The Lost (or Found) Art of Communication

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By Lynn

My first mistake was to hand over my Xbox 360 controller to my husband.

My second mistake was to utter the words, “Can you play for me for a second?” That was the last I heard (or saw) of either of them that night.

Several weeks later, we arrive at PAX East in Boston. I don’t know a soul, aside from my husband. He, on the other hand, is pointing out people left and right. “Oh, that’s ___”; “There’s ___”, etc. I asked him how he knew all these people and his response took me by surprise. He said he’s talked to them during chats online. He’s seen their pictures and played with them on various games. Where was I?? As far as I remember, I was sitting right next to him and I never noticed any of this?

Now, I’m not one of those wives who have to know where my husband is every second of every day. I don’t have to know who he talks to and what he discusses. But how unsettling to learn that he has this whole other universe of people he converses with, shares things with, and spends time with, right under my nose and I don’t know about it!

Gaming is a great way to reach out and meet new people. The anonymity of the internet allows you to be whoever and whatever you want. During the Relationships seminar at PAX East, the panel members discussed how it was a great tool to network and get jobs. They suggested spending up to 5 hours at a time, playing online with clans and chatting in forums in order to get “known”. What happens if you have family?

There’s a fine line between using gaming to reach out to create a virtual family and going overboard by ignoring the family in the same actual room with you. Finding that line will be a personal endeavor. My husband found that line when I told him he’d just crossed it.

After almost 15 years of marriage, I thought I knew just about everything about my husband. Now I learn that he has this whole other realm that does not include me. On the one hand, I feel a little slighted that I haven’t been included in this alternate universe. On the other hand, it piques my interest anew in my husband because there’s a whole new side of him I wasn’t aware of.

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