Guys and games. It seems that for as long as video games have been around, men of all shapes, sizes, and ages have gravitated toward these consoles adjacent to their television screens or logged on to fascinating digital worlds. Call it an escape. Call it a release. Call it whatever you will, but most guys need their video games and will spend hours seemingly stuck in front of their monitors fighting monsters in some far off world.
1. Know the score. Don’t ignore the fact that he’s into games. Find out how much time he really spends gaming and determine if you’re OK with it or not.
A potential problem arises however when a video game-loving guy starts dating. It kind of seems contradictory for the gamer to have a semblance of a life outside the virtual world, but it’s actually doable. Take the case of GP and Madge. They’ve been married for nearly a decade now and have two daughters together. GP has been a hardcore video gamer since the days of the Nintendo Family Computer in the late 1980s and has gradually adapted each popular video game console since. “Yes, she knew I was into video games,” GP says of his better half. “She felt good knowing that if I wasn't out with her, I would just be home playing games, and not going to 'other' places.”
Madge concurs when she says, “I was aware that he was a gaming geek and I loved him anyway (because there is NO other way).” She adds the following, “Here's the deal: You have to know if your boyfriend or hubby is a gaming addict, because that will dictate the success or failure of your relationship.”
2. Make some ground rules. Set some conditions on when he can play games and agree on how much time he can realistically spend to “zone out” for his gaming sessions.
A healthy balance is something that GP and Madge have been working to achieve even while they were still dating. “There was an odd time when I dared GP to choose between me and Super Robot Wars,” Madge relates. “Thankfully, he chose me. As with any relationship, you have to establish boundaries. Like no gaming after midnight—okay, maybe one in the morning.”
For his part, GP shares that for him, his love for video games hasn’t really affected his marriage. However, he says that, “100-hour gamefests like Final Fantasy and Skyrim will really test priorities.” Madge notes that, “I prefer people with a youthful, playful mindset. The kids love it as well. So he plays video games, nothing wrong with it. I think it's charming. Would you rather a husband with white hair talking stocks over dinner? Nope.”
3. Make sure he has his priorities straight. Simply put, he has to know when he should stop playing games. For instance, he can’t delay interacting with you or your kids just so he could play games.
With two active daughters that have strong personalities, GP admits that his video gaming has taken a backseat because of the little ones. “I play less by choice because I'd rather play with my kids, but generally I play when the kids are asleep. Some games, like Rock Band, I play with the kids.” Madge goes into further detail when she says, “We have Unspoken Rules when it comes to gaming and kids: drop everything when the kids want Quality Time. Kids will trump Uncharted any time, any day. No violent games when the kids are up and about. Save it for the time when they're fast asleep. That's 9:30 p.m. onwards.”
Madge stresses that one of the reasons that her marriage to GP has worked is because of their differences. “For a relationship to survive, you each have to cultivate your own interests,” she notes. “Being married does not mean you'll be joined at the hip. So I look at his gaming time as an opportunity for me to do my own thing. I happen to like reading and puttering around after a long, hectic work day. So it works for us, to have our own breathing space.”
4. Accept it and cultivate an interest in it. If gaming is helping him get rid of stress and it’s not disrupting your life, then let him be. In fact, you can ask him to explain what his favorite games are all about just so you know a little bit about them.
GP and Madge are proof that ladies can survive being with someone who loves his video games. A little understanding, some patience, cultivating each side’s interests, and prioritizing their kids has allowed this happy couple to get through the zombies of Resident Evil, the villains of Batman: Arkham City, and even the huge cityscapes of Assassin’s Creed. A final word of advice from Madge states, “Seriously, I encourage it because let's face it: better gaming than a ‘Real Life Player.’ So there.”
Yahoo! Philippines SHE asks Pinays: "How do you deal with your partner's gaming sessions?"
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