When Roleplay Love Becomes Real Love

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first post by new writer, Z! She’s the youngest of the dreamgirls (but still legal!) and will be writing about all sorts of geeky topics every Saturday.  Welcome, Z!

The line between fiction and reality is thinnest when love gets thrown into the mix. Some newbies to RP have trouble distinguishing between their characters and themselves, but even veterans can fall prey to their feelings. That flirty comment you just typed… who is on the other end reading it?

The Scenarios (Every RP Geek Loves Scenarios!)

There are several possible scenarios in which Cupid can meddle: computer games, D&D or other tabletop RPGs, and text RP.

In computer games, you may be interacting with an avatar or character that represents your fictional “lover” in a fantasy world, but that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid. Sometimes, tabletop RPG players will get their characters romantically involved, and even a history of sexual tension between characters can create a similar tension between players. Text roleplaying is perhaps the most common reason RP’ers fall for one another.  I think this is probably because you have to express so much in words that most “real-life” couples never even think about.

The Good Reasons To Fall For An RP Partner

The advantages of falling for a RP partner include the fact that you know their personality, likes and dislikes on a much deeper level than the average new couple know one another. Like it or not, both of you can’t help but allow yourself to shine through in spots, even if it’s under the pretense of your char’s beliefs or reactions.

The more involved your characters are, the more this is true. The knee-jerk reaction of any writer is to allow themselves to respond as they would, rather than their characters, and sometimes we just can’t help it.

Another advantage is that you value their personality over their looks, since you are exposed much more to their personality rather than judging them on looks alone. The priorities that permeate real world dating are flipped on their head when it comes to falling for someone you meet first as a character.

Finally, you and your RP partner must frequently communicate just to play your game of choice, not to mention when planning scenarios or hashing out details.  With so many real world relationships ending due to poor communication skills, you’ll be a step ahead of the rest!

The Disadvantages of Falling For An RP Partner

There are disadvantages to falling for a RP partner, however. It’s quite possible to have too much of a good thing, and while frequent communication is the glue that holds relationships together, over-communication can have exactly the opposite effect.

If you don’t like being confined or tied to any one person, you may start feeling obligated to RP with them and spend time with them in other ways, which can add up to quite a bit of your life.

Also, remember that they might not be who they say they are, just like any other situation, online or offline. They may have a partner already.  Maybe that person doesn’t mind them RP’ing as if they’re in love, but a real relationship is completely out of the question.

Finally, if the possible relationship goes sour, you’re going to lose not just a partner and friend, but a RP partner, too. It can be hard to find someone you connect with so deeply, and after breaking up, it never feels quite “right” again.

Making The Leap

If you’re still determined to pursue the relationship, here’s how to take the romance from fictional to real.

Use caution and talk with them on webcam before meeting up, just to make sure they’re who they say they are. Meet up in a public place and give a trusted friend all the details of your RP friend and your meeting.

Delay telling them how you feel until you’ve met them in person.  Otherwise, it could be really awkward if the offline persona doesn’t match the online one and you’re not quite as enamored as you thought you’d be.

Try bringing up the fictional romance in a casual conversation, perhaps hinting at the fact that you sometimes feel like the line between fiction and reality is blurred, and see how far you get.

If all signs are positive, try gently telling them outright that you have feelings for them and wonder whether they’re returned. Be prepared for rejection, and if you do encounter it, try to keep the RP relationship just like it has always been. Don’t go all ‘creepy stalker’ on your poor partner!

A romance with your RP partner may not be well understood by friends and family, but geeks know just why it’s so appealing: you knew exactly why you loved the person long before you met them in person.

Been There, Done That?

Have you taken a RP relationship into the real world?  Whether you succeeded or failed, I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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