Hopeless to Gaming

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Dear Hoopers,
I’m so over gaming. My boyfriend of 3 years has become more and more addicted to playing video games with his friends. I thought it was cute at first but it has gotten worse over the last year. They never interfered with our weekends before and I was always able to lure him away from playing when I really wanted to. He has become less interested in my attempts to, um, lure him away. I afraid I’m losing my boyfriend to gaming and there is nothing I can do about it. How can I be happy with my boyfriend is addicted to video games?
-Hopeless to Gaming

Dear Hopeless to Gaming,
Games are fun. They give our brains stimulation right from the comfort of our couch. Our minds are tricked into thinking that we are conquering the world, or winning the world cup, or going on dangerous missions overseas. Well, without the danger of course. Practically speaking, gaming can be a good way to meet and make friends and also helps build a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Particularly as gaming is merging more and more with real life, the lines between reality and games are becoming quite blurred.

The scientific research community doesn’t quite support gaming addiction as a diagnosable condition, but there is growing evidence that gaming can have aspects of behavioral addiction and can operate in similar ways to substance use addiction. While this may help you to understand why your boyfriend has become a gaming zombie, it doesn’t necessarily help you to get your boyfriend back.

For you I think it starts with communication and boundary setting.

-Dr. Ryan

For you I think it starts with communication and boundary setting. I would recommend the Describe. Express. Specify. Consequences. (D.E.S.C.) model of assertiveness as one approach you could take. This model emphasizes communication as a means to helping others understand how their actions are affecting you.

In this circumstance I would start with the ‘describe’ and ‘express’ portions such as “when you play games all of Friday night instead of going on a date with me, I feel unloved and lonely.” This is where the boundary setting comes in with ‘specify’ and ‘consequences.’ You will need to be quite specific about your hopes for the relationship such as going on a date every week or spending time watching a movie together instead of gaming. Establishing boundaries including the possibility of consequences is vital. It may hurt in the moment, but following through on stated consequences if he doesn’t do his part is a way to respect your boundaries and a way to respect yourself.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Hopeless to Gaming,
There is something you can do about it. Pull him away from that glowing monitor and talk to him. Your boyfriend needs to realize that just like his online gaming scores and friends need attention, you do too. Don’t allow online gaming to lessen your worth. Speak up so that you can find solutions to keep your relationship healthy and help reel him back into the real world.

To start the conversation, I would inquire about the games he’s playing and gently approach the subject without attacking him. If willing, suggest he take a break or at least try cutting back his time logging on everyday. Be honest and give examples of how you have seen the gaming impact your relationship. Taking away quality time together on the weekends and observing a gradual decrease in sexual interest, are great examples that may help him get his priorities in order. Is winning the game worth losing you? You may have to shoot him straight.

If you have a healthy conversation and he chooses not to change, I’d follow your call of duty and peace out of that relationship


Your feelings and concerns should take priority over his love for gaming. Period. If you have a healthy conversation and he chooses not to change, I’d follow your call of duty and peace out of that relationship. Anyone loving on Candy Crush more than crushing on you, is not worth your time.



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