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My Boyfriend Acts Rude When He Plays Video Games

Cosmopolitan logo Cosmopolitan 18/5/2017 Logan Hill
My Boyfriend Is Super Rude to Me Whenever He Plays Video Games © Nickelodeon My Boyfriend Is Super Rude to Me Whenever He Plays Video Games

My boyfriend plays the game Call of Duty, which I'm completely cool with (to the point I actually like watching him play), but when he's chatting with his friends via headset and a mic, he yells at me for talking at all. I respect him having time with his friends, but when I offer to take out his dog while he’s playing or do something nice when it’s necessary to ask, he gets rude. We have chatted about it, and he says that everyone can hear me (which I know is true), but a lot of times it hurts to be ignored or embarrassed about asking a normal question.

Let’s cut through the fog of war: No great warrior betrays his code of honor. No matter how stressed your boyfriend may be while playing his favorite first-person-shooter, he should not forget that, as Kipling said, the goal is to be “an officer and a gentleman, which is an enviable thing.” The three core values of the Marine Corps are honor, courage, and commitment - in that order. Your boyfriend may be a brave and committed soldier, but when he yells at you, your hero is performing his noble duties without honor.

It sounds like your boyfriend isn’t so much worried that he will be distracted and get killed by sniper fire; he’s more worried about the sniping, friendly fire from his fellow combatants. But let’s be real: I don’t care if he’s all worried that his Nazi-fragging friends are going to think he’s soft because he’s got a girlfriend with a human voice; he has no right to be rude. And why the hell should he be embarrassed that his fellow couch-cushion soldiers might discover that he’s the one guy on his Call of Duty squad with a real-life girlfriend?

In this little skirmish, do not retreat. Stand your ground. You don’t need to let loose the hounds of war but you can propose peace talks. There will be less collateral damage if you negotiate a treaty.

Explain that he hurts your feelings and embarrasses you by caring more about his long-distance pals’ feelings than your own. Perhaps remind him that real soldiers would sacrifice a lot for a few minutes with their partners. Tell him it’s just not conduct befitting of a soldier, nor a boyfriend, and that it’s frankly just not cool.

Since it sounds like he’s dead-serious about his gaming and you do respect his hobby, can I also suggest that you find somewhere else to be when he’s playing? It doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Maybe ask him to let you know when he’ll be going off to battle in advance so you won’t have to fight for his attention while he’s fighting pixels. He shouldn’t be so rude, period. But maybe he will also be less likely to take you for granted if you aren’t quite so available.

I am obsessed with my boyfriend. Or at least that’s how it feels; I see him every weekend and don’t see him during the week, just because of how our schedules work out. When I finally have to go home, it is the worst and most intense feeling in the world. I am an absolute wreck until I get to see him again. I have my own life and see my friends, I work, work out, and do things to keep my mind off him, but nothing seems to work. It’s just a constant anxiety about having to wait to see him. I count down the days and I just feel absolutely crazy, because I know he doesn’t do that. I just want to know if that’s not normal and what I can do to change it.

Forget about defining what’s normal and what’s obsessive; labels won’t help you. Just ask yourself: How do you want your life to feel? Does it feel good to be “an absolute wreck” and “feel absolutely crazy” for five days of the week? Of course not - and it wouldn’t feel any better if it had the label "normal." You’re right to be worried and absolutely right to want to change, or at least change the way you deal with these feelings.

Since it sounds like you’re keeping healthy during the week with friends, exercise, and hobbies, it does make me wonder if, like everyone else in the history of the world who’s ever dated someone far away, you’re just having a tough time with the distance. Sometimes, that can be hard because you just want more of a good thing. Other times, it’s hard because you’re scared of losing a good thing. Often, it’s a combination of both.

It can be hard to tell the difference between jittery excitement and jittery anxiety. So try to figure out what’s driving this feeling: Are you dying to see him? Or do feel like you might die when you can’t see him? When you leave, are you upset because you’d rather be with him? Or because you’re afraid of being without him?

Until we get a teleportation device, there won’t be an easy fix. All you can do is try to make a tough situation a little bit easier. Remember that long-distance relationships are always hard - and that they only get harder when you don’t talk about what drives us all a little nuts about them, from the very big to the very small: What’s he doing when I’m not around? Why didn’t he call me back? Who was that woman in his Instagram post? What did he mean by that vague text? Where is he?

Like whispers, worries grow louder in silence, and our minds really run wild if we avoid talking about these things. So ask yourself: Are there conversations you’ve been avoiding? Are there fears you’re afraid to name out loud? Have you talked about exclusivity? Have you agreed to boundaries about how you two will act when you’re apart? Do you roughly agree about how much you’ll talk or text when you’re not together? Have you told him how “absolutely crazy” you’ve been feeling lately? Maybe he’s even feeling the same way.

Sometimes, it just helps to get into a nice little rhythm that feels like the kind of routine you’d have at home, so consider proposing a regular Skype session in the middle of the week or a quick Friday morning check-in.

Big-picture, this kind of long-distance anxiety does tend to mellow out as time passes. I bet you won’t be an “absolute wreck” who feels “absolutely” crazy for long. Once you get used to it, I bet you’ll be absolutely fine.

My boyfriend of a year has bipolar disorder and refuses to seek treatment. I love him but I don't know how much more I can handle. He's never disrespected me and is actually absolutely amazing when he's not at a low point, but he has tried to end our relationship several times because of it. He always says he's sorry and we pick right up. How do I approach him seeking treatment without it being an ultimatum?

First, please take care of yourself. Bipolar disorders are treatable, but they can also be so jarring for someone like yourself that you might find yourself in a parallel cycle of highs and lows, as you adjust to your boyfriend’s ups and downs. Make sure you’ve got your own support network around you, so your mental health isn’t solely revolving around your boyfriend’s. A community of friends is always healthy, but you may find that you particularly need a fresh perspective.

You’re not the only one who’s been in this situation, and therapists are very experienced in helping both people with bipolar disorders and their partners. For more general resources, see the website Bipolar Significant Others or the Depression and BiPolar Support Alliance, where you can find a community of partners, a wide range of resources, and a solid reading lists. You say you’re worried about how much you can handle. Keep worrying about that: Don’t let your boyfriend’s difficulties eclipse your own.

My bottom line here is that you’ve got to look after yourself and be careful about appointing yourself to be anyone else’s savior. The line between being a caring partner and sacrificing your own well-being is often hard to see. And it’s tempting to try and “fix” someone, but those fixes never stick if the person refuses to truly grapple with the problem. If your boyfriend really refuses to help himself, this situation is not going to get better in the long-term. You might experience those terrific highs with him but the lows are always going to be right over the next horizon.

I know you worry about issuing an ultimatum and I generally hate ultimatums too. But we all have limits - and I guess we all eventually have to learn how to explain those limits in a way that doesn’t feel like an attack or a threat. It’s a tiny needle to thread, but I think you can do that by framing your conversations about his bipolar disorder by discussing what’s best for him - and not necessarily just what’s good enough for you to stay around. Is it really an ultimatum to explain reality? That, regardless of your relationship, he needs help to be healthy?

I don’t think you need to pair your offer of help with a threat that you might leave. But if he doesn’t accept your help or anyone else’s, you do need to go.

Related: 32 Traits of a Good Boyfriend (According to Men) (Provided by PopSugar)

We already know what makes a good girlfriend . . . but what makes a good boyfriend? It's a question for the ages, really. I asked guy friends, random dudes on social platforms, and, ah, last but not least, my boyfriend, in all his great boyfriend glory - what, specifically, makes an amazing male partner. The answers ranged from classic to thoughtful to downright f*cking adorable. Check it out. 32 Traits of a Good Boyfriend (According to Men)

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