the agreement, yet I’m still paying for it big time). Yes, I’ll admit it, between the two of us, I guess I’m the more hardcore one when it comes to gaming. After all, my husband relies on me to pick out his Xbox 360 games for him, he’s usually the one to come to me for gaming advice, he’s always the one who follows me to new games and — ah hell, I have a game blog, enough said.
Anyway, you’ll never catch either of us telling each other “I think you spend too much time gaming and not enough time with me!” but sheesh, say an innocent little thing like, “Sweetie, just so you know I logged in the other day to train my skills and had to kill a few things to get there, so don’t be surprised if I’m ahead of you by a few bars” and boy, do I get an earful!