“He promised me we’d spend time just the two of us together last night. Instead, he zoned out for two hours playing games. I tried to be as understanding as possible but felt stood up.”

"Tiffanys" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Tiffanys” by Mimi Stuart ©

When someone has promised to spend time with you but plays video games instead, don’t wait around for two hours and try to be understanding. While it is rarely effective to complain or get angry, it can be constructive to speak up when someone is disrespectful. You could remind him neutrally or even playfully, “Hey, I’m here. You said you wanted to do something fun… Well?”

If he doesn’t stop playing his game, then it is time for you to do something for yourself, on your own or with friends. Don’t wait around to be there at his convenience. Go to the movies, meet friends or go for a walk. Otherwise he will continue to take you for granted, and you will become resentful and less desirable.

While it would be quite easy for you to coerce him into stopping the game and doing something with you, he would feel irritated and would not truly desire and appreciate the time he does spend with you. No one likes to be manipulated.

So don’t be controlling. Yet you don’t want to stand by while he plays video games. Say, “have a good time, ssee you later,” and leave. You are less likely to become bitter if you do something you enjoy on your terms. If you stand by and do nothing, you give him all of the power in the relationship.

When he realizes you’re no longer there waiting for his attention, he will either regret ignoring you and avoid doing it in the future, or he won’t care, in which case, this may be the first step on your road to a more fulfilling life and possibly a new relationship.

If a pattern of disregard seems to be emerging, then you may want to sit down with him and state your needs and desires without being controlling. Explain that he is free to do what he wants. However, you want to be with someone who wants to spend some time together and who appreciates being with you. Let him know that you’re reconsidering if you are right for each other. If he doesn’t seem to care, then it’s time to move on.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen

Read “I end up arguing with him because he’s usually too busy working to talk.”

Read “Spending Time Together as a Couple.”

Watch “Seven keys to a great relationship.”

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