What Gamer Couples Fight About

Posted: March 27, 2011 by Cynthia 心呀 in Uncategorized

SO sorry for the late post, all. My capstone recital (the culmination of my last four years of study) was on Saturday, and I meant to post but had so much else on my mind, I forgot.
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Aside from the normal things that cohabiting people in a committed relationship bicker about (whose turn to do some chore, who left the living room light on all night, etc) and generic couple fights (forgotten birthdays, annoying habits, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, etc), couples who frequently game together have their own unique list of common disagreements and quarrels.

First, I’d like to mention of few of the more common things William and I get into tiffs about, and then I’ll talk about what we (or given the point of view, mostly what I) do to correct and avoid those situations.

One of, if not the, most frequent tiffs we have is dealing with different playing styles. For us, this is most frequently a problem in World of Warcraft, a game that accommodates a great deal of very different playing styles. I consider myself a rather casual player, who likes to raid, but no more than once per week. William enjoys raiding, and commits more than one time a week to it, and is also very deeply knowledgable and involved in the lore of the game. We very much enjoy playing together, but at times, we can get very short fused with each other. In dungeons, for instance, William has a tendency to (in my opinion) over criticize my errors. It’s frustrating for me, feeling like I’m not doing well enough, and I think it’s frustrating for him that I don’t catch on to things (like boss mechanics) very quickly, and sometimes it will take a couple of tries for me to get more complicated maneuvers down. Another situation is when we both want to play, but we want to do different things. He might want to level some lower characters, and I might want to grind reputation with an 85. That’s not so bad, but the situation is worsened by the fact that I want to play our low level Worgens far less often that he does, and since in order to stay in sync (level wise) he can’t play his unless I play mine, I’m effective limiting his ability to play.

The solution here, for us, is to try to understand where the other is coming from, and compromise. He tries to criticize less, and I try to focus more, and spend a little more time working on my skill (and watching how-to videos on youtube.) I play my Worgen sometimes when I really would rather play my 85, and he’s ok when I don’t. And when we are really at each other some nights, we just play together, but separate (meaning we’re both playing, while sitting next to each other, but we’re not playing “together”.)

Another point of irritation that comes up is frequency of play. I don’t play nearly as often as William, and a lot of times, what keeps me playing so often is that there are times when I really don’t want to play, but I let him talk me into it. I get (admittably unjustly) irritated at William because there are times I feel guilted into playing. He gets irritated, but really more sad, because he enjoys playing with me, and when I have a week or so where I almost never feel like playing, he misses that time that we usually spend together.

The solution to this is very similar to the previous; compromise. I play a little more often, and he tries to give me less crap about it. It’s all about understanding one another. I understand that he’s only bummed when I’m not playing because he wants to spend time together, and he understands that I have reason for not wanting to play (work to get done, or just simply not wanting to burn myself out on a particular game)

Another thing that I think creates problems for couples, but fortunately not William and I, is jealousy. Obviously both people in a couple aren’t going to be equals in every (if any) game. One will always be more skilled. Sometimes this is much more prevalently one person, and I think that’s where the problem usually comes in. William and I are both better at a fairly equal number of games. He is a better computer gamer, and I am better on consoles (this is obviously a generalization.) When one person is better at almost every game, the other person can tend to feel shadowed, especially if the “better half” is rather arrogant.

The first solution for this would be humility, on the part of the more skilled player, but more than that, I think that a couple facing this problem should make a great effort to find something that the other person is more skilled at, even if it’s not a game, and make a point to spend time doing that activity (e.g. a sport, a different console, a board game, etc.)

There are many problems that couples who share a common interest, like gaming, face. However, none of these problems can’t be worked through by a couple willing to make an effort to improve. William and I are constantly looking for ways to improve our relationship and how we interact with one another, and I think it is one of the key components of a healthy and successful relationship.

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