Girlfriend Gaming: Why Make Her Join the Dark Side?

Happy Valentines Day! For those of you in love, out of love, or in-between love, I hope that your Valentines Day turns out to be a good one. Up until recently, the majority of my Valentines Days were horrible, but this isn’t the right forum to discuss that.

Anyway, I thought today would be a good day to start what may become a series of entries from me that pertain the role video games have in a relationship with a significant other that I call “Girlfriend Gaming”. I don’t mean to exclude the GLBT community, as some of my best friends are GLBT, but I would not be able to speak well on the intricacies of that dynamic. In any case, I’m sure that anyone with a significant other can find something to relate to here.

Over the last few years of checking out video game message boards and podcasts, I’ve seen this one particular topic pop up over and over again: How do I get my girlfriend into gaming? Often times, this question is brought forth by a guy who is a core gamer who is in a relationship with a girl who is only into “causal” games or isn’t into video games at all. These discussions usually goes into talks of easing her in with the DS or Wii until she “graduates” into becoming a hot-shot Modern Warfare 2 player.

As someone who is a die-hard fan of video games, I can see their perspective. They love games and would like their significant other to share in that experience with them. There may be some disconnect in their relationship due to their gaming differences and they may want to close that gap. Maybe I’m an idealist when it comes to love, but the whole concept of converting your girlfriend into a gamer kind of goes against my beliefs in love.

Where am I going with this? Well, are you familiar with the phrase, “I love you for who you are?” The majority of the time that expression is said, it’s a pile of crap. I hate it when I see/hear/experience this in a relationship of my own or the relationship of someone else, where the other person says that expression, but then they try and change you. They tell you one minute that you’re perfect, but then they want you to dress differently, hang out with different friends, eat differently and ultimately change you into what they want you to be rather than who you want to be. I don’t hype myself up much as a person, but if there’s anything I’m good at, I am good at being me. I have a very strong sense of self that I do not like anyone trying to change. Not to say that I’m stubborn to change or that I don’t listen to others, but if something is going to change who I am, it’s going to be me that does it. In return, I respect other people’s sense of self as best I can. Within the context of a relationship, I’m only in that relationship because I really do love that person for who they are and I try hard to make sure my significant other maintains her own identity.

To bring it back around to video games, trying to convert her into a gamer when she isn’t a gamer goes against my ideals of love. By doing this, you’re trying to change the person you fell in love with in the first place, even though I bet you told her you love her just the way she is. The pain that could come from that could be the equivalent of her saying she loves you, but would like you to be less nerdy. If video games are important enough to you that you need to date a gamer, then go date a gamer rather than make one. It’ll be a lot more successful to you in the long run and less hurtful if your current significant other isn’t buying what you’re selling.

For me, it’s not about being with someone that necessarily likes what I like. Having commonalities is great, but it’s not necessary for me when it comes to my hobbies. All I ask for is respect of them and in return, I will do my best to respect your hobbies and interests. As long as she doesn’t think condescendingly of me because of my association of the medium, then we’ll find something else bond over. Even after this long rant, if I still haven’t convinced you that your girlfriend is good the way she is, then maybe it’s time to go on a quest for a new one rather than force your agenda on your current girlfriend.

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