A few weeks ago I received this very open and personal story of friendship and love. I was re-painting the room of my daughter Emma at the time and promised that after I had finished, I would work on this blogpost. Due to a couple of unpleasant things that are happening in my life right now I had forgotten about it. But here it is, finally! :) Thank you for sharing, Kizna and Dilbert-Pickles!
It’s been over two years now since I first started talking to my boyfriend. At the time, I was a 25 year old recent graduate from my Master’s program in Social Work and was having a hard time finding work. The job market was not good and no matter how hard I had tried to find a job, I was either overqualified or under experienced. Every job that I applied to said the same thing. I had become pretty down on myself. I was living with a roommate who was not respectful of me and things were not going right in my life. I felt pretty depressed and I could not really talk about my feelings with my friends in real life. They were not very understanding or supportive of my troubles and felt that I had brought a lot of it onto myself. I wanted to find someone that I could talk to about my problems, who wouldn’t judge me and someone who I could get close to and become friends with.
I remembered playing this online strategy MMO called Dofus that I had really enjoyed. My character, Kizna, was pretty high leveled and a lot of fun to play. I had taken a break from the game six months previously so that I could focus on my internship and finishing my graduate program. I remembered all of the friends that I had made in the game and how much fun I had. I decided that it was time to re-subscribe and see what I had been missing. When I logged back in for the first time, I had been hoping that some of my friends from before I had left were still playing. Sadly, most of them if not all of them had stopped playing for one reason or another. I didn’t let that stop me. I remembered how much I had enjoyed the game and how much I had loved my class (I play as an Eniripsa, which are the fairy-type characters that act as the healer class in the game). A couple of months went by, I had made some new friends and was glad that I had come back, but I still felt like I hadn’t found the exact type of friendship I was looking for.
One night, a friend of mine invited me to go hunt ghosts with his guild. Ghosts were pretty hard mobs to fight and since I had not been able to fight them often, I agreed. I was invited to the group and ran all the way to the top of Pandala Island, avoiding the aggroing mobs along the way. When I got there, I had noticed that there was another character there that was not in the same guild as the others. He played an Iop (The warrior class in the game). His screen name was Tyrannic. He intrigued me right away. Most of the Iop characters I had met in the game had very similar builds. They were usually single element. Tyrannic was Omni and able to be three of the four elements by changing his set. The group had found a large ghost mob to attack and we were waiting on one other player to show up when the higher ups in their guild told them that they had found an arch ghost mob (one of the hardest mobs to beat in the game). They all left the group and joined with their guild to fight the mob, leaving me and Tyrannic alone. We both were kind of shocked and bummed about getting ditched, but we laughed it off. We moved to another map and watched the other group fight the arch while we talked together in group. I found out that he had a tactical mind, which was really impressive to me. He understood the game, how to play most of the classes and was really good at teamwork. He also wouldn’t yell out “Heal me Eni!” like most people would in the game. He respected my ability to play, just as I respected his. We met up a lot after this doing dungeon runs and hunting mobs together. I got excited every time I saw his name pop up in my chat. He started to become a normal part of my day. I definitely felt that we were friends, but there was a part of me that had realized that I was feeling something more than that.
He invited me to his TeamSpeak server after a couple of months of knowing each other. I was really nervous because I had barely spoken to anyone on the computer over voice chat before and I had never gone into a huge voice chat room type setting like that. I was never a huge fan of how I sounded and I was afraid that I might say something stupid. I really wanted to talk to him though and in the end that desire won out against my nervousness. That first night we talked for hours and hours. I went back the next day, and the next day, and the next day and so on. That’s the way it would be for the next year and a half. We exchanged pictures shortly afterward. I was again nervous about this. I am a larger girl and I worried that he wouldn’t accept me. I braced myself to potentially lose his friendship but was pleasantly surprised when he accepted me whole heartedly the way I was. We learned more and more about each other every day. He gave me the strength to pull myself out of the depressive hole I had found myself in. I tried even harder to find a job and found one with a temp agency. I was sleeping better again. I was feeling happy again. Things were good. We joked around and had fun every day. I kept learning new things about him. He was a goof, like me. He and I had a lot in common and a lot of similar interests. He encouraged me to make a guild and so we made one together. He supported my decisions and I supported his. We even got married in game to be more effective leveling partners. At one point, he made a new Sacrier character (The Tank class) named Dilbert-Pickles and we got remarried. We were always together. Some days when we talked it felt like I was fighting to get information out of him (I was much more open with stuff about myself than he was. I found out later that he was worried and anxious), but every time I got a new piece of information it felt like I had made a big step forward. I was the first person he had told his real name to online. He grew to trust me and I fell in love with his voice, the way he treated others, his humor, his personality and most importantly with him altogether.
Three months after I started talking to him on TeamSpeak I confessed my feelings for him. It took me an hour of stammering to tell him how I felt. Instead of rejecting me, he accepted my feelings and told me that he liked me too. I was ecstatic! However, he told me that we couldn’t do anything about it. He was in Michigan and I was in Maine and the distance was too far for him. He did not want to have an “internet relationship”. I deflated a bit. Instead of giving up, I thought of it as a challenge that we would have to overcome. If two people like each other, why should distance stop them from being together? Why can’t what starts as an internet relationship turn into a real life relationship? I decided then that I would find out if it was possible for us to get that happy ending.
Six or seven months after we started talking my brother passed away in a car accident. Having previously lost almost all of my family (my parents and three of my grandparents had passed away within 7 years of each other), I was no stranger to loss. However, my brother’s death had hit me slightly differently. I wasn’t expecting him to die so soon. He was 27 years old when he passed away. He and I had bonded a lot after our parents’ death and we supported each other because we were the only family that we had left. When he died, I was angry at him but mostly I felt alone. Tyrannic was there for me. He supported me. He listened when I needed to cry or vent. He even sent me flowers at work (the first flowers I had ever received from a guy). Without his support, I might have fallen back into that depressive hole I was in when I first started talking to him. He gave me the strength to move forward.
After a while, we branched out. We started to play a bunch of other games together at the same time. Mostly other MMOs, but we also played some FPS games like Borderland, or other multiplayer games like Left4Dead2. I even bought and played Resident Evil 5 with him, something new for me because survival horror games and I are not friends. I enjoyed myself, stepped out of my comfort zone and grew as an individual. I was willing to try things I never would have done before. We worked together, trying to create goals for each other – helping each other grow as individuals both in game and in the real world. He challenged me to quit drinking soda and I did. He made me feel like a better person. He told me that I made him feel the same.
From there, we had a few ups and downs. We started talking to each other on webcam. We did this a few times a week. I loved being able to actually see him. I had thrown out many suggestions about us meeting. He would say “Someday. Maybe in five years.” or we’d plan a whole trip- down to the hotel we would stay at – and then he would change his mind about it. I asked him why he kept avoiding the topic or shifting it when I brought it up. He finally admitted to me that when we first started talking to me, that he had lied to me about a few things. I had already guessed what they were at that point. They were small lies that he told to someone he didn’t think that he was going to fall for or get to know as well as he had. He wanted to tell me the truth earlier, but he was afraid that I wouldn’t talk to him anymore. He apologized. I told him that it didn’t matter and I was happy he was being truthful now. I asked him again if he would be interested in me coming out to see him. He explained to me then that he wasn’t sure if he was ready. He told me that he had some issues, mostly with anxiety and that he wanted to be better before he met me. I assured him that none of that mattered to me, but he was not assured. Those were his terms for us to meet. He said it would take time. Again, I was deflated. We had come so far, but was I just going to be spinning my wheels waiting for him? I was conflicted. I felt pulled in a few directions. What did I want? I went on a few dates in my area, but I couldn’t enjoy them for various reasons. In the end, it came down to the fact that they weren’t Tyrannic. I knew that I had to try to make our relationship work before I could move on. My friends kept telling me that I should give up on him. They told me that I was ignoring all of the red flags. They were mad because he had lied to me. They didn’t understand why I had forgiven him or why I was still talking to him. I told them that they didn’t know him like I did. Over the course of that past year he had become my best friend. I realized that my life would not be the same without him and I wanted to do everything I could to make it work between us. I just was at a loss for what to do. How do you take the next step when someone isn’t sure that they’re ready for it? The answer I found was waiting for the right moment to take the plunge.
Around the one year mark of meeting Tyrannic, I was still having trouble finding a Social Work job. I had been doing temp work for the last year and I was tired of it. The pay wasn’t very good and I felt like I was wasting my degree and my education. I felt trapped in Maine. I had discussed potentially moving a few times with others over the past couple years. I felt like I needed to leave the state to find a job, but I didn’t want to go anywhere that I didn’t know someone. I had thought a few times about moving to Michigan. I had a friend there already and Tyrannic was there too. I did not want to move there unless he was okay with it though. Our friendship was more important to me than that. One night, he came into TeamSpeak and he told me that he had spoken to his mother. She had told him that there were a lot of Social Work opportunities in Michigan. I couldn’t believe it! Was he giving me consent to move? I asked him if he was okay with me potentially moving to his state, maybe even to his town. He told me that he was, but that jobs needed to be my first focus and that he couldn’t promise me that when I got there that we could be anything more than friends. I was so excited! I agreed that we would take it slow and see where it went. We both agreed that we needed each other in our lives. He felt that we could help each other. I agreed. I did my research and checked how easy it would be to get my license in Michigan. Not having a lot of money, I knew that making this move would be risky. I planned to do it as cheap as possible. His sister had an apartment that they said I could stay in until I was able to find and afford my own place. I planned on renting a moving truck and towing my car behind it. I planned to drive the 18-19 hours all at once instead of staying in a hotel. I had never driven a vehicle so large before, but it would have cost too much for me to pay someone to drive it for me. I was really worried that I could get in an accident but I had to stay positive. I was going to be moving! I planned to move in June.
As the days got closer we talked more about my move and what it meant for us. He kept telling me the same thing – focus on jobs, not a relationship. I agreed but I couldn’t hide my excitement. He also told me that his parents were really worried about me moving. They were worried that I had never driven such a big vehicle and he and his parents had come up with an alternative plan. He would fly out with his father and they would drive the moving truck back for me while I drove with my vehicle and my two cats. They also suggested that we split the driving over three days to make sure that we were safe and not tired while we were driving half way across the country. He told me that he would pay for his and his father’s food and lodging. I would be responsible for the rest. I thought about it and checked my finances. It cost a bit more, but I could afford it. I asked him how he felt about flying out to see me and help me move. He said that he was nervous, but that he would be okay with it. I booked the tickets and we searched for hotels and booked those as well. It was set in stone.
I drove to the airport the morning that I was supposed to pick them up and bring them to my rental truck. I was nervous and excited. I was practically pacing waiting for their plane to land. I remember the feelings that I had when I first saw him walking down the steps at the airport. I was amazed to see him actually in front of me. I couldn’t stop staring at him, something I still have trouble with at times today. I was definitely nervous and we were both a little awkward for the first couple of days. Luckily, I had some time to get used to being around him as he was switching off driving my moving truck with his dad. By the second night, we were comfortable enough with each other to cuddle and we opened up with each other about our feelings for each other. It was that night that I knew that everything was going to be okay. We drove back to the apartment and he helped me unpack the moving truck. It’s been an amazing adventure ever since.
I’m happy to say that we are now officially dating and have been since I moved in June. He moved into the apartment with me this past August. His family has been really great to me since the move. They’ve accepted me and brought me into the family. It’s nice having that feeling of family again. They tell me that I was really brave for making the move. I tell them that I wasn’t brave. I just did what I needed to do to grab onto what would make me happy. We’ve been working together to fix it up our apartment and to make it a nice home for us. We’re currently taking a break from Dofus. We are playing its sister game at the moment – Wakfu. Gaming is still a large part of our lives and something we will continue to do for a long time. I’m also happy to report that I finally got that Social Work job that I had been trying to get for so long. We still have our ups and downs, but we’re continuing to help each other grow as individuals. The best part is that we now get to do it in person.
My advice to others who find themselves in a similar situation is to not give up. There may be a lot of people in your life who do not support you or think you’re strange. Only you can know what is truly right for you. You never know what will happen if you don’t try. Take the plunge when it feels right. You won’t be disappointed.