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Video Games Instead Of A Love Life?

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At the risk of being called an ‘old fart’ who thinks he can intelligently talk about the newer generation’s obsession with gaming, my meager credentials are I have a teenage son.

In this post I will be talking about people who are old enough to have a love life and young enough to appreciate an absorbing video game.

Let’s start by coining the phrase ‘tech-trance.’ A tech-trance is a numbed state of mind where self-development and personal growth experiences are replaced by a mental preoccupation with gaming.

You’ll know you’re in a tech-trance when you get that annoying little self-awareness that you’ve substituted your video games for other more important things like the struggle to find and hold onto a healthy love relationship.

It’s important to realize that a lot of the experimentation that young people have to experience is a necessary precursor to learning how to semi-comfortably negotiate a love relationship. There are a few things to learn and live through before you can get it relatively right.

The point is, we all have to go through some of these less than enjoyable phases of our love lives. Common examples are: figuring out who you are attracted to, figuring out who is attracted to you, asking a person out, first dates, exclusivity, and of course, surviving a break up.

What happens if these important love life experiences are forfeited for a regular and all consuming preoccupation with video games instead? I worked with a man once who was severely addicted to computer games.

He really didn’t notice for a long while that he had given up much of his social and psychological life to the games he was playing. And he was hardly aware at first that the commitment of time was dominating his life.

One day he literally ‘woke up’ and realized that the games were in control of his life and not the other way around. He had started playing again in the morning after a long night of gaming with very little sleep and all the same people who were playing from the night before were still playing. He got worried and immediately sought treatment for addiction to computer games.

If you suspect that your gaming interests have eclipsed your motivation to look for and hang onto a love relationship, first try limiting your gaming to specific times during the week and be religious about it. See if you can make this change and keep it scheduled without slipping back into your old pattern. If you can do it you’ll be converting your gaming back from being in control of you to you being in control of your gaming.

If you can’t get control back on your own, be forgiving, and get yourself some help. Some professional person who is easy to talk to, doesn’t judge you, and will be available to support you emotionally while you go through the steps of getting back into the driver’s seat.

In some instances, as in the case of the patient I just mentioned, the gaming experience was so addictive that a lasting cure required that the games be put away indefinitely. When it came down to a choice between his games and a personal life he chose a life and practiced letting go of any and all distractions from this goal on a daily basis.

Comments? Welcome Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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