Computer Games and Relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2010
Computer Games and Relationship
7
Tue, 01-14-2014 - 4:37am

My girlfriend and I have been together for four years. We had a fight over the weekend and I would like to post here because I need to work out how to resolve things.

I'm 37 years old and still into computer games. I feel embarrassed as I write this because there's a feeling in the back of my mind that I should have given up gaming years ago. However, I like them, I enjoy playing them and always have done. It's something I do in moderation and I would not consider myself addicted in any way. I don't play them at every opportunity; I don't let them get in the way of spending time with my girlfriend, or doing house duties. In fact, I go to extra lengths to ensure the house duties are done and that my partner is busy with something else. Only then do I feel comfortable to play a game and sit down with it. I cook, I clean, I hoover, I iron. I believe in shared responsibilities and would hate to get to a point in my life where I neglect these things and my partner for the sake of a game; or for anything.

I was playing a single player computer game over the weekend that had a story arc. I play as some kind of engineer who's trapped in a space station and have to fight my way to the end. During the course of the game I came across another survivor, a female, who was fighting their way through. Note: I am not playing online. It is an offline singleplayer game. This NPC (non-person character) was a womam wearing combat trousers and a t-shirt. She was attractive. I knew this would be a problem for my girlfriend as soon as I encountered the character. My girlfriend has a history of getting jealous of other women, even women in films, and now ... games. 

My girlfriend saw this NPC in the game and exploded with anger. She shocked me by accusing me of playing online, in little groups, with women, and of messaging them and trying to form relationships with them. This is completely untrue! I tried to explain this calmly and tried to prove to her that it was an offline singleplayer game but she wouldn't believe me. She said that I would find a way to make it look like I was being honest even if I was being dishonest. Note: I have never cheated on her, or done this kind of thing!

She then went on to claim that I was addicted to games and could not live without them. Note: I had only played the game when she was doing something else, such as bathing or reading or putting her 12 year old son to bed. While "gaming" I often pause the game and go to her during the game to give her attention, offer a cup of tea. I also spent some time next to her reading my book! When she was putting her son to bed, I made sure to go into the room a couple of times and spend time with her. I do not feel I'm addicted or play too much. Over the last six months there have have been many weeks and days where I haven't played at all! I have never played on the game after she's ready for bed. Often, I am the one waiting for her to finish reading or something.

She also commented how she finds it terrible that I play games with stories in them. Especially ones with female characters. I play all kinds of games (from racing car simulators, to flight simulators, to story games, to strategy games). It just so happens that this time, it's a story game. And this time, there was an attractive female character. Note: There was absolutely no romantic or sexual relationship or connection between this character and the character I played!

I stayed calm and tried to resolve the conflict. I tried to break the issue down into it's many parts so we could address them calmly, rationally, and like adults:

A) accusations of playing online with women

B) addiction to gaming

C) games with female characters.

For A) she could not accept that I was being honest and was not prepared to work with me to show this. She had her mind made up and that was final. I asked her if she would sit with me and I show her the game. She refused. I asked if I could show her my save game history to prove when I had been playing. She refused.

For B) I tried to discuss game addiction with her and what it means to be addicted to a game. I found some online articles to determine/explore game addiction but she blocked all attempts to work on this. I found a checklist for people that are worried about game addiction to determine if they showed signs of addiction. To this, she reacted with fury. I too would like to be sure I'm not addicted. I want to find the balance between doing something I enjoy and making my girlfriend happy. Note: I love spending time with my girlfriend! I am considering giving up gaming but I worry that giving up gaming for her would be wrong because it wouldn't be for love it would only be to appease her. I think that true love is when you know your partner enjoys doing something and you support them in that. Of course... within reason. As long as the interest is healthy and it's not hurting either party...

For C) She was not prepared to discuss it further and got very angry when I tried to discuss this. I tried to explain how important she is to me and that even though I didn't believe there is anything wrong with my playing this game perhaps I should consider only playing simulators. I said that I will take some time to think about the morality of what I'm doing. I am prepared to think of others opinion and accept if my view is wrong.

How do you think I can resolve this? What are you views?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 01-14-2014 - 11:41am

You are trying to resolve this problem in a logical manner which is great, except that your girlfriend's jealousy is not based on logic. Seemingly irrational jealousy is usually based on something (lacking) inside the person such as insecurity or low self esteem. It will be very hard for her to admit that there is no logical reason for her to be jealous so the discussion that you want to have will probably be futile. Giving up gaming is not the solution to her jealousy issue. Its something that she needs to deal with, possibly with the help of a counselor. It might get better on its own eventually, but it might not. If you can see ways to help her gain self confidence and feel better about herself, that can help but only to a point. She needs to work on the reasons behind her feelings and find her way to resolve them. Hopefully you can stay supportive through this because it could be a long road for both of you IF she even wants to address her issues.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 01-14-2014 - 11:43am

You are trying to resolve this problem in a logical manner which is great, except that your girlfriend's jealousy is not based on logic. Seemingly irrational jealousy is usually based on something (lacking) inside the person such as insecurity or low self esteem. It will be very hard for her to admit that there is no logical reason for her to be jealous so the discussion that you want to have will probably be futile. Giving up gaming is not the solution to her jealousy issue. Its something that she needs to deal with, possibly with the help of a counselor. It might get better on its own eventually, but it might not. If you can see ways to help her gain self confidence and feel better about herself, that can help but only to a point. She needs to work on the reasons behind her feelings and find her way to resolve them. Hopefully you can stay supportive through this because it could be a long road for both of you IF she even wants to address her issues.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 01-14-2014 - 1:58pm

Your GF sounds more than a little nutty.  The big issue to me is that she would not accept your word that you were playing a single player game and not interacting with other real people even when you said you would show her.  When she accused you of making things up, that shows to me a basic level of distrusting you--if that is true, then why would she continue being in a relationship with a person who is so untrustworthy? I agree with Redmamma that this is her issue and I would suggest couples counseling if you want to continue the relationship.  (Personally I'd say to ditch her but maybe there are some other great things about her so you at least want to give this a try).

As far as games in general, I think addiction is when the person does it for hours to the point where it's a detriment to interpersonal relationships, work, etc.  I take your word for it that it's not the case.  So what's the difference between playing a video game or watching TV or surfing the internet?  People have the right to their own pursuits of fun--and your GF sees no problem with reading.  Is it objectional to her if she reads a book that involves a sexy male character?  I would ask her what the difference would be.  the only games I would find objectionable would be games where the plot line involves treating women badly, like maybe if raping a woman character is part of the game.  I also don't like the games that involve realistic seeming killing, showing blood, etc.  I don't care that much if there is a sexy woman in the game--I mean it does objectify women so in that way it's not good, but I surely wouldn't be jealous of a game character any more than I would be jealous if a guy went to  a movie and said that Angelina Jolie looked great in the movie.  That's a little absurd.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Tue, 01-14-2014 - 11:33pm

What can you do to resolve this?  I think you know!  This woman you're with is totally irrational if she's jealous of every female you cross paths with.  If you cook, clean, vacuum, and iron, what does SHE do?  Put her kid to bed?  If you're being honest about the amount of time you spend gaming......then you're with the wrong woman.  That, and the fact that she's irrationally jealous of MOVIE STARS?  That's SICK!  Does she even allow you to go out in public......in case some woman might look at you?  Do you have a job outside the house?  Do women work there?  I was married to a man who was irrationally jealous, and he turned out to be a very sick man.....that I eventually divorced.  If she's this bad now, give her a few years.....it will get worse.  I think you should get out while the getting out is good!  Insane jealousy is just one symptom of real emotional problems......which only get worse with time.  Unless she gets some serious therapy for her problem......you're in for a very unhappy life.  There is no reason to give up gaming......you know what (who) you should give up.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Wed, 01-15-2014 - 12:55pm

  I am an adultmale.  I would not tolerate for one moment any such jealousy.  The moment she did so her choice would be grow up or leave.  No if's and's about it.  She has serious problems and needs a serious counseling.   You are enabling this dysfunction. 

   I have 95% women friends.  Many of them have boyfriends or husbands.  Some of the wome were at one time lovers of dates of mine.  (Yes, I come from a slighty different social mileu)  There is no reason to put up with her behavior.  No reason incluiding "I love her".   Enabling her problem is not constructive.  Sit her down and read her the riot act.  Then back it up. 

  You resolve bad behavior by not tolerating it.

PS.  there is nothing wrong with playing video games.  Men play games for centuries and into their centurian years as do women.

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2010
Mon, 01-20-2014 - 7:37am

Hi All. Thanks for your kind and supportive comments. In the end, it's clear that this is not about computer games, but about a relationship that has a problem at its very foundations.

@Remdamma

I didn't mention this before as I didn't want to bias anything but she is already in therapy. The therapy happened after we broke up a year ago because she asked me to leave and was extremely difficult/unkind. She accepted that she had issues (insecurity, jealousy, etc) and that she would do something about it. It's now been nine months since the therapy began and there has been very little change. Ironically, i'm now accused of "running away" even though she pushed me away and asked me to leave! I'm trying to support her through her healing but I am finding it increasingly difficult. I realise that rationalising with someone who is irrational is impossible. Also I realise that if i do what i want, when she wants, and how she wants, to avoid conflict, I'm still going to suffer conflict. She seems incapable of apologising for her actions or unkind words, and is a master of deflecting blame. She refuses to see a councillor together. I even asked if she could speak to her therapist: I suggested a join session might help us, but was refused. It's getting closer and closer to my leaving. Though I love her and have so many magical moments together, the dark sides are too much and I wonder if she will ever get better and things will just destroy me in the end.

@Musiclover12

I agree. I tried to explain the same thing, that a book has a character and plot lines etc but she doesn't seem to be able to accept it. In some way, I see her point. A game is far more personal because you actually "become"/"play" a character. However, I still think that it's unreasonable to be so sensitive to the idea. This female character in the game has no romantic/sexual relationship with my game character in the story arc. If it were a game where I had to have sex or a relationship with a character then I would understand my girlfriend to some degree, but this is not the case. As I wrote a few sentences back to @Remdamma you'll see that trust is something seriously lacking in this relationship and is the underlying cause behind this issue. Also... she still has not apologised to me for her accusations.

@Fissatore

Yes, I know. :( I know what I should probably do. That's leave and leave for goodthis time. The parts of the relationship that are good are great. She's great with kids (works in a youth centre / kindergarten), when we're not fighting we have an amazing connection and enjoy spending time together, she is a great cook, makes great cakes, have fun playing guitar together, enjoy walks together, the list goes on and on. As I do a lot around the house, so does she. But... I'm getting to the point where I think I need to accept that I can not stay for all of those good things. The good things are not an excuse to tolerate the bad.

Regarding work: yes, this becomes an issue sometimes. She gets jealous that I work in the city, she can react badly if i need to leave home early for work (e.g. 0730, instead of 0830) to get something done.

@Xxxs

Thanks; I agree. I realise now that I am enabling this. :( This is where my own personal issues come into play. I have spent too much of my life over-valuing the approval of others, especially of my girlfriends. I've never really stood up for myself as much as I should do. I came across a quote last year: "You get treated in life the way you teach people to treat you." It's exactly what you're saying with "You resolve bad behavior by not tolerating it.". I am standing up now and it's helping me development as a person but it's not easy and it might be too late. I have told her that I'm getting the point of leaving again but she's learned that everytime I go, I come back again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 01-20-2014 - 9:09pm

Yes in reading this & your other post, the bad seems to outweigh the good in this relationship.  I was married to a guy who has bipoar disorder (which I found out after the marriage).  He had his good points, when his MI was under control--he would do things around the house, he would never cheat or gamble, when we went out we would have a really good time together doing things like going to museums or on trips, but his issues eventually became too much for me to live with.  I was tired of walking on eggshells all the time and not knowing what kind of mood he would be in when I got home.  I just didn't want to live like that.  And it has been very hard in the past for me to stand up for myself because I like to avoid arguments, so I tend to go along with what the other person wants to do.  But I do have my breaking point.

As far as rationalizing that your "character" in the game interacts with the woman, remember that there are actors in plays and movies who interact with real live women and even might have to kiss them or act out making love--I'm sure there is some jealousy that goes on with the spouses but the actors who are in good relationships keep things professional and their partners realize that it's only acting, not real life.