So this was a lesson/experience I learned in one of my earlier relationships. Let me tell you the story…
I was back in college and I had a girlfriend at the time. We lived in the same dorm and often times spent the night in each other’s room, typical college shit. A little about me, like many other guys my age, I enjoy playing video games. I’m not a hardcore gamer and definitely wasn’t a hardcore gamer back then in college. In any case, back to the story.
There was a new game that I was really looking forward to getting. I told my then girlfriend about this game more than a week in advance. I don’t recall the exact day of the week, but I remember I went and picked it up from the mall. I get back to the dorm and I setup for a night of gaming. Throughout this entire process, I’m in contact with my girlfriend and letting her know what’s going.
Before I can even put the game into the PlayStation 2, my girlfriend calls me and asks me if I was coming over. I told her no, I’m going to be playing the game tonight (and yes, I did invite her to come join me, and no I couldn’t play in her dorm, she didn’t have a tv). (dramatic pause) Despite me telling this woman more than a week in advance what my plan was for when I got this game (and expressing my excitement for it as the time approached), she still got upset that I wouldn’t put the game down to spend the night with her like we typically did. This turned into an argument of course because in her mind, the game was more important than her (insert eye roll).
Unfortunately, the night didn’t end well for either of us. She was upset at me for not dropping the game and I was upset at her for even tripping and not joining after I told her well ahead of time. And trust and believe, I played my game that night. Admittedly, I was bothered by what happened, but I played my damn game.
There were other similar instances of this not just with the girlfriend mentioned here, but with other women I’ve dated. There have been several occasions where I tell my girlfriend that I’m going to do something that is purely for my enjoyment and they take it upon themselves to try to find out if they are more important than whatever it is in question.
Ladies… Don’t EVER do this!
Look, you are and will always be more important that any video game or hobby or whatever. Let’s just get that clear right now. Yes, you are more important. With that said, when a person is doing something for themselves that they enjoy, this is NOT the time to test and see if you are more important. Will I drop what I’m doing for you? Absolutely, but there are stipulations to this. If I tell you ahead of time and you simply want attention, I will not drop it. If something comes up and you need me, I’ll drop it without hesitation.
Here’s the main key to remember:
Yes, you are the most important PART of my life, but you are still a PART and not my entire life.
And one other major caveat. When I feel that you are starting to encroach on the other parts of my life that are dear to me, you will be removed from my life.
Now I know some people are thinking, “video games shouldn’t be dear to you”. Listen, that’s not for you to decide. As individuals, we are free to choose whatever we want to enjoy and value. If a person wants to collect stamps, golf, play video games, build puzzles, etc. it doesn’t matter, it’s what they enjoy. It’s not for you to decide what is or isn’t acceptable for another person to value and enjoy.
I’ll give a more serious example. One my friends is a professional jazz musician. Obviously he wasn’t always professional and had to work to get to where he is. Well, before he got big time, he was dating this young woman who felt that he spent too much time practicing. This woman actually had nerve enough to ask this man to stop playing music. If any of you know any artists or musicians, then you know that their craft is like the air we breath; they need it for their souls to survive. For this woman to ask someone else to stop doing something that brought them joy and was not destructive (and ended up leading him to a career), is a prime example of the encroachment I’m talking about.
To wrap this up, respect your partners’ other aspects of their lives. As long as it doesn’t interfere in your relationship (i.e. canceling a date to play video games) and is not destructive, let them have their time. If you feel the need to stop your partner from doing something they enjoy, chances are you are insecure and/or you need to find a hobby yourself. Seriously.
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