So, I wanted to do something a little bit different today, and I hope you’ll indulge me in a somewhat more personal post than usual.
Today is the third anniversary of my marriage to my wife Andie, you see, so I thought it would be nice to show her some appreciation, what with said anniversary falling on Waifu Wednesday and all. After all, what better waifu is there than an actual wife?
That was a rhetorical question!
Something as personal as this is, believe it or not, relevant to what I do here at MoeGamer. As longtime readers will know, MoeGamer is all about acceptance, positivity and celebrating the things you enjoy — even if those things are unpopular, unfairly treated or otherwise… a little off the beaten track. And this concept relates to the story I want to tell today.
The anniversary I’m celebrating today is actually the anniversary of my second marriage. My first marriage… well, it was one of those relationships that started as something of a fairy-tale romance, but over time, the reality of the situation — the fact that we simply weren’t particularly compatible with one another — set in, with unhappiness leading both of us to become less communicative and less tolerant. In my ex’s case, she became particularly intolerant of my love for video games.
I don’t blame her or anything; we both had our faults, and mine stemmed from the difficulty I have communicating with people “in real life” at the best of the times, which was exacerbated by the unhappiness we were both feeling. Consequently, I found myself withdrawing more and more into the worlds of fantasy I enjoyed so much through gaming when, of course, I should probably have been trying to figure out what the problems were and how to fix it. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Anyway, the period after we separated in 2010 was… a rather dark one, to say the least. My already fragile mental health took a nosedive, my employment and financial situations were in shambles and I found myself having to move back home to live with my parents — something which I found mortifyingly embarrassing at the time, but which, in retrospect, I will always be grateful to them for allowing me to do.
I don’t wish to dwell too much on that dark time because that’s not what today’s post is about. Today’s post is about what happened to me after that time. I was starting to rebuild my life somewhat — I’d started working freelance for GamePro on an occasional basis, a gig that would subsequently become full-time due to the talent I discovered for writing engaging news stories that pulled in good amounts of traffic without being clickbait shit; I was starting to get my money together again; and perhaps most importantly for me at the time, I’d built up a good support network of people around me through social media.
Part of that support network was Andie. We’d spoken online a bit and even met in person a few times previously due to the fact we both participated in a local (to where I lived before moving back home) Twitter meetup affectionately called the “Tuesday Tweetup”. Said meetups brought together a bunch of people from a wide variety of different backgrounds, and we’d hang out, drink, eat food and occasionally do “something” like go to the park together.
On one particular occasion, I was planning to attend one such meetup secretly. I forget exactly why — I think it might have been to surprise someone for their birthday or something — but, without going into too many details, the way the evening concluded surprised me somewhat, as after that Andie and I were “an item”, as it were.
Our relationship developed as a long-distance one from there. She was in a similar situation to me in terms of living at home and looking to move back out again, so we had common ground to talk about. Most importantly for me, she accepted who I was — my nerdy interests, my insecurities about my appearance, my personality and… well, pretty much everything, really — and it had become clear we definitely wanted to be together. We moved in with one another partway through 2011.
Andie was never what I’d call a big gamer or anything, though she played a few games on PC and had previously owned several consoles including a Wii, Xbox and PS2. To my surprise, one day she expressed an interest in my then-current obsession: Final Fantasy XIV. She took to it surprisingly well for someone who had never played an MMO before and, after some initial anxiety over challenging content like Turn 5 of the Binding Coil of Bahamut — which, in its original incarnation, I don’t blame anyone for being reduced to tears by — found herself happily participating in endgame content. Now she plays more than I ever have done!
Final Fantasy XIV is particularly relevant to this whole story because it’s where I proposed. The game had recently introduced in-game marriages, so I saw it as an ideal opportunity to pop the question that had been on my mind for quite some time. I let some of my guildmates know beforehand to ensure that the event was treated as something actually important rather than something that was just supposed to be silly and fun — many people get “married” in MMOs just as an excuse for an enjoyable social occasion… that and the cool items you get as a bonus — and prepared myself. I even went so far as to compose a “speech”, which it transpired I had to deliver in text against a fairly tight time limit due to the way in-game marriages are implemented in Final Fantasy XIV.
Well, you already know the outcome to this story given the nature of what I’ve already described, but it was a pretty awesome occasion — if surprisingly nerve-wracking to “say” such things while “surrounded” by friends from all over the world. Even more so knowing that it was being streamed on Twitch and recorded for posterity — thanks, Cyra!
Since then, like any couple we’ve of course had our own challenges to deal with — but we’ve stood by one another for the three years we’ve been married (and several more prior to that) and I don’t intend that to change any time soon. It’s a wonderful feeling to know someone has your back, accepts you for who you are and believes in you, even at those times when you don’t believe in yourself.
Thanks for listening. Business as normal will resume tomorrow; I just wanted to share this today. Oh, and if you’re wondering… I’m the one in the red.
More about Final Fantasy XIV
If you enjoyed this article and want to see more like it, please consider showing your social support with likes, shares and comments, or become a Patron. You can also buy me a coffee if you want to show some one-time support. Thank you!