The long game

There’s nothing like the first flush of love, that rush of warm emotion that engulfs you in the early stages of a relationship as you realise that this person could be someone really special. It’s not something that can be put into words, but rather an unspoken agreement it’s the two of you against the world. A look, a smile is all it takes to reinforce that secret pact: You are unified in love, your bond unbreakable.

Fast forward two years and you find yourself sitting on the sofa on a Saturday night drinking Merlot and waiting for the pizza delivery as the love of your life sits in front of a giant plasma screen TV, a games console controller glued to his hand and a look of concentration on his face that’s so fierce you don’t dare to interrupt with anything as banal as intelligent conversation.

They say that love is blind, you see, but what they don’t tell you is the blindness is only a temporary affliction. Before you know it the bad habits will begin to rear their ugly heads, slowly at first – a burp here, a fart there – but come they will. And when they do, you’ll also start to notice all of the deals you’re unwittingly entering into; when he does something nice for you, you realise it’s not just for the sake of being nice, it’s a bargaining tool. The nice acts all add up to passes, tokens to appease the various indiscretions that will certainly occur during the tenure of your relationship. You, my friend, are being played, and whilst it’s by no means malicious (let’s face it, men are simple creatures), it’s nonetheless a startling realisation when it finally dawns.

One such token is for gaming time, not something I’ve had to endure for several years until today, but now apparently a cross I’ll have to bear from this day forth. In those halcyon early days he wouldn’t dream of suggesting you watch him playing computer games with his friends; he’s far too busy charming you with meals and flattering you with compliments. When you’re more established, however, and you have earned the title of ‘being one of the boys,’ I say to you this: Beware. For it is now that you are on the cusp of losing what little power you had. Feminine wiles only go so far, the lure of gaming is infinite.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I accept my fate; that my relationship has finally taken that inevitable turn into the comfort zone. But at least my boyfriend knows how to look after his gaming widow; he’s bought me a bottle of Merlot and a copy of Grazia to keep me entertained. Which has bought him at least another hour of gaming. Hmm, thinking about it, maybe men aren’t such simple creatures after all…

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