Thoughts on Gaming and Relationships


All things considered, a relationship is one of the more difficult things about being a gamer.  If one’s significant other isn’t a gamer, themself, there are all kinds of stereotypes and hang-ups to work past.  Perhaps perversely, having a gamer for a significant other isn’t always much better.

Let’s first talk about non-gamers as significant others.  If you’re lucky enough to have one that understands—or, perhaps rather, accepts—your enjoyment of the hobby, good on you, then.  For the rest of us, well—some have heard some variation of this: “What does your video game have that I don’t?”

Many of those gamers have thought something like this: Enjoyment at the push of a button…?  A select few have actually been stu—er, careless enough to say such a thing out loud.  The lucky few of those are shown just how a “button” can be found on the significant other, while the majority of those find themselves in an argument about not being able to find “buttons” in the first place (kids, ask your parents on that one—but don’t mention me when you do).

Extremes aside, most gamers with non-gamer significant others have to go through conversations about why the gamer likes this or that game.  It’s hard to say why an F.P.S. fan likes the newest Halo, for example.  You get into how Halo: Reach is a prequel, but tries to craft an interesting story around the war between the humans and the Covenant—and you get a blank stare.  If they’re trying to be nice, they might ask, “The—Covenant.  That’s—that’s the—bug—umm—things…?”  There are similar conversations for other games, of course.  They’re trying to at least be accepting of the hobby they don’t understand, so it’s hard to fault them.

Then you have something like P.A.X., which isn’t exactly easy to explain to a non-gamer, either.  You can try the short-and-straight route: You can just say that P.A.X. is a three-day gaming extravaganza which also raises a ton of money to help children—and you’ll usually at least get some equivalent of a thumbs-up for the raising-money-for-kids factor.  Why you’d think spending three days straight playing video games is beyond them.

Again, all of that doesn’t apply to every non-gaming significant other.  Some don’t “get” the hobby but accept that the gamer loves the heck out of it, and that’s enough.  Some actually “get” it pretty well, and accept that it just isn’t for them.  With any luck, though, the above examples are the exception, not the rule.

So, now we turn to the other side of the coin—the gamer significant others.  These relationships come with their own potential issues.  For example, if you have dissimilar tastes in video games, but you only have one console—I’ve seen plenty of arguments start over that one.  Then there’s when you do like the same genres, but don’t both like certain titles.

Both might be F.P.S. fans, but one might adore the newest Halo, to stick with that example, and the other think it was terrible.  There’s a “console” war for you.  Having dissimilar tastes makes being in a relationship with a gamer almost as much of field of land-mines as with a non-gamer.

One could really run down as long a list of extreme examples for the potential issues with a gamer significant other as with a non-gamer significant other, but one really gets the point by now.  Once again, though, nothing is really applicable to every significant other.  Extremes are notable because they are extremes.  That’s what what makes them interesting to think about, to talk about.  Hopefully, we just remember to enjoy the company of our significant others more than our hobby, whether it’s something they “get” or not.

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