This Might Be Why Couples Argue and Don’t Break Up

In My Girlfriend Does Not Play Video Games, The Gaming Community on July 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

It’s something of a commonly-held fallacy that gamers should date gamers.  Perhaps as the logical extension of “having so much in common,” gaming is most definitively a lifestyle that includes the desire to surround one’s self with gamers, up to and including your potential love interest.  It hardly seems like a problem, sharing the hobby and its associated costs and basking in mutual achievement with one so intimate.

It is a bad idea, make no mistake.  As to why, that can be boiled down to a single gaming-related reason and one generic reason.

Yes, you will both share an interest in gaming, but no, you will not be exactly alike.  Very rarely do multiple expressions of the same topic conform to each other, and gaming is no different.  You may enjoy one genre and your spouse another; you may play for fun while they play to win; you may play at set intervals through the week while they go through marathon sessions lasting days.  Then there may be logistical problems, and even if you are the best at sharing and caring, imagine this: you care little for Final Fantasy, but be prepared to lose access to your console and your love life upon its release.  Resentment, I think, might just ensue, and not unreasonably.  And hopefully, one of you will have the restraint to reserve some of the gaming fund for food and rent.

Conversely, think back to the periods of greatest growth in your life, when you learned the most and broadened your horizons.  People do not experience growth because they are happy with where they are and content with their lot, and I guarantee you that any time you experienced this, you started out unhappy.  With that unhappiness, you affected a change in your life, unsatisfied with the status quo, and found yourself someplace new.  With both people in a relationship so similar in taste, neither one will truly challenge the other, and you’ll have fully explored the extent of your relationship on minute one.  You may keep it fresh and interesting with each successive game release that interests both of you, but just imagine what you’ll have to do when the power goes out.

This is a big reason why I am both happy with my relationship and unwilling to force her to imbibe each of my interests.  I still sneak off to play, basking in that illicit joy of truly indulging in my divergent tastes. I force myself to find ways to approach her with particularly poignant or impactful moments in gaming, not confusing lack of interest in gaming for a lack of interest in myself.  For her part, she humors me nicely and shows a genuine interest when I stand up and allow her to take notice of such things.  That I don’t get to game all of the time  has shifted my priorities and made me seek out material that is truly deserving of the time I will allot to it, and I enjoy the time I do spend gaming doubly so.

Our differences have forced a deep introspective upon me as I examine my hobby for it’s worth, and I have found more than I ever would have expected.

For my part, I engage my girlfriend In ways that challenge her worldview, primary because I am part of a generation for which electronic entertainment, long-distance friendships and the internet as serious business is fact.  When a law comes up attempting to regulate the internet or discredit blogging as investigative journalism, she learns how much I value freedom and accountability, as well as the fear in our leaders’ eyes when they realize everything they’ve said is out there and they can never, ever get rid of it.

Ages ago, in a summer years since past, my friend Galen had stayed in my apartment for a spell.  Being one of those long-distance friendships, we decided to take things to the next level with a period of intense, face-to-face interaction.  So he came over from California, and we gamed.  Sure, I showed him the city and a few sights and restaurants, but being that he was staunchly anti “touristy crap,” my options were limited.  Thus, we gamed.

Somehow it came up in conversation that my girlfriend didn’t play games, and didn’t quite understand the appeal of whatever we were doing at the time.  Galen, ever diplomatic and quite the charmer, uttered something to the effect of, “Duh, you should get into gaming!” before resuming his quest for bluer sparks and doubled dashes.

The remark was undoubtedly callow and unthinking, and he certainly won no points with my girlfriend that day.  Do prospective relationships find their value solely through gaming for gamers?  Is the quest for their happiness so narrow that they must find someone else who games, else their worth is diminished?

I have been with my girlfriend for over seven years, engaged to marry for over four, and I can’t imagine the worth of that being affected by her not gaming with me.  Other people have not been so lucky.  Most would not consider it to be the worst thing in the world, to find their lifelong companion who’s greatest transgression is sharing none of your interests.

And because one of my friends who have actually married into a gaming relationship reads this, let me just say: you don’t think that a girl, born into the British holding of Hong Kong, who lived through its transfer to China, who has spent time in Japan and Australia, really counts as being too similar to you, do you?  And I’ve seen you guys fight for difference of opinion, so really, you guys should be fine.

  1. I agree. I think insisting that a spouse share the same interests is a knee jerk reaction, done because we panic when someone doesn’t like what we do. We want them to like it because that’s how we defend it. I feel a successful mate must be similer enough to be familier, but different enough to be interesting. Though I admit on occasion to wondering if I really desire a long term life partner; I find that I do the ‘alone’ thing well and often find that I wary of constant contact, pushing it away when tired, and this is something that would be unfair to do to a sentient being whose only crime is caring about me.
    I apologize if this comes off as emo, it was meant to be quietly contemplative.

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