Gamer relationship hack: Wait for a break in the game

A common complaint from Partners of Gamers is that they often feel ignored when their partner is gaming. It may be that their partner does not reply to questions, takes forever to reply to texts or goes MIA for long periods at a time. See Exhibit A, below for a typical disgruntled girlfriend:

Exhibit A – Disgruntled, slightly crazy girlfriend on Yahoo Answers

(Image Source: Yahoo Answers)

As frustrating as it may be, Partners of Gamers, perhaps it would help if we tried to look at it from the gamers’ point of view. In most cases, it’s not that they are deliberately ignoring us. I promise. They are just simply very, very into their hobby. I have previously tried to explain this using The Notebook as an example. I know that if I were deeply engrossed in something that I loved, it’s often hard to tear yourself away :)

That said, also consider that with movies and a lot of other hobbies, you can easily pause what you are doing if the need arises. An important thing to note with gaming is that you are involved in a live game, often playing with and against other real people, and so it may not be as simple as hitting the pause button. Try to think of it as if your partner was playing a live game of football. If you needed to ask them something, wouldn’t it be a little bit silly to have to interrupt play, waltz onto the field and talk to them then and there? I know it’s a bit of a stretch with the analogy, but you get the gist, right?

And it’s also not as simple as leaving the game running and taking his attention off the game for a few moments. A hell of a lot can happen in a game during those few moments and that could mean the difference between a win or a loss for the team. Now, it would just be cruel to make your partner responsible for that and he would have to answer to a barrage of angry comments from the rest of his team as a result of it.

I can safely say that many gamers share these feelings. For example, here is a desperate plea from some awesome guys, in the form of “Glad You Came”. Bravo, Jenton and crew – that was heart-felt and hilarious:

I’m not trying to say that being temporarily ignored during a game is not annoying. In an ideal world, it would be great if I could interrupt my partner’s game every time I saw something funny on TV or when the puppies are being extra adorable and I feel he should see it, but I understand it’s best for both of our sanity if I just fill him in during the next break in his games. I can almost guarantee that you will get a much more positive response if you just wait for the right moment :)

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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

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I game, and I know ignoring someone is rude. I mean, you should give someone a chance to pause or get to a safe place when playing a game but, ladies and gents, it’s only a game, and sometimes real life needs you more. Also, it’s hard to tell when that right moment is with some games, especially if you don’t pay attention because it’s not your type of game

    • Oh, it’s definitely rude! Sometimes if I want to ask him something and I’m in a particularly annoying mood, I’ll sit next him while he’s playing and just smile at him, swaying in a slow and constant motion, at the perfect amount that I’m not blocking his view but it’s just enough that I’m annoyingly apparent in his peripheral vision. Then when he eventually pauses, I’ll tilt my head, smile sweetly and ask my question… teehee. But you can be sure that if it were something more pressing that required his attention, he would know about it straight away and I would not be nearly as patient :)

  • I was just commenting on another blog how out of my friends who game and have wives/serious girlfriends, that it’s about half-and-half in terms of a good, healthy understanding. Thankfully my wife falls into the half who seems to be more supportive. And she even points out that there are times I may say something to her but she’s: reading a book, working on a craft, watching TV, reading something on the computer – people get distracted and in a day and age where there are so many electronic distractions alone, it can be an easy trap to fall into.

    But, I do think gamers have a responsibility to come out of game mode too, and pay attention to their partners, though I admit some games make that easier than others. I have a wife of nearly 15 years and 3 kids. I would guess more than 80% of my deaths in World of Warraft are due to a kid needing something, knocking something over, whatever – and the lack of a pause button getting me killed. i played WoW for 4 years on and off, but now favor games with pause buttons or that have shorter bursts of online play (like Call of Duty online matches).

    Some great points you made though, and I’d say your partner’s pretty lucky to have yo and your understanding – just as I’m fortunate for those things in my wife. :)

    • I agree completely. If there’s something more important that I need him for, I fully expect that he’ll just DC and deal with it. I guess he should consider himself lucky that we don’t have kids yet! In most cases though, nothing I need from him is all that urgent, so I see no harm in just being patient and waiting until he’s done :)

  • I dated a gamer for a year and its true that they sort of ‘zone’ out into their little graphical worlds. I was however an understanding girlfriend and would do that, wait for a break. What I found annoying though was that even if I did that, brought him food and drink to his comp while he was busy with a raid on WoW or whatever, if he got pissed at the game, I was the one who had to deal with it. Not the other players- me. So, as much as I agree that partners of gamer’s have to be tolerant and patient– gamers should NOT take out game anger on the real life people.

    • Sounds as though you’ve been very supportive :) You poor thing for having to bear the grunt of his cranky-pants gaming moods though. Although it must be frustrating, I just try to think to myself “thank goodness he gets to release some of his frustrations through his games or else he’d be even crankier!” – for my guy, gaming acts as a nice post-work release for him, so I’d like to think it makes him more pleasant in the long run!

  • F*ck me, this is spot on. My girlfriends always saying that im ignoring her and i have tried telling her over and over again that she should just wait til im done. but lo and behold next game she does the same thing. Props though, i think you explain it better lol.

    • Glad I could help shed some light. Try to be patient – it took me ages to catch on to why my partner would never seem to catch the many interesting things I would talk about while he’s playing :) I think it’s because all of the things I do at home (blogging, reading, etc), I can easily divert my attention should the need arise and I thought my partner was just being rude, teehee.

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