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#235: Variations on a Theme, or, A Gamer Girl Needs Help

Dear Captain Awkward,

I am a gamer girl who is currently obsessed with the game, Gears of War 3. I am geeky but reasonably cute with an average body. I’ve also only dated one guy who turned out to be gay to hide his sexual orientation from his parents. That was years ago and I haven’t really found anyone I’ve been interested until recently. Let’s call him D. While playing games with a random (a person who is not part of your friends list), who invited me to a game to play, I met D and his girlfriend B there. Us four struck up an xboxlive friendship and have been playing together since December to January. I didn’t think much of the couple at first as they did not play wtih me very much in the first month. There was a random day though that D invited me to play with him and as I wasn’t playing with anyone, I decided it would be better than playing with randoms. We hit it off fairly well to the point where we were playing every day together for weeks. D then invited me into a tournament for girls with his girlfriend as his partner. As it was, we got fourth place. But it was after this tournament that everything became more intimate.


We began texting each other and facebooking each other every day and played constantly. He ditched his girlfriend countless times to play games with me and we averaged 20 hours every weekend. It was like this for about two months. We reached a point where we realized we just liked each other and shared a lot of private stuff with each other. For two weeks, we stayed up until 7am just talking about everything. It went to the point where we masturbated on webcam with each other, something I’ve never ever done. His girlfriend hates me and whever she gets online to play, it’s extremely awkward but I just act casual and act friendly.

There are problems between them that they refuse to talk about – not because he’s not trying to talk to her but because she’s very passive and avoidant of conflicts in their relationships. Everytime he brings up anything, she changes the subject. I’ve heard it online as well as stories from other friends. She also left him for another guy but returned and he accepted her back on the condition that she would change, which she hasn’t.

Throughout the day, he tells me where he is and what he’s doing. He also states that he wants to break up with his girlfriend but he has yet to do so. He told me that a long distance relationship wasn’t probable between us, but he also told me he flew free and was coming down to my state in the summer. I’ve asked several friends if a guy would really just come over states away to just do a girl, but I received mixed answers. D told me I was his ideal type because I was so obsessed with games and because of our similar values.

The problem I am here about started on Thursday. I was feeling really sort of sad and sent him a message because I felt too guilty for doing what we were doing to his girlfriend. I asked him to break up with his girlfrend and if he thought I wasn’t worth it, then that was ok. Either way, we would remain friends but I didn’t want to do anymore webcam stuff with him or stay up late talking like the way we were unless she was out of the picture.

The next day on Friday he sent me an invite to play around 5pm. We played for about six to seven hours and it was reasonably awkward. He hadn’t responded to my message and when I brought it up, he said he was surprised about the letter’s contents and would write me later that night. I got nervous and laughed, telling him to ignore it. We played as usual and when I left, he sounded sad and surprised to hear that I was leaving early that night. We usually played until like 2am but leave early I did. I woke up an hour later to text him. He responded and then ignored my last text for the night. He hasn’t spoken to me since Friday despite our plans of playing together all day Saturday and now it’s almost Sunday.

Am I doing something wrong here? Is this guy just leading me on? Does his lack of response and ignoring me mean he really doesn’t care to break up with his girlfriend? I know they went out on a date on Thursday and Friday due to his texts. What should I do? I’m almost ready to give up on him and just play games, but I have some hope that maybe he’s trying to break up with his girlfriend as we speak. Do you think he will break up with his girlfriend? Even if he does break up with his girlfriend, I plan to only keep it casual for awhile. I don’t want to dive into a relationship immediately as I don’t even know if we’re sexually compatible or anything. All I know is that when we’re talking, playing games and everything, everything just feels right and before I know it, the sun is rising. I’m sort of unsure of what to do really. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

Sincerely,
A Gamer Girl

Dear Gamer Girl:

God help me, I’m going to sound like a helmet-haired advice columnist from a bygone era here, but you’re not the first person to get hung up on a person who is involved with someone else (with that person’s full participation and encouragement) only to find yourself out in the cold when you make a sincere move to bring the relationship into the light.

You’ve made your feelings and desires known, which was brave and awesome of you. You’re not doing anything wrong with what you said to this guy (though you’re correct that you’re being a douche to his girlfriend by continuing to have naughty times with her boyfriend and discuss her behind her back without her knowledge, and right to want to put a stop to that). And you are upsetting the apple cart where he had both a steady girlfriend AND someone to complain about her to and flirt with. He has some thinking to do and decisions to make.

Now the ball is in his court, and there is nothing you can do to affect the outcome. You cannot make him break up with his girlfriend using the power of words or awesome gaming skills or sexy webcam hijinks or feeling really right and comfortable with him, and I would beware strongly of wishful thinking in that regard.

A lot of people hint around that their relationship isn’t working out or is on the verge of ending when they are flirting with someone new and want to not feel guilty about it (and want you not to feel guilty about it so you’ll keep doing it), and then when the chips are down act like your feelings are all in your head and all your own doing.

My advice is to pull back…way back… on contact with this guy. You’ve put your feelings out there, and he knows where to find you if he feels the same way. Until he breaks up with his girlfriend and comes to tell you that he’s broken up with her and would like to start a relationship (even a casual relationship is a relationship) with you, assume that they are still together. Interpret all “signs” you get from him extremely conservatively in the meantime. Re-read Commander Logic’s Geek Relationship Fallacies – Liking the same stuff can be really important and a nice thing to have in a relationship, but the fact that you both like gaming so much isn’t meaningful in itself without kindness and demonstrated affection and intentions. You used your words and you deserve the same from him.

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About JenniferP

Chicago filmmaker, teacher, and blogger.

37 comments on “#235: Variations on a Theme, or, A Gamer Girl Needs Help

  1. LW, look at the way he’s treating his girlfriend and treating you. He snipes about her all the time to you, engages in cyber sex with you, and is generally shitty to you and the GF (yes, no matter how awful she is, he’s emotionally and kinda physically cheating on her–if you were in her shoes, how would you feel?). Do you think he’d be any different if you were the GF and you two hit a rough patch?

    *He* sounds passive and rather avoidant. Instead of either focusing on his relationship and working things out (without another girl as a distraction) or breaking up with her, he’s avoiding things by gaming with you all the time and bitching to you all the time. She may be awful but she’s still his girlfriend and he’s still with her. It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter that her awfulness has been confirmed–he’s still with her. And he’s not looking that great himself, all things considered.

    I think it’s great that you basically told him to shit or get off the pot. I think keeping a huge distance between yourself and him would be a good idea.

  2. LW, this man is not good!

    It’s not impossible to meet osmeone you like while you are still in another relationship. It’s not even impossible for meeting that person to help you realize how much you don’t want to be with the original partner.

    However it is impossible to be this much of a dick to your current girlfriend without being a dick in general (he is staying up until all hours chatting with you! masturbating with you! Ignoring her to hang with you!)

    That sounds rough. I’m sure he has his bright spots. But you’re totally seeing charming, smooth, flirtatious dude right now. Jackass who cheats on his girlfriend and then MAKES HIS GIRLFRIEND PLAY VIDEOGAMES WITH THE GIRL HE’S CHEATING WITH!!!!111! is like a rattlesnake… warnings abound!

    Also, keep in mind that just because she’s awful (and we don’t *really* know that she is, but taking him at his skeezy word) doesn’t mean that he isn’t ALSO awful. Relationships aren’t just made of heroes and villains yo.

    • “Jackass who cheats on his girlfriend and then MAKES HIS GIRLFRIEND PLAY VIDEOGAMES WITH THE GIRL HE’S CHEATING WITH!!!!111! ”

      UGH YES, this. LW, the girlfriend more than likely knows what’s up, even if she can’t “prove” anything. The fact that he insists that you two play together sets up red flags for me in the manipulative and power-seeking areas. You deserve better.

  3. Hey LW,

    Let me tell you a smal, short (version) of a relevant story from a guy’s pov.

    Almost a year ago I met a beautiful, amazing, wonderful girl. I cannot do her justic with mere words. The only justice is the smile she endlessly puts on my face in the face of some of the hardest times of my life, and how my worries feel so much lighter when she smiles at me. I think you get the idea, but when I met her, I was, you guessed it, in a relationship with another girl. We where having problems. I was not happy at all, and she was doing nothing about it because she was happy. Once I met the other girl and we connected, do you know what I did THAT NIGHT? I told the other girl we where done. I did not want to risk losing this other girl. This other girl that I did not have a guarentee on. It did not matter, I knew who I want it and did not hesitate. I could have stung two along for a while, and probably gotten away with it, but I did not want that. I wanted a clean slate, and to be honest with this other girl, and give her everything I had to give. As things are now, one year later, my thoughts have not changed, save they are even stronger. Best decison I ever made.

    Everyone is different, but people know what, and who they want. Don’t forget though, people can still make mistakes and read themselves wrong. If you pull away, and he doesn’t drop everything to chase after you, he doesn’t really want, and he is most certainly not worthy of you. Move forward knowing that, and you’ll be just fine.

    • And don’t make comments on a cell phone lol… my stupid spelling. Sorry guys!

    • I want to tell the same story but from the other side – my husband was in a (Seven year!Living together!) relationship when we met and the same night we finally got up the courage to tell each other that there might some feelings between us, he went home and broke up with his girlfriend. It was hard and miserable for both of them (the relationship had been in the doldrums for a while but it was still a huge deal) but he did it to be fair to all of us. Stringing me and her along while he ‘made up his mind’ would have a been a shitty play and that is not the kind of man I would want to make my husband.

      I second the advice above me (and the Captain, as always). PWLYWSYTTLY!

  4. You know how Captain Awkward sometimes gives the advice (as do other people) that people who like you will act like they like you?

    Well, the obverse is true: people who sincerely want to break up with their significant others do, in fact, break up with their significant others. They don’t hem and haw and complain to other people about how unhappy they are. They just do it. As much as this guy might complain about his girlfriend, he’s still obviously getting something out of the relationship, because it’s still there. Don’t obsess over the details of their relationship, and don’t just take this guy’s word for it that things are bad because of her. After all, he’s the one who keeps blowing her off to go play video games with this other girl he’s constantly flirting with.

    The thing is, this guy was enjoying stringing you along. He was enjoying having two women pay sexual attention to him and having a rivalry going on over him. I know, because I’ve been one of those women before. He might have redeeming qualities, he might be a lot of fun to play with – but he’s also using you to boost his own ego about how hawt and awesome he is. Don’t even be friends with this guy. Yeah, you might be thinking right now about how sad you’ll be if you stop hanging out with him or how much you’ll miss him. But you can do better. You can do *so* much better.

    Find a different game to play, and other people to play it with.

  5. Anyone can be nice at the start of the relationship. That bit’s a given.

    How people act at the end of a relationship tells you a LOT more about who they are. How this guy is acting to his current girlfriend tells you a lot more about him than all the warm fuzzies and attention you’ve been getting from him.

    Sorry LW, I’m going to have to second whoever it was that said ‘this guy is not a nice dude’.

  6. Seconding everything everyone has said so far.

    Where I’m from, we have this saying: If they’d cheat *with* you, they could cheat *on* you. (And likely would.)

    I’m sorry, LW, but this guy sounds a lot like a Vader to me (as in “Darth Vader Boyfriend” in the category cloud). I’m sure he seems wonderful to you, but … that’s part of the in-love-with-Vader syndrome, you know? I’d advise you to get away from this guy now, before the addiction really sets in and makes leaving seem impossible.

  7. This guy is cheating on his girlfriend, and disrespecting both you and her by trying to have it all. He wants to have his safe, comfortable relationship with his girlfriend, but not actually put any work into it (I note that he took her back on the caveat that *she* change, not that they work on their relationship together). He wants to have you as his cute gamer bit of excitement on the side, and get emotional and sexual support and validation, but not really put any effort or commitment in.

    And even if he does leave her, well. People do stuff, especially stuff like relationships, in patterns. Cheaters gonna cheat. He got bored with her and his attention drifted, so what happens when he gets bored being with you?

    You can do better. You deserve better. You’re going to meet a guy who is awesome and amazing and thinks you are the coolest person, and the best part? He will do what it takes to be with you, without fucking around, yanking your chain and making promises he has no intention of keeping.

  8. Focusing on the positive (because lately, I’ve been a bit mean around the edges…)

    #1) LW – good for you for asking him to break up with his girlfriend! Great move! That took courage and guts, and it was absolutely the right thing to do!

    #2) Good for you for asking him to break up with his girlfriend before he flies out to see you in person! Timing on these things matters, and starting with a clean(ish) slate is always best!

    #3) Good for you for being cautious about what happens next! Not feeling “swept away”, not comitting to any kind of grand plans is a really smart idea. Staying grounded in the present is clearly helping you make smart, reasonable decisions. Imagining what might come next, or assuming he feels the same way you feel are sidetracks to making bad choices.

    Let’s take a swing at your questions:
    Am I doing something wrong here?
    Not anymore! You’ve said you’re not going to enable this guy to cheat on his girlfriend, either emotionally or virtually (let alone in person) and that’s the opposite of “something wrong”!

    Is this guy just leading me on?
    That’s a real possiblity. One of the best ways to judge these sorts of things is to keep score by what people do, not just by what they say! Breaking up with the girlfriend is a pretty clear action. *Not* breaking up with the girlfriend is also a pretty clear action.

    Does his lack of response and ignoring me mean he really doesn’t care to break up with his girlfriend? I know they went out on a date on Thursday and Friday due to his texts.
    There’s no way to know what the radio silence means until he breaks it. And until then, trying to guess or draw conclusions is not a good idea. Waiting sucks, but it’s the best choice you have.

    What should I do?
    Trust, but verify. I know that sounds odd, but if he says “X & I broke up last night”, are there any third parties you can confirm this with? Right now, you already know he can keep secrets from people he likes, so if at all possible, make sure that what he’s telling you about his girlfriend is the same thing he’s telling other people. If you never talk to anyone in his in-person circle of friends but him, it’s possible he could lie to you about breaking up with his girlfriend in hopes of re-establishing sexxy-webcam times. This goes double if he wants to visit you in-person!

    All I know is that when we’re talking, playing games and everything, everything just feels right and before I know it, the sun is rising.
    It’s nice to have that kind of rapport with another person. But one kind of connection (conversation, shared hobbies) doesn’t necessarily lead to other kinds of connection. (sexual attraction, romantic love)

    If you two really do connect well, then skipping the sexxytime and the flirting shouldn’t hurt the rest of your conversations & shared time. If he respects you, and respects your boundaries, then it shouldn’t matter if you play games for 4 hours or 6 hours, if you webcam together or not.

    I’m sort of unsure of what to do really. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.
    You’re already doing smart things. Keep doing those smart things. Use your words! Keep score by what he does, not what he says.

  9. LW, alarm bells went off in my head while reading your letter. Bear with me, this story is long but relevant. I once became involved with a guy not unlike D. Let’s call him Steve. I met Steve through work. I became good friends with Steve and his girlfriend Tina. We decided to move into a house together.

    Tina was pretty cool, but I spent most of my time with Steve. We hit it off right away. We made witty banter. He got my nerdy references. He listened to my dark secrets, in particular how insecure I was about my lack of experience with sex. At age 20 I had never dated anyone and I had only slept with a couple of partners, none of which were male (I’m a queer lady). I confessed to Steve that I wanted to sleep with a man, but I wanted to wait for someone who respected me and had strong feminist beliefs.

    Steve eventually convinced me that he was that person and that we should be friends with benefits, entirely for my sake, of course. He told me that he and Tina were trying an open relationship. The only condition was that she had asked him to be discreet about who he slept with. I foolishly believed him, and we started having sex.

    It was awful. I hung out with Tina more and more, since we were roommates, and we became close. It made me feel sick with guilt, even though I stupidly believed that they were in an “open” relationship and that made it OK. The situation continued for about three months. During that time Steve and I would fight frequently, mostly because he was a huge slob and couldn’t clean a dish to save his life. (He stayed planted at his desk, xbox controller in hand, about 90 percent of the time.) Eventually I got fed up with Steve’s shit, realized he was a narcissist and a sociopath who had been using me, and confessed to Tina. Needless to say they wanted me gone, and I never wanted to see either of them again. I got the hell outta dodge, ASAP.

    Turns out, right before we moved in together, Tina tried to dump Steve, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. She wanted to try having an open relationship so they could meet new people and eventually separate. This, of course, made Steve upset, but he agreed because he had a secret weapon: me. He slept with me to punish her for trying to leave him, and the sad thing is, it worked. As far as I know Tina and Steve are still together.

    Thanks for bearing with me. I guess my point is that if you feel guilty, listen to your conscience. Put yourself in B’s shoes- if you ended up as D’s girlfriend, would you be comfortable with him ditching you to play games with another girl for hours? Remember that you’re hearing D’s version of events- there’s no way to know what’s going on in their relationship. Maybe B wants to break up with him, but he finds ways to manipulate her into staying, some of which involve you. (It sounds crazy, but hey, it happened to me.) He could have absolutely no intention of breaking up with her.

    Maybe D is content with how things are right how- sometimes he wants to leave B, but he doesn’t want to be alone. Dating B while flirting with you lets him have his cake and eat it too. Who knows, maybe he really is trying to line you up as his next girlfriend. But ask yourself again- is it worth it?

    LW, I know you are hung up on this guy. It’s hard not be attracted to someone who you can talk to for hours on end. But just because you are attracted to each other does not mean you can, or should, date. In fact, you and D can be great friends. That is totally an option! There are plenty of awesome, smart, cute nerdy dudes out there, many of which are single. You will meet other guys in your life that keep you up all night talking and gaming, and though lots of them will be un-dateable, when the time comes, you’ll meet one who’s stoked to date an awesome lady like yourself. That’s what you deserve, and never settle for less.

    • Things like that are why a friend of mine had a simple policy: if a guy told her he was in an open relationship, and she was interested in him, she’d say something like “Good, now I want to hear that from your wife/girlfriend.” Yes, I know there are people who have that sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” open relationship, but from the viewpoint of any potential or actual other partner, there’s no way to distinguish that from someone who’s cheating. (If your partner doesn’t want any of the details of what you’re doing with someone else, fine; that’s a reasonable place to draw your boundaries. If they don’t want to know who else, I’m not going near this, and I’d advise other people not to.)

      • I do the same thing. It’s the only way to have a heart-responsible open relationship. I believe that any other course of action is or leads to manipulation and cheating, and in my book sex simply isn’t worth destroying other people’s lives (even temporarily).

      • Yep. Direct contact with the other partner(s) about the topic at hand is a powerful anti-bullshit and anti-cheating tool.

        I used to have a .sigline that said,

        “If your wife doesn’t understand you, then she and I have something in common.”

  10. LW, this guy is a scumbag. Run away fast.

    let’s say things did end up working out between you two and you got together. What’s to stop him from doing these same things again, except now YOU’RE the awful girlfriend who always causes problems? I’m not saying that it’s not possible to fall for someone else when in a relationship and not be scummy (see awesome commenter above) but this guy is treating everyone involved badly and waving those red flags high and proud. Run

  11. I think everyone has given you some really solid advice. This guy sounds like bad news. The trouble with this type of bad news, is that it’s delivered sooooo deliciously– like ice cream, only with 4 times the calories.

    So what I think you should do is pull back, way back from this guy. And in the meantime, maybe look for other guys. I get that you don’t have a lot of dating experience, so if you want to date, the best thing you can do is practice. And hey, you’re a cute gamer girl– if you can find some gaming related in-person type activities (lots of cities have meet-up groups and/or show up for tournaments), you will also find some in-person gamer dates. Trust me, gamer girls are like unicorns.

    • I was going to say something similar. LW, I don’t hear you talk a lot about other friends or other hobbies (or school or work, for that matter). I definitely recommend scaling back contact with this guy (and that group of gamers, for that matter) and trying to find new people to date, and going to tournaments in meatspace (do people still use that term?) is a great idea.

      But I also think it’s a good idea to focus on some of your other interests and other friends and, if you have good friends where you live, try and spend some time with them (if most of your friends live elsewhere — which was the case for me for years — talk to them, just not on PS3 if you can avoid it). I say this because: 1) Online-based hobbies are awesome, but also incredibly consuming. Spending a lot of time indoors and staying up all night can make it harder to cope with sad/confusing stuff; 2) When you break up with someone, but keep going to the same places/doing the same things that led you to interact with each other in the first place increases the likelihood you’ll start talking to each other again before you’re ready, and that will REALLY increase the likelihood of further drama; 3) It’s easier to drop or decrease a habit if you have something else you like to do, and it’s easier to pull away from a relationship (or get over someone) if you are participating in and forming new relationships that make you happy. Try and get out for walks or bike rides, meet your friends for coffee, read books, or work on creative projects that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

      Also, when you hang out or talk to your friends? It can be really easy in these situations to speculate about his intentions or what he will do next, and that will just make things worse. Try to discourage that if you can, maybe by focusing on activities or limiting the amount of time you can vent about the boy before you change the subject.

  12. RodeoBob: “Trust, but verify. I know that sounds odd, but if he says “X & I broke up last night”, are there any third parties you can confirm this with? Right now, you already know he can keep secrets from people he likes, so if at all possible, make sure that what he’s telling you about his girlfriend is the same thing he’s telling other people.”

    I was going to say this exact thing: I have been that “other woman” in realtime, no webcam, and it went on longer than it should have because he kept telling me they had broken up, but they were “remaining friends” – i believed this because we were exes ourselves, and thought I was being a grown up having a happy FWB situation, and if we could be friends, why wouldnt’ they? Of course I knew in my waters that *something* wasn’t right, not least of all because he kept making us hang out together (friends! grown ups!) and she kind of didn’t act in any single way like they had broken up at all?

    (spoiler: the girl and i teamed up and destroyed him and are still best friends 10 years later.)

    also (with the caveat of excluding abusive relationships) echo 1000 times “people who want to break up with people, break up with people”. i don’t think this guy is abusive, just a douchebag getting the best of both worlds.

    I’m sorry you might lose your gaming buddy, that sucks. but this dude is not treating either of you with respect and i’d cut contact until he fixes up, one way or the other.

    • “(spoiler: the girl and i teamed up and destroyed him and are still best friends 10 years later.)”

      I love this outcome. I want to take it out to dinner, marry it, and have babies with it.

      • I want that outcome: THE MOVIE. I need it in my life. Especially with ninjas, maybe.

        • We are pretty pleased to tell our origin story when people ask how we know each other, I’ll admit.

          Pompera you just gave me an idea! When I write the screenplay of my life and get to the part where that same guy lies to me and Girl about having cancer, while my mother actually HAD terminal cancer and had weeks to live? I am totally writing ninjas in there.

    • I love that you and she are still friends. Too often, the women involved with the cheating man go after each other. I don’t know why; clearly the cheating man is the one who needs to be clawed up.

  13. Aw, LW, I’m sorry. First guy who’s seemed right for you in a long time, first guy to show really sincere interest in you, and there are all these flies in the ointment you don’t deserve. Just don’t think, “Well, if I don’t put up with his nonsense, I might as well die alone.” It isn’t true! Focus on moving forward, and finding someone you’ll really have a great relationship with.

  14. I think everyone else has pretty much covered what I would have said, but I’ll just add a bit of reassurance. LW, getting involved (insofar as you have already) with this guy and falling for his bullshit doesn’t make you stupid or make any of *his* behavior your fault, and it sounds like you’re pretty level-headed and owning up to your own behavior in a cool, adult, sort of way. Some of the smartest, awesomest, fiercest ladies in my friends groups over the years have found themselves in similar kind of conundrums. Pull back, find someone worthy of your attention, and continue to rock it.

  15. LW,
    you rock out loud. It is FACT that we gamer girls are unicorns. Trust me, go meet real live people at a gaming shop, or a Con, or something like that. Continue to use your words. Continue to make new friends. Drop D, because I am definitely getting the feeling that “D” stands for Darth here. As in, Vader. Find a new XBox group to play GOW3 with. Get a new hobby. Do something, sweetie, but really this guy is bad news.

    Much love from
    Badger

  16. Oh, LW, I feel for you.

    Dipping your toe into the relationshippy waters via a long-distance flirtation is great in a lot of ways, because you don’t have to risk much. Especially when it’s a guy with a girlfriend! I know this from pretty much every semi-relationship of my college career (taken, gay, long-distance, gay, taken AND long-distance, leaving town in three days, and the epic tale of the dude I worked with who got me in bed before admitting that he had a girlfriend in another state). There’s a lot of good in this, where you get practice! and you get a little more confident that you are desirable! and you get all sorts of long drawn-out foreplay which can be really, really hot!

    Here is the downside: having the guy not choose to be with you– for real, out in the open, in person– sucks. It sucks a lot. You don’t get in-person support, you don’t get someone’s full attention, you don’t get a grown-up real relationship with back and forth and growth and communication and awesome sex and goofy times where you run to the store in the rain at 2 AM together because you were watching a movie that really made you want cheese popcorn. Balancing on the edge of an almost-relationship can eat away at your self-esteem, make you suspect that maybe there’s something wrong with you that means you can’t close the deal, even when you used your words and were honest and vulnerable and did everything right. And LW, there is NOTHING wrong with you. You are awesome, and sexy, and fierce, and smart, and forthright, and I am so proud of you for telling this guy to make up his friggin’ mind already, but, oh, honey, don’t back down from that. Don’t settle for an almost.

    And I know, I KNOW, how hard it is to give up an almost when it’s as close to a real thing as you’ve found. The siren song of sexy is strong, and so is the sense that you’re so close to getting what you want, if only, if only, if only… but the fact is, if this guy really wanted to be with you, he would move mountains; instead, he’s letting the mountains be an excuse.

    What you need now is practice getting to meet people, since that’s the hardest thing if– and it kind of sounds like you are– you’re rocking the internet introvert thing. (You are among your people here, NO FEAR.) For no other reason, at this point, than that you need a distraction from not being able to control what D is up to. Listen to what badger said a comment or so back. You know the social spots for what you like, so go hang out there and talk to people. Socialize! See if there are local groups of people who play, who you could maybe go hang out with for pizza and beer at some point. (If you have already done this, my apologies, and GO HANG OUT WITH THEM MORE or, if they are sort of meh, find different ones who are moar awesome.)

    In short, do things that take up time you had been spending with D, with people who like what you like, and find a local aspect of this. Even if D gets off his lazy butt and breaks up with his girlfriend, you should still have local gamer pals because they are awesome! (Especially the girl gamers, because, dude. THAT IS JUST A FACT.) And if D doesn’t get his act together, you should absolutely have local gamer pals, because everyone deserves those. And if you already have them, go hang out with them, and I’ll bet you money that other gamer gals have stories like this, and you can swap tales and laugh about them together.

    Be with your people. In person, if possible. Your people are the best way to meet a guy who will move those mountains for a relationship with you.

  17. Can I just note that “I’m a geek but I’m not ugly” is not…good? That is a set of worrying assumptions right there.

    • That jumped out at me too.

      • Me too. For a number of reasons… like why exactly does LW’s body matter in this story? It’s not like anyone here is going to say, “Oh, well, if you’re geeky and fat and ugly, you should just take whatever loser you can get.”

  18. Hey Gamer Girl. This guy isn’t that into you. At least, he’s not nearly as into you as you deserve. If he was as into you as you deserve, he would have dumped girlfriend MONTHS ago, or if they were poly, would have had a probably-kinda-awkward conversation about it with you and girlfriend in the same room. Secrets are bad relationship juju, and I agree with the person upthread who suspects that D stands for Darth in this scenario.

    I am sure D is charming and sexy and great! But he is bad at relationships, and shouldn’t infect you with badness. Not when there are amazeballs people in the world who will be 100% about you and your particular brand of awesome.

    Cdr. Logic’s prescription: cut off contact with him, game on with other people, date if you feel like it, and feel however you feel.

    Good luck!

    • Bad at relationships is the key here, yes! The dichotomy of “charming and sexy and great” and “bad at relationships” is so frustrating and fraught and hard to maneuver, because there is this person! And they seem awesome! And are smart and funny and you have so many things in common! And they may even legitimately be a good-to-possibly-great friend! But man, sometimes those same people are just bad at being a partner.

  19. LW, I am in agreement with other commenters when they say this guy sounds like a bad person to be in a relationship with, but only you can decide if you want him anyway. I know how that is, and it is a valid choice, just don’t go in pretending everything is unicorns, ok? It will make it easier to see if/when there is something wrong, if you do get together.

    I will say: in your letter, you came off as placing a lot of responsibility on this person’s girlfriend for their relationship. A particular red flag was “he accepted her back on the condition that she would change, which she hasn’t.” That worries me, both because it suggests you see the problems in his relationship as primarily stemming from his girlfriend, and because people should not get into relationships with other people expecting that they will become different people. Bad news.

    It is not the worst thing in the world if this guy is more of an asshole than you thought and never gets back to you. There are tons of better things you can do with your time than help someone cheat on their significant others (I have been there, done this, and let me tell you: NEVER AGAIN). It will probably hurt for a while. Just remember: it says nothing about YOU if he doesn’t get back to you. You are awesome. You may or may not find someone who appreciates you enough to not treat you like crap (I’m 25 and still haven’t), but you can appreciate yourself. Maybe now is the time to start friend-dating your friends again? Less focus on chats till 7am with this guy, and reconnecting with other geek friends?

  20. To condense my impression of this guy’s behavior: “The pot calls the kettle black.” I will bet you one freshly scooped catbox that if you had a chance to sit down as an impartial person (ie not you !) to talk to his girlfriend about their relationship that many of the things that he is complaining about and denigrating her for are the things he has been doing (= a type of gaslighting).

    Run ! Run AWAY from this guy !

  21. “There are problems between them that they refuse to talk about – not because he’s not trying to talk to her but because she’s very passive and avoidant of conflicts in their relationships. Everytime he brings up anything, she changes the subject. I’ve heard it online as well as stories from other friends. She also left him for another guy but returned and he accepted her back on the condition that she would change, which she hasn’t.”

    …So she isn’t willing to have difficult conversations about serious problems with the relationship? And she won’t talk about stuff that’s bothering her–at least, not with him? And she dumped him for another guy and then tried to string him along again, with promises of better behavior?

    Huh. Huh. That is very interesting, LW. That is a very interesting set of complaints for this man to make, considering that he’s cheating on his girlfriend with the excuse that she is awful and their relationship sucks, which excuse he’s retailing to everyone but her.

    Look, you seem like a nice person who deserves a nice boyfriend, but this guy sounds like a complete dick. If he’s going to have the brass nerve to cheat on her, he could at least not insult her constantly while he’s doing it. I don’t think he’s confused or weak or bad at relationships. He sounds incredibly unkind and manipulative. You deserve someone who can take a smidgen of responsibility for himself. I’m sorry this guy isn’t treating you well, but I don’t think he will.

    Anne Landers was fond of saying, “If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat on you.” I don’t think that’s true–sometimes, the timeline is awkward. But his treatment of his girlfriend is really nasty, and it’s a good indication that he won’t be nicer to you.

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