If there were an adult female equivalent to gaming then perhaps this would be easier to swallow but many a defeated damsel has fought over and even called it quits over their partner’s obsession with gaming.
This is a difficult one, it’s not on par with adultery but the time a game-obsessed guy spends with his gadget creates the kind of neglect that may almost have the same effect. Essentially, there isn’t enough time spent as a couple, the other party feels unwanted and not cared for and the relationship suffers. Gaming has long surpassed being a childish distraction and games created specifically for adults, with adult subject matter, sophisticated graphics and game play are designed to be un-put-down-able and geared towards creating a compulsion. Not good if the girlfriend of such a gamer would prefer dinner and a movie.
Of course women can become addicted too, but that is the exception rather than the rule. So what to do in this situation? Where gaming is not excessive to the point where it disrupts work or has the same side effects as gambling or alcohol it becomes increasingly difficult to broach the subject without seeming needy or overbearing. Techaddiction.ca explains that many men who find themselves facing an irate mate site in their defence that “at least he is right there at home with you and “not out at a bar somewhere”. This is true but excessive gaming creates a deficit of ‘quality’, ‘meaningful’ time and this may be difficult to explain to someone who is already quite far gone down this path.
Techaddiction.ca names a couple of tips to remember when dealing with the issue:
1. Don’t join him – this may seem like a logical move towards enjoying the time together and embracing his hobby but the crux of the problem is still not dealt with – he would rather ‘pick up the controller’ than just be with you.
2. Don’t call it an addiction – there is no ‘officially recognized mental health diagnosis’ for excessive video game playing and inflammatory words like ‘addiction’ can only serve to push him further away. Unless the situation is so extreme that it’s unhealthy there’s no need to approach the big talk like it’s an intervention.
3. Leave – his love for gaming may not be a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. It may just be that World of Warcraft is far more interesting than you and he feels it deserves more of his time than the cuddle on the couch that you had in mind. If all else fails, leave him to it.