Both male and female gamers are susceptible to spousal criticism, and it can create a major rift in your relationship. If you’ve found yourself in a relationship with someone who openly dislikes your favorite hobby, what should you do?
In this article, we’ll discuss common issues related to gaming disputes in relationships as well as ways you can discuss your hobby with your partner.
The Stigma of Gaming
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding video games. Gamers are seen as lazy, unproductive, and unsocial, but this is rarely true any more. As the gaming industry grew, so did the necessary level of skill to play competitively. Many games require people from all walks of life and talents to work together toward a common goal.
Some of the best gamers aren’t mechanically skilled but can see the game from a unique perspective and talk their team through improving their style. Others are “spreadsheet gamers” who keep track of everything their guild is doing in a way to increase productivity on a level that changes the overall aspect of the game. People are often integrating true “real life” talents into their game-play, which gives them a leg up over their opponents.
In reality, gaming can often be a “more productive” hobby than other “respectable pastimes,” such as watching TV or reading novels.
There are potential gaming issues, and addiction is a common one. Addicts have a hard time separating from the game to manage real-life tasks or spend time with their loved ones. Addiction can lead to health and mental problems and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For more information, read our article, Gaming Addiction – Symptoms, Treatment, and Finding Balance.
Why is Your Partner Angry about Your Gaming?
If you are unsure of the answer, sit down to talk to them about their concerns. They may genuinely be concerned about you or wish that they could spend more time with you. Some have been taught that gaming is “evil” and can make people more aggressive (again see gaming addiction). Whatever it is, the first step is to find the underlying issue so that you can address it.
Here are a few common concerns and how you can address them:
Gaming Concern 1: Gaming is Childish or Unproductive
If your partner is willing, show them your game and walk them through what you do. Explain the skills you have received from playing (creativity, quick-thinking, typing skills, organization, etc.). Show them how your hobby is productive in relaxing you and in skill-building.
Gaming Concern 2: Gaming Takes Up Too Much Time
The time-sink of gaming is probably the most common complaint by partners. If this is your partner’s complaint, honestly look at yourself and your play-schedule. Are you spending too much time playing games? Does your partner have to do extra chores or responsibilities to make up for your gaming-time? Are you neglecting your friends and family to game?
Consider cutting your gaming time to spend more time with your partner and people that you care about. You can even ask if they would be interested in gaming with you. For ideas, read our post, How to Turn Your Girlfriend into a Gamer. If they are feeling lonely, maybe they want to be included.
Gaming Concern 3: Gaming Makes You Aggressive
Is this true? Do you seem more aggressive after you’ve gamed for a while? If you have frequently been more angry, emotional, or frustrated after a gaming session, you may need to take a step back and reevaluate. While it is easy to become excited at the moment, your game-life should never negatively impact your real-life and those relationships. Apologize to your partner, then take steps to fix it.
If you don’t become aggressive or frustrated from gaming, clarify that with your partner. Ask them if they can give you an example of negative behavior from your gaming. If they can’t, let them know that you are always willing to listen to them if something does change. Explain that you aren’t affected in that way and that you use gaming as a way to relax with friends.
Video games have been accused as a cause for school shootings since Columbine. While there is no link between gaming and the shootings, the idea has been argued and believed in some circles. Sometimes gaming can relieve the stress of people, and they will become less aggressive. Ask your partner to look at you and your actions and base their thoughts on that.
Gaming Concern 4: Sexualization of Women in Games
The complaint about women’s dress or behavior in games is more common than you think. While male characters are given full armor, female characters are placed in skimpy, revealing outfits. This has become a meme and most people are aware of it and laugh it off.
If this is the primary concern of your partner, don’t laugh it off or criticize them for their feelings. Instead, try to get to the root cause of their worry and work through it. Try to find a compromise by playing only male characters or games with more female coverage. Many factors could influence this frustration, and some may require counseling.
Gaming Attributed to Divorce Rates
Divorce rates due to gaming have increased to at least 15%. While it may not be the only issue in the marriage, it was a large enough issue to be cited. If your mind understands this and you seem willing enough to forsake your relationship because of a game, take a step back and re-evaluate your priorities.
If you are married, chances are that you faced your spouse and promised to prioritize them. What has changed since that day? We greatly doubt that anything is entirely your fault or their fault. If you can see a way to fix things with your spouse, make that a priority. Marriages, relationships, and friendships should always be prioritized a game. Don’t let someone you love go due to pixels on a screen.
What Does Your Partner Do While You Game?
Ask them what they are doing while you game. Are they doing extra work to make up for your gaming or are they relaxing in their own way? If they are relaxing, remind them that your game is a hobby. You game for entertainment purposes in the same way they watch their favorite television show. As long as you are fully engaged in helping around the house and interacting with your partner, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Make Sure to Interact with Your Partner
What things do you and your partner do together? What do you have in common? Have you neglected those things? Take your partner on a date or spend quality time together regularly. If they know how much you value them and your activities together, they will be less frustrated when you return to your gaming hobby.
Fully Explain Your Reason For Gaming
Explain why you love gaming with your partner. Does it boost your confidence? Are you more relaxed? Do you like to organize 25 chests? Does the story element of the game speak to you? Do you feel nostalgic about earlier times in your life?
Ask if they can relate to that feeling and what they do to reach the same outcome. Sometimes this simple understanding is all it takes to fix this rift in your relationship.
Be Honest and Don’t Hide Your Gaming
Don’t try to avoid the issue by hiding your gaming or lying that you’ve stopped. If and when they find out that you’ve lied to them, it will damage your relationship – sometimes beyond repair. Always be honest with your partner and work through other issues as they arise.