*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I dated a man with a penchant for vintage video games. There isn't anything wrong with that. The problem was he often insisted I watch him play games like Mega Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when there was nothing I wanted to do less.
Now, keep in mind, he didn't play video games when I met him. It was a hobby or a habit he developed after we had already begun dating.
I had no way of knowing what awaited me.
Sure, he enjoyed playing video games as a kid, and maybe as a teenager. As an adult, he'd taken at least a ten-year hiatus from playing video games before rediscovering the love for them he'd had in his youth.
Lucky me. He happened to rediscover his love of video games while we were dating.
The problem wasn't that he loved video games. Everyone has the right to love what they love, and I would never take that away from him.
For me, the bone of contention was that he insisted I watch him play video games every date night in lieu of doing absolutely anything else. I'd show up at his house with my own dinner packed in a paper bag, and he'd sit on the floor of his hoarder bedroom and play video games while I ate my food.
After dinner, he'd continue playing video games. "Watch me," he'd demand. "Keep your eyes open."
Yes, I occasionally dozed off, but never for long. He always woke me. "Wake up. You're not watching," he'd whine.
I remember one time I tried to read a book while he played video games, but he took the book out of my hands and put it on the other side of the room where I couldn't reach it. "No books. Watch me play video games."
All attempts to entertain myself while he played video games for hours were foiled. He wouldn't permit me to nap, read books, use my laptop, or play on my phone when he was playing. All those activities would prevent me from paying attention, and he couldn't have that. And forget trying to have a conversation. That was strictly verboten.
"You have to pay attention," he said. "No talking."
I offered to play video games with him since he had an extra controller. I felt it would be a lot more exciting if I could actually participate, but he refused. "You'll just slow me down," he insisted.
The one time I convinced him to let me play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with him, he got upset that I laughed and tried to eat all the pizzas on the screen. "Let me have the pizzas," he screeched. "I need them more than you do."
That was the last time we played a video game together. Unfortunately, it wasn't the last time I watched him play video games all night long. It was exhausting.
What would you have done? Comments are welcome.
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