Gamer relationship hack: Pre-empt their behaviour

Maybe you could cut him a little slack...

Maybe you could cut him a little slack…

I’ve been dating my gamer for a while now, over four years, and in that time I think I’ve picked up a thing or two about his behaviour. There isn’t a lot he does that I couldn’t already see coming, especially when it comes to his computer games. He is most certainly a creature of habit when it comes to gaming.

And here is the confession. Since I have a pretty decent understanding of his gaming habits, I also have a pretty decent understanding of how I could, say, set him up if I wanted an excuse to yell at him. For instance, if I wanted to prove the point that he never listens to a thing I say, all I need to do is whisper something to him just as he’s about to start a game, gain confirmation by asking him “Right?” while nodding and smiling sweetly, to which he will generally nod back and continue on with his game (My love, I promise I don’t actually do this. Often.).

And to be honest with you, I think a lot of Partners of Gamers out there are also aware that they have this skill at hand, and that video games are a pretty easy scapegoat if they ever want to have a bit of a nag. If you do that, stop it. Now.

Anywho, the point is, I know what to expect from him, and I know how he’ll react when he’s engrossed in games, so the trick is to use that power for good. I use this knowledge to make slight adaptations to my behaviour, and in doing so, avoid unnecessary disappointment and frustration.

Let me walk you through a couple of common scenarios:

You’re about to start cooking dinner and your partner has just started a game. Do you:

a) Start cooking immediately, plate up immediately and get cranky, immediately, because the food has gone cold by the time they have finished their game.

b) Start cooking immediately, plate up and spoon feed them dinner while they are finishing their game.

c) Realise that a game of LoL usually takes about 40mins while your cooking will only takes 20mins, so you entertain yourself for 20mins before starting the cooking and manage to finish cooking just as their game ends. Amazing.

Me? I’d pick C. Nowadays, it’s become a bit of a natural reaction for me to check his game clock. I get home from work to find him playing, give him a kiss on the cheek while simultaneously glancing at the clock, do the quick math of how much longer the game has, and busy myself for that time before going back and saying hi.

How did you do with that one? Okay, I hope. Here’s another to test you:

Your friend has just invited you and your partner to a BBQ this weekend. The optimal time to tell you partner about it is:

a) Mid-battle. But don’t be daft, they can’t hear you while in game. Write it on a piece of paper and wave it in front of their screen.

b) Immediately after a soul-crushing loss, whilst they are still blinded by the giant red “DEFEAT” banner and their teammates are hurling abuse at them through their headset. Purely by comparison, they’ll love your proposition!

c) Once they have finished playing, with adequate cool down period if necessary.

If you were to ask me, I’d go C for this one too. Shock horror, but I find my gamer way more receptive to my questions when I’m not interrupting his games. And if I do have more urgent questions, I may prefer to ask during the load screen at the start of a game, or *grins* just wait patiently for his champion to die, it’ll happen soon enough… teehee.

So yeah, it’s just little things that make life a lot easier for the both of you. While you should totally still stick up for yourself if your partner is being truly unreasonable, what’s starting dinner just a little bit later, or waiting a few moments more before you ask them a question? If you ever have to yell back at them “I knew you were going to say/do that!”, perhaps there was a way you could’ve pre-empted that situation in the first place and saved yourself just a little frustration.

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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

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Hey Vicky,
    Thanks for your tips on this article. You write this article depend on your relationship story and I’m so glad that you told this story very good enough to read and you also give some tips for a couple outside there that have the same experience with you. Unfortunately, my girlfriend was a teacher but anyway it was a nice story.

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