So you’re dating a gamer (Part 2): In the beginning

Welcome back!

Previously I had posted the introduction to my first blog series on Couch Potato Bros. obviously called, So you’re dating a gamer.

In case you missed what this series is essentially about, I’ll fill you in (if you don’t really care to read it again just scroll down to the asterisk)! I am what one may refer to as a non-gamer (or maybe a 1/8 gamer?) and I am dating a gamer. We have a fairly harmonious gamer/non-gamer relationship that was achieved through a journey of trial and error. I initially began on the opposing side of video games, and loathed the them to my very core. I’ve come a long way since then. My point in this series is to enlighten those who are curious as to the whole gamer/non gamer dynamic and to give some tips in what has worked for us — to help alleviate misconceptions about gamers that I may have once had, and to offer my two cents on games I really enjoy watching or playing. I will once again reiterate: I am not a skilled gamer by any means. Me playing some games can be likened to a train wreck. My opinions on games are probably ridiculously simplistic. I don’t know a whole lot about them, but hopefully you’ll be entertained!

**Okay. So now, that’s out of the way. I figure I can start by giving a brief introduction as to who I am, because I think it kind of fits in.

I’m Lindsey. I’m a 24 year old, newly-graduated aspiring teacher for pre-school and elementary children, a photographer, a musician of sorts/choral nerd, and I’m basically what one could refer to as an awkward extrovert (I love people and communicating with them, but I’m just an awkward being on too many levels. I’d explain but I figure it’ll shine through on this blog at times, so you can just wait and see). Last but not least; I’m engaged to the Couch Potato Bros. Editor-in-chief, Tomas.

NOW, LET’S GET GOING!

First, let me fill you in on my gaming background! My first video game encounter was playing Super Mario Bros. on my Aunt and Uncle’s Nintendo and eventually newer Mario games on their Nintendo 64. Following this my mom had purchased a Nintendo 64 for my brother and I; we used this to play Pokémon Stadium and Rugrats in Paris (Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (THE GAME)). Obviously, nothing crazy. But these were the positive experiences I had when I was younger.

As I was immersed in video game culture on occasion in high school, the positive gaming experiences I had were shadowed by the ultra sucky situations. I had regular hang out sessions with some of my girl friends and the same group of guys. These sirs were typically great guys — fun to talk to, willing to listen, the works. Well. I was stupid and would head on over to their Halo Parties with whatever girl I was hanging out with at the time…I’m sure you know where this is going. Well, see. I was under the delusion that they would be able to play the game AND talk to us, or at least include us in having good ol’ fun. Instead I was ignored, yelled at on occasion for being annoying (I was almost definitely being annoying, un their defense), and BORED watching the pew pew pew pew and hearing the strew of swear words, both timeless and newly invented. One would think I’d stop going but I apparently wanted to be miserable?

I had played Halo and I loathed every part of it. I, even still, don’t like shooter games. I need some kind of objective other than killing people and raping their carcasses (I can’t imagine these were the only guys that did this). I hated the control aspect of it as well; simply moving around in that game was difficult and with the graphics as they were would make it difficult and confusing. This was my representation of all video games and I never entertained the idea of looking into others. Which, is partially because I’m not a gamer at heart (or, at least not more than 1/8 of one).

After this was a long lull of no games anywhere near me and I was content. Then, all of a sudden, I ended up with good ol’ Tomas. We started out as friends who basically watched random TV shows and occasionally jammed together. Eventually we ended up dating! I won’t get into the mushy details (unless someone requests that for later?) or anything. For the longest time we dated and I still wasn’t affected by gaming, as he never played them around me. Then I moved in with him and it was a quick and rude awakening as Skyrim came out soon after.

You see, I didn’t view games as something that can actually engage a person. I saw it as mindless moving of a control stick. So I wanted to have the normal conversations that I would with him when I got home from work/school/whatever even if he was playing a game. I became resentful, almost, because he was REALLY into Skyrim and I just wanted to talk to him. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t talking to me and why he wouldn’t listen to me and I felt like I was put on the backburner.

Now, for those of you who may be reading to try to get that perspective of how to make sense of gaming, pay close attention. Here’s where he and I could have used some give and take of some variety. But we both were pretty impulsive and stubborn with our positions in this conflict.

What happened in response to this was annoying bickering. However, the endless amount of hours of game play ended. We, then, inevitably had to communicate. It was at this point where I understood that gaming may not be much to me, but it’s important to him.

I am insanely stressed out by games because I have to make quick decisions (which is just horrifying for a person who is hopelessly indecisive), but for Tomas it was entirely the opposite. After a long, hard day at work/school/whatever the combo was then, his way of winding down would be to play a video game. Not even necessarily daily, but sometimes. Life gets difficult and at these points people may come home and watch movies/tv shows (my muse), read books, play music, or play video games.

STEP ONE
The first step in giving gaming a chance is to realize that You can relate to their gaming. We all can relate regardless of the medium. Because when life is inevitably stressful, every human has to have their own escape from realityI had mine and he had his. The only difference was the medium in which we were escaping. Which leads me to the next part.

STEP TWO
You don’t have to have the same escape. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that you have to do every single thing together. You are two separate human beings. No matter how many interests you share or how much you love one another, you will need to learn that you don’t need your other to escape. I had personal emotional issues that made me insecure and dependent on him. I have/had passions, but it was hard for me to acknowledge them in that point in time. I really struggled in this and ended up making myself miserable and holding myself back from doing something I enjoyed.

STEP THREE
If it terrifies you that you may have to escape on your own, calm yourself. You don’t need to CONSTANTLY escape reality. Eventually you’ll both feel content escaping and can stop, sit together, snuggle on the couch, and talk or do whatever it is you and your significant other does…but that personal escape makes a huge difference.

Not to mention; for someone who may have been similar to me and somewhat dependent/clingy. Being independent feels so much better than the latter. It’s oddly empowering and you feel much more capable of doing more even outside of the relationship. You feel like such crap making yourself watch them play video games when you don’t even like them JUST because you can’t be on your own. It’s easy to think (especially in the beginning of a relationship) that what makes you happiest is that person but, man. In the end it’s just you that makes you happiest. Give yourself the opportunity to explore your escape.

To add to the positives of being independent, when you both regroup it’s fun to share in what you did. You could even dabble a bit in each other’s escapes just for fun (which, as you may be able to guess; I eventually did). You may even end up finding more things that you can do together (in the sense that you BOTH are personally interested in that particular escape, not just following the other).

This really is just a brief bit of my journey and brushing up on what positives I felt in that first portion of time. They are huge concepts at the beginning of the gamer/non gamer relationship and the sooner you can see these the better off you’ll be!

Thanks for reading!!!

Lindsey.

Next: I’ll be delving into our escapes from reality and how I grew to be independent and how I ended up playing some games intentionally. ALSO; what games I ended up loving and ones I would recommend to non-gamers!

Check out Part 3 in this series, where I discuss managing time for yourself…

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