16 April 2013

The Man Chair: Video Games and Relationships


In the Man Chair: Lorin Baird
Age: 24
Occupation: Physics PhD student
Marital status: Married
Children: Yes

Question: Do you think video games can harm a relationship?

Lorin's response:

I did a little research on this topic before writing.

I found websites for video game addiction, gamer widows, rants of disgruntled women who hate World of Warcraft, news articles on the demise of men (because of video games), and a study claiming that excessive gaming is the cause of 15% of divorce.

I also found websites for help on how to make video games work in a relationship, men complaining that their significant other hates video games, and articles on the benefits of video games.

I am not going to defend video games in a relationship.

I am not going to attack video games in a relationship.

The research that I found indicated that the pleasure centers in men’s brains light up more when playing video games than women. This leads me to believe that many women feel that video games are a bad thing in a relationship. Most of the guys I know who are my age like video games in some form: tablet, phone, console, high performance computer, or internet flash games.

Now that I am in the man chair, here is my position: somewhere in the middle.

I have come to realize that the issue is not as simple as “video games are evil,” or “video games are good.” A lot of my research and thinking has led me to believe that video games can be very damaging to a relationship; however, it also makes me think that video games can work in a relationship too.

I personally like video games; they are super fun. I also limit myself on how much time I play and when I play. When Miranda is up and about, video games never take precedence over her. When Sarah is in the room I give her attention; however, when she works on her blog, explores Facebook, or looks at Pinterest (women video games in my opinion), I don’t mind turning my brain to mush for a bit.

One last parting shot: I think one reason why video games are not a problem for us is because Sarah never nags me when I am playing video games. If she were to criticize me, then I think I would automatically go into “you can’t tell me what to do” mode. She trusts my judgment and it makes me want to keep her trust.

What are your thoughts about Lorin's post? Do you agree, disagree, or have experiences you would like to share?

Would you like to sit in the Man Chair or submit a question for the Man chair? Please email me. If you would like more information on how the Man Chair works, click here.

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3 comments:

  1. First of all, I love the man chair concept!

    Second--I will have to let Patrick read this, because he will totally identify with you.

    Before we were even married, I was scared of having a husband who games, because I've seen close up what it can do to a husband and a father. I knew of a family where the father neglected (ignored) his kids and wife for entire days at a time while he locked himself in his computer room, and often skipped work to sleep because he was tired from staying up all night gaming. (He played online games where you have teams with other people, and it never ends, so you feel pressure to play all the time.) I watched the heartache of his wife, because she felt so unloved and disconnected from her husband. He never helped with the home/children and she worried about him losing his job. I definitely had a bad taste in my mouth for games.

    Anyway, at the beginning of our marriage, when Patrick wanted to relax after a long day of work/school with a computer game, I'd get all freaked-out, frustrated, and hurt. It became a source of contention...and we had to have several talks about it. I finally realized that I was blowing things out of proportion and that I was ultra sensitive because of the bad situation I'd seen.

    Most video/computer games are not inherently bad. (as long as they're not violent or psycho!) It's the addictive behavior and neglecting family/responsibilities that's bad. I needed to chill out and realize that my husband is not that other guy...my husband exercises self-control.

    On the other hand, Patrick also realised that I am sensitive for good reason, because it can easily get out of hand; he always tries to keep it in check. Just like I have to be careful with reading binges and blogging, he has to be careful with his screen time. If there's ever an issue, we talk about it. But, most of the time, it's not...and I now understand that it's just a fun, veg-out hobby like reading is for me.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Lorin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah was kind of the same way with me. But now she knows that just because some guys can't handle video games doesn't mean her husband is going to turn into a video game zombie.

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