Yes, You Could Fall in Love
You may not hear about it very often, but game developers do fall for other game developers sometimes. It makes sense if you stop to think about it. Developers spend a lot of time working on their projects and establishing connections. Rubbing elbows with people who work in games all the time means you’re probably going to eventually date someone in the industry. It could be a games journalist, a QA tester, a concept artist, or who knows!
But that can get a little tricky, right?
Two people working long hours? Perhaps two people working at the same place—and on the same project? Is it even professional? Is that romance destined to fail and make the entire work experience an awkward one? So many questions.
What we can say for sure is that every situation is different, because there is no such thing as two couples who are the exact same. While some couples would loathe the idea of spending that much time together, others would welcome it. The same goes for the professionalism. There are couples that know when to keep the “lovey dovey” PDA on the down low, but others—eh, not so much.
So, how does one manage romance and game development?
Always Be Professional at Work
Ah, the magic of new love. It’s enough to make the world seem much brighter, safer and better than it actually is. Seeing everything, including your new love interest, through rose-tinted glasses is nice while it lasts. And while you certainly shouldn’t deprive yourself of such a wonderful time, it’s beyond important to keep at least one foot firmly planted on the ground.
When you feel the need to plant a kiss on your partner’s lips, make sure it’s during your lunch break. If you need to have a lovers’ quarrel, wait until after work. Remember: you were a developer before you were a partner. Work comes first during work hours.
Building a Relationship
If waiting until after work to talk about how your partner lied to you about being allergic to tomatoes seems like a chore, you’ll be happy to know relationship building is crucial. Here’s the trick to building a solid relationship: dedicating time with the person, establishing common ground, and learning how they work. If you can spend time with your partner after hours, you’ll slowly begin cultivating a sense of stability within the relationship.
It isn’t rocket science. The more you know someone, the more comfortable you feel around them. That means if you do work together, you’re comfortable knowing they don’t need you around 24/7, 365 to be happy. You become secure in the relationship, knowing your time to watch a cute movie together is coming after work. Suddenly, waiting to kiss your partner, and tell them a story about something you heard at work becomes a part of daily life.
In other words, to be professional, it’s crucial to spend time with your partner and build a solid dynamic. Once you feel like that’s in order, the ability to separate work from your love life becomes a thousand times easier.
Go Ahead, Text Them!
Just because you’re both game developers, it doesn’t mean you’ll be in the same room. You might be assigned to different projects. Or, you might work for two entirely different game studios.
Whatever the case, there’s no escaping the long hours that come with careers in game development. If you make games, you’re likely working on a project more often than not. And yes, that can interfere with a relationship, especially if you’re not physically with them during that entire time.
For this reason, it’s crucial to check in. Yes, texting and Snapchatting. This doesn’t mean you should be glued to your phone: it just means if you have a little time between meetings, or you’re walking to another part of the building, feel free to give your sweetie a little smile. It lets your partner know that you care, without sacrificing professionalism.
Celebrate Alone Time & Individual “Me” Time
In the same vein of long hours, the little time you have to finally be alone with your partner—or by yourself—should be celebrated. Do the things you don’t have time to do at any other point in the day. Watch Netflix, play games you haven’t worked on, go shopping, grab some dinner, etc.. Finally catch that movie everyone was talking about three weeks ago!
The thing about celebrating alone time, whether it’s with out without your partner, is that by fully enjoying it, you’re recharging your batteries. Life isn’t just about work. Life is what happens when you’re not creating a fictional land. By giving yourself some love, and being able to really live, you’re ensuring you don’t turn into a bitter, overworked developer.
Gaming: The Third Wheel
Here’s a unique characteristic of game developer couples: gaming will be a major part of your life. It makes sense, two people who live, breathe, and eat games all day, every day. It adds up! Unless you’re okay with that dynamic, these type of relationships might not be for you.
That being said, while talking about games all the time with your partner might be everything you’ve ever dreamed of, it’s important to maintain a level of balance. Don’t just talk about games. Talk about everything else too, like your dynamic, your favorite books, and funny family memories. Gaming is always going to be a major part of your life, and relationship, but it shouldn’t be the only part. Talking about everything else in life isn’t going to make that any less the case.
Working from Home
Finally, in true indie game developer fashion, there’s a likely chance you’ll work from home. Your partner might also work from home. If that’s your situation (or if it ever is in the future), remember that your space isn’t just a place to work, eat and sleep. It’s a home.
Or at least it should be.
A home refers to a warm, comfortable place that you call your own. It’s filled with throw blankets, pillows, games, movies, food, and more. While those things sound like aesthetics, it’s what these items do that matters. Anyone can have a house, apartment or dorm. But creating a home, an oasis where you feel at ease, is another thing altogether.
For your relationship to flourish, you need a home that feels comfortable for the both of you. It will make those long work hours much more entertaining.
Remember, love in developer circles can happen. People can lead successful, happy careers and healthy, loving relationships. Every couple is unique, and sitting here claiming yours will work out would be a lie. Truth is, relationships are what we make of them. And the best we can hope for is to find someone else who thinks along the same lines, wants the same things from your relationship, and encourages you to be your best self.
Shutting down any chance of finding love for fear of it being unprofessional isn’t something you should do. Professionalism means you know how to manage the two, knowing there’s a time and a place for everything. So do yourself a favor . . . and stay open to the possibility!
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