The number of U.S. gamers may have dipped now that lockdown is over, but there are still plenty of players out there. One couple’s love of gaming went viral after an unfortunate misunderstanding with a “toxic” mother-in-law.
Posting to Reddit’s AITA (Am I the A******?) forum on August 22, user u/True_Tap_5721 shared how their favorite hobby led to accusations of cheating and a secret baby daddy.
Describing she and her husband as “big gaming addicts,” the 27-year-old woman explained their hobby is a “sore spot” for their families who do not like video games. As a result, they have got into the habit of lying about their whereabouts so they can play in peace.
She wrote: “We have gotten in argument about how our hobbies are ‘unacceptable,’ ‘childish’ and that we needed to change. Sundays are known to everyone as the ‘unavailable’ day. We always say we are on [a] date or something, but in reality we are at home getting our weekly gaming quota covered.”
According to a Morning Consult poll, U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 are the biggest gamers, with 25 percent of this group playing for three to six hours a week and nine percent spending over 24 hours a week on gaming. The second most avid gamers were the 35 to 44-year-old age group, with 18 percent playing for three to six hours and six percent for more than 24.
Research by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) explored the benefits of gaming in 2022. Surveying 4,000 Americans, roughly two-thirds played video games—52 percent of men and 48 percent of women—described themselves as gamers.
The ESA also discovered that nine out of 10 players spend the same amount of time gaming as they did at the height of the pandemic. Whether a gamer or not, 97 percent of participants believed benefits were to be found from playing video games, such as enhancing creative, cognitive and communication skills.
However, an earlier study by University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital said that 86 percent of parents surveyed felt their teenagers spent too much time on video games. The national poll revealed that 78 percent of parents viewed it as typical teenage behavior, and believed their children were gaming “as much or less than” others their age.
Although 71 percent felt that video games had a “positive impact” on their teenager, they also had concerns about gaming getting in the way of other activities, such as homework, family and extracurricular activities, and friends.
‘It’s Not Their Business’
Since finding out she is pregnant, her in-laws have been visiting more often than usual. As a result, the couple have reduced their time spent gaming to avoid arguments.
Last Sunday, her husband went to a gaming cafe with some friends, while the poster stayed home and played by herself. Her mother-in-law called her, so she replied with her usual response.
“MIL decided later to call me in the middle of a match, and I suppose I was acting very suspicious because I wanted to end the conversation asap,” she said.
“She asked what I was doing and I replied automatically without thinking that I was on a date with my husband. According to my husband she then later called him and he said that he was at a bar with friends.”
Her mother-in-law came around to the poster’s home, and as she was in the middle of another game, she ignored the woman until it was over.
She wrote: “Afterwards I answered the door and pretended that I was sleeping which is why I wasn’t answering the phone or door.
“MIL exploded at me calling me a cheater and that the child I was pregnant with was not her sons (because otherwise, why would I not answer the door?
“The idea that I would cheat, and that it would even be possible to cheat on my partner was so hilarious to me that I burst out laughing which angered MIL even more.”
The mother-in-law continued to “berate her” until her son came home. She told him that the Redditor is cheating on him, making her husband “visibly confused.”
“[He] confirmed with his mother that there was no possible way for me to cheat on him. He explained how we are together practically every moment of the day and when MIL saw he was not getting on her side proceeded to get mad at me for leading her on. She called me an a****** for pretending to have an affair and never correcting her before she told other people,” she wrote.
Reddit users backed the poster, with her story receiving over 15,000 upvotes and more than 1,000 comments.
“Stop letting this damn woman through your front door,” said notforcommentin2.
“Y’all are grown a** adults,” wrote Merisiel. “You can play video games as much as you want. You don’t have to cower in fear and hide your hobbies like a teenager.”
“Your MIL sounds toxic,” commented stolenbypirates. “You both need to tell your parents that it’s not their business and to keep their opinions on your gaming to themselves.”
While justlookbelow said: “Lying and keeping secrets can be useful in dealing with difficult people, at least in the short-term. But with people that you see often it’s better just to let it all out, if they can’t handle it just see them less.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/True_Tap_5721 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.
If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via [email protected] We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.