Dear Pink Hair Girl,
I’ve been dating this guy now for six months, and things are starting to get more serious. We’ve shared ‘I love you’s and see each other a few times a week, and normally we spend our weekends together. I really like where our relationship is going, but there one thing kind of bugging me. I just cannot get into all his geeky stuff that he does. He’s into video games, and not just like halo but all kinds of games, there’s a new one every month it seems like. I’ve tried playing, it’s just not my thing. And when we hang out with his friends they’re always talking about stuff like Magic the Gathering or making references to shows I don’t watch. Once in a while it sounds like they’re speaking a whole other language. Generally, I get along with his friends, and he gets along with mine, but we have nothing in common with each others’ friends. We just don’t mesh that way. The real problem is that since we don’t all like hanging out together, it means we’re both splitting the time between friends. And now my friends are worried that he’s not good enough for me because he can’t hang with them. I’m worried that his guy friends might feel the same way. What do I do?
I can completely get why this can be a trial. Acting as a couple in social settings, and being seen by others acting as a couple, has big social implications that impact interpersonal relationships. It’s obviously impacting the way your friends think of him, and is causing you enough concern to consider it a ‘bump’ in your relationship. From the way you describe it though, everything else is going really well, and that’s great! You’re still building the foundations of a relationship that has a chance of becoming long-term or serious, so it’s a good time to really take the social part of it into consideration. I happen to have a punch-list to summarize it…
Things to think about:
- It isn’t gonna change anytime soon – He’s a geek! Continue to get used to it. And it sounds like you’re really into this guy so you must have other stuff in common you do together. As long as couple-time is focused more around that stuff, and less around forcing each other to do things you’re not really into, then all will be well.
- Be willing to try anything twice – It’s not uncommon for new geeky enterprises to pop up once in a while. Offer to try joining him in his new hobbies as the spring up, and make a solid effort at it. If you don’t like it, make sure you let him know after the second try. If you do, great! You found something new to share. (Unless of course his new hobby appears to be ridiculously complicated, then just pass. Even *I* have my limits)
- Be up front with each other about your friends – Sometimes, not liking each others’ friends becomes a BIG point of contention for couples. Come out with it now, and be as civil as you can be. Make sure not to judge them or say anything discouraging about his friends. He likes them for his own reasons, and belittling them will only put a wedge between you two. You can let him know that you think they’re nice, but you just don’t have fun with them because there’s not much in common there, and that’s ok. He’ll likely say the same about your friends. Accept that group-time is not going to be something you share as a couple with the groups you’re both in now, and make sure you can be happy with that before continuing the relationship.
- Your friends will get over it – If you’re friends are good friends, then eventually they’ll get over the fact that you don’t bring him around to every single get-together, and just appreciate the fact that you’re happy. Yes, it’s harder for them to accept this, socially, since they don’t get to see you two being a happy couple with their own eyes, but if the relationship continues and you guys are happy together, then that’s what should matter to them. And if they bug you about him not showing up to their wine & cheese parties, start inviting them to them individually to come to Magic the Gathering parties. See how THEY like sitting through crap they find boring.
- His guy friends are probably not making it that big a deal – You have boobs. They’ve high-fived him for this fact alone. As long as you’re civil to them and don’t try to keep him from spending time with them, and so long as he’s enjoying your relationshop, they’re probably just happy for him about you, whether you hang with them or not.
- His girl friends will probably want more – If he happens to have a some girl buddies in his group, chances are they’ll be more interested in hanging out with you. They’re the ones who are likely to be more concerned with seeing you and sussing out if you’re going to be good for their friend. And even if those girls are super-geeky, it’ll probably be a little easier to find common ground with them. Think movie night, or board game night with them. And even if you don’t turn into best buddies with them, at least making a point to show up once in a while when you know they’ll be there all as a group will make a big difference.
- Planning to duck out early is key – You can at least handle hanging out with each others’ friends in small doses (I hope). A couple hours at a time, maybe? So when you do agree to show up to a group event together, make sure you pick the ones where it’s ok to leave early (after one of you has had your fill). Or let your friends know in advance that you both will show up but can’t stay long. If it’s the type of event where you or your boyfriend will want to hang out ALL day or night, then don’t bring each other along. And if all of your social events fall into this category, make some compromises.
- Having separate groups of friends does mean splitting up time – It will mean that you have less time to spend as a couple. Right now you’re relationship is relatively new, and news like that might sound devastating. But if things get serious, chances are you’ll see so much of each other, and get comfortable enough with one another, that being more independent will just feel natural anyway. It just means you’ll have to be more conscious about the way you spend your time. Make sure to explicitly plan time with friends and time with your man so you have the right amount of both. Talk with him to make sure you both feel like you’re getting the right amount of time together to feel good.
- You can make new friends as a couple – If you start doing new things as a couple, especially going to clubs or taking lessons together. And if you’re doing things together that you’re both into, you’re more likely to meet people you can both have a fun time with, and eventually get introduced to crowds you can share couple-time with.
With these things in mind, go right ahead and love the crap out of your geek. Remember to care about one another for who you are, and not for who you wish the other person could be, as with every kind of relationship! You don’t have to be into all the same things he is, as long as you support the fact that those nerdy hobbies make him happy, which in turn should make you happy for him. And I’ll let you in on a little secret… being geeky rubs off. Spend enough time with this guy and I bet you’ll eventually adopt something totally nerdy you never thought you’d be into, all by yourself. Give it some time and you’ll be quoting Dr. Who, playing Munchkin, and shopping for yourself on thinkgeek.com just like the rest of us.
Pink Hair Girl