Gamer relationship hack: Just let them play, without the guilt trip

The best kind of trip. (Image Source: Etsy)

The best kind of trip. (Image Source: Etsy)

This post is specifically targeted at Three-Years-Ago Me. Three-Years-Ago Me had recently discovered the true extent of her partner’s gaming hobby and had decided that she would be totally cool and reasonable about it. Little did she know, she was not yet past the Bargaining Stage of the gamer/non-gamer relationship and she felt that her being totally cool and reasonable meant that he owed her big time later on. Payment was accepted in the form of watching chick flicks and giving hugs on demand.

Oh, silly Three-Years-Ago Me. It was only later on that I realised that there is a difference between me putting up with him gaming and me actually being supportive of his hobby. Where I thought I was being reasonable and accepting, I was really just continually biting my tongue, laying on the guilt trips, occasionally losing my patience when I felt I had tolerated enough, and all the while, never actually accepting his hobby at all.

I don’t want to discount the fact that even putting up with a partner’s hobby can be a big step for many people in relationships with gamers, particularly for non-gamers who are new to the quirks of the gaming lifestyle. But acceptance is more of a continuum – while “putting up with his gaming” is a fair way away from “console-destroying psycho girlfriend“, but that next level of “blissful understanding and acceptance” is a much more pleasant way to live.

Take a moment to think about it from the gamer’s perspective. It’s like when you were a kid and you tried to sneak cartoons in when you were supposed to be doing your homework. While cartoons are awesome and one of your favourite pastimes, you are constantly living in fear that your mum will come in, yell at you for watching and take away your TV privileges. Kinda takes the fun out of it, right? Imagine instead if your mum said “Oh Pumpkin, Power Rangers is starting soon, you don’t want to miss it”. What a joy it would be to be given that guilt-free TV time!

Now, I’m not saying that you have to be okay with it all the time. There are still plenty of days where I think my gamer should really be doing something else, and I tell him (nicely, of course). These kinds of relationships still work both ways and rely on both the gamers and the non gamers to be reasonable. But, on those other days where the world will definitely not come crashing down if your partner simply plays a game or two, just let them be, and throw in a simple “good luck, have fun!” for good measure. Or, if they’ve just gotten home from work after a tough day, perhaps suggest that they chill and enjoy their video games for a bit. Let them play, with your blessing. They’ll appreciate it.

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Hi, I’m Vicki and my partner is a gamer. I help bridge the divide between gamers and non-gamers. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hey Vicki! I love your blog. I am a non-gamer and I am in a relationship with a gamer for a few months now. I feel like his games are the only thing that really bothers me about him. I often feel like he is either not spending enough time with me or wasting his time because of gaming, as he is a really smart guy and could do something more useful. Recently however I tried to be more accepting and not complain about his gaming, but sometimes it is hard not to be annoyed by it. Your blog however really made me smile and I hope you continue working on it :)

  • Hey Vicki,
    Do you still date that gamer of yours? :D
    Your site is great, and I hope you will not stop working on it, as all the stories really do make sense and I just laugh about it instead of getting mad at him as before. I came across this site, as I was just exploring online while my bf-gamer was into his “shooting expedition” :))

    • Hey there! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and I’m so glad you like the blog! We are still together, in fact, we’ve now been married over a year :) That’s super nice to hear that my posts have had a positive effect on your relationship with your bf, and I do hope to continue with it to hopefully help others too! <3

  • Thank you so much for your post I am a tolerating until I can’t anymore type of non gamer girlfriend! So I guess my question is how often should I be ok with him paying me no attention and playing his games? Like today is our first 4th of July and he is playing video games at home instead of at least being on the phone with me and he played all day yesterday and Sunday so it’s like when do you draw the line? He gets over protective if his games as well!

    • Hi Gigi, like I mention in my other comment to you, make sure he knows how you feel and understands how important spending time together is to you. With my partner and I, sometimes it’s a matter of scheduling important days in ahead of time. I’ll tell him “I’d like to go to this party on Thursday, but that leaves you with most of Wednesday to game in peace!” Compromise :)

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