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Dear Uncle Mat

I want my girlfriend to play video games with me. These games are a big part of my life (I know it sounds lame, but I have other interests, too), and I like playing them with my friends and want her to join us. She says she doesn’t mind that I play them, but I am in love with her and don’t like that we have to be apart when I am playing games with my friends. I am also afraid that if she doesn’t learn to like the games, we won’t be able to live together. I have three consoles in my living room – but it is not a nasty bachelor pad. In fact, it is more of a high-tech lounge, clean and stylish. What would she do when friends come over to play? Other guys’ girls play with us and totally dig it. How can I convince her that video games are both fun and an essential part of who I am and what I love (besides her, of course)?

— Torn between two lovers

Dear Torn,

Two lovers? Really? Is your other hobby watching soaps or reading Danielle Steel novels? All right, I won’t poke fun at the video-game love, but you sound a bit codependent. Ask yourself why you don’t like spending time apart. Are you jealous or insecure?

This is clearly important to you. I am going to give you some advice for trying to negotiate a compromise here, but you may still have to ask the really hard question: Which do you love more? Seriously. If you lived on a boat your entire life, and you fell in love with a girl who was deathly scared of the water, what would you do? It sounds like she is already willing to make the compromise and let you play the games while she entertains herself otherwise. How often are you playing the games that the time apart is so unbearable? Could you play less and spend more time with her? Does she share any of your “other interests?” It is totally healthy to spend time apart engaged in your own activities. This time apart can be a crucial element in the balance of a happy relationship. Spending all of your time together might cause friction and complicate your relationship. Your girlfriend most likely enjoys her time with her friends or alone while you play video games with your buds. If not, I think she would not be so agreeable about it.

If you must turn her into a video-game vamp, then I suggest a slow and subtle indoctrination. She will not likely enjoy joining your video-game fun if everyone is better than her and she dies a lot. Even make-believe failure sucks. You should try finding a game that appeals to her sensibilities. Maybe a sports game or a puzzle or one of those raise-a-cute-pet novelties. Discover what she excels at and then figure out how she can use that to her advantage in the games you like. Make the prospect more attractive to her and slowly introduce your favorite games. With any luck she’ll develop an unhealthy obsession with games. In the meantime, negotiate trade-offs. Offer to do something special for her in exchange for attending your gaming nights. Does she get along with your friends and their girlfriends? This is important. My guess is that the company will make or break the deal. If she likes hanging with you and the gang, she’ll put up with the games. Additional incentives might help here. Having her favorite foods and beverages on hand is a good idea.

I sincerely hope this doesn’t bite you in the ass. Turning your favorite pastime into a couples’ event could interfere with the main attraction. Do you really want to turn your girlfriend into one of the guys? I am not saying it won’t work out, but look closely at your friends’ relationships. Your relationship is different, but that doesn’t make it bad. What happens when she becomes better than you and your friends and kicks everybody’s ass, or never catches on but loves to play and slows down the fun? Is she a good loser or winner? What if you look like a dork playing video games? Sometimes things are best left alone.

Much luck and many bonus rounds,
Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at
dearunclemat@sacurrent.com or Myspace.com/yourunclemat.
Your true identity is safe with him.


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