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Playing Games While Not Ruining Your Relationship? 1054

Posted by Cliff
from the razor-sharp-balancing-acts dept.
Silicon Mike asks: "A nice sized group of us here at work recently picked up City of Heroes, and started playing together. While all of us were gamers to some extent, now we're all pretty addicted and want to play together online all the time. The problem some of us are running into is that our significant others aren't too happy with us gaming all the time. Other then the two obvious solutions (quit playing or dump the significant other) I'm wondering how other people have deal with it? I tried installing Zoo Tycoon on my other computer and saying 'Look honey, cute bears' but she just didn't bite."
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Playing Games While Not Ruining Your Relationship?

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  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:21PM (#9308478) Journal
    Or obvious solution #3... Regular /.'s don't have to worry about this "problem", so why ask me^H^Hthem?
    • by StuWho (748218) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:30PM (#9308642) Journal
      Yup - you want a quip about Microsoft being demons then you've come to the right place. Romance tips... All I can suggest is buying a furry glove

      • by ePhil_One (634771) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:02PM (#9309131) Journal
        Perhaps we need a new T-shirt from ThnkGeek [thinkgeek.com]

        My wife told me it was either her or the video games

        God I'll miss her!

      • Get her involved (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rick the Red (307103) <Rick.The.Red@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:40PM (#9309544) Journal
        Why not invite her to play along? My wife didn't even want me to buy Halo (gee, honey, why the hell did we buy an Xbox if you don't want Halo?) but we started playing in co-op mode and now it's her guilty pleasure. She's even started playing alone at difficutly level 3 (geeze, I've played enough that you'd think I could remember what the levels are called). The only problem is you can't save in co-op mode; you have to finish each level or you lose all progress. So sometimes we stay up way too late on weekends.
    • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oylerNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:03PM (#9309780) Journal
      Hah. I'm an expert, I can ruin a relationship without resorting to games at all.
  • Adulthood calls... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChuckleBug (5201) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:21PM (#9308479) Journal
    Sorry if it sounds harsh, but the solution IS obvious: Cut back on the gaming. Perhaps way back. In a healthy relationship, you and your SO will give each other time to pursue your own interests, and you'll both sacrifice some personal time for the other. You can't be a compulsive gamer and have a healthy relationship.

    If you have to be gaming all the time, as you say, it's time to grow up. And if you can't just do a little, then maybe you should give it up all together.

    I've been married 15 years, and it's largely because my wife and I both make sacrifices. There's no getting around it. I hope you work things out for the best.
    • by DoctorDeath (774634) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:22PM (#9308492)
      I agree spend time with the SO at home and play at work!
    • by Luscious868 (679143) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9308535)
      Another obvious solution is to find an SO that has similar interestes so you can spend time with the SO and still do the things that you like to do.
      • by (54)T-Dub (642521) * <tpaine@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:33PM (#9308705) Journal
        I used to dream of finding a girl who loved playing video games as much as I did. Ironically I have found myself in a healthy relationship with a girl who hates video games and I don't want it any other way. Slowly she has learned to respect my pastime as a way for me to escape, and slowly I have realized that the non-interactive nature of video games isn't as satisfying as a good conversation with someone. As a result I find myself not needing the video games like I once did and happy about it.
        • by LilMikey (615759) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:46PM (#9308909) Homepage
          I'm right there with you. My SO absolutely HATES gaming... but she'll talk on the phone for 6 hours straight given the opportunity. Both of us are happy.

          The only difference is after she's done she actually thinks I'm interested in how ugly her best friends brother's cousin's roomate's nephew's baby is while I'm fully aware she couldn't give a crap if my Necromancer leveled !twice! tonight. :)
          • by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:54PM (#9309030) Homepage Journal
            The only difference is after she's done she actually thinks I'm interested in how ugly her best friends brother's cousin's roomate's nephew's baby is while I'm fully aware she couldn't give a crap if my Necromancer leveled !twice! tonight. :)

            I'd like to see a vote on how many guys here have encountered that double-standard. I get in trouble if I look bored when hearing about something boring, but I get a bored look if I try to talk about my latest Genossian Lab raid in SWG.
            • by Torinaga-Sama (189890) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:37PM (#9309519) Homepage
              It is my experience that men and woman deal with daily life stress in different ways, ironically they are two very different non-symbiotic ways.

              Women deal with their lives by talking about things that delve into the minutae of their daily existence.

              Men like to get really absorbed into something that doesn't envolve talking or an excessive amount of conscious thought like a game or tv.
            • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:05PM (#9310257) Journal
              I'd like to see a vote on how many guys here have encountered that double-standard. I get in trouble if I look bored when hearing about something boring, but I get a bored look if I try to talk about my latest Genossian Lab raid in SWG.

              Not here. Not w/my wife. (Man, she's awesome!)

              We both have needs for time alone. We both get it by acknowledging this need.

              I'm *required* to pay attention to her when she's talking to me about "relevant" (kids, money, etc) things, and she's *required* to listen to me when I want to talk about 'relevant' things (software, client conversations and contracts, etc)

              Everything else is fair game for the axe. As in - "I'm sorry, but I'm really not interested in this right now" or "Do you mind if I (X/Y/Z) right now?".

              Your choices extend beyond Games/GF.

              How about telling her your concerns? Rather than say "Jesus, chick, you b0r3z me!", try "A conversation is a 2-say activity, and I find it difficult to engage in this conversation because I don't feel you are interested in what I have to say".

              Interestingly enough, I find that I DO find my wife's interests far more interesting when I feel she's interested in mine. You may find that she really IS interested, and that you are just assuming she isn't!

              Other than that, another good piece of advice is to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow for insults. Just don't do it. Never "bitch! / asshole!". Rather, say "I feel the urge to call you a bitch because NNNNN"

              This leads to a solution, rather than exacerbating the miscommunication. Sounds crazy and "shrink-ish" but in my case, these attempts at more direct and meaningful communication have worked amazingly well.

              It does take time - lots of it, and for me, it's well worth it!
          • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:07PM (#9309187) Homepage
            AMEN!!!

            Of course, when I tried to explain that calling Japan for 6 hours was more expensive than me gaming, I got the "What's your point" look.

            Oh, and I cannot disturb her during that 6 hour conversation. Cannot! Under any circumstances.

            However, when she is done, it does not matter that I am in the middle of a battlefield running from a cunning sniper trying to find a medic. Oh no! I am to disconnect immediately!

            This is why netcafes are a godsend.

            • by dynamo (6127) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:25PM (#9309964) Journal
              dude, stand up for yourself. i mean, outside of slashdot. you are supposed to have a partnership in a marriage, if you feel stepped upon (the way you describe it, that appears to be the case), speak up and get it out in the open and deal with it.

              if you want respect, act respectably.
          • by Keebler71 (520908) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:59PM (#9310637) Journal
            I'll give you a little tip that took me about 3 years to figure out. Women don't care if you care what they are talking about. They also don't care about their friends' problems that they just spent 6 hours listening about. They DO care that you listen to them, just like they listen to their friends to show them that they care about THEM, not the subject of their friends' story. To be geeky, with women it is about a good stable communications channel, rather than the channel's content.
            • by Suchetha (609968) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ahtehcus'> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @02:42AM (#9312599) Homepage Journal
              actually i've found that you can read/program/game while your sigfig is on the fone with you, and STILL manage to do both well... just keep going uh-huh.. and keep an ear out for certain key words ("pregnant" is a major one) and just let it buzz past you. practice and you'll actually manage to get to the point where you can game and carry on a "significant" (at least to her it will be) convo with her at the same time.

              Suchetha
        • by Ateryx (682778) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:08PM (#9309207)
          As a result I find myself not needing the video games like I once did and happy about it.

          Your balls called... they said when you're ready to play CS again they'll be waiting.

      • by Lovebug2000 (195893) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#9308729)
        Yeah, that's what I did. Met her on a MUD actually :P, and now we move on to MMO's and whatnot and are both nice and geeky.

        Ah yes...I believe normal people do things like take walks, for us it's "maybe we can fit another mission in before bedtime!"

        I feel so pathetic...and yet wonderful.

        So my suggestion to the slashdot crowd is to meet girls ON the games...but then...they aren't always girls :P
      • by EvilAlien (133134) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:13PM (#9309259) Journal
        Ya, there is a freakish idea ;)

        ... maybe get her into City of Heroes. Of course if you do nothing but game all the time, then no wonder she hates it. If you game fairly moderately and she needs to be the center of attention all the time then maybe she is the one who needs to grow up.

        There are a number of computer games my wife and I like to play together, separately, etc. Gaming and relationships are not mutually exclusive, so you need to figure out if the gaming is the problem or not. I've had girlfriends that were the problem, but that is what "breaking up" is for.

    • by (54)T-Dub (642521) * <tpaine@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9308540) Journal
      I agree, but I think you could simply say:
      You can't be a compulsive __________ and have a healthy relationship.
      And fill in the blank with any habbit except maybe "flowers buyer"
    • by belgar (254293) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:28PM (#9308622) Homepage
      Mod this comment up. I love gaming as much as the next person, but reality check here: relationships are about sacrifice and compromise. In the comparison of gaming and your SO, if you don't recognize the more important of the two is the SO, then get out -- you ain't ready for a serious relationship, to be honest.

      Don't get me wrong, that's not a slag -- for some people, their friends, online or in the flesh, are more important than being in a committed relationship. Just don't leave the other person in limbo.

      Also, recognize the difference between "friends" and "gaming" -- is it the game you want to play, or the friends you want to play with? If it's the former, time to evaluate your priorities.
    • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#9308786)
      Depends on what "cut back" means. If cut back means going from playing many hours a night, every night, to playing a few hours a week, I agree. However if cutting back means going from playing a few hours a week to nothing, then I think it's time to have a talk with the SO and maybe break up.

      Why? Well, as you said, relationships are give and take. Pat of that is both of you need time to do things that YOU enjoy, even if the other does not. Those should, of course, be limited, but people need time for their own fun even in a commited relationship. If your SO can't handle that, you probably are in an unhealthy relationship.

      I know far too many people, mean and women, where their life is all about what the other person wants. If the SO doesn't like it, it has to go entirely. If the SO want to do it, then they do. Not a healthy way to be.

      So if a woman wants you to cut back your gaming to not be the dominant activity in your life, that's a good thing. If she wants you to cut it out entirely, that's not and you need to talk about it.
      • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ChuckleBug (5201) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:59PM (#9309093) Journal
        Depends on what "cut back" means. If cut back means going from playing many hours a night, every night, to playing a few hours a week, I agree. However if cutting back means going from playing a few hours a week to nothing, then I think it's time to have a talk with the SO and maybe break up.

        This is true. However, I surmised that the problem was of the first kind, given the questioner said:

        "The problem some of us are running into is that our significant others aren't too happy with us gaming all the time."

        I play some games, but nothing like a single young geek (I do not mean that unkindly) can. I have a PS2, and mainly play games that don't require hours and hours to have any fun, so RPGs are pretty much out for me. That's OK. I've found as I get older that I prefer drawing and painting for relaxation.

        However, your point about moderation is a good one. You have the right to make some demands on your SO, but not to force said SO to give up something he/she loves (may not apply when that thing is heroin, affairs, serial killing, listening to Neil Diamond, and so on).
    • by Wanker (17907) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:40PM (#9308814)
      In addition to the above obvious solution, check out Everquest Widows and try to avoid doing the things the "widows" complain about:

      Yahoo Groups: Everquest Widows [yahoo.com]

      Also, if your relationship has already gone south and you really want to keep it, don't be afraid to go talk with a counselor-- by yourself at first, but you might need to both go together to someone else, too.

      Finally, if games are really more important than time with her-- stick with what you enjoy. Keep in mind that you might be making a long-term mistake for some short-term satisfaction.
    • Join me, Luke... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Tyro (247333) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:46PM (#9308906)
      Or you can try to bring them over to the dark side...

      I must confess... I've tried it with my wife, but thus far have had no luck. Back in the day she was a relentless MUD'er, but now doesn't seem to have any interest in computer games whatsoever (I feel like Luke trying to drag Vader back to the Light side of the force... "there is good in him... I have felt it").

      Still, sacrifices are what makes a relationship work. She's intelligent, beautiful, funny, a good cook, a great mom, and makes more money than I do. Her only flaw seems to be that she married far beneath her station... a flaw for which I am eternally thankful.

      I'd give up the games for her... but she'd never force me to do that... give-and-take is a beautiful thing.

      I agree with the parent poster... you don't end a relationship for a lousy video game... I don't care how 1337 it is.
    • by ShortedOut (456658) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:50PM (#9308967) Journal
      I've got to agree with ChuckleBug here. I got married, then started playing DAoC a year later. It got to be 2 hrs a night, then 4, then 4 a night and every waking moment on the weekends.

      I wasn't paying attention to the wife, I wasn't doing housework, I wasn't cooking... nada, just a gaming freak for a few months. Almost had to get a divorce, mainly because I would jump down her neck if she tried to kiss me good night or something that would interrupt play.

      Finally recognized the signs of addiction and scaled back, got to playing 2 hours per night, and not at all on weekends. Then, thanks to the mechanics of DAoC, I couldn't accomplish much and I couldn't talk to the players that I wanted to talk to in 2 hours, so it made it easier to quit.

      MMORPGs are the devil on relationships because you can't always just turn it off because there's always something to do in game before you turn it off.

      The best thing to do, is get some single player games, or, even better, get in to FPS's where you can log in, go in Rambo mode, or just follow a couple of guys around and get the fragging out of your system for a couple of hours a week.

      But if you have any addictive tendencies, and have the propensity to melt into your computer game, cut out your MMORPG right away, and trade it in on a FPS, single player.

      Or, even better, spend your evenings drinking, talking and laughing with your SO. You did marry them for some reason. ;)
  • Lucky (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:22PM (#9308488)
    'Look honey, cute bears' but she just didn't bite."

    You're lucky, I'd have bitten your head off after a comment like that.
  • Solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by mallocme (740799) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:23PM (#9308494)
    tsk tsk... bears? should've used bunnies. Always gets them.
  • Nice try, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kid Zero (4866) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:23PM (#9308504) Homepage Journal
    Unless you find a woman who can handle you playing games like that most of the time while ignoring her, you're out of luck. Most women (I've found) like to be paid attention to.

    Besides, women are more fun to score with. :D
  • Have you asked your wife/husband if they would like to play or join the group you are so involved with? If not that group, how about setting up a parallel group that plays the same game?
    • by GreaterThanZero (537712) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:42PM (#9308840)
      Mod parent up! I remember when my boyfriend first got Earth & Beyond. It was soon after our relationship began, and I wasn't a fan of it. Granted, there are some new-relationship-sillies involved in that, like wanting to be together all the freakin' time. But I got over it, and when he got bored of the game, I got him back, as it were.

      Now City of Heroes. I didn't like it for the first few days(because from what I saw of the gameplay, it sucked...but that was because it was just for the first few levels, so the combat seemed slow because of lame recharge times)...so it looked like he was choosing a crappy game over me.

      But now I'm into it. And I'm lucky that my boyfriend encourages the inner gamer geek in me. He helps me and suggests strategies for when I'm/we're playing Soul Caliber 2, Diablo 2, City of Heroes, etc. etc. I say I'm lucky because he could just as easily be protective of his Xbox or computer(mine's old and can't handle much more than Alice). I also got over my aversion to City of Heroes because we had a talk about it. I made a big assumption that was wrong: he was choosing the game over me. But the reality, he said, was that he was choosing the game over doing nothing. I was afraid to speak up and ask to do things with him because I assumed I would annoy him and interrupt his levelling. Turns out that isn't the case; it was just a vicious cycle of him playing, me assuming he doesn't wanna be with me, me not saying we should do something, him assuming I don't wanna do anything, so he played the game. Luckily it was only a few days before that was straightened out. :)

  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hott of the World (537284) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:23PM (#9308512) Homepage Journal
    They both cost money, but I'd have to go with getting rid of the games (I know, blasphemy).

    When you're 60 years old and remembering the great times of your life, no ones going to say, "You know, I should have dumped that old broad and played more video games..."
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:32PM (#9308672)
      "You know, I should have dumped that old broad and played more video games..."

      Yeah because "Man I bent over backwards for that cow and she STILL dumped me" is so much better.
      • by solios (53048) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:58PM (#9309076) Homepage
        Video games don't whine (well, good ones). Video games don't call you at work and DEMAND you spend more time with them. Video games don't pull stupid dramatic stunts that even high schoolers would laugh at to get you to pay attention to them. Video games demand time and money, sure, but they're not guilting you with WE NEVER GO OUT!!! and WE'RE GOING TO VISIT MY PSYCHOTIC MOTHER!!!. Video games do not withhold sex over something as stupid as showing up five minutes late.

        In short, video games are better than a bad relationship by orders of magnitude. I'd rather play Daikatana than spend ten minutes with my ex. Yeah, relationships are a give and take thing, but when you're doing all the giving and SheBitch, Queen of the Universe is doing all of the taking, well.... fuck that noise. GTA calls.

        A good relationship, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Bad relationships drive me to video games. Good ones leave me with little inclination to pick up the control pad.
  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:24PM (#9308523) Homepage
    As a 26 year-old who has owned every major game system since the NES and who is getting married next month, I have some experience with this: The best advice I can give is that moderation and comprimise are the only way to approach this.

    If the two of you can't work out a comprimise (spoken or unspoken), then you really don't belong in a relationship with one another. Gaming isn't the only thing that's going to eat into your life in the next few years -- work, children, clubs, friends, PTAs, softball games, etc. will all potentially require some kind of balance if you're going to continue a workable relationship. So look at this as a test run.

    Relationships are about cooperation -- they're about *not* just considering your own needs, but taking the other person into serious consideration. I used to play hours of Quake each day in college, but when we moved in together I realized I was ignoring her and I cut way the heck back. Now, I play where I have a chance; it's not a set schedule, just something we worked out (you can't live together without having time alone, IMO). I'll play some GTA while she reads or watches a chick flick on HBO. She understands it's something I enjoy, but I understand that I can't blow the unhealthy amount of time I used to on it. Welcome to adult life.

    Anyhow, my girlfriend (er, fiance... gotta get used to that before the wedding) is more important to me than numbing my mind in front of the Xbox. If yours isn't, well, maybe it's time to cut her loose and pursue your real interests.

    Weirdly, I actually found myself on the other side of this one back with Girlfriend 1.0; she started playing MUDs our freshman year of college and got absolutely addicted. Our three-year relationship went right into the crapper because she *obviously* preferred being in character in her little fantasy world to me (or reality in general for that matter -- she flunked out of school because she wasn't bothering with classes). I suppose that gave me a bit more empathy in terms of this situation...

  • Balancing Act (Score:5, Informative)

    by andyrut (300890) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:24PM (#9308528) Homepage Journal
    I had the exact same problem, and for me the choice between my relationship and gaming was fairly simple: do both.

    I was involved in a competitive gaming league which held matches once a week. Even though our team played in a fairly low bracket in the league, we still took the time to practice before we played our weekly match. It got to the point where I was investing a significant percentage of my free time gaming and it began to wear on my significant other.

    Eventually I said to my team "hey guys, I can practice once or twice a week for X hours and play in our match." That worked out fine and I had a lot of fun playing. But more importantly, I kept my relationship and gaming time well-balanced.

    If you feel like spending significantly MORE time gaming than being with your significant other, then take a step back and decide whether one or the other is really worth it. I'd choose the gal, myself.

    I've been fortunate enough to have a girlfriend who will accompany me to LAN parties and put up some respectable numbers on the fragboard. :)
  • by flynt (248848) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:24PM (#9308533)
    Other then the two obvious solutions (quit playing or dump the significant other)

    How about limiting your playing time each day to something you both agree on, and then spend your non-playing time together. You definitely need your free time away from your SI, everyone does, so just use it to play the game. It sounds like you may have a problem when you say "want to play all the time". Just do it in moderation.
  • by Sinful_Shirts (784047) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9308539) Homepage
    What are they talking about? I've built plenty of meaningful relationships in the Sims!
  • The secret... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CyberKnet (184349) <slashdot@NOSpam.cyberknet.net> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9308545) Homepage Journal
    The secret is to find something they like playing. It won't neccessarily be obvious either.

    My wife turned her nose up at the cute fluffy games that I thought she would like. At first blush I thought perhaps computer games were not going to be something she would like. Then she saw me playing Quake3 Arena one day and has become quite adept at it.

    Most importantly is to talk about your game playing habits. Find out why it is a problem for them. This will prevent countless hours of arguing and pouting (on both parts!).

    If the problem is "just" because your chores are suffering, then the solution may be as easy as finishing your chores quicker; not finding a game for her so you can say "You play too!".
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dogas (312359) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9308549) Homepage
    Just play the game, man. Jeez, who the hell wears the pants in *your* relationship?

    I think I speak for a collective 47.6% of all slashdotters when I say... WHA-PSSSH!!!
  • by Greenisus (262784) <michael@mayotPERIODech.com minus punct> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:26PM (#9308561) Homepage
    The only time this could have ever been a problem for me was the summer FF7 came out. My girlfriend got a 9 to 5 job for the summer, and I had a free ride from my parents (I was in school at the time). So, I'd play by day, and hang out with her at night.


    We did get in a fight one night, though, when I called her Aeris . . . .

  • by josh3736 (745265) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:26PM (#9308566) Homepage
    At this point, it is time to cue the jokes about:
    • Surely you don't actually have a SO
    • SO == Realdoll [realdoll.com] (Work Warning!)
    • In Soviet Russia... since everything seems to be in Soviet Russia around here
    • and of course, "Where can I find one of these so-called girlfriends?"

    </bitterness>

    Seriously, you just need to budget your time. A few games, then some time together doing whatever, then another game.

    Or you can always just wait until she goes to bed to start playing.

  • by Bob Vila's Hammer (614758) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:26PM (#9308567) Homepage Journal
    This is slashdot, it is most definitely implied that your "significant other" is virtual/not real, so just close the program or put it back in the closet. Problem solved.
  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:27PM (#9308598)
    In general, you don't want to make your girlfriend feel like she's 2nd place. For example, don't go straight to the computer after getting home. Sit down, chat with her, let the day kinda die down before going to a game. This alone will make a much bigger difference than simply cutting back the number of hours involved. Sadly I found this out the hard way once.
    • by solios (53048) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:06PM (#9309182) Homepage
      Of course, I'm not blowing 20 hours a week on video games, I'm spending it in the myriad stages of graphic novel production. Time for it has to come from somewhere- out went video games, out went movies. I do those when I'm too burned out from writing, pencilling, inking, coloring to do anything else.

      Oh yeah, and there's the day job. Combine that with the graphic novel and I have about six hours of free time a week. Broke up with the girl I was dating the week I started the project in earnest. I told her I had finally started work on the thing- which I have been planning since 1994- and her response wasn't "sweet!" or "nice!" or "it's good that you're starting to realize your dreams!", it was "I'M NOT TAKING A BACK SEAT TO SOME STUPID WEBCOMIC!"

      And so, quite suddenly, she wasn't.

      When I'm 40, my memories of my mid twenties will be a haze of production striving to pull together a story that has been taking shape in my head for ten years. I will have ACCOMPLISHED something, rather than suffering the tyranny of an ice queen who wanted my creative energies for herself.

      Fortunately, the woman I'm half-dating now understands exactly where I'm coming from (she's a writer)- and has caught more than a few typos.

      If you have to sacrifice something you love, then it's pretty obvious that there's a more compatible girl out there.
  • by indulgenc (694929) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:28PM (#9308606)
    A little over a year ago, my wife and I had a baby. She takes up the majority of my time now, but my wife and I made an agreement that we'd each get one night a week to ourselves. I typically play EQ (yes still addicted after 4 and 1/2 years) on my night, and she plays Quake 3 on hers.

    Even with other things: I hate doing laundry, and she hates to cook. So I cook and she does the laundry (mostly because I'm a much better cook though).

    It is all about compromise, but as long as you can both come to an agreement that works it would be an issue.

    -i
    • by djdavetrouble (442175) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:10PM (#9309226) Homepage
      This is of course a ridiculous item, so I couldnt resist. I have 2 kids and a wife. I was born in 1969 and grew up skateboarding and playing video games. I don't skate anymore, but I love videogames still. Most jobs I have had (IT dept) have had after work / last hour tournaments, my current job is the exception.

      Well, I am still addicted to FPS games, and I just stay up a few hours after everyone else goes to bed. That is my time, and I can do whatever the fuck I want to do with it. I have all of 2 pastimes, collecting and djing music and fragging tanks in bzflag. All of my remaining time goes to work and raising 2 kids.

      If you are having a problem with your SO, maybe it is because you expect to be able to play whenever you feel like sitting down at your deck. You need to structure your time and make sure that you pay sufficient attention to you SO. Make sure you respect each other's free time, by speaking about it. Don't just disappear into the computer right after dinner. Communication will get to the bottom of your issue.

      You may have been joking about zoo tycoon, but that game just sounds LAME. Do you even know what kind of games she likes? When my wife was pregnant I bought Hoyle Board Games 2003 so she could play mahjongg to her hearts content. Lots of women enjoy the Sims from what I know, and the above poster is lucky enough to have a wife that plays Quake 3. Now THATS hot! Anyway, either try to involve her in your hobby (who knows it may even be fun) or find her a game she can enjoy.

      As soon as my kids are old enough you can bet that we'll be going head to head on our playstation 3. I've been waiting years to frag the little rugrats ! Also considering buying dance dance revolution since we all enjoy dancing, and it could be a real fun family activity.
  • Just Say No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hardgeus (6813) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:30PM (#9308639)
    After having over a year of my life sucked into Ultima Online I can tell you from experience that you want to stay away from the MMORPG genre.

    These games are specifically designed to maximise addiction and require as much of your time as is possible. They are designed to make it impossible to just sit down for 15 minutes and have a fun little game.

    There is a whole world out there with actual real things that games only exist to simulate. Computer games are great while they are augmenting your real life. They are good for a little off time every now and then.

    When you reach a point where your wife/girlfriend/whatever feels neglected because of a video game, you need to question your priorities. Perhaps the proper question isn't how to get her off your back, but rather, is this game worth the time I am spending?
  • Same prob (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steelerguy (172075) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:30PM (#9308640) Homepage
    First, don't get addicted to too many games. I will only buy the very best games out there then go a couple months in between them once finished.

    Second, arrange times that you are going to play a couple days in advance so you can warn significant other. Set a time limit like 2 hours or so. You will always run over the time limit, so you should aim toward the lower end of the spectrum that you really want to play for.

    Third, it is ok to play once significant other has fallen asleep, but never...I repeat...NEVER let her go to bed by herself. If you do you are just asking for it. Now if you can pull off the cuddle for awhile bit until she is asleep and then get up and play you may get away with it, but that laying down till fall asleep time seems to be very important to women.

    This has worked for me. I must admit that I don't play as much as I used to, but that is probably for the best. Just remember to spend at least as much time as you plan on playing with your significant other. I don't mean sitting in front of the tube time, but realy quality time. Also let them know you are going to play, so it does not come as a suprise.
  • Just a thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ciannait (82722) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:30PM (#9308645)
    One of the bonuses of City of Heroes is the lack of EQ or DAoC-style timesinks.

    You don't have to level your character before leveling your clothes. You don't have to camp a spawn for seven hours. You don't have to do ML10.

    The game is perfectly able to be played an hour or two at a time. In fact, it caters to casual gaming. If you're spending so much time playing City of Heroes that your girlfriend is getting pissed, there's probably a good reason.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#9308740) Homepage Journal
    In 1981, myself and half a dozen other people got jobs as computer disk operators in what was then the worlds foremost laboratory developing computer graphic animation. It was the predecessor of Pixar - indeed, the Pixar founders had just left there to go to work for George Lucas.

    We made $2.15 per hour. Operators would wait for someone to call to have a disk changed, and we would mechanically change the disk and run the predecessors of fsck (icheck, ncheck, dcheck, etc.). The systems ran Version 6 Unix, and there were two VAXes which ran 4BSD.

    There were several ways to entertain yourself while waiting for a call to do something. You could do your homework. You could try to learn more about Unix and C, which they didn't teach in the college because they had little practical application at the time in the eyes of the CS department. Or you could play rogue, an interactive computer game that ran with really primitive graphics on the VT100 terminal.

    Most of my colleauges chose to play rogue. I read the Unix and C documentation, which was only one book and about a foot of papers at the time. I had some computer programming experience, including assembler, but no formal classes in programming, as I was a communication arts student. But once I had read all of the available literature on Unix and C, I was able to get a job as an assistant systems programmer and start moving up in the lab. That eventually got me to Pixar.

    The folks who played rogue? They did OK, I guess. But I think they would have done much better if they'd taken the opportunity as seriously as I did.

    Look around. There is probably something to do that would be much more important, and eventually more fun, than the game-playing. You only get one life. Start living it.

    Bruce

    • by Trick (3648) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:15PM (#9309282)
      I don't doubt that works for some people. I'd probably be one of the other guys who did "OK, I guess."

      Back in my younger days when I had a lot of downtime on my hands, the very last thing you'd find me doing would have been to have my nose buried in a book. Given that, these days, the choices would be more like studying or fragging my co-workers, I'd choose a gut shot to the Notes admin in a split second.

      Granted, I'm a big-time geek, and I like learning new stuff at least as much as a good geek should. I'm a coder, network engineer, systems admin, and security guy rolled into one, and I like to think I'm pretty damned good at all of those. However, I wouldn't also be highly- (some might say over-) payed, and also working with people who I truly consider friends, if it wasn't for the relationships I formed at previous jobs. Based on my experience, it's hard to get people to really care about you five years after if they just remember you as the guy who was always reading the Unix manual in the corner.

      Obviously, I'm replying to someone who did pretty well for himself using the other approach. I'd just like to submit the opposing view that time spent screwing off with friends and co-workers isn't necessarily time wasted.
  • by thedbp (443047) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#9308744)
    but this question is just sad. CHERISH AND APPRECIATE EVERY MOMENT with your significant other. He/She doesn't have to sit there and put up with your quirks and intricacies. They aren't required to deal with you ignoring them in favor of a video game. They aren't there to be there when its convenient for you. You will get much more out of a healthy, loving relationship than you ever will from a bunch of hours sunk uselessly into gaming. Seriously think about this question and you will realize the answer is "Holy shit, I'm actually weighing my life partner against a video game! how incredibly selfish self-centered and utterly shallow of me!"

    Its no wonder geeks are lonely. They have no interpersonal skills. Not that I'm so much better, I really screwed up my last relationship via 'harmless' personal time to dawdle and hack together various computer bits, only realzing too late that I could have spent that time on picnics or walks through the park or taking in a good movie or discussing a book or learning something about my ex that I didn't know before.

    I'll say it again: CHERISH AND APPRECIATE EVERY MOMENT with your significant other. They are choosing to be with you and if you continue to debase them by ignoring them for video games, you'll get what you deserve: a broken heart and a bunch of uncaring unfeeling pixels staring back at you in your emptiness.
  • Amen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bobej1977 (580278) * <rejamison@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:43PM (#9308851) Homepage Journal
    Amen brother. I wish I knew the answer to this. The best solution I know of is to not live with her. That way you can indulge all you like on your own time. If you shack up, it's much more difficult. The only time I ever took that plunge, our relationship crashed and burned, in part because of my gaming "habit". In hind-sight though, it really came down to the fact that I only liked hanging out with her because it got me laid, so maybe that's for the best.

    Really, this comes down to personal space. IMO a relationship isn't really all that healthy if you can't spend a certain amount of time alone without one or the other of you becoming unhappy. Women just need to realize that at certain times in a guy's life she is going to have to share top-priority, or even be runner-up for a short while. In other words:

    Attention to all women: Guys fixate on stupid crap once in a while. Let us burn ourselves out on it and we will always come back to you happier and perhaps smarter.

  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:48PM (#9308932)
    it's simple. your woman, and even your life, can be viewed as a game. instead of working hard to score in a game, work hard to score with your woman... instead of exploring levels of some fake world, figure out what places you can take your woman to in the real world that get her in the mood. figure out how to get her to do x and y things that she would never think of doing.

    making your woman happy and the resultant behaviors she will perform for you are infinitely more rewarding than any intangible, fictional reward a game might offer

    trust me, evolution has made women the most challenging and addictive game ever, there's just a steep learning curve.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:02PM (#9309137)
      > it's simple. your woman, and even your life, can be viewed as a game. instead of working hard to score in a game, work hard to score with your woman...

      Huh? Has anyone actually tried this? I mean, unlike Leisure Suit Larry, the game you describe may have better graphics, but the gameplay itself is as boring as the Sims, and the speed-up key can only be used once a day, and in an astonishing display of programmer ignorance, the speed-up key only works at night when you're trying to game! At least the Sims design team got that part right -- you want to fast-forward during the day when you're at work and nobody's home!

      > instead of exploring levels of some fake world, figure out what places you can take your woman to in the real world that get her in the mood. figure out how to get her to do x and y things that she would never think of doing.

      And the list of defects goes on. Like, there's no fucking save/restore feature either! I mean, you spend six weeks of game time setting up a surprise menage-a-trois with you, your girlfriend and just *one* lousy goat, and if the persuade roll fails, all you can do is pull out the old .45 and restart.

      No way, man, "RL" is teh suck. I wouldn't even warez it.

  • by coljac (154587) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:55PM (#9309037) Homepage
    I'm in the same situation as this guy, only I'm on the other side of the equation. My wife is playing City of Heroes all the time, and I'm getting neglected. It's kind of a weird feeling because we had fights a long time ago when I played too much Counterstrike, etc, now I know how it feels. There is something a bit disturbing about watching someone spend so many hours in a game, and it quickly becomes apparent that little things like going to bed at the same time, eating meals at the table, or watching an episode of Sealab 2021 together are really important.

    So I have two suggestions: either cut back on the gaming a bit - for example, set aside certain nights to not play - or tell me your username and what server are you are on. I'll tell my wife, you guys can hang out together online, and I'll take your SO to a movie.

  • by peter_gzowski (465076) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:55PM (#9309041) Homepage
    ...why not try City of Heroes, or some other multiplayer game that your SO might enjoy. I know my SO used to get bored when I'd pour hours into Final Fantasy X, but after a while, she realized it was fun to watch. Then she realized it was fun to discuss possible strategies. Then she realized it was fun to tell me what strategies to use. Then she took over my game. Anyway, all this was only after she had finished her own game that I had bought for her (Champions of Norath). The lesson I learned? Make gaming and spending time with your SO non-mutually-exclusive. Don't assume that she likes games with cute animals, get her to try Baldur's Gate and the like. Then sit there and watch her play it. Unlike us, a lot of the time women can play video games and carry on a conversation. Then, later, when you're playing some games, she will be much less inclined to demand you shut it off. She'll just sit down with you and assume that you're also able to carry on a conversation (good luck, there).
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:57PM (#9309063) Homepage Journal
    You have a Kid old enough to play them with you! Then she won't even give you a second glance, she'll be so happy to have "a father who wants to spend time with his kid", ie, get some sleep herself!
  • by killdashnine (651759) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:58PM (#9309071) Homepage

    Not so long ago, I went to a LAN Party and watched an acquaintance of mine sit through the entire thing playing "There" while the rest of enjoyed "real" games. Honestly, I couldn't believe he even bothered coming to the LAN in the first place.

    After a while, he went on about how cool it was and showed us all his "flirting" with his "online wife". Knowing that he was married with a newborn child, I asked him, "What does your REAL wife think about all this?" He replied, "She does it TOO!".

    I gulped and listened to him ramble on about the fact that his REAL wife was even planning to go meet her ONLINE HUSBAND. Obviously the guy had serious marital problems burgeoning, but he was alas unaware. I'm sure that by now he's either divorced or practicing online swinging (shudders)

    Geeks all have this problem with balancing computer time vs. their relationships. It's hard, but that's why I end up staying awake into the wee hours of the night. Also, another rule: Play games you know you can put down. This is why LAN parties are good ... you go, play all night, and then it's out of your system (hopefully). Elsewise, join "Gamer's Anonymous" and realize that you're no different than a Crack Smoker.

    I wrote an article in Issue 168 of ZZZ Online [zzz.com.ru] about some of this that may be of interest.

  • A female POV.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selloutvixen (749861) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @04:59PM (#9309090) Homepage
    This is actually a current problem of my current SO (and avid slashdotter) with Ragnarok Online. Don't get me wrong, I am such a gaming chick. I've been known to spend long periods of time glued to my laptop til the wee hours of the morning. However, he plays during the day while I'm at work, then wants to play all night as well. It's a &*^%@&^%& battle to tear him away from the computer to do something other than slay anime monsters. It won't do anything to seriously jeopardize our relationship, but damn, it's annoying. I work for sometimes 10 hours days staring at a computer.. do I really want to drive an hour home, then stare at a computer RIGHT away til 5am? Not likely. And a previous poster then said making your girlfriend feel like 2nd place is bad.. they were dead-on. Compromise with her. Watch a girlie chick flick with her in exchange for some game time, or stay with her til she falls asleep, play for a bit, then return and sleep yourself. If she really knows you and your geeky gaming addicition, she can't get TOO mad.
  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:04PM (#9309149) Homepage
    now we're all pretty addicted and want to play together online all the time.

    You admit you're addicted, that you want to play this game all the time, but the girlfriend is the problem?! Where's Dr. Phil?

  • Animal Crossing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Flamesplash (469287) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:05PM (#9309161) Homepage Journal
    Just get Animal Crossing for the Gamecube. It's the game to get if you have a female SO who doesn't play games, most women love it. It worked for me.
  • It's just a game! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WndrBr3d (219963) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:08PM (#9309201) Homepage Journal
    I personally spend a lot of time playing Magic: The Gathering Online and at the same time, have a SO as well.

    I find that in the long run, the SO is much more important to me than any game will ever be, no matter how powerful/how much money/how much time I spend playing it.

    A game should be just that, a game.

    I think when you find a game or virtual activity getting in the way of real life friendships (let alone relationships), you probably have an addiction problem.
  • Zoo Tycoon? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:08PM (#9309208) Homepage Journal
    Maybe you should try a game that is not bug-infested to the point where if it were a person even the CDC would stay far away. When you get very many visitors the game just eats your CPU up. My girlfriend is an animal freak, we have six chinchillas, a parrot, two parakeets, two turtles, a rabbit, and a ball python, all of which she brought home (some of them unannounced) and she still got pissed off enough at that game to ditch it. (And she DOES like video games, though not as much as I do.)

    Finding video games more amusing than your partner is indicative of a problem. This is true of anything though, not just video games. The solution is not to distract her with games (unless the problem is that she's just bored, and not specifically craving more of your time) but to find out what the root problem is, and solve it.

  • by Mouse42 (765369) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @05:09PM (#9309214)
    Seriously, you need a better girlfriend.

    Of course there needs to be a balance between time you spend with your friends doing fun stuff and time spent with your SO doing fun stuff, but it shouldn't take an enormous amount of effort to balance. It should come naturally, and when possible, the two worlds should overlap.

    If gaming is important to you, than you need to find a girlfriend who enjoys gaming, too, and will join you. This is important, because later on, when you're married, this will cause problems. She could expect you to "grow up" and stop doing "childish" things.

    An IT manager showed some obvious interest in me. I decided to pursue this for at least a friendship, because I can always use another gaming friend and movie buff to hang with. I later find out he thinks I'm perfect and never imagined a girl like me could exist. I'm a geeky hot chick who shares all his interests. He makes it obvious he wants more from me.

    I THEN find out the guy is married! Turns out he's so smitten he was actually considering having an affair. Of course I put a stop to that dream.

    My whole point is, the guy had no concept that a woman like me existed, so instead he settled for a nice woman who put up with him and lets him get laid every once and awhile. Obviously, he isn't happy with this, and his mind is wondering to other, seemingly better prospects.

    If the girl you are with cannot handle your hobbies, and refuses to join you with your hobbies, than you are with the wrong woman for you. There is someone better out there.

    (You may need to wait 10+ years before you can find her, but she's out there)

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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