Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dear Captain,

I understand conceptually “use your words” but I find I have trouble doing that in my relationship without nagging. My spouse likes to play video games. I’m not a big fan, particularly because I feel trapped when he’s playing for hours and I can’t talk to him and let him know what I’m doing or where I’m going. I end up waiting for him to finish and being resentful that I didn’t do anything useful or fun during that time.

I’ve asked him to tell me when he’s going to be playing, and when he’s going to be done ahead of time, because then I could do stuff and know when I had to be back, and he agreed, but he isn’t really doing that. If I remind him, I feel like I’m nagging and controlling, but if I don’t, then I get stuck not doing anything. He does say my request is not too much to ask.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

I have this friend, and he’s pretty great. He’s been with his girlfriend for almost 5 years, and she’s pretty great too. Their relationship seems to work really well for them, at least from my outside perspective. What they have looks really different from what I tend to have with partners (note: simplifying a bit, I am a lady who monogamously dates dudes), which is good, because what I have had with my partners wouldn’t work for either of them, and what they have wouldn’t work for me.

The problem is, my friend seems to think that his relationship style is the One and Only Good Relationship Style, and every time I start seeing someone he starts passively-aggressively chiding me for not doing things The Right Way. I think it’s an ego thing; we met when he was 20 and I was 16, and he was older and wiser and worldlier and all of that stuff. I think that felt good for him, and he got used to it. But I’m 23 now. I know myself, and I’m learning what works for me. I’d like to be respected as a capable adult, and as the #1 expert on my own life.

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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.

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Edited to Add: Guys, the first time you comment here (or if you’re using a new identity), WordPress automatically sends it to moderation, which is why we’re not overrun with MRAs and other jerkbags. If you don’t see your comment show up right away, it’s either because I’m busy doing other stuff and not watching the moderation queue, or I deleted it because it was annoying. In either case, don’t resend!

Re-Edited to Add:  Comments on this thread are now CLOSED FOREVER as of 4:20 pm CDT on Thursday, April 26. I can’t prevent you from commenting without turning off all the comments on the whole site, but I will send anyone who comments further on this thread to permanent moderation.

Re-Re Edited To Add: COMMENTS ARE REALLY FUCKING CLOSED. I deleted all of the uncivil stuff from yesterday and comments that have come in since. But I don’t have time to monitor the thread and make sure it stays civil, so we’re done here. Next person to comment on this thread is banned.

Dear Captain,

Your last post (#232) really struck a chord with me. I’m in a somewhat similar situation, but with several important differences. This e-mail is probably going to contain too many details, but as my main question is about the applicability of “people who like you will act like they like you,” I think those details matter.

I met I really tremendously awesome lady about six months ago. Everything was really perfect; I was convinced we were falling in love. But we didn’t talk about it. It didn’t seem to me that we needed to, because absolutely everything felt perfectly reciprocal for five of those six months. Oh, we had a few oblique conversations about how neither of us thought of what we were doing as “just having sex,” and we made an explicit agreement not to sleep with other people, and we expressed how much we like each other a lot, but we never used our words to have a conversation about where we wanted things to go, and never quite got to the big “L” word or anything. As I said, that all actually felt perfectly natural; I didn’t feel the least bit insecure that she liked me as much as I liked her, and I think he felt the same. So it just didn’t seem necessary.

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Married to the sea, science, each other, as well as assorted ladies.

Dear Captain Awkward,

A week ago, I met this person my age at a sailors’ swap-meet. He was selling a marine toilet, and I happened to need one. I bought it, and we talked a bit about our respective boats, then went our separate ways.

But yesterday, a letter turned up. He must have pulled my address off the check. He wrote me a very sweet letter about how nice it had been to meet me, with two attached letters as well; one for if I was single and open to dating, and one for if I was just interested in making a friend. The first one, in particular, was very flattering. He rhapsodized about my smile, calling it a summer afternoon and ‘a small boat in open water, and … the lighthouse guiding it safely home.” In the friendly letter, he offers to lend me a few books and suggests some labor swapping on our respective boats, and just asks to stay in touch.

From a personally objective stance, he’s amazingly appealing. We just met briefly, but I remember him as being tall and handsome, and I definitely tried to get his facebook (he doesn’t have one). Like me, he’s a solo sailor with a long renovation ahead of him. We’re even of an age. I would certainly be interested, except:

1) I’m not dating right now. I have an intense restoration project going on for my boat, and when that’s done, I’m leaving the country for a lengthy period of time on a solo circumnavigation. I decided almost two years ago that I don’t have room in my life for both a relationship and the cruise.

2) Related to the above: I wouldn’t even know how to casually date. Every relationship I’ve been in has begun with me dreaming about spending the rest of my life with that person, and most of them have ended with me realizing that my dreams are more important to me than a future with the other person. Considering how big this particular dream looms in my life, I can’t imagine a person competing with it until I’ve achieved it.

I would love to be friends with this gentleman. He’s articulate and sweet, and from these letters, he understands at least the basis of my grand passion. We share a major interest, and we could trade help back and forth on our boats, which are similar. I don’t currently have any friends into boats, which makes it a lonely hobby, and it’d be so nice to have a project buddy.

But he’s obviously interested in me. Very very obviously. I’m confident that I can express my boundaries in words, but I don’t have a good history of friends respecting my boundaries, so I worry that I am not as good at expressing them in action. I also don’t have a mixed group of friends to invite him out with to give myself a buffer. So I’m just not certain where to start with him. I have his number and his email address, and the ball’s in my court. Where do I go from here?

Thank you,
Married To My Boat

Hi there, Married to my Boat.

Okay, we’re gonna logic this one out, right quick, and then take on the overthinking bits in a specifically nautical context. Groovy? Great. Read More

I’m waiting for a Quicktime Render from Hell to finish. Here’s a question.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m in a messy and unhappy situation, which isn’t really what I’m writing about. The awkward kind of comes in with how I’m handling it. A member of my boyfriend’s immediate family has a terminal illness and in addition, this is (unsurprisingly) leading to meltdowns among other members of the family. He lives quite a long way from them and is doing a lot of back and forth traveling and trying to keep up at work as well and generally is stretched pretty thin. I’m also in a lousy situation at work, with a demanding boss and people quitting and having to take on their stuff. The combination of this means we hardly ever get to see each other. If we manage to carve out several hours to ourselves – and we both do try really hard, but it often doesn’t work out, a lot of the time something comes up at the last minute – then everything is good and we can relax a bit and just enjoy each other’s company. But most of the time all it seems like we can do is grab an hour here or there, on the way to the airport, from the airport, late at night when we’re both tired. And then in those times we either talk logistics or – and this is kind of my problem – I pick a fight.

I try to be supportive and take a backseat and provide him with what he seems to need. But the longer we go without getting to spend some time together the more unhappy, and honestly kind of resentful, I start to feel. I try to tell myself that I’m being selfish and he’s under a lot of strain, and I also try as much as possible to ask for reasonable things that would help a bit, and he’s good at listening and trying to accommodate me. But still I eventually start saying to myself, “We haven’t had dinner together in two weeks, we haven’t had a proper conversation in three, we were supposed to have two!whole!hours! on Monday morning and the plane was delayed – ” and on and on. And then the next time we talk I’m surly or snappy or else I just burst into tears.

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Ahoy, cap’n!

So, I’m a fairly attractive and well-socialized guy with a self-esteem problem that makes it difficult for me to assert even that I’m fairly attractive and well-socialized. For the most part I keep that under control, but romantic situations are challenging.

Being fairly attractive and well-socialized, I don’t have much trouble meeting women. Many of my friends are women. The problem is getting from being friendly to being physical.

I’m not the Mayor, and this isn’t another friend zone complaint. “Friends” is easy and comfortable, and “more” is — or feels — complicated and scary. I don’t know how to get there, I don’t know how other people get there, and much of the time it seems better to stay put.

What am I supposed to say or do? How do I know when to say or do it? How do I avoid panicking or feeling skeevy?


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