Nowadays, gamers are everywhere, and there's a very good chance that your current boyfriend is one.
This begs the question: What should you do with a gamer boyfriend?
Let us preface this by saying that we understand the struggles of dating gamers as we have many clients who have been in this position before and thus, can see reasonable arguments against keeping a gamer boyfriend. But hear us out, gaming should be treated as any other hobby and your gamer boyfriend will appreciate that you understand that. Furthermore, it is especially helpful that you understand his interests now and can now make informed decisions about choosing the right time to do things, buy the perfect gifts and interpret his messages on a deeper level. Let’s continue to look into the complications of dating a gamer to fully understand the symptoms, possible drawbacks and tips for dating a gamer boyfriend:
We all know the type, the ones who can spend all day in their rooms staring at a screen and mashing buttons. The ones who have a third party in the relationship – his gaming console. But at the same time these can sometimes be the sweetest and most loyal guys around.
So, you went on a date with your boyfriend and the topic of passions and hobbies comes up. To your utter surprise and horror, your sweet boyfriend starts rambling on and on about his passion for video games – am I dating a nerd? But don’t fret! Due to the stimulating and immersive nature of video games, most men who play video games can talk passionately about it for hours on end, while not actually being addicted to it. In this case, you should treat such a passion as if it were any other – be it soccer, singing, dancing, or any other hobby – by accepting and embracing it. However, in some circumstances, your boyfriend may actually be addicted to video games, which is why it is important to know the symptoms:
- He is playing video games during unusual hours, instead of completing his bare necessities (i.e. eating and sleeping).
- He is showing symptoms of withdrawal whenever he is not in front of a computer, which can include lack of concentration and extreme anxiety.
- He is slowly increasing the time spent in front of the computer instead of with you and other loved ones, which shows that he is building a tolerance for video gaming, which would require him to play more in order to get his “daily fix”.
- He refuses to go to work/school and plays video games instead.
If your boyfriend is demonstrating 3 or 4 of these symptoms, it is very likely that he is, to some extent, addicted to video games. Although you may find such a relationship difficult to maintain, if you truly believe that he is the one for you, it’s not the end of the world. It would just mean that you will need to try harder to maintain the relationship, and pay special attention to these next tips.
Be more accepting:
In general, gamers are less social than their extroverted counterparts, which is likely also true of your boyfriend. This is why it is uber important to understand that the social structure of gamers differ greatly from traditional social groups. Although he may have never seen his online friends face to face, a bond between devoted gamers who have played hundreds of hours of games together can rival even the strongest of real life friendships. To him, such a friendship would be the same as a lifelong sports buddy or neighbor, since the time spent together and reliance on each other can often be the same, just on different platforms. Whereas athletes hang out and play on the fields, gamers so the same in front of their computers and/or consoles, which socially, really isn’t a difference.
While you may be concerned about his social skills with other people, or that he might find face-to-face relationships difficult, they’re generally fine, although introverted. A good indicator of social normality is the way he acts around you, which shouldn’t differ from the way he acts around his friends and other people.
Hey, having a gamer boyfriend should not be seen as a negative! Rather, you should focus on the quirky, positive aspects of having a gamer boyfriend. Most of the stereotyped “drawbacks” of dating a gamer are well known, so we will get them over with first. Keep in mind that this only really applies when the gamer is at a point of addiction, which is untrue of a majority of “gamers”.
- He might prioritize his gaming time over spending time with you. This is probably the biggest complaint that we hear about dating gamers; the feeling that you are a third-wheeler in the relationship between him and his gaming console. If this time is non-intrusive to your relationship plans (i.e. planned dates and promises), again, this should be treated like a hobby like any other. Plan your time with your own hobbies, or maybe even take up video gaming as a hobby so you can bond with him over playing video games. Believe it or not, gamers love other gamers, and spending long hours over gaming will inevitably lead to a stronger relationship.
- He might not want to go outside as much and socialize with other people in person. This is totally normal behavior to those who spend lots of time in front of a computer and talking to friends over the internet who likely play the same games. This can translate to reluctance to socialize with other people in person since he can access his friends and make new friends online. However, this can lead to some social awkwardness which comes from a gaming culture and online personas which don’t translate as well in real life. Although if you consider yourself a more “protective” type of girlfriend, this should be perfect for you since you needn’t worry about him cheating since he’ll be staying at home most of the time and is very unlikely to be a drug addict or alcoholic.
- He might spend a considerable amount of money into his gaming setup and virtual products. Gaming can often become an expensive hobby as computer parts such as graphics cards, CPUs and motherboards start to add up on top of the cost of all his games and programs. However, you should keep in mind that this is his hobby, where he can spend hours on end each day playing, so a reasonable investment around $1000-2000 every year is justified. Furthermore, this is actually cheaper than the cost of taking sports or music lessons, thus it also provides more value in terms of entertainment time per dollar. At the very least, a powerful computer will often come in handy for you, and who knows, maybe you will enjoy one of the games as well.
- He might develop dark or cynical humor from online communities. Internet culture, especially the ones around gaming communities, will use cynical or dark humor, which may include racism and homophobia. This will rarely translate into real life, and when it does, it often just comes off as an awkward comment. Luckily, for the most part, most gamers aren’t actually homophobic, racist or misogynist, but rather talk about it as a joke which is a result of how prevalent it is in online humor. Kindly remind him about your concerns, and he will almost definitely remember that and be reminded that it is not ok to make jokes about that subject.
Most of the advice above applies to all gamers, however, someone with a gaming addiction will take everything to the greater extreme. Oftentimes, it is very comparable to being an alcoholic and a mental disability – which it is. It can sometimes be even more difficult to take someone off a video game addiction than an alcohol addiction since most addicts don’t realize that they are addicted and feel justified in their arguments. This is when I would recommend considering to break off the relationship, since oftentimes, it becomes even more toxic the deeper you progress into the relationship. Symptoms of a gaming addict can be found above, and if you do continue to continue with the relationship, prepare for a hard fight between you, him and his gaming console. However, if you do decide to continue, you are a brave girl and here are some tips to help you with this fight:
- Seek professional help from a local relationship expert. He will almost definitely reject any offers to go seek and form of counselling at first since he doesn’t believe that he is an addict (which is common among addicts of all types), but facts and reasoning can be a strong tool to help convince him (reference the hours spent, and the things he lost as a result of gaming). It is not a battle that you want to do alone, since even trained professionals struggle with this as well.
- Try to get him to join more social activities. Socializing with other people will make him realize that there is much more to life than just video games, and real life friends will encourage him to do even more activities. It will often be hard to get him to go outside, but try to play to his interests, such as inviting him out for his favorite food or movie, or even attending a gaming conference in person is better than letting him sit at home.
Tips for dating a gamer
Like any other hobby, gamers have things that are instant turn-ons and turn-offs. Knowing how to play to these interests will help strengthen your relationship and make both you and your boyfriend happier:
- Get gamer related gifts, specifically for the games that he is currently playing or want. For example, if he enjoys Hearthstone, a digital card game, buy him a Hearthstone gift card for Christmas or Hearthstone-themed gaming gear. If you can’t think of anything, buying him new and better computer parts and gear will certainly make him happy, such as new mice, keyboards or even a new graphics card (if you’re feeling generous). You should never buy a generic gift like an iTunes gift Card or sports cards unless he specifically requests it.
- Try to spend time playing video games with him. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Gamers love gamer buddies, it will undoubtedly strengthen your relationship by a factor of 2 or more. Even if it’s just mario kart on your phone, try to learn it so that you can play with him, even if you are bad at it, most gamers will be more than happy to teach it to you and enjoy it in the process.
- Understand internet culture and the culture of the community around the games that he enjoys to play. Go on the subreddits and livestreams surrounding the game, learn some jargon and memes that the game’s community has, and bring it up in your next conversation. He will feel like he has so much more to talk to you about and will appreciate that you spent time into looking into his hobbies.
At the end of the day, dating a gamer shouldn’t be seen as a negative in any way. Again, these are often very sweet and loyal men who don’t get as much recognition from other girls as they deserve. So, while there might be some drawbacks, you should treat gaming and gamers as any other hobby with its own quirks. So, instead of trying to find “solutions” to “gamer problem”, why not embrace gaming as a hobby and use it to your advantage?