SDCC 2019 is in full swing, and I love seeing all the updates! With all the excitement I can’t help but think about how the world is changing, as nerd culture seeps more and more into the mainstream, yet dating culture seems to be missing the nerd bug.
You’ll see articles like which dating sites are best for gamers and how to get your partner to play games with you. Yet I rarely see articles on how to use gaming to bypass the date nights, when your in a long-term committed relationship and going out just isn’t your thing or within your budget. Oh, and kids…
We’ve heard date nights are essential to a healthy long-term relationship, yet in this day of rising costs, without wages to match, and the fact that my partner makes better food then anything we can get out there within our budget, not to mention the waning of the village mentality in parenting, date nights cause me more stress than they are worth.
Therefore, I call bull.
Before kids, I had money to spend on dinners and movies. I had time to do said things without sacrificing four hours with my tiny children, who will only be tiny for so long. I didn’t need to worry about finding a sitter. A sitter that knows my children’s unique supports.
I didn’t have to worry about getting up at 6am every day.
Yes, we do get the occasional babysitter for things like Avengers: Endgame or when we went to PAX East. And since these events are few and far between, I know I can be fully present in the moment because my best sitter is home with my kids.
While there are those who get a regular night every week, there are many out there, like me, who don’t have that privilege, which makes date nights harder. Not to mention not everyone is down for babysitting swaps or can find reliable child care for their kids’ diverse needs.
Let me introduce you to the idea of adventuring instead of dating.
My spouse and I reactivated our Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn characters recently, after a conversation with a friend of mine about adventuring in Eorzea with her partner.
The conversation brought me back to the years my husband and I spent in Vana’diel, the world of Final Fantasy XI. Our days, and nights, exploring, and dying, as Youngsun and Ezrah, the unstoppable monk/samurai duo.
In those days it would take an hour or two to find a party, another hour to actually get there, and a lot of praying the party doesn’t break as soon as you arrive. It took me three years, and many Maat fights, to hit the level cap. It sounds horrible in the new age of having a teleport every 10 feet because it is.
[See Also: It’s 2019 and I’m Starting Final Fantasy XI]
MMOs are more accessible now to a variety of players. There are people playing MMOs that don’t identify as gamers, who’s end game is about customizing their characters and houses rather then raiding. Final Fantasy XIV has something for everyone, which makes it such an amazing relationship building tool for you and your partner.
1. Every night is date night
Date night is all about building connection outside of the household duties and family obligations. Adventuring in Final Fantasy XIV allows you to be who you were before the laundry mountains and taxi-cabbing started.
2. Less time in Duty Finder
If you play DPS, which I do, waiting for dungeons can be more time consuming than the actual dungeon. In fact, developers added trusts to Shadow Bringers so you could run it with NPC filling in the gaps. Unfortunately, they only work in the new expansion areas and I’m still trudging through Stormblood. Since I am the worst healer known to human kind and hate playing tanks, my partner tanks on dungeon runs and levels his DPS in his free time.
3. Someone to follow on tedious quests
Let’s face it: even with auto-run, sometimes your squirrel brain just won’t let you focus on the super tedious “Find the 4 things in the giant orange circle” quests. When this happens, I can click on my partner’s character and set mine to follow his. This also works for when my joints need to rest between dungeons, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to play as long.
4. Something to talk about
Date nights are about communication and connection. Sometimes our lives become so routine it’s hard to have exciting conversations. In a game as massive as Final Fantasy XIV, there is always something to talk about together, learn about together, destroy together… you get the idea.
5. Do your own thing!
My spouse and I game together every night, but we’re not always doing something together. I love playing Triple Triad, while he is all about the beast tribe quests. You don’t always have to be together in-game, and even when doing you’re own thing, you are sharing experiences with each other through chat.
6. Cooperate against a common enemy
Our time together in-game has strengthened our relationship out of game. It wasn’t until our reactivation of our legacy characters in FFXIV that I realized how our time in MMOs impacted our relationship in real life. Even on our worst days, we unite against a common enemy, the Garlean Empire.
7. You can be apart, together.
Co-parenting with another introvert gamer means we can become resentful of not having enough alone time. While I love spending time with my spouse, I also love being left alone, curled up in a blanket, lost in a video game for hours, and some days the sound of him breathing next to me can be too much real-life social interaction.
When one of us is having this type of night, we play in separate rooms, so we are still in communication with each other when we want to be and not in each others physical presence. Also a benefit of cross platform MMOing.
Money, money, money. The average cost of a date night in the US is $102.32, according to this article on Yahoo Finance. The cost of a FFXIV subscription for two is $311.76 stretched over a 12 month period. For the cost of three average date nights, you can get 365 adventuring nights a year, while one date night a month will run you about $1200 / year.
Bonus if you’re from FFXIV 1.0, since your subscription costs $9.99 a month instead. ?
Next time you’re thinking of ways to foster that connection and communication with your partner, or a great activity to unwind after a long day of laundry and appointments, check out Final Fantasy XIV. Happy adventuring!