“My Online Gaming Boyfriend doesn’t Want to Label Our Relationship”

I met this guy online about a year ago — on XBox Live, playing a game. We became friends and have been talking seriously and faithfully every day (all day; sending hundreds of texts daily) for about a month. He is about 1,300 miles away. He is a virgin, and he has never been in a serious relationship. We are the same age. He has told me that I’m beautiful, that he loves my personality, and that he wants to meet me more than he’s ever wanted to meet anybody. He is pretty much my dream guy. We have so much in common, and even after tens of thousands of text messages, skyping, talking on the phone, playing on Xbox together, etc., we never run out of things to talk about. We have discussed my moving over there and us living together, but in two years so that he can finish getting his bachelor’s degree, get his masters, and move out of his parents’ place. He is SUCH a sweetheart!! He tells me he would make me soup and cuddle with me when I’m sick, sends me kissy faces daily, etc.

We are pretty much in a relationship right now: good morning/ goodnight texts, talking all the time, sending pictures all the time, discussing our future together in detail, etc. Neither one of us is really in a good position to have a relationship right now, but both of us are REALLY excited to have one in the future. Here’s the thing: he told me that once we met (after knowing and talking to each other for 3-4 years), he would kind of just assume we are dating. I told him I preferred that he would ask me out officially because it was a part of the dating experience. He is consistently talking about not liking labels, saying he wouldn’t necessarily want one, saying, “Labeling ‘in a relationship’ is not my style. I’m not into labeling at all.” Why would he not want to put a label onto it? At first, I thought that he wanted a friends with benefits kind of thing, but he’s said that he wants monogamy and to share numerous experiences with me. (We are already monogamous).

I’m just looking for reasons why he wouldn’t want the label. — To Label or Not to Label

I’m confused by parts of your letter: your online gaming friend will assume that you two are dating once you move to his town, but he won’t label your relationship? You’re “pretty much” in a relationship, but neither of you is in a good position to have a relationship? You want him to ask you out before you get serious, but you also want him to label your relationship right away? Well, which is it? Do you want to feel things out and get to know each other before you start referring to one another as boyfriend and girlfriend or do you want to jump, head-first, into a monogamous, committed relationship with someone you’ve only known through various screens?

One thing I’m not confused about is this: you aren’t in a relationship. A relationship is not endless streams of texts throughout the day and playing XBox together. You may have a friendship, and you may feel close and intimate to this person, and I don’t doubt that those feelings may be real, but as far as a functional relationship goes, what you share together stops short of that and always will until you get to know one another in person. Saying you’re monogamous with someone who has never held your hand or wrapped his arms around you or brushed the hair out of your face or kissed you or held a door open or shared an umbrella on a rainy day or shared his French fries or met your friends or helped you cook dinner is not only grossly premature, but it’s also emotionally reckless.

You’re getting attached not to the reality of a person but to the fantasy — your fantasy. You may think you know a lot about this person, but I promise you there are lots of things you don’t know by virtue of never having met this guy in person. And I imagine that you’ve filled the holes of your not-knowing with ideas of what you want. And more than set yourself up for potential disappointment when the reality fails to live up to to your fantasy, by being monogamous with someone you’ve never truly met, you are closing yourself off to potential matches that may exist in the reality of your day-to-day life — guys who may be available for a real, face-to-face date, no screens necessary.

This guy lives 1300 miles away, and it doesn’t sound like you have plans to see each other any time soon. Do yourself a favor and stay available to potential matches who live closer and who can give you the kind of relationship — label and all — that you seem to crave. If you decide after two more years that you’re still serious about wanting to move to be with this guy from Xbox Live, make sure you can check off these eight things first. You’re sounding pretty caught up in the fantasy of what you want, but if you don’t take some steps to protect yourself in reality, you’re going to wind up pretty hurt and disappointed.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. WWS.

    The problem with connecting over the internet these days (or any wireless connection) is that it allows us to be completely wrapped up in the fantasy of someone rather than who they really are. They may sound sweet over the connection, but would they really act that way all the time, every day when you two are together in person? Plus, especially with wireless relationships, you only see the good side, making you believe he is such a “sweetheart.” And that allows you to be wrapped up even more in your fantasy.

    Basically, your fantasy about this guy is a huge down blanket in which you’ve been cocooned. It’s getting close to summer – time to shed the blanket and find someone in the real world, afk.

    1. SweetPeaG says:

      I like your line about summer! Both for the picture it paints for the LW and for the reminder (to me!) that warm weather is on the way. That makes me smile!

  2. AliceInDairyland says:

    I would rather shoot myself in the foot instead of sending 100s of texts daily. If I text like 5 times in one day I feel like I have really overextended myself…

    What are people talking about over 100s of texts a day? I feel like this might be an introvert/extrovert thing, where shy extroverts thrive on large amounts of texts.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      New old rule: MOA from texters. No good can come.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m not a big texter either, but I could see in a new relationship where you’re all smitten how you could end up texting way more than you normally would. 100s? No.

    3. its all they have though… so i get that part of it. instead of like, a face to face, oh hey how was work today..? what do you want for dinner..? hey did you like the oscars..? kind of normal interactions people have with face to face SOs, all they have is texting.

      honestly, im just happy that it isnt happening 100% over xbox live.

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        I guess. I just hate the “attached at the phone” syndrome that a lot of people have. I talk to my boyfriend on the phone for like half an hour every day, or I see him in person. In between then I manage to entertain myself. I guess I just don’t get needing that much social interaction, even with my partner. But yeah, I agree 100% with your point about the Xbox.

      2. oh dont get me wrong, i agree with you. lol.

        these are two very immature people in an xbox romance. im just not surprised about it.

    4. My gf and I texted a lot in the early stages of our relationship/not-relationship. Especially the month she was in CA and I was in DC, we texted. It meant we could communicate while I was at work or when she wasn’t at a computer.

      It makes sense as a part of a larger relationship, but not as its sole basis.

      1. zombeyonce says:

        My husband and I also texted a lot when we first started dating, but I’m sure we never hit 100 texts in one day (or even close to that), so LW must be glued to her phone all day. Or not have a job.

    5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      My fiance and I were sending upwards of 2,000 texts per month when we were long distance. So about 60-70 a day (from each of us- so 120 to 140 combined) we also chatted on Gchat, had nightly phone calls and other forms of communication almost daily. Some people are really co-dependent. (Which works for us)

    6. karenwalker says:

      I’m 100% a total texter. I think the only people I talk to on the phone are my mom and grandmothers. I hate talking on the phone! I loved it when I was teen, but will avoid it now. Friends will even apologize when they call, and then I feel bad for making them feel bad. I don’t know, I feel like I can’t really hear people on the phone very well and I tend to clam up and not know what to say. I think I can express myself better when I can take a minute to think about my response.

      That being said, I certainly don’t send 100s of texts a day. I probably don’t even send 20 texts a day. Some days I send none at all. But I do notice my teenaged cousins are texting all the time; it seems like they need to be in constant communication with their friends.

      1. I hate phone calls too! Always have. Txting too, though. I like full emails or legtters. If I have to quickly contact someone I will txt though but usually to organise where/when I will meet them in person.

      2. AliceInDairyland says:

        I am also an email person! I don’t like how “on the hook” I am with texting, and how conversations never seem to end. Until I forget I am talking to them, and then end the conversation at an awkward time. Email seems more like you can just leave it and get to it when you have time/have something to say. But maybe I’m just neurotic about texting.

      3. I just like telling a story, and sometimes that takes longer than people are willing to wait for a txt, ya know? And I’d rather read an email that some took ten minutes to write, than a txt sent while walking to the bus.

    7. I text my guy throughout the day. I’d say we rack up at least a hundred per day, primarily because we’re long distance and like to keep in contact with each other. It helps us to keep connected. We call and/or Skype at night too. In all honesty we were sending literally 500 per day when we first met…I was totally that girl who was glued to her phone all day long…

    8. Hobbesnblue says:

      When you say “hundreds of texts” it sounds so huge, but I don’t think “hundreds of phrases or short sentences” is very crazy for people to spend in a day of face-to-face conversation, or even instant messaging. It’s all in how you look at it. Texting is really more like instant messaging these days anyway, and the line is very blurry.

      (Not saying this to defend LW–she’s in fantasyland and I hope she’s young enough for it to still be cute and sweet)

  3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    So have you ever met this guy? Because if you haven’t- you’re not in a relationship.

  4. Why haven’t you met yet?
    1300 miles is NOT that far. If you can’t afford to fly, 1300 miles is an 18 hour drive. If you each drive half way, that’s 9 hours. Totally doable for a weekend trip.

    MEET THIS PERSON, and then worry about all the other stuff after seeing what he’s like in REAL LIFE.
    And when you meet him, so so in public, and tell people where you’re going.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      That would be so annoying, to spend all day communicating with an Internet friend (you guys not included) I hadn’t even met yet! I’d definitely be trying to plan a midway meet up. And if he couldn’t make the time — though he has time to play XBox and chat all day! — then I’d stop communicating. What’s the point?!?!

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Because they are children. Travel is expensive.

      1. “Because they are children.”

        I really fucking hope so… but I couldn’t help but notice the not referencing ages (just that they are the same) after the virgin thing. Read the whole thing again but think that they are in their 40s… it’s terrifying.

        Oh and another new rule: “Pretty much in a relationship” = NOT in a relationship

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I like your rules.

  5. kerrycontrary says:

    1) Watch Catfish on MTV. Or the movie. This guy could be totally fake! It’s true!
    2) How do you not have carpal tunnel? 100s of texts every day!? How do you have time to do anything else but text?
    3) Stop wasting your life on an imaginary boyfriend. There could be some amazing man right in your town that you could actually touch.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      You’re getting old kerry! I lol’d at the carpal tunnel concern.

      1. I seriously think I’m getting it in my right thumb from my damn iphone! And I dont’ even text a lot! It’s mostly WWF and Mahjong (I’m seriously old). Please tell me I’m not the only one!

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        No my thumb/wrist gets sore when I’m on my iPhone too much. I don’t think it’s an age thing, cause it would happen when I was texting at 16 or 17 as well (PS I remember when I sent my first text hahahah).

      3. omg, me too!!! It was on my old Nokia phone in 1999. Good times.

      4. haha, me too! It coincided with when I drove my car to school for the first time…I texted my mom in homeroom like “the car is on empty” because I hadn’t realized & was freaking out that I’d run out of gas on the way home (and was scared to fuel up, even though I live in NJ & they do all the work for you here!)

        I think my first cell phone was when T-Mobile was still Voicestream?

      5. That reminds me of my friend in college (my college is a 10 min dive from the NJ border in NY) who was running on E and so terrified to fill her own tank up in NY that she actually drove BACK to NJ and chanced running out of gas rather than learn how to use the pump in NY. When she called me hyperventilating from the road, terrified she was going to run out of gas, I asked her why she didn’t just ask me to go to the gas station with her as I’m a NYer and have never feared a gas pump. Duh. But she made it back to Jerz just fine. Lol.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh god, I can remember driving before I knew how to pump gas (which as you know, is kinda common around NY/NJ). I got lost in a really bad area of the south bronx late at night, all alone, finally find a gas station but don’t know how to pump. I was begging the guy in the bulletproof glass box to help me, but he refused to come out.

      7. That’s very common. I haven’t owned a car in about 5 years at this point (I hate owning a car. I’m a professional at getting parking tickets in any and all boroughs), and I’m not sure I remember how to pump gas!

        My best/worst South Bronx story is when my best friend and I were about 22 and went out drinking in the city. When we were on the 6 train back to the N BX she said she had to puke and I was patting her on the back telling her to hold it in for a few more stops, but she was like “No. We need to get off the train. NOW.” We got off at Brooke Ave at like 3AM, drunk, in tiny skirts and heels. She dry heaved over the garbage for like a half hour (bc at that hour, the 6 train runs practically NEVER) while I warded off an enormous rat with my stiletto. And she didn’t even puke! Not the smartest thing we’ve ever done.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Lovely! I can remember being all How Cute, They all wear matching bandanas! lol

      9. Haha! I would do that too, not gonna lie. Totally worth the tunnel tolls 😉

      10. AliceInDairyland says:

        I am so confused about this… being from the Midwest. You have people pump your gas for you?! You don’t know how to put the pump into the gas tank? How do you pay? Do you tip the person filling you up?

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        Lol. In NJ, you are not allowed to pump your own gas. They have people that work at the gas station that do it. You just say $20 regular or whatever, hand em cash and sit back and relax 🙂

      12. Yep, what LBH said—here, you just pull up next to the pump, roll your window down & wait for the attendant to approach you…then you say how much/what kind you want, & they pump it for you. And no, you don’t tip them (unless maybe they wash your windows too? but that never happens anymore)

        And nope, I don’t know how to pump my own gas & always fill up before leaving state lines, haha (not every NJ person is like me, though! Most dudes I know have the ability to pump their own gas)

      13. lets_be_honest says:


      14. I know, right?! I’M SCARED

      15. If I’m not mistaken it’s illegal to pump your own gas in NJ? Is that true?

        I remember driving to NJ with my grandmother once and she got really impatient when the attendant made us wait forever. So she got out of the car and started pumping and the dude ran out hollering at her and waving his arms as if we were all about to die. She just glared at him and said, “Don’t get mad at me. I’m the one who has to do your job because you won’t!” My grandma is one feisty broad. 🙂

      16. Yep, that is true—you will definitely get scolded here if you try to do it yourself. Even during Hurricane Sandy (when the gas stations were crowded as hell)

      17. New Jersey and Oregon are the 2 states in the US where you can’t pump your own gas. Safety and Jobs was the explanation 🙂

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        The bright screen bothers my eyes. I guess that’s a sign of old age.

    2. MrsRainey says:

      Yes! I saw the movie Catfish the other night and it was painful and awkward to watch! Anyone that has an “online” relationship needs to watch that movie.

    3. You beat me to the Catfish reference! I was actually going to suggest that she should email Nev and maybe meet him ON the show Catfish! I think they’re casting for season 2 right now.

      1. But she’s skyped with him. Every person on that show has some excuse for why they can’t Skype.

      2. Ah, I missed the part about them skyping.

    4. SweetPeaG says:

      The Catfish guy (Nev, right?) is one of my tv boyfriends. I don’t often use the word “fine”. But, damn, he is fine.

  6. lets_be_honest says:

    “A relationship is not endless streams of texts throughout the day and playing XBox together.”
    Thank god otherwise my boyfriend is having a lot of affairs.

    1. I just laughed out loud at the office, people looked at me. You are on a roll today lbh… now stop it so I can continue pretending I am working!

  7. Oh, Wendy…bless you.

    LW, uhh. Let me address one thing at a time, I guess. First of all—this guy isn’t your boyfriend, or your almost boyfriend, or anything like that. He’s your internet friend. And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se…internet friends are fun! But you should avoid all this schmoopy talk with your internet friends, so as not to get completely wrapped up in some idea of how your real-life “relationship” might be?

    He may send you thousands of texts with kissy faces, but you don’t know what dating him would actually be like. I recommend you tone down on the lovey-dovey stuff & just allow this dude to be on the fringes of you life. Sorry if that’s not what you want, but it’ll be WAY better for you in the long-run.

    Now, forgetting about the xBox/Skype/texty-ness/never-met-in-real-life aspect of this…don’t ever trust a guy who’s “not into labels.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes (like in this case!) it’s perfectly legitimate to NOT wanna stick an official name on your relationship with somebody. BUT whoever phrases this hesitation as “I don’t do LABELS” is prrrobably a douchebag.

    What he *should* be telling you is “I don’t want to call what we have a relationship, because— we live 1300 miles apart. We have never met, nor will we be meeting each other anytime soon. I know we’ve been playing at having a relationship, but it got way out of hand. It’s ridiculous to assume that we have any real commitment.”

    I see he isn’t saying this^ though…so why don’t you say something like it to him instead? And then pleeaase move on with your life.

  8. Oh god, the ‘I dont do labels’ thing!
    Drives me nuts.
    Does he call his Mum ‘Sue’? His grandma ‘Mary’? His friends ‘friends’? Then he uses some labels, just not with you.
    Except in this situation, where you aren’t actually in a relationship anyway.

  9. LW please be careful…if the Manti Te’o story taught us anything is that people online are not always what they seem…check out the movie “Catfish”, which is based on a true story (I think there is actually a TV show out now based on the movie)….this happens a lot….not saying not to go for it…just be careful

  10. Did the world really end last year and this is part of the apocalyptic (yes I had to look it up to spell it properly) aftermath? Are they 15? 45? I just can’t.

    1. NEW RULE: You can’t be in a relationship with someone if you don’t know if they have bad breathe or not. 😉

  11. oh my. LW, im sorry, but unless you make changes in your life this is not going to turn out the way you want it to…

    so, the labeling thing… barring what he said about “not doing labels”, which i agree is a stupid thing to say to someone, i think that YOU, also, have an issue with it… like wendy, im confused as to whether you want the labels now, when you meet him, or sometime in the future after you meet him. but i definitely know that you are immature about it, because of your “I told him I preferred that he would ask me out officially because it was a part of the dating experience” line. wtf does that even mean? does that mean you want *him* to initiated a serious, monogamous relationship? please dont go there. if you want to initiate that, at any point in your life while dating anyone, you do it. dont wait for anyone else to do it. do you mean that you want him to “officially” ask you out on a date when you meet in person? because thats a ridiculous want given your situation. there isnt going to be an “asking out” of anyone- you two are going to agree to meet at a predetermined time and place, and you already know a ton about him… this isnt like a movie where you will be meeting for the first time ever, and he will do some grand thing to win your heart. things dont happen like in the movies, and being “asked out”, depending on your definition of this, isnt a part of the “experience”.

    honestly, bottom line, i think you both need to grow up a bit. i assume you are both in college, with you mentioning his bach. degree that is 2 years away.. so assuming that you both are on a more normal college track, that puts you both at what…? 20? you cant even drink yet, LW. there is so much more of the world out there then xbox and this random voice/line of characters you have found to talk back to you. maybe you two will work out, who knows? but you need to stop with the over-xbox love story. its immature and pathetic. if you want a relationship, get one in real life. xbox doesnt count.

  12. “I don’t do labels” Because, in his VAST relationship experience (being around 21-22 and a virgin, I’m totally judging, because if he’s spending all his time online and texting her, I don’t think he’s had tons of dating experience), he typically likes to not have a girlfriend-label attached to the girls he says he wants to spend his future with? Maybe he’s smarter than he sounds if he doesn’t want to call her his girlfriend, frankly, since that’s not what she is: they have never met, they don’t actually speak, they just text and play games.

    1. i was going to mention this and i forgot!!

      typically, the “im not into labels” people are players, right? that has been my experience. the only time i was a “im not into labels” person was when i was *not* looking for a commitment- i just wanted to date around and have fun with people.

      it is VERY contradictory that he is a virgin gamer (which, lets be honest, dont date a lot… at least by stereotypes) but “doesnt do labels”… very contradictory…

    2. I had an (embarrassing now) online relationship with a dude, but we actually did meet up several times. I did all the work, however, or most of it, and he didn’t want to put a label on anything either.

      That’s a red flag. LW, he doesn’t want to call you his girlfriend because he doesn’t see you as his girlfriend. That’s legit, because you guys are 1300 miles apart and you’ve never met. He can say all kinds of nice things to you, and get caught up in the fantasy, but if he doesn’t want to put a label on it, then he is not your boyfriend and doesn’t want to be.

      (Note: It was really, really hard for me to understand how a guy could be saying all this stuff to me, spinning out fantasies about a future, about sex, about love, but really really not have any real-life interest in any of it. Because I absolutely cannot do that. But yeah, he could. So keep that in mind. At one point I while chatting with my online dude, I made a sign for myself that I could see: “It’s not about what he SAYS, it’s about what he DOES.” And his actions pretty clearly said “not interested in anything serious with you” even if his words might’ve led me to believe otherwise.)

  13. I think the LW is confusing the concept of monogamy with that of celibacy… maybe because the latter sounds decidedly less romantic but then again ” kissy face” emoticons tend to be decidedly less romantic than actual kisses.

    Oh and I am happy to resolve your whole label issue: “digital pen pals”.
    Fixed that for ya! You’re welcome!

    1. Ugh YES, +1 on the “digital pen pals” thing.

      Also yeah, I had to laugh at the “we’re monogamous” line & also the “I wasn’t sure if he only wanted to be friends with benefits”—what? You’ve never met! What even ARE the “benefits”??

      1. Yeah…the only sadder than the lack of benefits is the fact that the LW was/is apparently willing to move cross country for “a friends with benefits kind of thing” which would be sad even if they WERE having mind-blowing sex.

  14. My first reaction when I read the title of this thread was “What?”

    Of course you can’t put relationshippy labels on this situation. You haven’t met in person. You don’t even know if he is who he says he is. Have you ever even Skyped? You should set a goal to meet him in person soon and see if you guys “click” in real life as well as you have online before making any future plans. I seriously think you should email Nev and try to get on Catfish season 2. You would get your travel expenses paid for to go see him and we could all watch your episode and cheer you on!

    In the meantime, maybe you should spend less time playing online games and more time interacting with real live people in your area. You could meet someone even better, someone who does want to call you his girlfriend.

  15. Sophronisba says:

    Um, with all the apparent free time he has for gaming and sending you kissy-faces, I’m fairly sure it’s going to take more than two years for him to finish his undergraduate degree AND complete his Masters AND become self-sufficient enough to move out of Mom and Dad’s house…
    I think your guy’s life plan of having you wait for YEARS while he does what he wants to do kinda stinks..as may his feet..you won’t know, until you meet him in person.

  16. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    You can be mentally and emotionally attracted to someone but for a relationship to last, you also need to be physically attracted. For women, it’s less visual (so a picture isn’t enough) than his natural scent. Nature designed it that way (on an unconscious level) so that you’re attracted to someone with whom you will have healthy children. So if for no other reason, you need to physically be with someone..in reality.

  17. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    By the way I once dated the greatest guy (lets call him Mr. W) but I was not attracted to him and I knew it was the way he smelled. He didn’t smell bad at all. I just didn’t want to kiss him.

    1. Lily in NYC says:

      This is such a good point. Someone can be perfect for you on paper, but if the in-person chemistry isn’t there, it’s just not going to work. I am still bummed about a nice guy who used to be interested in me. He was a great guy, handsome, funny, smart, dressed well – anyone could see he was a catch. I tried so hard to be “into him” but the spark just wasn’t there. I’m sure he is making some lucky woman very happy, though!

    2. Yep. I’ve “met” guys online who had all the qualities I want in a mate, but when I met them for real – in person – there was just no chemistry at all. It’s a bummer, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

      Also, I think I’m addicted to my ex’s pheromones. I told him next time he shaves his beard to mail me his whiskers. I just want to inhale his beard smell.

      1. I have a theory that this is why I can’t stand german dudes. So, my family is german, has always been, there’s literally nothing else in there. So, I’m only attracted to foreigners, because my body is telling me that I need a foreigner to mix it up a bit. lol.

        Also, I like my language, I do, but sex talk in another language is wayyy sexier than in german. It just sounds better.

      2. Ha! My ex is a foreigner too. My instincts are telling me to diversify the gene pool!

  18. lets_be_honest says:

    The more I think about this, its really sad. LW, try and find things that fulfill whatever it is you’re trying to get from this guy. I guess its attention, and hey, everyone likes to get that and feel like they have someone out there that likes them, but this is not real life at all. Find things in real life that make you happy and feel good.

  19. Sue Jones says:

    Newsflash – you are not in a real relationship until you have actually met in person.

  20. Sunshine Brite says:

    WWS and everyone else too really. I just wanted to mention that Catfish the show is surprisingly catchy and it’s hard to turn away for some reason. Save yourself…

  21. People keep bringing up the show Catfish – this isn’t a Catfish situation if she’s Skyped with him. That show isn’t about bringing people together who are in online relationships. It’s about exposing people who lie about their identities online. If she’s Skyped with him, she knows he’s not really some middle aged woman. The producers don’t want to bring together two kids who have Skyped with each other, they want a dramatic showdown. What are they going to do for the rest of the episode? Cuddle and eat soup? HOWEVER –

    LW, you can’t really be in a relationship until you meet in person. When I was younger, there were a couple times I started talking to guys through OkCupid. I was young (17,18) and didn’t want to meet them in person until I felt like I really knew them. Which was smart because I was young and talking to strangers online! But, there’s a reason why people advise you to meet people quickly (obviously in a safe, public location) when you date online. I had this GREAT connection with these guys online, and thought when we met in person, it would just click. Wrong. First, it was totally awkward because I wasn’t comfortable with them in person yet, but we had already done all the “getting to know you” chatting online, so there wasn’t much to talk about. Being with him in person will be entirely different than talking on the phone/texting/skyping. Second, they had some quirks I wasn’t aware of…like, one dude would randomly get up and go to the bathroom while we were talking. He wouldn’t excuse himself, he’d just get up and walk away! So strange. He also ordered for me at a restaurant (without asking me what I wanted) which was gross. My long, drawn out point here…maybe this guy really is the guy for you. But you won’t know until you meet him. Don’t start making plans for the future, or limiting what you do RIGHT NOW, for this guy you haven’t really met. Find a way to meet him before you even think about putting “labels” on your relationship. You don’t want to waste years of your life on this “relationship” only to find out you’re not a good match in person.

  22. Oh Lord, not other non-relationship. Is this what dating has come to? I’m doomed.

  23. Assuming LW is in her teens or early twenties. I understand that the world wide web has allowed lonely people across the planet to make connections and feel accepted. On the other hand, it’s also a crutch in cases like this one for people who would find more fulfillment if they braved the real world outside their front door. As Wendy said, that’s where real intimacy is waiting to be found.

    Flashback to the 90s. How did I meet MY first crush? Not on X-Box live but in…. THE MALL. Friends, he was the tall blue-eyed guy that worked at Boardwalk Fries in the food court. He was a whole year older than me and went to ANOTHER high school (exotic!). Do you have ANY idea how many baskets of cheese fries I ate in my sophmore year? And how many times I recorded the moments that he smiled at me? Finally after months of shy smiles and tons of talking about him, I finally found some friends we had in common. And I met the man behind the counter.

    Sadly, we went on 3 dates and I found out that he was as dumb as dirt. SOOOOO handsome. But… yeah. But then the boy from my drama class asked me out (I’d been crushing on him since 9th grade) and he became my long-term boyfriend.

    All of this took place without the aid of a computer or a cell phone. Man there were a lot of folded paper notes though. And to think, we didn’t even know we were living in olden times.

    1. awww i totally remember that stuff too!

      in 6th grade i had a crush on my teacher’s son, who also went to the school, and was in 8th grade if i remember right… i would also record every time he smiled at me or anything. aw josh, so pretty. lol nothing ever came of that though.

  24. I am SO TIRED of the whole “We’ve never met, but we’re sooo in luuuurrve!” line.

    You’re not in love.
    You’re not in a relationship.
    Put your video game down and get the fuck out of the house once in a while.


    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Someone’s in a pleasant mood this morning. (I agree though)

      1. Lol. I actually am having kind of a shitty morning (sorry LW!). When I went to throw the garbage down the shoot this morning, the bag came untied, and I had my hands full trying to tying back up, then crap started tumbling out of my gym bag, and then I dropped my coffee mug and the lid popped off so there was a fucking river of coffee all over the place. I was already running a little late, but had to put my bags down, go get paper towels from my apartment, mop up this disgusting deluge of coffee (and a cockroach floated out in it gag gag gag). Then I had no coffee so I had to stop at the corner deli. I was twenty minutes late to work this morning! No bueno!

      2. Tara, I’m so sorry, that sounds like an awful morning. I hope you can have a drink after work.

      3. Thanks! I’m having a boxing session after work today. Even better! (and the rest of my day has been relatively uneventful so it’s all good!)

  25. I’m going to just agree with Wendy and everyone else. You’re not in a relationship. What really concerns me is that you’ve deemed him your “dream guy.” I hope that you’re just caught up in your infatuation with him and that this isn’t actually an example of your ideal relationship.

    He’s essentially a disembodied voice. He may say nice things to you or suggest cute things he’d do if you guys lived near each other, but anyone can say a bunch of sweet shit. Texting, phone calls and kissy faces are about as lazy as you can get. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything innately wrong with them or that it’s ridiculous that you don’t see someone who lives so far away, but for your sake in the future, I hope you realize that those are not the things that make a relationship. A guy who texts you a lot is not a dream guy solely because of the emoticons he uses. If you set your standards this low, you’re probably going to end up with some real losers.

    Find someone that you can see in person who actually DOES all the things instead of just talking about them.

  26. ok, so about the “kissy faces” thing- is this guy actually sending you pictures of him making kissy faces or is he texting you the stupid emoticon kissy face…?

    because im confused. even though both are really lame, i thought it was the first one, and i feel like everyone else thinks its the second…

    1. Man, I sure hope it was the second. There’s a reason people shut their eyes while they’re kissing…

  27. karenwalker says:

    Forming a friendship with someone online is unique. These bonds tend to form quickly and deeply, with intimate details being revealed much sooner than they would typically be shared when forming a relationship with someone in person. I think many people find it easier to open up to someone sitting on another computer many, many miles away; there seems to be less fear of judgment and little risk involved.

    But an important thing to remember is that until you meet in person you are strangers even if you do know each other’s deepest, darkest secrets and all that jazz. Actually spending time with a person is how you get to know them and can determine how compatible you really are. Wanting the same things in the future isn’t actually all that hard to find – many people want a monogamous relationship with someone they enjoy spending time with.

    You are young. Besides texting loverboy all day, what are you doing? You mention his plans for the future, but not your own. What do you want for your future? What are your goals and dreams? A relationship can certainly be one thing you want for your future, but not the only thing.

    He probably doesn’t want labels because, at this point anyways, there is nothing to label. You do not have a relationship. Just because neither of you is having sex with anyone else doesn’t mean that you are being faithful and monogamous to each other. Loverboy lives with his parents, is a student, and plays video games and talks to you all day – the fact that he says he isn’t hooking up with anyone might just be more due to circumstance than any feeling of loyalty to you.

    Plenty of relationships begin online and maybe you and this guy will someday have a happy relationship. But first, you need to figure out what is you want for you life. And second, if you two are serious, you and this guy need to meet. I would strongly advise against moving 1300 miles from your home in 2 years when it’s convenient for him to meet for the first time.

  28. No LW, no. You do not have a relationship. You have a potential affection and a great rappaport. Yet without the sacrifices you make to further your commitment to one another (including visits, especially if you guys are long distance) then you don’t have a relationship to label.


    Meet first, go from there. If he doesn’t want to meet or says he wants to but is never able to make it happen, that’s your answer.

  30. sarolabelle says:

    All I have to say is that if you are talking currently he doesn’t have to “ask you out officially”….that’s just silly. That isn’t part of the dating experience. It usually goes like this:

    meet in person
    go out for a few months
    have a DTR (define the relationship talk)

    Usually the DTR is now brought up by the woman who is like “what is going on here?”
    Guys don’t think they need a DTR. If they are seeing you then it obviously means they like you is their motto.

    Anywho, good luck LW. But don’t make the poor guy ask you out if you are “pretty much in a relationship” already.

    1. sarolabelle says:

      and also, not many people will cuddle with someone who is contagious.

  31. WWS x1000

    I rarely comment, but I had to share my experience with this sort of thing.

    I’ve been through a similar situation, LW. I met my ex through an online game, we had a ton in common, and became friends and texted all the time. I fell for him hard, despite all our interaction being through text, skype, and the occasional phone call. He lived 3000 miles away, and in a different country (I’m Canadian), so visits were particularly difficult. But like you guys, we talked about our future a lot: getting married, moving to be with each other, the whole deal.

    I actually stayed with this guy for 5 years! In that time, we visited each other 6 times. While it was mostly good online, we weren’t actually compatible in person. Over the years, what we had in common faded, he tried to cheat on me, and eventually I dumped him.

    I know it can be convenient when you’re busy and don’t feel you have the time for a relationship to have someone on the other end of a computer screen to talk to who makes you feel special. But you really can’t tell what someone’s like through this kind of interaction. You don’t know if you’ll be compatible for living together, or even just hanging out in person.

    I regret staying in that situation so long. I was with this guy all through high school and most of my undergraduate degree. Wendy’s right, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to meet someone who lives near you, that you can have an actual relationship with, who can take care of you when you’re sick and all that stuff. I didn’t think I could find someone like that near me, which is why I was with my ex for so long. But about a year after we broke up, I met my current boyfriend who is everything I actually wanted, and feels the same way about me. You really don’t know what’s out there until you look, and there could be someone just around the corner who’s an even better match for you than this guy.

    1. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

      Thanks for sharing this story–it was brave after reading all the comments here. I’m glad things worked out this way for you.

  32. Why didn’t the LW mentioned skyping? If they havent skyped yet after a month, then he’s actually a 50 year old meth addict alone in his cabin.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      The LW did mention skyping: ” We have so much in common, and even after tens of thousands of text messages, skyping, talking on the phone, playing on Xbox together, etc….”

  33. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Talk is cheap and emoticons do not make a “sweetheart”

  34. Yikes.

    Wendy answered this nicely. You have an online friend, but that’s all it is. Things are so much different in real life. Even with Skype and other technologies that we have today, it truly isn’t the same. Trust me on that, both my relationships were long distance — the one with my ex and my current relationship.

    I had a friend in college who was dating a guy who lived approximately 1800 miles away. She had met him on an online game and had been “dating” him for something like 2 years. They actually had met, but only once over the span of 2 years. She said she was going to move to be with him, marry him, blah blah blah. Turns out he got creepy and weird so she ended it before she had moved for him, thankfully.

    Please, LW, dig yourself out of this fantasy world. Don’t move for a guy you haven’t met. Don’t give up the life you have for someone you truly don’t know.

  35. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

    I was in a long distance online relationship for about 5 years, so listen to Wendy on this. I used to fly up twice a year, stay all summer, and over Christmas vacation. Even with that much face time, there were still things that you just can’t imagine about this person. You really do get an idea of who that person is in your head, but because you haven’t seen enough of their actions, you can’t rely on that. I would say plan a visit – him coming to see you first, or you go and take a friend with you, don’t do this alone. Then plan visits. If you can’t manage to get enough money to do this several times, honestly, you should rethink moving for someone. It sucks, I know. but you need to learn who this person is irl. Gaming and chatting is fun, but reality gets in the way of of that sometimes, and it’s not quite like you thought it was.

  36. WWS.

    I had a relationship that started via facebook, and then texting, and then after 5 months of that, finally hanging out. There were so many warning signs through out the initial part that I should have seen, but I ignored, because of “difficulty of not actually spending time with one another.”

    Darling, a boy should want to spend time with you IN PERSON. A relationship cannot be done via text and via email. You have to see each other in person and interact in person to really get to know each other.

  37. What is this gold star rating stuff? Afraid of change, ahhhhh!!!!

    1. i know!! what is going on????

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        This is scary.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Wendy really should know us better. We cannot handle change, and certainly with no heads up. Where are you Wendy?! Is this the first sign of the apocalypse?

    2. iseeshiny says:

      You can do a thumbs up AND rate? What is going on here?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I like the rating idea actually. I have sensitivity issues with the down thumbs. Maybe I need to just overcome that? You know how others sites, whoever has the highest rating, that comment moves to the top spot? I don’t like that. Or maybe I do.

      2. iseeshiny says:

        I do too! I think I like it more than thumbs, period. It’s a little more nexflixy. I find the more like netfilx my day to day life is, the more I enjoy it.

  38. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    So, you and some equally desperate, equally obsessive gamer simply can’t stop social media-ing one another like you own stock in both skype and verizon… Oh, and he’s a virgin to boot. All is hunky dory, and the world is truly your game of “The Sims”… only now he won’t label your relationship? Allow me… You two aren’t in a “relationship” — instead, you’re in a “fantasy.”

    *EDIT. Okay, wow. My above advice seemed much more clever BEFORE I read Wendy’s and realized we had come to the exact same conclusion. Oh well… Great minds.

  39. Can I just say how much of a relief it is to be somewhere it’s pretty much agreed online relationships = fantasy? OMG the never ending justification of them in other places has near driven me mad.

    LW, in my experience, these guys with tons of time to carry on relationships are (outside of a severe mobility issue like paralysis or extreme morbid obesity) either unemployed losers, sucking in school, weed addicts, gaming addicts, have asperger’s (and that’s not a character flaw but it’s something you should be aware of) or have serious emotional/psychological/relationship issues. You just don’t see mature, emotionally healthy, ambitious, successful people (again, outside of some serious disability) with THAT kind of online time. I mean doesn’t he want to see his friends? Do some sports? Walk his fucking dog?

    And what about you? I don’t want to pile on you but why do YOU have this kind of time? What are you doing with YOUR life? You’re seriously going to sit around for YEARS not meeting not having sex sending hundreds of texts a day for this? I mean okay hey if this is meeting your needs for a relationship (and for some people it is, but it’s not for you or you wouldn’t be here) fabulous, but you’re stuck on this labels thing… exactly what would make it different if he “labelled” it? You’d still be 1300 miles apart, having Skype Sex at most, and burning up phone lines and text plans rather than getting out there getting a life.

    Worst of all, you’ll likely look back in 5,6 however many years… and be devastated you wasted all this time. So sure enjoy your online friend. But keep a foot in the real world too.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      You just don’t see mature, emotionally healthy, ambitious, successful people (again, outside of some serious disability) with THAT kind of online time.

      I had to laugh thinking of all us DWers on here all the time.

    2. oh my god i love this.

  40. LW, you can’t even reliably say this guy brushes his teeth regularly or engages in other polite forms of personal hygiene.

    Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but i don’t think you can gauge your compatibility with someone until you’ve played Xbox live online with them IN THE SAME ROOM. Or at least cowering behind the drapes until his Mom goes to work.

  41. brendapie says:

    I agree with Wendy that this isn’t a relationship. Even with all the phone calls, texts, Skype sessions and what not… it is not a relationship! I would consider it a friendship at best, but more akin to a pen pal.

    I played a MMO for around seven years (quit several years back) and I had a lot of in-game ‘friends’, almost exclusively men, who would fall in ‘love’ with me through the course of getting to know each other while playing the game together. Of course it is flattering at first but I realized over time that these guys were tailoring their conversations to match mine – my interests became their interests, what I disliked they disliked as well, my core values were just like theirs – and I did feel like I met a kindred spirit. But boy was I fooled.

    What snapped me into reality was crushing on a guy who lived in another country. We had ‘sparks’ from the moment we met in the game and I guess in some way, we provided solace and companionship for one another. I wasn’t in love with him but I thought he was really special. That is, until he dropped off the face of the earth and the girl he had casually mentioned once in a previous conversation ending up being his new girlfriend and I realized that while I may know him through the game, I didn’t know him as the person he truly was. Gaming was only one aspect of his life and while we spent hours each day talking to one another, I wasn’t a part of his day to day life and factored little (or not at all) in his life.

    So yes, I can understand being attracted to someone you meet in the game and wanting to pursue a relationship with them. But that’s the thing… if there is interest on both sides, you need to take the relationship offline ASAP and see if the chemistry exists in person, if you feel comfortable around each other, if it is even viable to have a relationship with each other or if the interest remains when you are face to face. It’s easy to get enthralled with all the texts and phone calls and think that it constitutes a relationship but those are things that enhance a relationship, not constitute one.

    From my experience almost all the guys you meet in online games won’t meet up with you in person. So if you want a relationship that is strictly online, go for it, that’s your prerogative. If you want a relationship that isn’t online, you both need to decide if meeting in person is viable and/or desired. It’s easy to say “Oh, I can’t wait to meet you. I’m going to take you to my favorite scenic view and we can cuddle under the stars and everything is going to be perfect.” What isn’t so easy is the logistics of meeting and whether or not he wants to be in a relationship with you.

    How do you know he isn’t lying? What if he really isn’t a virgin and what if he has a girlfriend or dropped out of high school? None of those things are necessarily wrong but you’re only getting the best part of him when you talk behind a screen or behind a phone. So hold off on the labels until you can meet in person, until you can begin to form an idea of who he really is. Otherwise you’re pretty much interacting with a fantasy and you’re going to get hurt.

  42. If he doesn’t want to meet you for THREE TO FOUR YEARS, then he doesn’t want to be with you.

  43. Gaming handle: Yes.
    Rank: Yes.
    Relationship status: No.
    …… Tool? Yes.

    Doesn’t like labels my left buttock.

  44. Uh have you ever seen the show catfish? I’m thinking this letter stinks of it.

  45. Jane Bellows says:

    I’m guessing that this fellow is in a low security federal prison. Is there a database to check?

  46. I’m a little worried when everyone is saying this isn’t a relationship. It really is. Just like it’s possible to “cheat” with an on-line friend if there is emotional inter-dependency with them that undermines a “real” relationship. “Relationship” isn’t an idealized term that only describes everlasting love and sharing. Nothing about being apart means that there can’t be a romantic relationship between people. And nothing about meeting potential mates (I will say that *mating* does take physical proximity!) remotely on the internet is actually new. People used to correspond and arrange marriages long before we had computers or even phones.

    Yes, yes, caution is in order. Holding your heart back is smart and important. When they finally do meet they may find they aren’t physically attracted to each other after all.

    OTOH, and I don’t think that this should be at all discounted… having an on-line “love” while in college may allow them both to finish school (and the guy is planning a Masters?) without the distraction of trying to find their true love or maintain that “relationship”. In that case it’s not wasted years that they could have been dating, but a comfortable situation that takes the pressure off while getting a degree.

    I know that my grades always went way up when I had a boyfriend in another city.

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