Men can be thoughtless, trouble causing, annoying, ignorant, rude, mean, SARCASTIC and everything else. They cause us women such pain and torment but many of us just can't live without them. On the other hand they can be loving, sweet, romantic, giving, funny, SEXY, helpful, the list is endless. Of course all of these traits relate to both sexes. Men, as have women, have changed over time and it seems we are finally facing our first generation of male adults with computers and gaming as a leisure option. Of course many of our dads had access to our PC's or Nintendo but they didn't grow up with them, use of these devices didn't come natural to them. Many X and Y generation males have grown up with these devices and the gaming and Internet addiction has continued on to adulthood. I am not limiting computer gaming addiction to just males, many females enjoy a good game too, we all know about my Diamond Dash addiction and I once spent days on end exhausting all of The Sims games. I remember as a child before the invention of facebook, my parents spending most nights together on the couch watching TV and cooking tea together. Although dad always spent more time sitting down watching TV while mum ran around like mad in the advertisements. Their hobbies were crafts or outdoor activities and there was no way you could watch your favourite TV show illegally, you had to wait for it come on TV each week.
As a girl engaged to a 'serious computer game and all things nerdy' addict I thought I would share some tips to make life easier. After all we can't really base our relationship on our parents as there is nothing to go off and if you do you might become a nagging annoying partner and things probably wont last long. Alex and I actually split up two years ago and part of the reason was I think my inability to accept him as he is and his inability to understand how some of his actions affected me. We now have the perfect combination of everything and we manage a lot better. We live quite separate home lives, we each have our own computers in separate rooms and two TV's.
So first rule, don't interrupt your man when he is gaming. Alex plays one particular game on his PC which runs for around 40 minutes. He wears his headphones and sometimes I hear him nearly screaming at the people he is playing with, he is intensely focused clicking away like crazy. If I interrupt during this game he ignores me and gets irritated with me. What I have to understand is that for him, any distraction during this game could mean losing the game. Yes some of you might think well that's just pathetic, a relationship should always come first, but I am pretty sure if I interrupted Alex with a life of death situation he would forgive me, however, everything else can wait 40 minutes. If I need to talk to him, I either go into the 'study' (which I have renamed 'The Magical Room', at least for Alex it is) and say come see me when you're done or leave a note on his desk. And sure enough every time he does and there isn't a problem. The sooner you can accept that this is your man's choice of hobby the better off you will be. Just do whatever you can to make it work. As long as Alex is pulling his weight around the house, has a reasonably healthy lifestyle with a job and a social life I really have nothing to worry about. We all have our choice leisure activities. This is just how much Alex pulls his weight around the house these days, cooks tea most nights and cleans up 50% of the time as well, folds towels, puts washing out or the machine on if I ask, puts all rubbish and bins out, mows the lawn (this one requires a fair bit of nagging), neatens the bed if I ask plus heaps more I can't even think of. That is way more than my dad ever did around the house. Tip: most men just require you to ask, they don't see the things needing doing.
Secondly develop your own addictions or things you love doing. For me I have heaps of TV shows I watch, games I play, books I read so when Alex is gaming this is what I am doing. The only thing I try not to do is household chores when Alex is off doing his gaming thing, otherwise I do tend to get a little resentful but I am still working on this one. If you're really keen start playing the same games this will cancel out Rule 3 altogether. I am not that keen, although Magical Cards does look pretty interesting.
Thirdly, living these separate lives does mean we need to schedule time together and find things we love doing together. Unlike our parents who spent incidental time together watching TV or doing puzzles (yes my parents did puzzles) we don't often have these incidental moments. We do try and find a TV show we both like but we have to be committed to only watching it when are together. With TV at your fingertips these days (shh) it can sometimes be difficult to not just keep watching episode after episode. We have movie date nights, dinners and social nights with friends or sometimes just cuddle on the couch watching whatever is on but the difference is they scheduled.
Fourth rule, don't yell, scream, slam doors, cry, whine, moan etc. This will only make your man game more and you feel like utter shit, plus if he is wearing headphones he probably isn't going to hear you anyway. If you are worried that he is really getting addicted, sit down and chat with him calmly when you are both focused and feeling loving, yes it can take up to week to find a time like this! There have been times in our past where Alex has started staying up super late (or early) night after night and I have started worrying about his health and the affect it also has on our relationship and his social life, staying up late means sleeping until 3pm in the arvo. When I have spoken to him about like this he has really opened up to me and admitted that it can be hard to pull away from the computer of a night. Studies do show that the light of a computer screen can also mask your feelings of tiredness so you don't realise you're tired until you get up and walk away from the computer. Alex still has nights where he stays up to 5am sorting his magical cards or gaming. That's okay. I have been known to stay up reading or drinking with mates that late too. As they say, everything in moderation. At the end of the day you have to support your partner, be there for them, help them change only if they want to change and be honest with them. If they are doing something you really cant learn to accept, talk to someone try to accept it and if you can be honest about it. If they aren't willing to compromise you have a choice to make. No amount of nagging is going to help and will only waste time and deteriorate your own life further.
Lastly, schedule time for intimacy as well. I need more sleep than Alex so most nights I go to bed earlier than him while he games. This does mean we aren't often awake in bed together at one time so yes you know where I am going with this one. This is where date nights and scheduled nights come into play. You will be surprised how much scheduling these things can make your day that little bit exciting, as you know exactly what you've got to look forward to that night!
I hope you can relate and it helps any of you ladies out there dating a gamer. What are your tricks for managing life dating a gamer? Oh and if you think Alex sounds addicted keep it to yourself, we are managing just fine plus that means less time for me to watch TV! Oh and I am sorry if I have majorly generalised in this post, this is just my take on these things!
How ironic, I just went into the Magical Room to ask Alex to proofread my post for me and he was playing the crazy click like a maniac game. I looked at the screen and saw that he has been playing it for 29 minutes so I will check back with him soon. He will probably realise I was after him anyway and come out when he is done - perfection :)