The undiscovered art of balancing video games and girlfriends


After a morning workout on a cloudless Saturday, he showers, plops on the couch and powers up his Xbox 360.

An hour later, his girlfriend stops by with plans for them – maybe a picnic, lunch or movie. He doesn’t want to tell her no, but he doesn’t want to quit his game. What does he do?

This scenario often happens for many young couples. Many men have their attention set on the television with a controller in hand, neglecting their girlfriends.

According to Pew Research Center, 70 percent of male college students play video games at least four times a week. But how do they balance time for video games with academics, friends, family and girlfriends?

“I enjoy playing video games,” said Andre Johnson, a sophomore criminal justice student from Miami. “I can play them for an hour or more a day, but I still have time for everything else – including my girl and my studies.”

Having a girlfriend and a passion for video games cannot coexist in a relationship. Or can it? It depends on time management and knowing when to drop the controller and pick up her hand for some quality time.

Things are usually consistent in the beginning of a relationship. But some partners get comfortable and pick up their old habits. For her, maybe it is shopping or reading. For him, maybe it is time playing “Madden 13” or “NBA 2K13” with the guys. Whatever it is, it may be more difficult for a guy to make time for his girlfriend.

“It will not kill us men to put the controller down once in a while to keep our girlfriends happy,” said Brandon Wade, the manager at Game Stop in Tallahassee.

Wade said gaming gives guys an inexplainable excitement and girlfriends should pick up the controller and join in on the fun.

“If she really loves you, she’ll play with you,” he joked.

LaShanna Dawson, a junior occupational therapy student from Leesburg, Fla., and Christian Tate, a junior business administration student from Pascagoula, Miss., have been dating for more than two years.

Tate makes time for Dawson and video games, but according to Dawson, she always gets the upper hand. She also said watching him play is boring and that she would get mad early in their relationship because she wanted them to go out.

“Over the course of our relationship, we’ve talked, and he has learned how to make time for me and his games,” Dawson said. “I’d rather him not play so much, but he’s not going to stop, and that’s fine.”

Tate said he allocates his time to play video games.

“I play (NBA) 2K13 quite often, but I make time for my girlfriend by balancing my time between the two,” Tate said. “I don’t allow my PlayStation to come before my girlfriend when I’m not with her.”

When the pressure is on and the girlfriend is blocking the screen, a gamer’s choice of resuming the game or throwing the controller aside can set the tone for the rest of the day, evening and possibly the relationship.

The PlayStation will always will be there, but will she?