Video games and your man. Let’s talk about it.
Yikes, this is such a dreaded topic, but really it’s so widespread now. I don’t know if this experience is isolated to younger women (or even what I age I would consider “younger women” to be) or if it’s affecting everyone.
And the truth is it is affecting many relationships. Anytime one partner is consumed by an activity, especially when it may cause neglect in other areas of life, there is going to be tension and problems.
Video games are on the rise and it’s now a roughly 100 billion dollar industry. This industry is reaching every facet of our lives through mobile games (phones and tablets), Xbox, PS4, the Nintendo Switch, handheld consoles, and PC gaming. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a person that doesn’t own or have access to one of these devices! Game developers are targeting every audience, children, sports lovers, FPS (first-person-shooter) lovers, and even women.
I like them too, but…
Now before I get into the issues at hand, let me preface this by saying I am a video game enthusiast. In high school and college, I played hours and hours of video games. I watched Youtubers play video games and I watched streamers play on Twitch (while most women were watching makeup tutorials hence why I suck at makeup!). I am a fangirl of World of Warcraft which makes me a super nerd. I wish I could still play video games all of the time.
Back to reality. I am now older and a mother. In becoming a mother, you do a lot of growing up. Many of your selfish tendencies from before are replaced with selfless attributes and a constant worry over the welfare of your child. I don’t play video games very often anymore. If I’m lucky and need the stress relief I might fit in an hour here or there after the baby is down for the night or during a nap.
More often though during nap times or after bedtime, I spend time doing more important things. I’m in a constant race to keep up with laundry and dishes and meal planning and other cleaning duties. And I need to fit in a shower and some kind of physical activity. Need to call that doctor and fix that rip in Isaac’s shirt. There is always something to do as a mom, always another task to handle.
How does having a baby affect the new dads? Typically they will rise to the occasion and become wonderful father’s, but letting go of that video game addiction is just hard. This can create a point of tension between a new mom run ragged by her bouncing bundle of joy and a father that wants one more game (or 16 because it’s never one more) or promises to be in bed soon (until suddenly it’s 4 am).
I will go red in the face thinking about the amount of time spent playing video games late into the night, that could be spent sleeping or helping out in some other way. It’s hard not to feel that resentment rising. Your man is enjoying hours of “me” time and leaving you with all of the responsibilities.
After so many fights over the same thing, Isaac and I stopped beating our heads against the wall. The only way we were both going to be happy was to compromise. Not gaming was off the table, of course, I didn’t want him to stop something he enjoyed. Instead, I wanted him to play in moderation.
The compromise we came to was he can stay up as late as he wants to play, but he has to be up at a reasonable hour the next day to help and enjoy family time. Since he works five days a week we also decide that each of us would get a day “off” from his two days off. He would get Thursday and on that day he could sleep as late as he wanted, go to the gym for as long as he wanted, and was generally free from responsibility and to do whatever he felt like. My day was Friday, a day he would wake up with Jocelyn and let me sleep in. I’d also be free to do any leisure shopping or errands without the baby, and free to work on blogging or whatever else I wanted.
This has been the greatest thing we’ve done for our relationship in a long time! We are both so much happier and more content. He can still play his games as he chooses and I still get to see him the next day. And having a day off to decompress and kind of “be free” is amazingly relaxing and refreshing for the week ahead.
Find a compromise that works for your life and your relationship. Try to understand the behavior that is bothering you and decide where you are willing to “give” some leeway.
I know some women would say absolutely not, I’m not going to play video games with my husband, it’s already enough of a problem. But showing him you care about his interests is very appealing to men and they really really enjoy it. He will likely talk your ear off and you should be happy he is so enthused to share a hobby with you.
It can actually be very healthy for your relationship if you two find a game you both like and spend some time playing together when time and life permits. It’s something to bond over! The couple that plays together, stays together. 🙂