Game Over: Can Video Games Glitch Your Relationship?

With Valentine's Day a couple hours away, millions of men across the country are having to decide whether to renew their annual Xbox Live subscription or get their significant lady some flowers.  Money reasons aside, the virtual babysitter can sometimes be the miniature vacation a person needs to escape the trials and tribulations of their day.  But what happens when video games become too much of a person's life?  The damages may be severe when it comes to your love life, but is there any hope to find some sort of positive outcome from playing Duke Nukem during your girlfriend's birthday party?  I can only hope so as we explore the relationship between video games and being in a relationship...


Possibly less terrifying than your girlfriend when she's angry.

To start off my journey on how video game-play affects relationships, I began to weigh the cons.  A study shows that while the time playing video games has increased, the quality of any sort of relationship has gone down.  A quote in the study states:  '"The gender imbalance begs the question of whether chasing a new high score beats spending quality time with a girlfriend or wife.”  It's obvious that this is a loaded question, because it doesn't even mention what the high score is.  If you had to choose between looking at window treatments or finishing Rainbow Road in under two and a half minutes, which would you pick?  The study also says that the more a person plays video games, the higher chance there is of them engaging in risky behavior like drinking and drug use.  Now, I may not have the credentials to disagree with a scientific study, but when I play Call of Duty on a weekend where Nuketown is on every map choice and I'm wading waist deep in double XP, there is no way I am going to drink or do drugs...or even eat or sleep, for that matter.  But social behaviors aside, the focus of the study was on relationships, and the conclusion was that it was in no way helpful.

"My new favorite game, 'Male Models III', has so much intensity my hair shoots straight up and my girlfriend hates me."

Continuing in my efforts to find a loophole to make video games an acceptable suggestion for date night, I came across a site that puts me back about ten steps.  Our friends at Video-game-addiction.org give me a reality check as to why my needs to fight my housemates in Mortal Kombat before we go to dinner and a movie can cause a Fatality on our own love life.  While they use the same study as above, they at least give some solutions and let Ms. Pac Man rest for a while. 

  • Make gaming a weekend activity, or limit your "screen time" to an hour a night.
  • Stay active in hobbies you've always enjoyed, or try a new sport, volunteer activity, or extracurricular pursuit.
  • Make real-life relationships a priority. Even though the virtual fantasy world can be enticing, schedule time with friends, family, and loved ones regularly.

If I limited my screen time to only one hour per night, then my first fear is that my eyesight would drain faster than my life bar in Halo.  Then to tell me to stay active in hobbies I enjoy...the only hobby I can think of doing on a Thursday night is to play 4 hours of Survival Mode then detox with The Office.  Now, I do get why making a real-life relationship a priority when trying to find a solution to make your relationship a priority is a priority, but it really just means you have to cut back on how many extra green mushrooms you are picking up and just accept that the game has to end so you can have a girlfriend.  Because the worst thing that can happen is being a mediocre gamer who can't get a real princess outside of you castle.



There is a shinning light at the end of this no-video games-relationship, and that comes from JLS360.  He gives me what I want to hear on why video games can be beneficial in a relationship.  The first reason is because the man will be at home with his gaming station instead of out with other womenfolk.  Second, there is no chance the man will be hitting the clubs on the hunt for a new lady.  The only hunt I plan on doing on Friday at 2 am is the hunt for the controller so I can turn the volume down on the television while my K/D spread sinks faster than the Lusitania.  Finally, JLSTrips60 says that a woman can let her man play games, then she can play with him...and we all know what that means.  It's like eating a chocolate cake and washing it down with a Yoo-hoo.  A woman who mixes gaming and passion...

→ Punch my way through the night.


So, there is no easy way to say this, but after reviewing the facts, if one puts more of their focus on video games and less on the lady in their life, then it will be game over, pretty quick.  Which means for Valentine's day, take some time off of Hardcore Team Deathmatch and invest more time in Hardcore Team Chick-flick watching...and instead of building up your castle in Evony, maybe building up affection will be a better outcome, because when the day is over and your K/D spread is shot and those twelve year olds say you are worse than a noob, it's your girlfriend who will console you and tell you that tomorrow, you can always try again.