Relationships and Video Games
Relationships and Video Games
By: LB Chambers
There have been a few strange articles out there recently having to do with gamers and relationships.
Most of these, to me, seem at best bizarre and at worst insulting.
I realize that we have all been there; it seems like forever since your last real relationship (or in my case, been on a date with someone who doesn’t commit the creepiest of all date faux-pas, trying to lead me by keeping a firm grip on my neck), and reading one of these terrible relationship advice articles begins to sound like a good idea.
If you find yourself skipping down this trail you should probably just stop. Unless it’s this one…
Gotcha (but not really).
Anyhow, this isn’t a dating article per say, more like a self-esteem article for all gamers out there. Because the other day I recognized a terribly sad pattern in the majority of my friends (okay, my male friends) and I found myself having the exact same heart-to-heart three times in the last week.
People, it’s ok to like your video games. It’s ok to love them. So if you’re with someone who makes you feel ashamed of this then perhaps reconsider the relationship.
I’m not saying that any relationship is without it’s hiccups, or even that if you’re in a fantastic one right now with a person who just can’t stand Halo that you need to get out stat, I’m just saying that we are all entitled to our hobbies, our passions, and that video gaming is a legitimate one that need not be hidden.
Perhaps this is something that only happens to gamers , or it’s a west coast thing, or even just to the people who can stand to be around me, but for some reason this appears to be a legitimate problem in my neck of the woods (and Seattle has a pretty healthy gaming community).
As a staff member for GeekGirlCon, I have heard time and time again how so and so “used” to love gaming, or cosplay, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer– but they had to change when they found their significant other.
Now of course I understand that we all give up a little of our extra -curricular activities when we find a person we can’t help but want to be around more, and this is coming from a girl who turned down Captain of my school’s academic decathlon team for a boy- none of us are immune to the pulls of love and lust.
But that isn’t what seems to be happening. There appears to be very real (both direct and indirect) pressure on men and women to abandon “juvenile” hobbies.
One life-long friend of mine (an employee at a major video game company here in Washington and the man who first introduced me to Crash Bandicoot) recently introduced me to his new wife. She seemed perfectly nice, lovely, and kind- until I asked about said friend’s take on the new Resident Evil 6 demo. It was like a switch went off. My friend looked to his wife, then to me and explained that she didn’t like video games and didn’t appreciate people discussing them in front of her. First off, this made me feel like I’d casually brought up my newest porn fascination, or like I was spouting some terrible politically incorrect ideological views. But I brushed it off and moved on.
I asked about his job- and she rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. My friend quickly changed the subject to Christmas plans and she immediate became the nice woman from before.
But I was confused. How could a wonderful man like my friend be with someone who tolerated neither his choice of profession nor his life-long passion just because they were both gaming related?
Within the last couple weeks I’ve had three other very similar experiences, one where my friend Jason* confessed he’d hidden his gaming habits from his fiancé throughout their entire relationship (because she’d listed it as one of her oh-no-no’s on one of their earliest dates) and was nervous that when they combined households she’d would find out.
Another friend of mine confessed the reason we sometimes went months without online matches was because whenever she was in a relationship her dates never approved of her hobby. So she would just disconnect and hide her Xbox.
Another friend (who used to meet me for bi-weekly Magic: The Gathering matches) looked away shyly at her engagement party as her husband-to be assured me that, Nicole* “really wasn’t into those things anymore.”
And worst of all, one of my best friends just threw away his Sega Genesis and Playstation 3 because his new wife refused to allow a gaming console in her house.
Clearly, I’ve had a lot of long talks the last couple weeks.
Which is why I’m writing this article in particular. We all know that if one partner is a die-hard football fan, and the other can’t stand sports, that this is going to put a strain on the relationship. However I rarely hear of men or women simply giving up their past-times in order to avoid this clash of interests.
Perhaps as gamers we are used to people judging us for our interests, or that many of us are wary of conflict and will go out of our ways to avoid it in all forms. Whatever the case may be, if you or someone you know is in such a relationship I ask you to reach out to them. Don’t tell them to break up, but encourage them to make their own decisions and not feel pressured by their partners (mis?) conceptions of what their hobbies are.
I’ve had several friends find gamer/cosplay/overall nerd partners and end up extremely happy (what’s better than always having a second for Left 4 Dead? Or someone to go to The Lord of the Rings Symphony with you?). And I’ve also had friends enter into a relationship with someone who has no interest or knowledge of gaming only to become die-hard gamers themselves (myself having turned four lady friends and two ex boyfriends).
So let’s all just admit that while love is awesome, so is gaming. So why give up one when you can have both?
There are men and women out there who love what you love, wouldn’t it be worth it to find someone you can really share everything with? Even (in my case) a love for fantasy RPG’s and Sly Cooper?
More importantly, if you really love gaming and find yourself just giving it up so you can be with someone, shouldn’t you be asking what next you might be asked to sacrifice?
Or, if they loved you for who you are, would they even ask that of you?
About the Author: Lindsay Belle Chambers (aka LB) is an aspiring children’s book author and illustrator from Anchorage, AK who lives in Seattle with her fiance and pups, Little Bear and Garrus. A past video game journalist, legal assistant, waitress, fundraiser, and events planner LB is a many-chapeau wearing book nerd with the english degree and the book-filled apartment to prove it. When not forging her own professional path, LB enjoys gaming, crocheting, refurnishing free furniture, and running. Favorite things of LB’s are anything by Bioware and Valve, Craig Thompson books, Edward Gorey stories, Beauty and the Beast collectibles, Hercule Poirot with David Suchet, hot chais and cold rain.To read more of LB’s articles (from her journalism days) check out her blog at LadyGaming, and to see her series of children’s books The Jungle of Rawr visit her website.
*not real names
Featured image “I ❤ Controllers” designed by Drea “Pinksage” Avellán.