"Uh, NO MA'AM! I refuse to date a man that plays video games!"

Haven't you heard this before???? Were you the one that said it???

This topic has come up on more than one occasion in my circle of friends. And it's not just a hot topic with my single friends, but the married ones alike! What is it about these hot wired plastic boxes that hypnotize men people to the point where they can't seem to notice the on-going world around them? Is it the escape from reality? Is it the competition? Is it both??? No matter the answer, the PlayStation, Wii and XBOX 360 are here to stay! And if you're the woman who's made the above statement, your selection in men is expeditiously dwindling to slim pickings!

I always tell my friends to not dismiss the man that plays video games. Hell, he could always be doing worse! But when you're in a relationship where video games are involved, a mutual understanding has to be met very early on. There must be BALANCE. When things get to the point where you feel as if the video game gets more attention than you do, that's when you have a problem.

Now, if you and your mate have already established ground rules and have a mutual understanding on the topic, then there should only be a small and non-confrontational reminder of what the original understanding was. Your man should have no problem getting things back in order. BUT, and this is a big but, if you've been in your relationship for over 6 months and have watched/listened to/heard about this man playing the game every waking moment of his day, and you haven't said anything about it, then honey, you're going to be faced with some major disappointment. That's not to say that it will never get to where you want it to be; but you are definitely going to face some huge, blow-up arguments before you get there. And if you're looking for a living testimony, look no further.

Yes, I have lived the nightmare and the dream. Mr. Marcus is an AVID Xbox player. Now, please understand that he wasn't so avid during the first 18 months of our relationship. Yes, he played video games, but when we were together, which was all the time, we gave each other our undivided attention. It wasn't until I moved to Fort Smith that his gaming time increased drastically. It was what he used to fill the time that we used to spend together. It filled a void. But even then, it wasn't all that bad. I mean, if you don't count the hundreds of times he wasn't listening to me during our phone conversations, but still. When we did see each other on the weekends, that was our time. Rarely, would he ever turn the game on over the weekends. So there wasn't much to complain about.

It wasn't until we got married and moved in together when I started to see a problem. I guess it was at its worst point about two months in. We had already had one or two "discussions" about his gaming time. But it got to the point where Mr. Marcus would leave for work before 8 am, get home from work around 6:30 pm, kiss me hello (most of the time), change clothes and eat dinner by 7 pm, turn the game on by 7:12 pm, play the game until almost midnight, and then that's when it was time to be married. I kid you not! I promise, it got so bad, that I couldn't even stand to be in the same room with him while the game was on. I hated everything about it...and sometimes, even him while he was on it. I hated the way he talked to all of the people he played the game with; I hated what they talked about; I hated the fact that they would argue about some of the most ignoramus topics...and actually be serious about it! I felt myself growing more and more depressed. It was getting difficult to carry on a conversation with him, even when he wasn't playing the game. I couldn't be the wife I wanted to be, or even supposed to be. Of course I kept the house clean, cooked everyday and took care of Davin. But I wasn't fulfilling those other wifely duties. But can you blame me???
Who wants to spend any time with someone that CHOOSES to spend 4-6 of their free hours out of the day doing something other than spending time with you??? Not me!!! That's not the way to get somebody all hot and bothered.

I was at my breaking point. I couldn't continue acting the way I was acting and expect him to "get" how I was feeling. We had to have a long and serious come-to-Jesus-meeting. And after a lot of back and forth of me telling him what he was doing wrong and his rebuttals of "I'm NOT gonna quit playing the game!" (even though I never asked him to), I was finally able to explain to him how I really felt. I told him that I felt as if he'd rather spend his time with a machine than with the living, breathing flesh that he chose to marry. I told him that I felt like he would defend playing the game without even considering how it was effecting our relationship. I told him that it just wasn't fair for him to spend four hours playing the game, and then I was left with about 45 minutes. I told him that I couldn't be the wife he wanted me to be if he couldn't be the husband I wanted him to be. And you know what, he heard me.

I thought that, if not the fight, our resentment would last a couple days and our little home would turn into an ice cold box. But, before we laid our heads to rest, we had reached a resolve. Once I stopped pointing the finger, and started expressing my actual feelings, my loving husband had reappeared before my very eyes. And for the first time in our 5 year relationship, the man told me that he was SORRY!!! Not that "I apologize" business. He said, I'm SORRY!!! And I swear to you, that was the sexiest thing he had ever said to me!!

I didn't set any boundaries or guidelines for the game after that. I felt like it was something that he had to do on his own so that I could see that he fully understood where I was coming from. I only asked him to keep his priorities balanced and in check. And he has.

So you see, ladies people, video games are not the enemy; just as long as there is a proper balance and you never feel that it always comes before you. And if the scales are a little off, don't blow up, cause a scene and and put them on the defensive. Have a sit down and tell 'em how you really feel.

SN: As you can see, this post was produced sans Mr. Marcus. And in his typical fashion, he seems to think that my post is acurate, but a little one sided. He'll be back a little later with his side of things, so be sure to stay tuned!