A Strategy Guide to Dating a Man and His Video Games
If you think video games are a niche hobby, think again. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 63 percent of American households host at least one frequent gamer. And contrary to popular belief, men aren’t the only ones playing with their joysticks. The Association found that 59 percent of gamers are male, 41 percent are female and almost 50 percent range from age 18 to 49. So if you’re actively seeking a partner, there’s a good chance they’re into playing games … video games, that is.
To assist in this probable circumstance, we spoke with a few gamers and dating experts for their cheat codes to a successful relationship.
The Ultimate Guide to Dating a Gamer
Try to Make Gaming a Mutual Activity
Gamers aren’t the antisocial basement dwellers often portrayed in the media. They’re regular people who don’t mind having others involved in the gaming experience. In fact, for a gamer like Matt, 23, from New Jersey, a partner with a receptive attitude toward gaming is rare, and therefore, incredibly valued.
“My partner once told me that she doesn’t mind when I game when we’re together because she knows how passionate I am about it,” he says. “It’s one of the only things that I truly love and care about, and her understanding that is really special to me.”
Matt’s partner Kelly doesn’t understand the appeal of video games, but he says her empathy toward his interests have taught him if you support the passions of the people you love, your relationship with them will grow exponentially.
“Obviously, there can be some tension with a partner who’s a gamer, but that would be the same for any hobby if it was taking away time [together],” says Hunt Ethridge, dating coach and professed gamer. “For me personally, it works out well. My wife loves to read and play around on her phone, so we both like to snuggle and do our respective hobbies next to each other and chat. I love the fact that we are both doing something we love, and still talk and joke around with each other.”
Ethridge says that if one partner doesn’t like to play video games, many titles offer gripping storylines that makes spectatorship just as entertaining. He offers titles like The Wolf Among Us, Life Is Strange and Beyond: Two Souls to illustrate his point.
“They’re more like graphic novels/movies than actual games, so there is an interesting plot line, characters, and interest to a non-gaming partner,” he notes. “You can continuously work your way through the game together.”
Matt and Kelly will watch gaming live streams together on Twitch, and are particularly fond of broadcasts by CDNthe3rd. “He often hosts ‘movie nights,’ where he plays a single player game’s story mode,” describes Matt, who will make nachos and pour wine for the occasion. “It’s like watching a stand-up comic narrate an interactive movie. It’s a free, fun source of entertainment that Kelly and I both enjoy.”
Like a binge-worthy series, you can play the game whenever you’re with your partner so that neither of you will miss a single sequence, embarking on the adventure together. For a wider library of games that are just as fun to watch as they are to play, Sterling, a 31-year-old gamer from the Netherlands, recommends the Girlfriend Reviews YouTube channel.
Be Teammates, Not Opponents
If you’re open to gaming with your partner, gamers recommend you play co-op, so you work toward a common goal rather than against each other. “We love remote co-op games like Borderlands,” says Benjie, a 31-year-old gamer from Toronto. “Having nights in and playing games together has always been a big part of our romance. Some couples might snuggle and watch movies – we snuggle and blow up aliens.”
Benjie and his boyfriend Jasper have regular date nights where they’ll stage the living room for gaming, moving their couch closer to the TV, flicking on some mood lighting and diving right into the latest co-op game that’s captured their interest.
Based on gamer testimony, Diablo 3, Minecraft, and Overcooked are all entertaining co-op games, with Borderlands and its sequels deemed most popular. If these don’t appeal to you, there are many other co-op titles available across all platforms.
Things for Gamers to Consider When Dating
As with many things, gaming is best done in moderation. Amongst the gamers quoted here, the weekly hours dedicated to their consoles range from two to 30. As gaming addiction is not entirely uncommon, it’s important to keep yourself or your partner in check by communicating regularly.
“Gaming has definitely caused a few issues in our relationship that were mostly due to me being selfish or unappreciative,” admits Matt. During the beginning of their relationship, he and Kelly were long distance, making the time they had together especially valuable. “One weekend, she took time out of her busy schedule to visit me for a day, and a half and I wasted a third of her visit gaming.”
When she left, Matt missed her terribly, feeling guilty for how inconsiderate he was. This shaped his future behavior. “You’re bound to have a few issues during a relationship as long as ours, but it could’ve easily been avoided,” he admits. If you think your gaming is getting out of hand, it’s not a bad idea to start logging your hours.
“[Gamers] will invariably play more than you expected,” says Huntridge. “And that’s fine as long as it doesn’t impinge on your time together. Any activity or hobby can be troublesome or addictive if it takes over too much.”
Christian, a 24-year-old gamer from Rochester, agrees. “Gamers need to realize that they can’t dedicate all of their time to gaming once they start dating,” he says. “Your time is now going to have to involve the other person, and you won’t be able to spend hours playing games anymore and that’s a tough transition for both members. The non-gamer has to realize that there will be a time where the gamer has to learn how to change their habits, and can’t expect change to happen immediately.”
Sometimes, Huntridge believes gamers can be judged by their partners unfairly, many of whom say gaming is a waste of time. “These are the same people that stare at their phones for four hours straight, or binge the entire season of ‘The Bachelor’ without thinking anything of it,” he says.
There are so many types of gamers out there – retro gamers, online gamers, MMO gamers, professional gamers, console gamers, PC gamers— each with their own identity. Because of that, Huntridge recommends that non-gamers take some time to learn about their partner’s type of gaming to better understand the hobby.
Whether you want to join in or not, gaming has a lot to offer couples. Embrace what you can tolerate, and communicate what you can’t. What you shouldn’t do? Expect someone to drop gaming entirely.
You wouldn’t ask a sports fanatic to stop watching sports, would you? It’s no different with gaming – one just happens to be more socially accepted than the other.
Are you ready to play?
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