Ask Ms. Techie: What’s the best way to deal with a partner who plays video games?

Dear Ms Techie,

My partner loves their video games. They’ll come home from work and end up in front of the TV or their computer for the rest of the night. It’s so frustrating because every time I try to get them to do something else, they get grumpy and annoyed. How do I deal with them in a way that won’t end up in a fight?


Well, GamingWidow, as someone who also loves their video games, I can see where your partner is coming from. On the other hand, as someone who once dated a guy who was much more obsessed with video games than I, I can also see where you’re coming from.

There is one thing you’ll have to accept first, and it is that you will never get your partner off video games completely. It’s like telling a bookworm that they’re no longer allowed to read any more books, or a fashion-conscious friend that they’re no longer allowed to buy any new clothes. If you can’t accept him/her playing any video games at all, it may be time to re-think the relationship and what both of you want out of it. On the flip side, if your partner refuses to cut down on their gaming at all, then that’s another warning sign.

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However, all is not lost! If you’re both willing to compromise, there are certainly ways to make it work. For example, you could agree on a few nights a week where he/she doesn’t touch the gaming console or the computer, and spends time doing something of your choosing (or better yet, picks a surprise activity for both of you that has nothing to do with gaming). In return, you agree to leave him/her to game in peace on the other nights. I know it may look like your partner’s just tapping on buttons and keys and staring at a screen, but believe me, it takes a lot of mental concentration and coordination when playing a game.

Or you could agree that he/she puts aside a certain amount of time each night for his games, and reserves the rest for you. This can be harder to stick to, as you may end up with him/her begging you for a little more time to finish off one thing or another, or they may end up being distracted with thoughts of the game during the time that’s meant to be for you.

It can also be worthwhile asking your partner about the games he/she is playing. What’s the game about? What are they trying to do, and what’s the story? Just don’t ask them when they’re in the middle of the game or all you might get is an annoyed grunt! You might also want to ask your partner if there are any games you can play together (see below for a list of suggestions to start you off). You might find yourself pleasantly surprised. When you’ve overcome a huge obstacle in a game together with your partner, it does wonders for trust and intimacy in the relationship.

In the end, both of you will need to compromise – but there’s no reason why you can’t still have a fulfilling relationship even with the games!

Miss Techie

    • Click to see Ms. Techie’s suggestions for nights of gaming fun

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      • Portal 2 (hilarious, puzzle-y goodness where it’s actually amusing when you accidentally kill the other person)
      • Katamari Damancy (two people controlling one ball as you try to roll up as much as you can – like a co-operative acid trip that will leave you in fits of laughter)
      • Little Big Planet
      • Fable games (think of a cross between the Sims and the games where people run around and fight with swords – but there’s two of you!)
      • Borderlands (it’s a shooting game, but you can fight together!)
      • Any of the LEGO games (you control the cutest little LEGO figurines, normally characters from famous movies such as Harry Potter or Star Wars)

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Leanne Yong, a.k.a. Ms. Techie, is the Tech Editor of Leaders in Heels and an aspiring author currently working in the field of IT consulting. She loves games, gadgets and technology in general.