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How to Get Your Significant Other to Love Gaming
posted by: Monica Hafer
publisher: GamesFirst! Internet Magazine
date posted: 09:10 AM Sun Oct 20th, 2002
last revision: 06:38 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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The Challenge

It is the plague of gamers everywhere-how do you get the one you love to love your gaming habit? The most obvious and commonly attempted ploy is trying to get your significant other to develop his or her own habit. But sometimes this is a more difficult prospect than one might expect. I have heard many of my male counterparts bemoan the fact that his wife or girlfriend just doesn\'t understand his need to spend hours on the console or computer and that it is jeopardizing both of the loves of his life. As I am a firm believer in the \"love me, love my obsessions\" philosophy, I decided put my mind to work figuring out how to lure your partner into the gaming fold. After much thought, I finally came up with a strategy that I think will work for almost anyone. So here goes...my best advice for winning over your one and only.

Step One - Know the Enemy... er, Lover

Pick out games that your partner would like, rather than ones that you like. The best way is to get your partner to grudgingly go to the video store with you and pick out a title that looks the least offensive, but that\'s not always possible, so it\'s up to you to judge what will be the most tempting. Many gamers make the mistake of assuming that if they love a specific title or genre, then their significant other should as well. You need remember, however, that just because you\'re compatible in other areas doesn\'t mean you\'re the Bobsie Twins when it comes to your tastes in games. And men, don\'t think that just because your partner is a woman that she will only like puzzle or \"girly\" games. Some women like to create mayhem just as much as any man, so the best bet is to have an idea of what her interests or secret desires are (does she want to be Laura Croft or do you catch her watching snowboarding or karate on ESPN when she thinks you\'re not looking?). And just remember, if the fish doesn\'t bite on the first try, rebait the hook and keep trying. It will be worth the effort.

Step Two - Me Time

Now you must allow your loved one some alone time with the title. What many gamers forget is that the ego is very fragile. Many women are interested in gaming (you can tell because they watch you play for hours), but if you offer them the controller, they politely defer. Why? One reason is because they aren\'t any good, and most women would rather hand over their credit cards than look like an idiot in front of you. The other reason is they often get frustrated when you, with the best intentions of course, try to tell them in minute detail what they are supposed to be doing. A non-gaming man, however, might chose not to play because he doesn\'t want to appear incompetent lest it hinder his image as the \"mighty hunter\" (which he worries will inhibit his ability to get cozy with you later). I have also met men whose egos were damaged irreparably when I kicked their ass in head-to-head combat (some might find it sexy, but you can never tell). The point is, you need to let your significant other clock some hours on the game to get their skills and confidence to the point that they are ready to show off a little. Keep in mind how long it took you to get good at what you now do without a thought. And remember that your partner can only get that way without you hovering over their shoulder watching.

Step Three - Sharing is Fun

After your loved one has been lured into playing, be sure to give them equitable game time. This means that if you are both playing a one player game then you should trade off at equal junctures in time. It often happens when one person is an old hand at gaming that their \"turn\" is about an hour long and the new initiate is eliminated in the first five seconds. What is required is shorter and equal playing periods even if, gasp, you have to fake a finger twitch to get yourself out of the game (one of the only times that faking it is acceptable!). If you are playing a two player game, things change slightly. Remember to be patient if you are playing cooperatively and never, ever, let your partner know if you\'re coddling them in head-to-head combat! Man or woman, no one ever likes to feel like you \"let\" them win. They want to earn it!!

In Conclusion

There are several other issues that need addressing. Just because your partner now likes videogames does not mean that she wants to hang out, drink beer with your buddies, and play HALO all weekend (if she does, you should be thanking God right now). And ladies, don\'t be surprised if you need to bolster your man\'s ego in other areas until he gets good enough to beat you at your favorite game (which he will also delight in rubbing in when it happens). You also may have to adjust your gaming etiquette in other ways, which for me means refraining from cursing like a sailor and throwing controllers. And speaking of controllers, having your own personal controller for consoles is a great idea to avoid issues about hand sweat and fried chicken grease.

In the end, having gaming harmony in a household is worth the time it takes to lure in your loved ones. But be careful what you wish for-there are some unexpected repercussions when your partner becomes a fellow addict. One of my coworkers said that he had trouble wresting the controller away from his wife these days. You may also need to budget twice as much money to buy games, and in the case of another friend of mine, money for another computer so that she and her husband could both play online at the same time. And finally, you may have to put up with your partner playing games you absolutely hate, but you have to bite your tongue and remember fair is fair. No matter what, taking these steps is a positive move because if you and your significant other are together for the long haul, you want to be with someone who will understand when you get that glazed look in your eyes and plead, \"baby, just one more game.\"