Married to a Gamer

This is my ode to the married (or partnered) gamers in the world! Our relationships are often different than those who don't play games and we deserve some recognition for our own trials and tribulations. In the words of Minna's husband, "We rock!"

When my husband and I met he was playing Rayman on the Dreamcast. I vividly remember walking into his dorm room and seeing the brightly colored screens, listening to his roommates scream each time that one of them fell into the abyss and wasted another life. I fell into the background of the scene and felt a sense of dread that this boy I was dating was not paying attention to me. How dare he! He was instead playing a game! The next time I saw him he was starting up a Madden game with the boys in the dorm. I have to admit that it was almost a relationship ender when I would visit him and he would have to take time out from one of our make-out sessions to play his round in the Madden tournament. That is until the day that he started to involve me in playing games. To this day we both agree that the key to our relationship is being able to share so many of our personal hobbies, including that of being a gamer.

I once saw a documentary with a male gamer who had a girlfriend. When asked what she did when he played games he told the camera crew that she would rest on the bed until she fell asleep. For some gamers out there, this is the truth of their relationships. Some people have learned how to play their games early in the morning before their partner wakes up or late at night after they go to sleep to try and keep the other person happy during the day. My husband and I fell into that trap for quite some time. When he found out my apprehension about his gaming he was kind enough to try and contain it to hours that we were not together. He was practically a vampire, trying to stay up late enough to be able to play the hours of games that contented him. Our very own Anna says that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary in her house to hear, "You wanna cuddle deary? Sorry, you'll have to wait."

Then there is the other extreme side of gaming marriage. Cole, my husband, and I met a couple on our honeymoon that met through Worlds of Warcraft. Even in Hawaii, in all its peace and splendor, these two could do nothing but talk about their characters in Worlds! It was sweet that a game could bring two people together, but that was it for them. Work, sleep and long weekends of Worlds. Chris Edwards met his wife Alayne on Second Life as well as numerous Valentines in online games such as Everquest. "We took a date wandering around [Second Life's] lovely gardens and had nice walks through the wooded areas", he said. "There were sunken galleons, and they'd even set out virtual food for us: a candlelit dinner on the veranda." The couple eventually borrowed a friend's private resort in the game and had a virtual intimate evening. The two met one day in person and the relationship continued as he moved to England to marry her- in person. (Terdiman)

Although most gaming relationships that I have encountered aren't so centered in gaming, people sure have a lot of fun playing games together. After Cole and I realized that his game playing around my schedule wasn't going to work, I decided to share my own gaming experiences with him. I dusted off my old Super NES and brought it to his place. Joe and Mac and Populus were my favorite titles, so I shared them with him. I think he laughed at me for being so old school, but it was a pivotal moment. We played for a while and then every time there was a game that was either a platformer or a simulation he would say, "It's just like Joe and Mac and Populus, you should check it out!" Eventually we were playing together and our bond was reinforced through games. Now you can come to our house on Saturdays and observe us sitting next to each other playing World of Warcraft or Civ III for hours on end!

GI's own editor, Didi, has a similar relationship with her husband: "We've always made a great team, especially because we sit next to each other at our computers (well, PC and PS2 in FFXI) and can talk to each other when needed. In EQ, when he played his 65 enchanter and I played my 65 cleric in Plane of Valor kiting razorfiends, many times my stuns/roots saved his ass. Charmed things really hate enchanters! Co-op games are also fun (D&D Heroes, Gauntlet), but versus gameplay is not put aside. We've had our Halo matches where I was fragged 48 times in a row, and still had a blast with the only two times I got him with a rocket launcher. And the one amazing event where a grenade bounced off his head and exploded on me instead! That's the highlight of my Halo 2 experience to this day!"

That reminds me of one of my favorite married to a gamer things that Cole and I do. Each time a new console comes out we plan ahead to take a day off. Ever since he neglected to pre-order his XBOX, we have had a rule not to preorder any system. Instead we wake up early or stay up late and call every store that could carry it. For the XBOX we both skipped school and drove around to ten or fifteen stores until we found one for sale! For the 360, he stood in line for about 6 hours and I brought him food. We even had gamer friends meet us in line to keep us company! The day after we get the console we stay in our pajamas and play until the sun goes down! Just don't tell that to any of my college professors or bosses. Why is it that consoles are always released on weekdays! Either way, it is a great little tradition for us both to look forward to.

Sure, Cole and I still have nights when one of us is up late playing a game while the other is asleep. We have games that we play separately and together, and the invention of XBOX live has made for an even more separate gaming experience. But, for the most part we have found an equilibrium in sharing the hobby of gaming. We make a point to play games together that we may not really enjoy, just to have time together. And why not? Why is gaming any different than any other hobby? If he played sports I would want to go watch him play, right? If he was into movies or hiking I would try to share those things with him too.

I must admit that I hate it when Cole leaves the controllers ALL OVER THE LIVING ROOM! He hates it when I wrap up the controller chords into little balls, so we're even. I get so angry when I make dinner and he says he can't eat until his round of Rainbow 6 is finished, but he gets upset when I play Viva Pinata and don't let him get into his garden. We argue when I try to talk to him and he is instead talking to some stranger over a headset. We bicker when I want him to beat the FF12 boss that I can't seem to conquer. Being married to a gamer is never easy, but neither is any relationship. In the end, like any good relationship, we have learned to share the things we enjoy and we are proud to be married to a gamer.

Possible Gamer Relationship Solutions From GI Staff

Solution 1: Two T.V.s! One for games and one for her to watch whatever she wants to watch while I'm playing! - Dan

Solution 2: Consider dating someone who does not particularly care about dishes or the lawn. These things tend to get forgotten when gaming and become a HUGE argument! - Jen

Solution 3: Get a boyfriend who has his own TV, his own consoles and his own games. I'm not sharing!!! Actually, it's been pretty much me and my games. And to be honest, no man is ever gonna come between me and them. - Lania

Solution 4: If they don't like games- leave them! That or force them to play games with you! - Cole

Related Links:
Terdiman, Daniel. It's a nice day for an 'EverQuest' wedding. CNET 15 February 2006. (27 January 2007).