I want to talk to you about when my husband plays video games. My husband plays video games a lot. At the moment he plays every day (Destiny on the PS4 is his current game of choice if you were curious). He plays with the same group of people most of the time and chats to them online. And I don’t mind.
A lot of wives and girlfriends seem to be really bothered about their significant others playing video games, telling them that it is ‘childish’ or ‘stupid’.
Here’s the thing though, I don’t think it’s childish for my husband to play video games. And it kind of annoys me when women want to whinge to me about their husbands playing video games because I don’t really sympathise with their perspective.
My husband’s generation were the original video game generation. Yes, when video games first came out they were for kids (although Super Mario Kart is fun at all ages!). But as the technology developed, as companies producing video games became more financial, and, most crucially, as the first gaming generation began to grow up, the games grew up with them.
There is no way the games my husband plays are for kids. He plays games like Battlefield, Destiny, Wolfenstein, and Outlast. (Do not watch anyone play Outlast, ever. It is terrifying.)
These games are designed for adults, and playing them does not make you emotionally stunted, a victim of ‘Peter Pan’ syndrome, or socially awkward.
My husband playing these games is no different to me spending hours on the computer at night blogging. There is an entertainment and stress relief component in both, there is a social aspect in both, there is screen time in both. This is how my husband chooses to spend his leisure time and his time chatting with his friends and I am completely okay with it.
It means I don’t feel guilty about spending time on the computer and working on this blog. It means my husband gets to catch up with friends he can’t hang out with in person because they have young kids at home and need to be around. It means my husband isn’t going out at night to the pub without me. It means we can spend time together but doing separate things, which is lovely.
I think it’s great that my husband has a way to unwind after a stressful day at work. It’s fun for him and really social. He talks to his friends (and my brother!) far more often than I talk to mine because he is playing with them online almost every night.
I was once asked by someone if it bothered me that Stu stays up playing while I go to bed. I need a lot more sleep than Stu and if I want to go to bed early (which in his case ‘early’ is before midnight!) then I will. I don’t need Stu to be in bed with me when I go to sleep, and if I’m asleep I don’t care what he is doing! Why should he miss out on something he enjoys just because I need more sleep than him? It would be way more annoying to have him in bed, wide awake and fidgeting, while I’m trying to sleep! I’d much rather go to bed when I want and have him come to bed when he is ready.
Instead of being annoyed about Stu playing video games, I encourage him to do it. And I get involved in it too. I sit on the couch next to him on my laptop and if he needs to know something I’ll often look it up for him. I ask questions, I know the general story line of the game, because I’m there and I’m involved. I can talk to him about the game and understand what he says when he talks about ‘exotic fusion rifles’, ‘doing vault of glass’ or ‘completing a bounty in the Crucible’. I get involved not because it particularly interests me but because it is important to him, and it means I can talk with him about something that takes up a fair chunk of his time. If I refused to be involved I would be cutting myself off from communicating with my husband about something that is important to him and that he enjoys doing.
Your partner playing video games doesn’t have to mean complete isolation from you, and you from him. If he is interested in playing a certain game, talk to him about it. It’s no different to any other hobby or pastime in this regard. Engage in conversation about it. Don’t make it a choice between him spending time with you and spending time playing the game. There is no good reason he can’t do both most of the time.
So if your significant other wants to play video games tonight and you are annoyed at them for it, I’d recommend rethinking your attitude to video games and try to reach a more peaceful resolution to his video gaming for both of you.
Does your husband/boyfriend play video games? What is your attitude towards them?