It’s the look on his face that kills me a little whenever I see it. The phrase “blank stare” doesn’t do it justice. When my husband, Kumar, is playing video games, his expression is going absolutely flat. His eyelids sink to 1/2-mast. His posture is slumped. His lips even trade in nature; the lowest one simply hangs there, like his chin is not inclined to support the weight of it. Only his thumbs reveal that he’s now not a vegetable.
Yet, whilst Kumar dances, he has a lot vivacity that anyone watching him will right away begin smiling. He does this issue after I’m bored in which he starts offevolved to make a pained facial expression, after which very slowly twists his face up increasingly till it becomes this ugly, horrified masks of his former self. He’s noticeably precise and tremendous. He’s also a physician. He additionally did the dishes this morning even though it becomes my flip.
It’s just that after he’s slouching in front of his laptop gambling League of Legends or a few different recreations I don’t understand, it weirds me out a touch. It’s now not even this stereotypical “he’s not paying attention to me,” frowny-face spouse stuff; it’s that I don’t recognize the man or woman I love when he’s in front of a display.
He also doesn’t blink, that’s concerning.
In the past, I’ve misplaced my temper over the fact that I’ll be diligently writing inside the “running corner” I’ve concocted in our tiny New York City condo, simplest to be distracted via his livid key-tapping or the digital noises of dragon-slaying or sword-combating or whatever coming from his computer.
“Mute it, please!” I’ll say. “I can’t listen!”
“Yep, sorry,” he’ll reply, in no way taking his eyes off the display.
Even after he mutes the online game, the tiny sounds of the clicking of the mouse and keys nevertheless trouble me; my shoulders turn out to be irritating, my cheeks grow warm, my foot starts offevolved tapping in opposition to the floor. Meanwhile, out of doors, there’s the sound of honking cars, ambulance sirens, and youngsters gambling on the school jungle fitness center behind our building.
It’s while my guidelines or reminders or even determined dances that contain jazz hands move overlooked for hours that my annoyance starts to boil over.
It’s lonely being within the identical room with someone who doesn’t appear to understand that you’re there. Before we were given married, I continually imagined the two people spending Sunday afternoons being attentive to records or interrupting each other to read a favorite passage from an e-book or article. We’d be quiet — engaged in our individual paintings or hobbies — however nevertheless present, nevertheless capable of chuckle at a funny story, or pause what we’re doing a good way to concentrate to the opposite man or woman.
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But I married a doctor who’s now two years into his scientific residency and trying to balance his time between working extremely long hours in an excessive-strain role and reading for licensing assessments. He’s too worn out to examine for amusing or even enjoy track, and if he really watches TV he’ll go to sleep before the opening credit sequences even end. So he plays video games with a view to decompress from work alternatively.
Any gamer — of any gender — that I’ve been pals with or dated, has made the argument that video games now not only loosen up them, however, improve their motor capabilities and decision-making times. Previously, this argument jogged my memory of the manner an ex-boyfriend so righteously defended his cigarette smoking with the mantra: “It just enables me to relieve stress, OK?”
Gaming dependancy is increasingly more becoming a problem, yes, however, conceivably, a managed, mild quantity of gaming is simply first-rate. Not handiest have some studies shown that video games can have a fine impact on things like motor abilities, but a 2014 study from Oxford University showed that a bit gaming (much less than an hour an afternoon) caused a boom in social abilities in children and teens.
I get it. It’s just when the gaming is going on for hours and hours that I marvel if it isn’t my duty as an associate to factor it out, the manner he’ll factor to a pile of my dirty clothes on the floor and say, “Remember the guideline?” It’s whilst my recommendations or reminders or maybe desperate dances that contain jazz palms go neglected for hours that my annoyance begins to boil over.
We’ve all seen that situation in films or TV indicates where the female friend is yelling at the boyfriend about gambling too many video games and being a lazy slob. (Notice that it’s constantly that standard hetero dynamic as properly.) Then, earlier than storming out of the residence, she sets this ridiculous ultimatum for him, like, “If you ever play video games once more, I’ll leave you and also you’ll in no way listen from me!” These scenarios don’t help the ones us who stay within the actual world of maturity and equality and compromises.
On one such day inside the actual global, proper after I watched nearly a whole season of Parks and Recreation, I (very harshly) counseled to Kumar that he ought to get himself off the sofa after he’d played a few hours of video games.
He didn’t call me out for being a hypocrite, even though I without delay braced myself for it. He just looked up with me with an apologetic smile and, instead of turning in a comeback, said, “This is my final recreation, I promise.” And it becomes. It’s times like those that I comprehend that he desires to be greater present, however, is, in reality, suffering through a hard, hard time in his lifestyles.
Last night time, I retreated from our bedroom because I desired to sit down in my favorite chair and read a brand new memoir I’d picked up. I examine for five hours without once getting up, now not even to pee. I recognize that anybody could have noticed that equal “blank stare” appearance on my face. And, in the midst of a specifically excellent chapter, I recall reaching a hand up and wiping off a chunk of drool that was pooling on my backside lip. It didn’t occur to me for a 2nd to take a breather, clutch a Kleenex, and test in on Kumar.
When I crawled again into mattress simply because the sun turned into arising, Kumar didn’t chastise me or tell me that he wanted I’d be more present. There became no judgment or anger over the fact that he often rolls over in bed to discover I’ve deserted him for an ebook or Word document within the different room.