Five Problems with Gamers and Dating

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Five Problems with Gamers and Dating

Dating takes time away from gaming. Let’s face it, all those hours you used to spend drawing maps and thinking of the next best way to kill your players or outwit your GM are gone as soon as you hook up with that significant other. Poof. Vanished without a trace as you spend all your time daydreaming about your date, planning your date, going out on your date, reminiscing about your date…..

Gaming takes time away from dating. Is your sweetheart going to understand why you’re spending all day playing a game? Most non-gamers don’t get it. Maybe you’ll be lucky and they’ll have some hobby you don’t share that takes up a full day, too, but what are the odds? I’ve seen many gamers dragged home before the game was over because their significant others were tired or bored or just want to have dinner, leaving the rest of the gaming group short-handed … especially if it’s the GM who’s just been pulled away.

On the other hand … dating gamers can cause even more problems than dating non-gamers. At least if you’re dating a non-gamers you can probably negotiate some kind of mutually agreeable schedule. But if you’re dating another gamer, and you’re both in the same game—well, then things can get tricky. Can you two keep your romantic relationship out of the game … or can you keep the game out of your romantic relationship? (“You killed my character! How could you?” “But darling, my character’s an assassin … he was hired to kill you!”) I’ve seen tensions get high between characters in a game when two of the players are having a lover’s quarrel in real life.

Of course, the game can also be affected when you don’t argue. Funny how often the characters of two players who have fallen in love end up falling in love, too. (“My character leaps in front of the dragon!” “But sweetie, you’re just a scrawny mage, and I’m playing a fighter!” “But darling, I can’t let you put yourself in danger!”)

Or worse yet, what if one of you is the GM? How many times have I seen a doting GM give their honeybunch’s character all the best magic items and attention while the rest of the players roll their eyes in disgust? Overcompensation is just as bad—when the GM tries to avoid favoritism by ignoring a significant other completely and minimizing that character’s participation in the game, it can also end up causing hard feelings.

Breaking up will break up the game. In a highly cohesive gaming group, two romantically involved players who break up with each other can break up the entire group … or at least that particular campaign. It’s even worse when one of the players is the GM. A related problem is when a player asks another player out for a date and gets rejected—that can cause hard feelings in a gaming group, too.

Staying together can break up the game, too. If two gamers have children, their ability to find time to game really suffers. Ever tried to game with a baby, toddler, or small child in the house? When the kid wants attention, the whole game goes on hold … and again, it’s even worse if the parent is the GM. (It would be nice to suggest that the players just hire a babysitter when they game, but that’s not always financially possible.) So now you’re asking, OK, what are my options? Lead a life of celibacy? Naaah. Somebody’s gotta raise the next generation of gamers. But just realizing what kind of problems gamers face in their dating careers may help you cope with them. If you’re going to date a non-gamer, understand that you may need to work out some way that you can continue to game and still maintain your relationship. If you’re going to date a gamer, be aware that your personal life and your characters’ lives need to be kept separate. And if you’re not dating, but members of your gaming group are, brace yourself. You may end up the innocent victim of any one of these situations. Love may be a many-splendored thing, but it would sure be nice if there were a GM to arbitrate it once in a while!

Originally written May 24, 1998

Image Source: Max Ernst

I read, write, roleplay, travel, teach, and occasionally do research. I am a lizard, a warrior, a minimalist, and a scholar.
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