What if you beat your boyfriend at video games? A lot?

I am proud to say that I am engaged and excited to be married to my beau.  He is incredibly intelligent, beautiful, humorous, and loving.  I am so fortunate to even know him, let alone be his wife!  There’s just one problem:  We both love video games.

So what is wrong with that?  Nothing, except the woman runs the household when it comes to video game domination.

Before any assumptions are made about my wonderful significant other, I would like to point out that he has accepted his defeat in the video game world.  It just took a while to adjust to this ass-whooping scenario; from what he has related to me, he has never had to deal with this level of woman-on-man defeat in the past.  It was new to him, and understandably a bit humiliating.  It took me a little while to show him it did not matter that I was a bit better at video games (and honestly, there are some games out there he would just own me in).

This is not a situation that is new to me, however.  I know for a fact that there are plenty of video-game-talented ladies out there, and they must go through the same thing when it comes to their romantic lives.  You meet someone you really like, share interests, he becomes excited you like video games, then you inadvertently teach him that in comparison to you he should stick to titles like Kinectimals and Viva Pinata!  The feeling of inadequacy this places on the man actually ends up hurting the relationship.  Not only does he fail to share more of his hobbies and interests with you, he suddenly thinks twice about inviting you to outings with his buddies.  To make it worse, he loses interest in playing games with you!  There are many other symptoms you may experience from him such as frustration, irritation, and coldness.

So how can we show him that he does not need to be threatened by our uber gaming abilities?  How can we keep this shared interest a part of the relationship without the extra baggage that comes with it?  Why should we have to deal with him being unable to cope?!

Well, one thing we can do is be understanding.  This may be hard for us since we at least subconsciously know this issue has to do with the image of women our society has placed on us: Women are not better than men at anything that could be deemed as masculine.  It is so unfair and discouraging for us women to even have to explain this to someone who claims to love us, let alone experience the backlash!

Why be understanding, then?  Because there are things going on in his mind that also have to do with an image society has placed on him since he was a young boy:  If a woman beats you at anything remotely masculine, you’re useless as a man.  Is it really his fault that this mindset was practically bred into him and then cemented by his peers?  No.  However, guys, it is important to recognize when it is time to break the cycle!

Here is my personal survival guide for beating my boyfriend at video games:

  • Win gracefully.  No one likes someone who wins, then turns to their opponents and rubs it in their faces.  We all know a guy that does this and it’s annoying.  So when I do win, I like to take into consideration it was a good game for a reason.  It doesn’t matter if he was closely trailing me in score or falling way behind.  He gave me his time.
  • Figure out what makes him discontent with his losing.  Does he not like losing to anyone, or just to women?  In my case, it was mostly that he felt he was good at games in general before. Some people are poor losers in general.  Maybe they win so much it is abnormal to lose and so they cannot cope with it, or maybe they just hate when anyone beats them, period.  It may be helpful to figure out what kind of sore loser he is and approach him from that angle before accusing him of being sexist.  If he truly cannot stand to lose to women, it sounds like there really is a conversation about sexism to be had.
  • If you really are beating him repeatedly, it wouldn’t hurt to let your guard down a little.  “Let him win?!  That sucks, that’s not fair!”  Yeah, yeah, whatever.  You don’t have to let him win, but it wouldn’t hurt to give him a CHANCE.  Look at it this way. What if your boyfriend was much better at biking than you and you decided to go out with him on your bike?  Then, going up a hill, your legs just cannot take the stress like his can.  So, him being better and knowing he is so much better at biking, just continues up the hill and leaves you to slowly roll down it in reverse until you slam into a parked minivan.  Then, ten minutes later he has lapped you and finally discovers your disheveled body next to the parked minivan and tangled in your bike frame.  He then laughs and says, “What, you can’t keep up?!  LOL! GET SKILLZ lrn 2 bike noob”  Wouldn’t that make him a dick?  Absolutely.  Personally, when I am in a game like APB (Shooter) and realize I’m outclassing the other team by far, I get bored winning against them.  I like to give them a chance at that point.  After all, they are being good sports for even continuing the mission against me!
  • In a past relationship of mine, I was attempting to learn the mechanics on a new Halo game in a practice multiplayer match.  I had played the first Halo in highschool quite a bit, but this newer Halo was a tad different and it had been years for me.  I was out of practice by far.  My childish, annoying boyfriend at the time teased me, purposely made it hard for me to sniper aim at his avatar even though he told me he would let me get a few shots in to get a feel for the sniper rifle.  Instead, he jet-packed around, ducked around corners, and repeatedly killed me in two or three shots; basically, he was playing like he normally would against competitive players.  The whole time he snickered and laughed, and his disgusting rotten-toothed grin is still burnt into my memory to this day.  He did not even understand why I thought it wasn’t cool.  So, if it’s stupid and annoying when someone does this to you, it’s not fair to do it to someone else.  Thanks, ex-boyfriend, you literally lost Bungee a game sale due to your small peen syndrome!
  • Find a game that is competitive for both of you.  For reasons listed above, it simply is not fun to play a game that you are so terribly outclassed in.  I would not sign up for a hardcore Starcraft tournament for a reason, so why make your man feel like that is what he has done?  Try something that is new to both of you and different from what you normally play.  It’s not like you won’t be good at it, don’t kid yourself, so just enjoy the experience.  If you still win, it’s also not like he can’t say it wasn’t on him!
  • Remind him of things he is better at.  In my relationship, he brings home the bacon.  I just cook and eat it.  I may be better at video games because I’ve spent more time playing them and getting practice, but he has spent more time in post secondary education than I have and it pays off in the real world.  This might help lighten the blow in the moment and make him realize that your relationship is a two way street and you are both individuals of differing talents, which brings me to my next point…
  • Your relationship is not a competition!  It might take a good talk with him to hopefully enlighten him of this.  Even if you win in competitive games, your relationship is not classified by who is better at what.  If we went by that narrow-minded mentality, someone would always feel oppression and resentment.  No good.
  • Last but not least, guys, you should be proud your lady is good at games.  If she can kick your ass, she can probably kick your buddy’s ass.  And seriously, screw that guy.  Every time he wins he moons you and shoots you the finger.  Let your girlfriend loose on his Paladin playing ass.  There are so many reasons to be proud of your woman, and this should be one of them.

 

While each situation calls for different remedies, I consider these to be the basics because it also has to do with being a graceful winner altogether, and not just the girl who eats men alive at video games.

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9 Responses to What if you beat your boyfriend at video games? A lot?

  1. Erin Radler says:

    This post is awesome. I’ve been that person in many relationships, until my most recent one, where I went ahead and just started dating a 3D Game Artist. He’s perfect, and our talent levels in games vary depending on the game, which of course brings balance to our relationship! haha!

    But ya, I get you! And congrats on your engagement!

  2. Saga says:

    Actually, i had the opposite problem.

    My ex-girlfriend was a semi-pro player, and while i was the best between my group of friends, i was literally no challenge at all for her, to an embarrassing level.

    The thing is, i thought it was awesome and i actually respected her and admired her a lot for it.

    But because she was so scared of hurting my pride due to past experiences with her friends, she would panic whenever she thought she was “abusing me too much” and she would begin to do stupid things like purposefully let me kill her and worse, taking all the fun away from it.

    Instead of enjoying her victory and our time together, or even help me become as good as her, she just ended up feeling sad and miserable and dragging me down with it.

    In the end, i even felt guilty because i thought if i had actually been a worthy challenge, she would have been happy and would have been able to play without feeling bad.

    It was a very weird experience.

    • Chelsea says:

      That’s very interesting. It makes sense, too. It is important and even a lot of fun to lend a helping hand to someone you care about if they want to get better at a game you are going to spend so much time on. I loved to help my friends out in MMOs for this very reason, and always found it frustrating in the past when friends would refuse to help me get better at things… yet wanted me to keep playing the game with them!

  3. Saga says:

    I would like to share one more thing with you all.

    A common mistake that many awesome gamer-girls do to prevent drama and to avoid hurting their loved one´s pride, is to pretend they are not actually better than him.

    This is wrong for two main reasons:

    1) He is not stupid and he is going to feel hurt at your shallow pity.

    You just trashed your boyfriend on his favorite game out of his favorite series of games.
    He has played that game for years, beaten all his friends and co-workers at it, and felt he was
    the king of the hill ´til you stomped on him without trying.

    Do you really believe he is going to fall for “Nah sweetie, worry not, it was just luck :)”?

    He is the first one to know that you just moped the floor with him, and even if his pride may be lagging a bit behind, he knows fully well that you have done so fairly.

    You pretending otherwise is only going to make him feel like you look down on and pity him and that is going to be a lot more painful than the actual defeat.

    2) You deserved your victory, you deserve to be able to enjoy it.

    Are you not a proud gamer?
    Don´t you always claim your skill is at par with any male´s?
    Don´t you hate when people devalue your skill based on your gender?
    Don´t you hate hearing “uuh a girl” remarks when you join your guild´s ventrilo?
    Don´t you think “there is no girls on the internet” was already old back in 2002?

    Then stop supporting the idea that men are somehow entitled to feeling humiliated or hurt when they lose to a girl, and stop patting your boyfriend´s back every time he shows a passively-sexist attitude by acting like his loss to a girl is somehow a rare and terrible thing that will shame his family name for generations to come.

    Sexism against women is something that only men have to work on.

    You girls also need to stop subjugating your feelings, your talents and your achievements to the reactions of the men in your life, you have to use those talents and achievements to bolster yourself and your own life.

    If they want to be by your side they have to deserve a place there, and that means they have to respect you, respect your talents, and of course, respect your gaming skills.

    • Saga says:

      I meant to say “Sexism against women is NOT something that only men have to work on”

      • Chelsea says:

        All of these are firm reasons why I choose to handle this situation carefully. In my circumstance, my husband is actually very good about handling losing to me in games and vice versa, but there was a time when we were still in the early stages of our relationship that it was more awkward.

        Acting as if you’re not that good doesn’t help, you’re right. I have even tried that one and found that, like you said, it just insults your opponent’s intelligence. The urge to pretend you aren’t that good comes from a fear that you will lose everything with your friendship and/or relationship, or that they will be mad at you and otherwise treat you poorly. I think that because of the way society, especially that of the gaming community, tends to treat women, they are obviously on edge. It is a shame because we start to excel at something only to become insecure of our own success. But I am also a firm believer that nothing will change unless you work with it to, so you’re suggestion to not subjugate one’s feelings based on someone’s pompous reactions is a good one, albeit a hard habit to break for some people.

        Purposely letting someone win + acting dumb about it is the worst. My ex did this to me a lot and it was doubly insulting. This is why I suggest playing a round where your guard is down a bit, not to let someone flat out win, but to give them an opportunity to learn how to win against you and in the meantime you can explain a few mechanics/tips if they so much want. In my past, my ex could not see this balance and instead either let himself lose miserably or play so hardcore that I could not figure out how to counter his avatar’s moves or learn the game’s material while he was playing. Which was all the time. *shudder*

        However, I think it is completely fine to understand why someone, not even just males, may feel humiliated when they lose. If you fail to understand where he is coming from, it will show. For example, you may mistake it for sexism when really he just felt humiliated that he was beat at his favorite game! Even if he felt humiliated because he knew his guy friends would bust his balls later, knowing and understanding will not halt the progress of a solution. If he failed to understand why a girl pretended that she was just lucky the 80 times she beat him, then he would be missing out on the fear she felt. Understanding where it comes from is not equivalent to supporting the act itself.

        As far as sexism being something women should work on, too, I have written a couple of thoughts on this blog concerning that. I agree that there are situations where women are their own worst enemy, especially when regarding other women. (i.e. the “true gamer girl” stereotype).

        Thank you for your thoughts and participation in this topic, Saga.

  4. bagel says:

    It’s the opposite for me, I have a game loving lady of 3 years but I play very competitively. It just kinda works out since we play anything from hardcore dota to casual animal crossing, and most of those are co-operative experiences. We compete in light-hearted games like Mario kart but thankfully the latest outings have online play with local players so even if I’m bounds ahead she is still having a good time. So we’ve never had to play a competitive 1v1 game that relies too heavily on execution. Like a fighting game — those probably aren’t fun for couples if one party knows 90 hit combos that last a few minutes and the other is mashing the buttons for fun 😛

    I do secretly wish she could beat me on a real level, though, I find it arousing when a girl is good at something — especially something I do professionally or put all of my passion into.

    For now she just schools me at academics, she’s always tutoring me and I’m supposed to be two years ahead of her

  5. Mangos says:

    I can kind of relate to this post… my boyfriend and I love playing video games, but he’s more of an MMORPG competitive team gamer. I, on the other hand, am more of a solo RPG/ competitive solo gamer. I beat him in the majority of arcade game we’ve played, my Mario Kart win streak is 12x his, and I can beat an RPG/platformer in basically 2 days. His strengths are online MMORPGs and FPS, such as WoW, DotA, and Counter Strike.

    We play video games together, but I’ve never played an MMORPG with him, because I simply don’t have the storage for them, nor the money to pay for them. So we usually end up playing Mario games, which I’m very good at.

    He actually doesn’t like it when I win, so he sabotages me in Mario games. I let him win one Mario Kart game (which he asked for,) and he didn’t tell me he had other people directly behind him, so instead of letting me come in second, I came in at fourth. He intentionally kills me in co-op platformers so he can have the higher score.

    I don’t have a smart phone, so I play games and apps on his. I had the highest score for Flappy Bird, and it took him 3 months to beat it. After he did, I was coming close to beating his score, but he sabotaged me and made me lose. He also got this new game called Piano Tiles, and he’s been playing it for a month. I played it for a day and I was 60 points away from beating his high score until he once again sabotaged me, preventing me from getting a high score.

    I like playing video games with him, but it’s just not fun for me when he sees me as a threat rather than a challenge. I try to teach him the tricks and give him tips in video games, but he very seldom takes my advice and ends up winning the games we play in an unfair way by sabotaging me. Co-op or competitive games with him, on consoles or on smart phone, just isn’t fun for me anymore, and I’m the one losing interest in playing games with him.

    • Chelsea says:

      I’m sorry that’s how your gaming experience is going with your boyfriend! I think a big problem for girls playing games is just that–men feel threatened when they don’t win. This is a behavior certainly not limited to men, but unfortunately it feels very common from a female perspective. Hopefully he can come around and realize that his reactions are killing your gaming experience, and that sucks because you love playing games with him!

      Thanks for sharing your situation. I am sure others out there are experiencing something similar.

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