So a good friend of mine asked me about how to deal with her gaming boyfriend and I though I would go ahead and create a post about my personal experiences with dilemma. I know there's been a lot of posts and concern regarding the phrase "my boyfriend plays too much video games." And they're either followed up with suggestions to break up with him, or on how to change the man into a non-gamer. Well, neither solution would be the case here.
As a fellow gamer I know how intense a game can be, in terms of how captivating and time consuming they are. The first thing you have to understand about a gamer is that video games are a release; a competition played in a way where you generally "win" giving you an ego boost for the rest of the day. To say gamers is to video games is crackheads is to crack would probably be right on the SAT.
So, if you feel like your boyfriend is spending too much time on video games and not enough time doing other things (like yourself :D) then I suggest you follow a few guidelines into making him think of other things to do.
1st. Gaming is FUN. You have to realize, gamers play video games because of how much action they have and how competitive they are. If you want them to stop playing video games for something else you have to come up with an activity that trumps the fun aspect of video games. Sometimes this is quite hard but to do this but, trust me, there are other outs of fun in leu of video games.
2nd. Positive reinforcement. All guys require in life is 3 things, Food, sex, and peace and quiet (Chris rock, 1998). However, those requirements really don't involve you as a girlfriend of choice. SO! You have to use these to your advantage, in trying to ween off your boyfriend's video games time. DO NOT offer him one of these things in EXCHANGE for not playing video games, that will only encourage him to expect it INSTEAD OF and if you for example cook him dinner and he comes off the computer / console to eat he'll ask "whats next?" and if you got nothing he'll go right back to the games. Instead reward activities with this. Say you invite him to go to the zoo or park with you, then on the way home convince him to take a 45 min break doing whatever he wants (a break from you is GOOD!) then surprise him with dinner. He'll feel guilty you went through so much work out of your way that he will try and make it up to you somehow, perhaps a massage or simply talking to you afterwards.
3rd. Sex. I mentioned sex in #2 briefly but it needs its own section. Sex if your trump card. If your a prude and doesn't have sex till you're married, well...forget it stop reading now this post is worthless to you. For the rest of america (Fuck ya!) or anyone else who approves of the "shag" sex is both the best tool to get your boyfriend to do what you want or the deal-breaker that keeps him stuck in front of a game screen. It would be ignorant of all women reading this if they didn't understand that sex isn't something you can use to your benefit. Believe it or not, sex > games; which is why I said it to be your ultimate trump card. However, with regard to #1, if you abuse your sex right and only use it to get him off the computer and into the bed, after he's done with you where do you think he's going to go back to? So you have to be careful. Sex is something all guys want, and we'll practically do anything for it during highschool, college, and late into our twenties, which gives you females a huge time frame to use that to your leverage. The reason you have to be careful about how you use sex is if you get on a "schedule" and don't keep to it, or your boyfriend feels like he's done enough to deserve sex and you hold out it'll discourage him from doing nice things for you because its not worth it to him in the end. As blatantly harsh as that sounds, guys will only put up with "x" amount of girlfriend issues unless your putting out. There, its been said. And if you find yourself thinking "my boyfriend would never think that way...," just stop having sex with him for a few weeks and see where your relationship goes.
Finding a level ground where you get what you and your boyfriend wants out of the relationship is quite hard, compromise is key here, but the main thing you have to be honest with yourself is "do I still want to be with someone who enjoys playing video games?" If the answer is no then he's not for you, you can't just change a man because you think you can, that type of thinking will only make you and him miserable over time. However, if you don't mind your boyfriend playing video games, simply talk it out with him and figure out an idea to do things INSTEAD of gaming. Suggestion 1 is probably the quickest and easiest solution to this, then rewarding him from being a good boyfriend by spending time with you with suggestion 2-3 will create a strong desire from your boyfriend to make you happy. Gamers don't change; they just change the type of game they play. Which brings us to the next section:
What kind of gamer is your boyfriend?
1. Shoot em up! These type of gamers are generally easier to "unplug," they tend to play shorter games, where they kill each other with a gun of sorts. These type of gamers' mood is directly relative to how well they do. If they kill an entire team by themselves, then they feel like gods and are happy to bestow their godly aura to the rest of the world. If they're screaming at the screen explaining how the opposing team is cheating, or a plethora of curse words, they're probably not doing so well. How to deal with this kind of boyfriend? Well, let him finish his segment of games, and based on how he did, either interact with him (if he won), or give him space if he lost. Shoot em up! types generally can't keep focus on the intensity level of the game for more than a couple hours tops...however IT IS KEY! not to interrupt them when their mid-match, that will just set of a bomb you do not want to clean up. In-between matches (generally only 5 min long) is the perfect time to approach and interact with them in the 30second-1min window the game allows.
2. RTS- Real time strategy. These games you're generally looking down on the battlefield, bird's eye view and manipulating your forces that way. These type of games can go on from 10min to over an hour. RTS's are incredibly skill dependent and hard to play. For the time that they're playing, interrupting them would be catastrophic to the outcome of the game. If you see your boyfriend playing 1 of these games, call out to him to stop and let you talk to him about something in-between matches, so you don't possibly screw up his micro.
3. RPG- Role playing games. These are by far the most time consuming. If your boyfriend plays WoW you know what I'm talking about. The end-game idea behind these games is to group with a large group of friends (up to 40 or more), and go take on harder level bosses inside high skilled dungeons. Because of the teamwork required to defeat these monsters time-frames where enough people can log on at the same time and play together is almost required. So, with that said if your boyfriend or anyone you know who plays these types of games mentions having a "raid" that night, well expect them to be playing the game for the duration of time. Generally raids go for about 3 hours, and happen 3-5 times a week. The best way to counter this, is to talk about your boyfriend and schedule to make sure you and him can still hang out while he makes his raids. If there is too much conflict tell him to join another guild that works with his raid times, he might not like it, but its a compromise he can make if he wants to keep you as a happy girlfriend.
4. Other - There are other gamers who do play other games, but those normally have a "save" spot where you can simply but it down. The 3 mentioned above are the competitive multiplayer online type games that require no break while playing them.
Final words on the subject, gamers are not that complicated and for the most part have no problem getting off the game if you really want them too so long as you let them play later or keep out of the raiding schedule. Recognizing that gaming is a outlet they use to relax or have fun means that you have to try and be a creative fun girlfriend who is proactive about coming up with things to do. Maybe going to the zoo isn't your boyfriends thing but to the computer convention around the corner might be fun, and then you can use that as "we went to where you wanted to go last time..." leverage. Believe it or not gamers like girlfriends and want to keep their girlfriends and as long as its not changing who they are as men or as gamers, they would rather go out of their way to keep you as a girlfriend than not (sometimes...). So hopefully you all learned a thing or two from this, both men and women, but more importantly if its not working out because the addiction to gaming > what you're happy with then don't force it, some gamers can't unplug and become legitimately addicted to the "escape" of games and forget how reality functions. But if its under control and you'd like to have some involvement maybe this'll help.