This is a great question from a longtime and lovely reader of mine, Masaleen:
Hope you’re doing well. I’m still an avid fan, and you and David become a cuter couple with every video.
My struggle is this. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit estranged from my man because he feels I don’t understand his love of video games, and wishes I did. I do my best not to make him feel controlled; letting him play when he wants to, and with his friends, etc.
But having him need me to see and appreciate the “depth,” “inspiration,” and “heart” he feels some games have is going too far for me. He even wishes I would play a bit so that I would stop assuming he’s doing something shallow and meaningless. Is it not enough that I leave him alone when he’s playing and never complain afterwards? I’m not silently seething either; I’ve come to accept his need to play.
But now I feel controlled and unappreciated, simply for not seeing gaming the way he and his buddies do. I am NOT his buddy, I am a woman and his lover and I have no interest in games. Is this an inadequate way of thinking? Should I try harder to share in and understand his hobbies, or am I wise in staying out of his masculine interests?
I feel many women struggle with men who love video games a LOT. I don’t know if David loves gaming, but for most women I know whose men love it, it is frequently a struggle for her in some way.
Whether you want to address me directly or answer it in a post is up to you, but I would LOVE if you shared your insights on how women should handle men and their love, sometimes obsession, with gaming. It can be an extremely delicate subject for men, making them put up their defenses easily, so it’s not easy to deal with the issue.
Thanks for your time, Renee. I really appreciate all you do. You’ve contributed to helping Mike and I stay as strong as we are (because don’t worry, we are still madly in love;)
Hi, lovely Masaleen!
Thanks for your email. And yes, I can relate to this.I laughed so hard when you said he wants you to appreciate the “depth” and ”heart” that some video games have (no disrespect to men and their love of video games, that’s just that I’m a woman and that just sounds so hilarious to me) lol, anyway -
Years ago, David used to play video games a lot. Sometimes until late when he had to wake up at 6am the next day for work! I feel it was his way of escaping from a job that he felt trapped in and that he hated.
You’ve obviously struggled with this in the past, way before you emailed me – what I’m saying is, you’ve struggled to understand why on earth he has to be so “involved” and distracted by video games and can’t give you the deep love you want.
To you as a woman, most video games are not full of depth, or heart.
You’d rather he came over to you and gave you his full presence and loved you so deeply (instead of playing video games in that moment anyway) you don’t know which way is up, or down.
I think intuitively, us women know that video games is just a shallow way of expressing their masculinity and feeling successful. After all, you have to turn the game off and go back to real life sometime soon enough.
And We’d rather not be around him when he does it, we’d rather see him do something more ‘constructive’. Even if our man is already successful and constructive out in the real world, it still hurts to be around him when he actually is playing video games instead of giving you attention.
Not to mention being asked to play WITH him.
(David used to ask me to play video games with him as well, and since I wanted intimacy with HIM instead, it felt like my needs were being dishonored). So I can relate.
FIRST I’ll touch on understanding him, then I’ll give you my thoughts on what ‘steps’ to take.
1) Video games are an easy way for men to feel successful. It’s kind of like women emptying their bank accounts to buy all these clothes and shoes and accessories and make up that they hardly ever use or wear, in order to feel beautiful and magnify their radiance.
When in fact, the best way to magnify her radiance would be to become a woman who radiates love from within. No amount of clothing is ever a replacement for that.
And all the while, her man is getting all stressed out and feeling disrespected because she’s out spending all this money rather than giving him the love and appreciation HE wants, which would be one of the real secrets to actually making her more beautiful to him (at least in his mind, anyway).
It’s a classic example of men wanting women to think like men and women wanting men to think like women.
It’s no different to women trying to drag their men along shopping with them and getting hurt when he walks off for hours or looks so ’absent’ and dumbfounded whilst she’s shopping for stuff and wants his opinion on what she picks up to try on (which, if you’re like me, is usually half the entire clothing store!).
See where am I going with this?
On the one hand, he wants to feel more connected to you, because he feels you don’t understand him on his level, so he’s trying to ‘make you more like him’. He feels this will make you ‘understand’ him, and develop a connection, and a ‘commonality’.
But, he’s forgetting that it’s not what you have in ‘common’ that attracts you to each other and made you fall in love in the first place. It’s your differences. It’s the masculine/feminine polarity.
If you start playing video games with him all the time, soon enough he’s going to find himself repelled from you and feeling less passionate about you.
Just as you would if you had a man who tagged along on every shopping trip. You would like it at first, but then you’d start to see him through a different ‘lens’. It’d feel different to you. You’d lose the attraction.
So in terms of understanding, you don’t want to take away the pleasure he feels by playing the video games. Let him have that. It makes him feel good, and it’s a quick way to feel successful.
If you try to take away this good feeling from him, he’ll just resent you for it. It won’t benefit the relationship. And, no matter how ‘immature’ his video games habit may be, it’s not your job, as a woman to tell him what to do, and to teach him about the consequences of his habits.
You can do it, but just be mindful of the consequences. It’ll feel good to you in the moment, but it will also just work against you and make your relationship go backwards.
(By the way, the more you approahc situation with understanding, in the future, if you seriously feel like telling a man what to do, he’ll be far more open to it because he can already trust you as a valuable woman in his life who understands him).
Remember in past emails how I said that masculine energy thrives on challenge?
Well, video games provide a quick way to overcome challenges and magnify his masculinity (in his mind), but it’s only on a very surface level.
So, what you’re doing so far is good in that you’re not making him WRONG for doing this.
That’s the first step. Not making him wrong. Acceptance. Otherwise you’ll just build resent between you both.
So, here are the next steps you can take:
1) Sit with him for 10 or 15 minutes and watch him play the game.
What’s the point of this?
The point is to see him overcome an ‘opponent’. If you can even pick up when he does that. You’ll have to look carefully.
If I ever do this, sometimes I miss his ’victory’ moments because one: I don’t get the game and two – as a woman, I’m not really as in tune to these kinds of things.
He just wants you to appreciate his successes (yes, they’re very superficial), but fighting it won’t help. At least it won’t until you’ve made him feel that you understand him, at least on some level.
And when he ‘shoots’ someone dead or whatever triumph he overcomes, just say something like ‘woah….that was cool….’ or ‘well done’.
It will make him feel appreciated and understood.
Because his own woman is recognizing his ‘victories’ (however fake they are!)
And don’t sit there for hours doing it. You don’t want to dishonor your own needs as a woman. That’s not good for either of you. It also does nothing for the growth of the relationship.
After the 15 minutes or so are up (don’t obsessively time this, you want to be GENUINE about it. And really put yourself in his shoes.)
Then get up and say, ‘you know what, I’m going to read a book’, or ‘I’m going to call a girlfriend now’, cause I’m feeling a bit lonely.
If he tries to get you to stay, you don’t have to. Honor your own need for intimacy.
Here’s your second option:
2) the second option I have for you is more playful (or you can use both steps I’ve given you). Here’s what I would do if it was ME.
When he says ‘come play with me, you’ll appreciate the depth and the heart of the game!’
I’d do what I do very often when these high tension situations pop up – I’d turn around and be playful, and maybe even literally poke him with my fingers, and and say:
“oh yeah!? come shopping with me and my girlfriends for the day! We can buy some pretty dresses and look a wide array of soaps oh and maybe even shoes!
You’ll see just how pretty and DETAILED all the clothes are! I can even SHOW you! Sometimes they add lace detail AND florals and buttons AND silk on to the ONE cardigan!”
And I’d do this just to break his pattern and make him go ‘huh?’
It just changes his state, it gives his brain a ‘jiggle’ in a fun way, and it breaks the pattern of him trying to get you to do guy things with him, and is ‘gets the ball rolling’ toward him starting to understand more of where you’re coming from, because you’re actively implying, in a playful way, that if you were to ask him to do girly things, it would repel him, too.
It kindly reminds him of your differences. And that you shouldn’t force each other to be the same. Without you having to go and literally TELL him:
“look. We’re not the same. This is the wrong way to go about it.’ which will just make him resent you for telling him what to do.
And make sure it’s done in a playful way.
If you can’t do it without feeling resentful inside, don’t even bother (I know you wouldn’t Masaleen, I just had to put this in so other women would know).
The key is to get on his level, and establish some connection in a way that actually also helps you also escalate the attraction in the relationship.
Because these two things (connection and attraction) are often in contradiction.
The more connection or ‘commonalities’ you have, the less attraction you’ll have.
So it’s like a constant (but fun) balancing act when you get in to a relationship with a man.
The more the balance tips towards attraction and passion, the more you’ll have attraction, but perhaps the more fights you’ll have because you’re so different.
So that’s all I have to say about that. Let me know how you go with my tips.
Lots of love,
P.S – please leave ANY tips you have of dealing with a man who is obsessed with video games.
Also leave any stories or experiences you’ve had with men who are obsessed with video games. Thank You!