This seems to be a conversation I’ve had many times before. Whether it’s a female friend complaining over a manicure or a guy friend asking for some insight, video game playing can be a make or break topic when it comes to a relationship. So, without further ado I’ve compiled some do’s and don’ts based on personal experience (let’s just say I’m listening to the destruction noises of Call of Duty while I type this) and feedback from others. Hopefully you—and your significant other—will find them useful. Also, awhile I’m sure there are some couples out there where these gender roles are reversed, I’m mostly going to refer to the typical boy loves games, girl loves boy relationship.
Tell her to find a hobby of her own.
She may just find something to do, and my dear, it won’t be you. You may not mean it to be degrading, but it almost comes off as such. Saying this makes it sound like she has nothing better to do than wait around for you to finish. That is not the case; she is just interested in spending some quality time with you. Even if she seems to be nagging you need just remember that her interest isn’t in you quitting something you enjoy, she just wants you to enjoy some time with her.
Allow game playing to define you in her mind.
There are a few ways to avoid this. The best way is to avoid the image of you sitting on the couch, knee deep in virtual slaughter when she first gets home from work. You may have just sat down, but it appears to her that you’ve been sitting there all day doing nothing. This image is very hard to erase and she may think your playing way more than you actually are. Also, while your out remember to talk about other things you enjoy other than the dragon you killed in Skyrim. You should feel comfortable talking to her about your hobby, but I promise you she doesn’t care how big a kill streak you had last night. Seriously.
Fall into the comparison trap. Don’t say things like, “But my friend ______ plays twice as much as I do”.
This is not about them. And they are most likely single. You will be too if you continue to answer her concerns this way. Passing the blame does not make your actions any more acceptable to her. Honestly, this rule doesn’t fly in any argument so why would you use it here. She’s with you and not with him for a reason. Remember that your special before comparing yourself to someone else.
Acknowledge her concerns and come up with a plan.
I know it’s a big shock, but chicks like to talk things out. Acknowledge that she’s upset, and talk about it. If you pretend there isn’t an issue it will only fester and grow until it explodes all over your living room. Ask questions: Is it how much you play? When you play? What would she rather you do together? Showing that you care about her opinion, and are taking it into consideration, will do wonders and possibly open up more time for you to play in the long run.
Make your honest opinion and “ok” zone known.
Don’t sugar coat it. If you want to play for hours on end that’s your right—but she needs to know that’s how you feel. Are you ok playing 4 hours on week nights? Put that out there and come up with a plan. Setting time limits like 5p-9p for game play will allow her to make other plans and know what she’s getting into.
Plan activities that involve something she is interested in.
Switch off planning a special date night once a month. Make the effort to plan an outing that she is interested in. After a bit of time sharing interests you might be able to convince her to try a game she might like as well. Just remember you might have to curb your taste of headshots in order to sway her into your side. Games that involve teamwork will work best, and that flies for Little Big Planet as much as it does for Resident Evil 5. Showing an active interest in what she likes will help balance out your issues and even open you both up to new experiences!
So remember, when you’re getting ready to spend the rest of the night getting yelled at by 12-year-old’s don’t forget the woman (or man) you love. Plan some time to spend together, make sure she doesn’t think games own your life, and for love of god don’t yell at her like one of those 12-year-old’s. Relationships are about compromise, and if you play your cards right she might be helping you with those Portal 2 multiplayer maps rather than sending you to the couch for a night alone.
This article was written by Jenna Hagerich, a marketing professional and long time girlfriend to a gamer. More articles written by her can be found on her blog, Life In Jenneral.