Consoles over cuddles: gaming and your relationship with your boyfriend

Zoe Thayer, left, shows her boyfriend Dylan Maychoss, right, what the consequences if spending more time with his playstation than her might be. Some women agree that gaming has taken up far too much of their significant others time.

Rachel Doktor/The Record

Zoe Thayer, left, shows her boyfriend Dylan Maychoss, right, what the consequences if spending more time with his playstation than her might be. Some women agree that gaming has taken up far too much of their significant others’ time.

From her home in the sunny San Fernando Valley, C.A., a very annoyed Jessie Yodsukar would sit with her girlfriend and vent about the “other woman” in her boyfriend’s life.

He would spend numerous hours with this other woman. He would go from frustrated when she shut down on him unexpectedly, to telling her how much he loved her the next minute, and he would get angry when she wouldn’t allow him to take their relationship to the next level.

Sounds like your typical “side piece.” However, the other woman in Jessie Yodsukar’s life was in fact not even a woman – it was a video game system.

Around the time the newest version of World of Warcraft came out in 2011, she and her friend had decided they had had enough playing second act to these machines. The men were obsessed and the women would compare notes on a daily basis.

“She would say, ‘My boyfriend played for about six hours last night,’” Yodsukar said. “And then I would say, ‘Mine is still playing since last night, I win.’”

They would laugh about their boyfriends’ “other girlfriends” and started joking around about how they should start a support group for the girlfriends of gamers, which is inevitably how their blog Girlfriends Against Gaming, or GAG, was born.

“We wanted a site where we could vent and gently poke fun at our boyfriends,” Yodsukar said. “I didn’t want to constantly nag my boyfriend about playing games too much, so sometimes, whenever I felt a little annoyed, I’d just vent on the site.”

The women on this blog aren’t necessarily against gaming.

“I actually can enjoy the occasional game,” Yodsukar said. “We’re against wasting so much precious time in a world that isn’t real, when they could be doing something more productive in the real world.”

Indeed, one of the chief conflicts in relationships is how much time partners spend on things other than their significant others, whether it be shopping, working, or in this case, playing Xbox or PlayStation too much.

According to Yodsukar, the guy she was dating at the time treated gaming like a second job. He would play from the time he got home from work at 4:30 p.m. to around midnight every night – roughly eight hours a day. On Fridays and the weekends, he would play all day and night, and then through the early morning.

Yodsukar also said that her boyfriend’s love affair with the systems led them to excessive fighting, especially when it came time for a social outing. When he played games, it was like he was in a time warp. What he thought was five minutes in game time, was actually 30 minutes in real life. So they ended up being late for dinners or parties, and sometimes just had to skip going out all together because by the time he was ready to go, it was too late.

Yodsukar recalls a time when to get back at her boyfriend for his lack of attention to the real world, she decided to play Sims, a game her boyfriend encouraged her to play, that was a virtual reality where you create your own world with characters. She set up a Sims world with her and her boyfriend as characters, and to spite him, stopped feeding his character.

“Soon, his character starved to death and then later came back to haunt my character,” Yodsukar said. “I thought it was hilarious. He didn’t find it funny at all. He really went around telling his friends that I killed him. That was the last time he asked me to try playing.”

Ryan Conner, a senior at SUNY Buffalo State, has dated a girl who wasn’t fond of his gaming, and like Yodsukar’s vents, her complaint wasn’t about the gaming itself – it was more about the time spent.

Conner admits they fought about the subject numerous times. He said his girlfriend never touched any of his equipment, but said some of his buddies weren’t so lucky.

“I don’t think she would have smashed any of my equipment, seeing as I do most of my gaming on a laptop,” Conner said. “But I do have some friends who have run into that issue with some of their exes.”

In regards to spending a lot of time gaming, Conner points out that playing video games is like someone who plays sports. It’s fun for gamers, and the spirit of competition and socializing sucks them in.

“Personally I get very involved in a story of certain games,” Conner said. “And other times I have just made friends online and I go on to socialize with them. There are a few friends who I met through online gaming who I have spent the last five years playing with, and we have gotten to know each other very well.”

Sophomore Amanda Rojo said she’s never had a boyfriend that was too focused on video games he couldn’t focus on her. And she doesn’t plan on dating one any time soon.

“I could never be a part of a relationship like that,” Rojo said. “How does a video game compare to a real-life woman?”

Rojo understands why some guys favor video games over girls. According to her, one of her close friends is a huge gamer and always says he’d rather play video games than spend time with his girlfriend, because she’s annoying and asks way too much of him.

“I guess the escape and the competition of beating one another is what is so fascinating for men,” she said.

Rojo did paint a verbal picture of how a relationship with her and a gamer would be like.

“I know if I did ever have a boyfriend like this, I’d throw whatever console he was using out of the window,” she said. “No man of mine is going to choose a game over me.”

According to Yodsukar, not all hope is lost for guys who game and want relationships. You can have both, and she admits she actually dated a professional gamer who played for eight-plus hours for a living and then more at home.

“He treated me like a princess,” Yodsukar said. “I always felt like I was the number one priority to him. So everyone’s different.

“Though I cringe a little when I hear that a guy is a gamer, I know it’s possible to be a gamer and be in a healthy relationship, as long as there’s a good balance between the two.”

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