Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] My gamer boyfriend is always ‘too tired’ to have sex

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer
[Two Pronged] My gamer boyfriend is always ‘too tired’ to have sex
'How can we have a baby when nothing happens?'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer:

I have been with my boyfriend Eddie for a long time. We decided to live together and have been doing so for seven years; we are planning to get married and have children. In fact, I have been trying to have a baby for some time now.

But this has been difficult because my partner, who is a gamer, is always “tired.” He has always been into online games ever since I met him. Now, we are both working full-time, but he still spends a lot of time playing games on his phone. When we are together, he always seems tired. Even if I initiate sex, he just tells me that he is too tired.

How can we have a baby when nothing happens? I am frustrated with the situation. What can I do?


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Dear LP,

Thank you for your email.

There seems to be a serious disconnect between your joint professed desire to get married and have a child on the one hand and your boyfriend’s lifestyle on the other. Implicit in your account is the suggestion that the time he devotes to gaming means that he has little or no time to spend on your relationship, which bodes ill for not only your marriage but also parenthood.

Now it is a fact that getting married and conceiving a child, in and of themselves, take very little time – time that even the most avid gamer can surely spare. However, if you both then want a successful marriage and also hope to be good parents, then a great deal of time and energy are required to make things work.

There is a certain belief that gamers have a dedication, even an obsession, to their hobby that detracts from their social and sex lives. While data is limited, some studies have been conducted in this area which suggest, counter-intuitively, that the opposite could in fact be true.

So, LP, what can be done?

In our November 20, 2022 column, we referred to Dr Gary Chapman and his book 5 Love Languages. While this is by no means a universal panacea for everybody’s problems, it is an excellent way to jumpstart a conversation about hopes, expectations, and priorities when contemplating taking a relationship to the next level.

In your case, perhaps exploring your love languages with Eddie would be a good introduction to discussing how his professed interest in marriage and a family actually stacks up against his devotion to gaming. Obviously his current priorities will have to change if he is to be good husband/parent material, but is he really prepared to acknowledge that he will have to make some seriously radical adjustments to achieve this? If so, are you, LP, sufficiently confident of the outcome to be willing to commit yourself to marriage and parenthood with Eddie, remembering that the burden of parenthood in the (virtual) absence of a father will be a burden that falls on your shoulders?

This is a conversation that you and Eddie need to have before taking any future irreversible steps.

All the best,
JAF Baer

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Dear LP:

Thank you very much for your letter. On the one hand, Mr. Baer seems more optimistic than I, suggesting something like the 5 Love Languages to jumpstart conversations to help you determine if Eddie has similar priorities to yours. However, Mr. Baer does admit that Gary Chapman’s paradigm is not a panacea for all couples and suggests that you seriously consider whether Eddie is truly the kind of person you want for a husband and/or the father of your child.

My problem is conflating Eddie, your partner, and Eddie, the possible future father of your child. The two don’t necessarily go together, but in your case I think they might.

But first, a few suppositions:

First, you seem happy enough with Eddie, your partner. You have been together for seven years and it seems like the only time you’ve been frustrated enough to write for advice (at least to us) is now, when Eddie is not doing his bit to ensure you become parents. 

Second, you seem contented enough with the sex you were having until you decided to have a child, and it became obvious that you wanted more, but only to ensure your pregnancy.

Should my suppositions be correct, and you are not hoping he will change once he becomes a father, your frustration becomes a tad easier to deal with. It will then be a matter of mere logistics, not a change of heart and mind.

Eddie has not even bothered to have the minimum kind of sexual encounter that produces a baby — the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” kind. And let’s not even talk about the other kind where tectonic plates move the earth when you’re together.

Might it be time to ask Eddie if he truly wants a baby with you, in which case he (or you both) find a way to make him less tired or try in vitro fertilization?  Might it also be time to ask yourself if you will continue to be happy with a man who will have sex with you very seldom? Or only when you want another child? 

If you are, then why not? 

Especially if you yourself might truly prefer to do all the parenting, thus relegating Eddie to the role of “junior partner” in the relationship, or as some might say, little more than a simple “sperm donor.” I do not say this to be mean. There are people who prefer to do all the parenting themselves, especially if they can hire lots of other people to do what they consider the less important, repetitive tasks of feeding, bathing, and dressing the child. They prefer to make all the decisions – major and minor – and prefer not having to accommodate anyone else’s wishes and/or schedules doing so.

I daresay there will also be people who are happy to have their partner doing all the important aspects of parenting.   

This column is not the place to consider the repercussions – both obvious and nuanced – of such a choice, but if solo parenting is what you want, Eddie seems an ideal choice.

Please, please write us again if there is anything else that bothers you. 

All the best,
MG Holmes


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