The lovelorn player who's fallen in love with someone in an existing real-world relationship -- it's almost a cliché, it's so common. It would be all too easy for us to tut-tut with a gentle chuckle and a weary shake of the head, but the pain and confusion in these situations is never sharper or fresher than to those who find themselves there.
The Drama Mamas have addressed this situation before, albeit from another perspective, although the form of the letter and our reply themselves unfortunately may have stolen some of the thunder of that previous message. We'd like to revisit that reply again this week -- but first, of course, this week's letter:
Dear Drama Mamas,
I have read your column for a long time and always read about people having their heartbroken and relationships ruined due to their cheating significant other. This time, I am the other woman.
I have played WoW since release and have never been interested in anyone online. I've been on and off with the same man since then and the relationship (when it's happening) is fairly broken. We both aren't willing to put in the effort to fix it, so we just let it be. Recently, I've met the most amazing person I have ever known, through WoW.
Lets make things more complicated! He's engaged, he lives with her, he loves her but feels he's not happy nor is she right for him.
As with all the articles you have answered about this it started the same: innocent, friendly, flirty, and fun. It's now formed into a fairly deep affair. I'm 23 and he's 25, so I felt I was emotionally and mentally mature enough to handle the situation, but I was wrong. Our attraction and pull towards each other was instant, intense, and one of the most real things I have ever felt. The things he should be feeling for her, he feels for me. The time he should be spending nurturing their relationship he spends with me. The nights he should be laying in her arms he's dreaming about being in mine.
We have discussed the situation, and while he admits it's not the best, and on the verge of being wrong, it's not cheating. He says if they split up it would not be due to me, but their relationship is volatile and unhealthy and I feel it's due to him no longer feeling the need to try due to me. He recently told me he loved me but is going to keep working on it with her until he knows for sure it can't be fixed. He "knows it's the right thing to do". I've told him even they break up, we can't be together for a bit until he's sure it's not a knee jerk choice. He claims he hasn't been happy in a long time.
I have read what the other women and men have gone through when their love finds love in someone else. I have considered dropping all contact with him to give us both time to move on but I feel too deep into it now. I don't want him to leave her, but I don't want to give up what we have either. I love him.
I honestly have no idea what to do at this point. I know what I should do, but I also know it's not that simple. I feel horrible for his fiances situation, but I don't want to give up mine. Is it time to put my big girl face on and accept online cheating is cheating and move on, or is there any way to salvage this wreck? Am I a complete fool and both me and her are just being played? She was there 1st, but that doesn't mean she's the right person for him. I hate what I'm doing to this girl even if I don't know her. I also can't imagine being without him. I feel there is no happy ending in sight for anyone.
The Other Woman
Remember the Troubled Tank who overpulled his love life? At the time, many of our readers seemed to have trouble getting past the roleplayed approach of the original letter and our response. Our advice, however, still stands.
So with another love triangle on our doorstep, we offer up again an ever-so-lightly edited version of that reply. (And if you can't take the roleplay-tinged angle ... Forsooth! Begone with you!)
Drama Mama Lisa: Other Woman, while it's advice you seek, it's a good push you need. You have Charged into an encounter with a partner whose gear is in disarray. While it's obvious that you feel perfectly enchanted, your man is running with empty gem slots and worn-out greens. He's not taking care of his business. What's more, you are fruitlessly hurling yourself against an encounter to which you are not geared and attuned.
Do not mock your misgivings, Other Woman, for you have obviously made several accurate assessments of this encounter. A few observations are in order, however, regarding the strategies you've chosen to apply.
"He recently told me he loved me but is going to keep working on it with her until he knows for sure it can't be fixed." This situation, Other Woman, is called evade mode. You've engaged the boss, yet he's hung in place, bugged out, and none of the raiders can actually engage with him. This is clearly an exploit of this encounter. Positioning is everything. This is not a trash mob, and your willingness to leave the boss hung in an untargetable position is simply inexcusable. Get this mob off evade mode and take him down, or drop aggro and move on.
"He says if they split up it would not be due to me, but their relationship is volatile and unhealthy and I feel it's due to him no longer feeling the need to try due to me." No encounter is as exciting on the 300th run. Your companion simply finds it more appealing to run out and loot new gear -- you -- than repairing and reforging current gear that he's nonetheless unwilling to part with. He can't wear it all. Nonetheless, the choice stands clearly before him.
"He claims he hasn't been happy in a long time." Even Lady Vashj appears beautiful before the first casts of Entangle and Shock Blast. It's all about proximity. His perspective would change considerably if you two were the ones who were living together each and every day.
"I have read what the other women and men have gone through when their love finds love in someone else. I have considered dropping all contact with him to give us both time to move on but I feel too deep into it now." An appalling lack of crowd control. Nobody said it would be easy. Call in an addon if you need help, but get the job done.
"He recently told me he loved me but is going to keep working on it with her until he knows for sure it can't be fixed." Why not? Loot and XP from two mobs is better than one, right? /sarcasm off
Other Woman, I'll be frank. You know what's right and what's wrong. It's time to engage with what's actually in front of you right now: a man who's stringing you along while he continues to enjoy his real-world relationship. You're going to have to turn off the virtual entertainment -- definitely this long-distance flirtation, and probably gaming as a whole for a time, to give yourself a breather. If this is truly real, he'll be back for you once he takes care of his business. His current relationship will stand or fall on its own merit, but you cannot afford to devote yourself to a man who won't commit. Good luck prioritizing it all, but I suspect you'll be just fine. I think you already know what to do.
Drama Mama Robin: Other Woman, you must get out of this triangle. If this man decides that his feelings for you are real, then he should leave his girlfriend, taking care to make sure all properties and lingering issues are distributed fairly. Since he is the one cheating, then he should be willing to be generous in the split. After that, you both must take Drama Mama Lisa's advice and exit Azeroth until he has rebuilt his own life and created a foundation for a new love with you.
Just be warned: if he's cheating on his current girlfriend with you, then he is very likely to cheat on you with someone new and shiny.
And let's be clear: Online cheating is still cheating. If you were engaged and found handwritten loveletters from your partner or caught him having phone sex -- wouldn't you consider that cheating? How is having an affair via text in a game any different? He has said he loves you. How could telling another woman he loves her be anything but cheating? His rationalization that your relationship is only on the verge of being wrong is hogwash, malarkey, bullpoop.
If he decides that his relationship is really worth saving, then you have to step away for your own good. He's not worth it. Transfer characters, leave the game, or do whatever you have to do to cut off all contact with him. Then be happy in your solitude until you find someone worthy of your love.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.