With the pandemic forcing most couples into pseudo and unintentional LDRs for a year and a half now, finding new ways to stay connected can be a struggle. Luckily, we live in a digital world: where movie marathons on the couch have turned into Netflix parties; listening to the same music is done via Spotify Sessions; and going on video call while eating food from the same restaurant has temporarily taken the place of face-to-face dates.
But if you've done all that and then some, it's normal to ask, "What else?" So, we're here to take a look at one more activity that other couples are doing to battle the quarantine blues together—online gaming. Gone are the days when gaming was a pastime almost exclusively for high school boys in computer shops. With games now more accessible and varied, from 5v5 MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games played on mobile phones to social simulation games on the Nintendo Switch, more couples have taken up gaming as a shared hobby.
So if you and your S.O. are looking into exploring the world of online gaming, here are five couples who just might convince you.
Elna and Gab (aka Lolola)
Gab's love for gaming began with the first Playstation. Since then, games have been a constant presence in his life. During lockdown, he introduced games to his girlfriend, Elna, who admitted she hadn't been exposed to it growing up, but now sees it as her escape when things get too stressful.
Gaming taught us a lot about how we communicate with each other, and to appreciate each other for our strengths and weaknesses.
The two began playing CODM (Call Of Duty: Mobile), which they eventually started streaming on their Facebook page: Lolola. Through Lolola, their newfound mutual passion led them to explore other games like Valorant, Back 4 Blood, and even Fall Guys. They get to connect with other gamers, and produce successful CODM tournaments featuring some of the biggest and most popular esports teams in the country.
When asked about the impact of gaming on their relationship, the pair said that it went beyond just finding a new way to bond. Elna told Cosmo, "Gaming introduced me to a different version of myself and my partner. It's a version that I eventually fell in love with. It taught us a lot about how we communicate with each other, and to appreciate each other for our strengths and weaknesses." Gab added that playing games has helped them become better teammates, supporting each other in other areas of their lives as well.
Andrea and Matt
For 23 year-old Andrea and 25 year-old Matt, games have always been a part of their lives. With Andrea recalling spending her days at Mineski with her high school best friend and Matt growing up through legendary Playstation titles like Jak & Daxter, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and Guitar Hero, it's no surprise that the two have brought their love for gaming into their relationship.
Until now, the two love to squeeze in time for gaming when they're not too busy with work—from FPS (first-person shooter) games like Valorant and CS:GO, to party ones they can play with their friends like Pummel Party, Jackbox TV, and Gartic Phone.
Given the stress and responsibilities of adult life, the two view games as a reward system, "[looking] forward to it at the end of a long day." But gaming has also brought them closer through tough times, strengthening their connection even outside the games they play. They shared that their couple-Discord server "aptly named Residency, has morphed from just a space to chat, hop on video call, play games, or consume content together, into a tool for us to keep track of our hobbies, work, side hustles, research, and productivity, among other things."
Centaine and Miguel (aka CenMig)
They say couples who game together, stay together. And wedded couple Centaine and Miguel are proof! Having been exposed to the Playstation at a very young age, gaming has always been a part of their lives. Back then, Lyndon would even go from city to city to compete for Counter Strike.
Gaming helps me to be more communicative and has helped us to work closely together.
But even without the need to close any physical gaps, the two admits to playing games almost every night before they go to sleep and even created their own streaming page: CenMig. They enjoy a wide variety of games like Call Of Duty, Diablo, Left 4 Dead, and The Last Of Us. But Centaine funnily notes that Overcooked is one of their most memorable games. She shared, "I was busy doing my task. When I checked on him (Miguel), he was chopping a bunch of cabbages, but not one landed on a single plate! We stopped and just laughed for a minute or two."
Aside from bringing good vibes, gaming has also helped improve Centaine and Miguel's dynamics as an introvert and extrovert respectively. Centaine told Cosmo, "Gaming helps me to be more communicative and has helped us to work closely together. When a game requires some problem solving or has tricky puzzles, we both work together to solve it."
Stela and Poch
While it's true that games help people maintain relationships, they can also kickstart that connection! Bumble matches turned betrothed couple Stela and Poch shared that one of their icebreakers on the dating app involved gaming, with Stela talking about her new Nintendo Switch to Poch after seeing "gamer" on his profile.
The 27-year-old and 25-year old couple then began playing games together, with PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) Mobile as one of the top games they play religiously to this day. Other popular Nintendo games include Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and Overcooked 2.
With the pandemic limiting face-to-face hangouts, the two resort to playing games almost every night to make up for the distance, stating that gaming has "affected [them] in a very positive way." They said that playing games together helps them work on their teamwork and communication. Poch jokingly added that playing with his fiancée helps him deal with her when she gets mad at him in-game ("Because 70 percent of the time we play PUBG, I'm the first one to die.") The two also shared that they use games as substitutes for typical couple activities like going on dates on Animal Crossing and wearing matching OOTDs through their avatars on PUBG.
Dae and Anthon
Anthon always enjoyed playing games as a kid, including online multiplayer musical games, 02jam, and RPG (role playing games). On the other hand, Dae refers to herself as a "casual gamer." So when the two started playing Call Of Duty: Mobile, Dae admitted that she didn't expect it would become one of their favorite ways to bond, and that they would continue to explore other games. The pair even shared that they once played Valorant nonstop from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.!
But as with anything else, there must be a balance. Dae and Anthon learned this when they started getting into fights with each other about gaming. Sometimes, the fights were about silly things like "lose streaks" in ranked matches. Other times, they were more serious. But Dae said that ultimately, gaming has helped them grow as a couple. She told Cosmo, "We learned how to adjust and compromise. It's also helped us build chemistry. We get to talk about funny memes and videos related to the games we play."
The couple also mentioned that gaming has been a way for them to strengthen their network: "We get to bond with our friends through games, and we even get to meet each other's friends!"
It's not news that couples need to spend time together in order to keep the romance alive and deepen their connection. But thankfully, that need becomes 10 times easier to fulfill when you find something that you both enjoy doing. It could be gaming, like it is for these couples, or it could be as quiet a hobby as reading books next to each other. When it comes to how you and your significant other should be bonding, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Because especially during these trying times where uncertainty, stress, and anxiety are at an all time high, it's nice to have these safe spaces—ones that we can share with those we love most, no matter the distance between us.
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