Gaming series known for their superior soundtracks often have one thing in common — a wide array of powerful or catchy music orchestrated to fit a specific environment. Though plenty of games (mostly annual sports series) have used popular prerecorded tunes as part of their soundtrack in the past, they rarely stand out from the crowd. But Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater did, and two decades later it remains one of the most iconic game soundtracks of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
While the popularity of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games may have made it seem like the only decent skateboarding series in existence, the first entry was actually inspired by games such as EA’s Street Sk8er for the original PlayStation and Sega’s Top Skater arcade machines. Top Skater, which featured a full-sized mountable skateboard as a controller, was an especially big influence for the original Pro Skater team at the now-defunct Neversoft Entertainment.
When it came time to choose the music that would accompany each two minute skate session, the Pro Skater team decided to follow both Street Sk8er and Top Skater’s use of legitimate alternative and punk rock tracks. Straying away from any unnecessary applause or obnoxious announcers, their game would feature the two types of audio that truly mattered — realistic skating sound effects and funky fresh jams by bands like Primus and The Dead Kennedys.
Growing up in a strictly Nintendo household, Pro Skater was far off my radar when it launched in the August of 1999. Luckily, a neighborhood friend with access to a PlayStation and a copy of the Jampack Summer ‘99 demo disc was already hooked on its arcade-style gameplay. After he acquired a true copy of the game we spent an entire weekend catching sick air and tracking down VHS tapes. Pro Skater’s realistic physics and showy tricks wowed me, but it was the upbeat soundtrack (with just a few swears thrown in) that really embedded itself into my adolescent brain.
And look, the Pro Skater soundtrack isn’t as hardcore or punk or metal as rock gets. I’m well aware of that now. But for a nerdy kid growing up in the suburbs of Indiana, it was far more extreme than, say, Air Bud or Rocket Power. Maybe not Rocket Power… those kids could shred.
In my mind Pro Skater was the epitome of cool, and when word got out that the game was coming to the Nintendo 64 in March of the next year, I began scrounging around the house for loose change. Featuring one of the few blue cartridge casings, the game was soon added to my small N64 library with the help of my older brother (who had taken up actual skateboarding at the time).
Though the tracks sounded much less crisp on the Nintendo 64’s compressed cartridges, and some of the vocals had been completely removed, Pro Skater was still a monster hit in my household. The game was one of the few games my family owned that required a memory pak for saves, a fact we realized only after we had brought it home. Instead of buying one, my brother and I decided we would just sit and play through the game in its entirety whenever possible. From the warehouse to downtown to Roswell, we knew all the best combos and the location of every secret tape.
Of course, playing a game that much really ingrains the soundtrack into your subconscious. Today, as an adult, I still find myself humming many of the Pro Skater tunes I listened to for hours on end as a child. Sometimes I even boot up my worn N64 copy and skate around for old times’ sake.
Having played through every Tony Hawk game up through Underground 2, none have stuck with me quite like the very first. Even though other entries may have featured improved skaters, venues, and tricks over the years, it’s hard to top the the soundtrack that started it all.
The three tracks embedded in this article were my favorites growing up. The entirety of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack can be found here.
It seems as if Activision and Treyarch almost can’t get any updates right with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Days of Summer debuted today in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PlayStation 4 and it brought what appeared to be exciting new content update for fans — free MP map, new Blackout updates with updates to the maps, new vehicles, and more, and new Zombies content for players. It had the return of fan favorite weapons, and some cool cosmetic content for the game.
But now, it’s been confirmed that four out of the five new weapons are locked behind Reserves, taking this game and update three steps back as Activision’s outdated business model continues to haunt this game.
Out of the five new weapons, only one can be 100% earned for free with the Tier System in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: the new Sniper Rifle unlocks at Tier 50. The rest of the new weapons are locked behind Reserves — with the full content already taking up a bunch of space in the Reserves overall, meaning many players will never get to see the new weapons in action, ever.
That last update already shoved a whole bunch of useless content into the Black Market, and now it’s going to stop some folks from ever earning the weapons.
And Activision tried to soften the blow of this by adding a Weapon Bribe to Tier 25 of the new system, but that’s busted, too. It includes the chance of earning either a new weapon OR a MKII variant, which now reduces the chance of actually earning the new weapon from the bribe.
Every single update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 seems to be haunted by Activision’s continued horrifyingly bad business model for the franchise.
And, the new Call of Duty: WWII update today brought a selection of new weapons to that title…and the new weapons are all locked behind Supply Drops in that game too.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a $60 game, with a $50 Season Pass and has a microtransaction model that is worse than many of the free to play games available today. It’s almost as if the company does not want to continue forward and attract new players to the franchise, but rather scare everyone of. Call of Duty is not a free to play game, yet Activision’s executives seem to be treating the model as if it were.
Days of Summer update actually looked like a good update to checkout, but with the weapons locked behind Supply Drops and the Bribe not even guaranteeing a new weapon, it almost negates any of the good.
They take one step forward, then three steps back every single time.
And, with Senators in the US starting to take a more proactive look at the loot box aspect of the gaming industry, it seems like it’s only a matter of time for when Call of Duty will be scrutinized for its model.
Let’s hope Activision can actually make a positive change with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare this fall. Removing the Season Pass from the game is great, but the microtransaction model can easily ruin the entire game.
Hello all you concupiscent piranhas of death, and welcome to Ask Dr. NerdLove, the only dating advice column to help you start the New Game+ of your love life.
This week, we’re navigating the thorny world of feels vs. reals and making the calls that might change your relationship forever. How do you try to take a friendship to the next level… without losing your friend? What do you do when a sudden, new crush makes you question your engagement and upcoming wedding? And what do you do when someone who ghosted you suddenly comes back into your life like nothing happened?
It’s time to load up the save file and start over with your new stats. Let’s do this.
Hey Dr NerdLove,
About a year ago I lost my most recent job as a quality assurance tester. I didn’t care about it too much at first but a couple months turned into about a year and I started to drift into what I can only describe as depression. Through a lot of trials and tribulations combined with some therapy I managed to recover from this and I felt amazing. I had never felt so confident in my entire life. Currently I am in school and working to become a video editor because It is something I feel passionate about. I currently live at home with my parents and I want to leave. I go to school and do Lyft part time. I enjoy Lyft because it lets me meet people and have more social interaction. I have felt really good about life. In fact I came to the conclusion that life really doesn’t seem all that complicated and clarity is wonderful.
Here is where the girl comes in. I’ll call her MJ (She likes weed). I met her in class and we really hit it off. Ever since then we have been hanging out pretty regularly. The first time we hung out we met for coffee and we had a great conversation. She asked me If I wanted to attend an art show with her later on in the night. I went with her and we had a really nice night. We drank, danced, looked at great artwork etc. After the night was over and we were saying our goodbyes, I said to her (This is two weeks after we met in class and had been texting each other a lot) “I would really like to kiss you.” She said “You don’t want to do that yet.” I said “I understood” and we still continued to hang out over the next few weeks. She has told me to my face that she really cares about me and I said the same to her. We go out to eat, go to movies, share each other’s company doing nothing etc. Everything has been great. I feel like I have found a real female companion which is something I have not had for a really long time. I haven’t been on that many dates in my life and personally I’m not a huge fan of the whole dating meta. I keep telling myself to just “Be myself” and don’t “try” to get into a relationship, just let it happen etc.
A lot of people say that men cannot be friends with women but I really think that is untrue. We didn’t talk for about a week recently and I felt bad, almost like I had lost a piece of myself. Then she texted me and asked if I wanted to go for drinks and we did and it was a great night together as friends.
My question is: Should I keep pursuing this MJ? Should i continue this “Friends First” route? If we both care about one another but we aren’t necessarily in an intimate relationship, is this a bad thing? If I left out anything please let me know. I have a lot going through my head right now and I just wanted some sound advice from someone knowledgeable on the subject. Thank you for your time.
Trying to Figure it All Out
There’re a few questions embedded in this, TFAO, so let’s start untangling this particular knot, shall we?
First of all: you did everything right with MJ. You made your interest clear, you asked for permission to make a move, you took her demurral with good grace and the two of you have continued to be good friends since. It’s a shame that she wasn’t interested in a relationship, but as far as attempts to transition a friendship to romance go, you nailed it from start to finish. That’s something you should be justly proud of.
Second: no, relationships don’t “just happen.” They’re something that you have to pursue and work to achieve. Nobody is going to just wake up and realize that they’re in a relationship; folks had to put effort in. Someone had to make that move, someone had to be the first to set up the first date and so on. Even if you’re taking a more casual approach instead of actively looking for a partner, you still have to make the effort not just to date but to be datable. Just being yourself isn’t a dating strategy in and of itself.
Now, should you keep pursuing this as a potential romance? Hell no. That’s a great way to lose a friend. MJ has made her position clear: she’s not interested in dating you or sleeping with you. She cares about you deeply, likely even loves you… but it’s not the kind of love you’re hoping for.
And that’s fine. Because what you have here is a close, intimate friendship with someone who’s clearly pretty awesome. That’s something to be celebrated, not just because it brings something amazing into your life—especially at a time when men in particular are dealing with an epidemic of loneliness. That’s something to be valued… as opposed to seeing it as somehow inferior or second place to romance.
A lot of the ideas that we, as a culture, have about whether “men and women can be friends” come from some pretty shitty places. To start with, it assumes the worst in men; not only does it assume that sexual attraction is the only reason why men would associate with women, but that guys can’t control themselves when they’re attracted to someone. The idea that sex “always gets in the way” is insulting. It presupposes that not only are men perpetually horny, but also that we’re powerless before our boners and can’t compartmentalize attraction from basic human socialization.
And then there’s the idea that friendship is somehow lesser than romance or that emotional intimacy must be tied to sexual intimacy. Part of why so many guys get stuck in The Friend Zone* is because we have few emotional outlets and few emotionally intimate relationships outside of our romantic partners. Since we are so unused to that sort of relationship, we tend to round it to romantic or sexual attraction, instead of treating it as just a close friendship.
* (Standard DNL Disclaimer: There is no Friend Zone. There are just people who don’t want to date or sleep with you.)
You have a good thing going with MJ, and the fact that it isn’t romantic is just fine. Being friends with her is going to be good for you both in the short term — awesome friend is awesome — and in the long term — developing your emotional intelligence, having a greater appreciation for the distinctions between romantic love and love between friends, etc. Let this be what it is. Appreciate it for what it is. Enjoy the support, the companionship and all the great things that come from having a close friend. Just look for romance elsewhere.
Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I (26M from a fairly conservative South Asian family) have been arranged to marry this girl (23F) since January this year. She’s currently studying overseas in med school so while we’ve met in person once, most of our communication has been via text and voice calls. She’s nice enough, a bit feisty, but when we talk, it’s mostly related to med school and she doesn’t really sound “mature”. I’ve gotten to know her parents reasonably well (they live back in the motherland), and while they’re nice folk, I’m getting a conservative vibe from them as well.
I’ve also been working with this amazing girl (25F) for the past 10 weeks. During this time we’ve gotten to know each other on a very personal level (she knows about the whole arranged marriage situation). She’s funny, feisty and is currently on a self-imposed Guy-atus after dating someone who cheated on her.
My issue is that I’ve started developing feelings for my co-worker over the past few weeks and I don’t know what to do about it. This is obviously something I can’t discuss with my parents (who despite always stating that I get a say in the matter, are probably not going to take too kindly to this) or my “betrothed”, but I feel like if I mentioned this to the co-worker, she would think of it as a betrayal and me taking advantage of her vulnerable situation.
I don’t know what to do here. Help.
Tearing Me Apart
You’re in a tough situation, TMA, and a lot is going to depend on exactly what it is you want and what it is that you’re worried about.
I have a few friends who’ve chosen to set up arranged marriages, working with their parents and a matchmaker to find someone who would make a good partner for them. And while it wasn’t necessarily easy, it’s certainly worked out for them.
One of the things that makes arranged marriages unique is that you’re far more conscious of the fact that you have to work at them. Unlike a lot of modern couples, there is no feeling of “love is all we need, love will get us through this, love will keep us together.” Any relationship takes a hell of a lot of work to succeed, but when you think that love alone will do all the heavy lifting… well, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary heartache and conflict.
Since couples who’ve chosen arranged marriages didn’t necessarily start from a position of romantic love — respect, sure; attraction, yes; love, not so much — they come from a place of understanding that they’re going to have to put in the effort to make things work and that love will come from that work.
But just as what we consider to be “traditional” romantic relationships aren’t for everyone, neither are arranged marriages. And if you’ve grown up in a Western country and surrounded primarily with Western values, going with the tradition of an arranged marriage may be uncomfortable for you.
(And incidentally, Kumail Nanjiani’s semi-autobiographical movie The Big Sick is an interesting exploration of just some of those conflicts.)
On the other hand, the fact that you have a crush on your co-worker doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, outside of “you’re a human with a sex drive.” Being in a relationship isn’t magic; being in love or being engaged doesn’t act like a “Protection Against Attraction, 10’ Radius” spell. You are going to find yourself attracted to other people, even develop infatuations and crushes on folks, regardless of whether you love somebody else or not. It’s part of the human experience. As I’m always saying: the fact that you’ve made a monogamous commitment just means that you’ve chosen to not sleep with other people; it doesn’t mean you won’t want to.
We’re novelty-seeking creatures, and the thrill of the new and different is always going to be there. But that’s literally all it means. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is a lie and it — importantly — doesn’t mean that you need to act on it. Attraction may be a hell of a drug, but it’s not a command. Like I told Crushed By a Crush the other week: it’s just a feeling. It will fade away on its own, especially if you aren’t adding fuel to the metaphorical fire.
Now it could be that part of what’s spurring you on here are the perceived differences between your fiancée and your crush. One of the bigger differences seems to be how much you’ve gotten to know your co-worker vs. how well you know your fiancée. It’s much easier to feel connected to someone when they’re in your immediate proximity. Exposure and familiarity are part of how we end up being attracted to people; the more we get to know somebody, the more attractive they become to us. It’s a little harder when you can’t spend that same amount of time with your fiancée, both because of the distance, but also because she’s going through med school.
The question of what to do is going to depend entirely on exactly what it is you want out of this situation. Are you uncomfortable with the idea of an arranged marriage? Would you prefer something that feels less cold and businesslike? Or are you committed to your engagement and wish you didn’t feel this way about someone else? If it’s the former… well, that’s something you’re going to have to discuss with your folks and your fiancée. If it’s the latter, then the best thing you can do is take the time to get to know your fiancée better and build that rapport and connection with her. You can take that energy you get from your crush on your coworker and plow it into your relationship with your fiancée. You’ll have to make an effort to bridge the gap and talk about more than just medical school.
All the subjects you’ve talked about with your co-worker? Talk to your fiancée about them too. Get to know her as well as you’ve gotten to know you co-worker. Draw her out, talk about the things she’s passionate about and the things that bring joy to her life. What does she love, what does she dream about getting to do, what are her hopes for the future?
It won’t be easy — especially with the distance factor — and it’ll take time. After all, you’ve had 500+ hours to get to know your co-worker. But this can work.
If that’s what you want, in any case.
Take some serious time to think about just what you want and what you’re willing to do — or give up — to make it happen.
I am in an open relationship. It’s been going strong for a few years. However, I suddenly started flirting with a mono person. I told them about my ongoing relationship and they told me it was OK, that they were single and as long as that was the case, it would be fine. Our flirting escalated until they quietly stepped it back. I thought maybe they were simply not interested, which is very much OK. I didn’t mind until recently I learned they started going out with another person at the same time they stepped back our flirting.
Now, we’re not in a relationship and I don’t think I should feel entitled to this kind of heads up. However, the truth is that it hurt me. Not them dating someone, them hiding it from me. They are becoming flirty again and for the first time in years I’m not sure if communication would help matters or not. Should I just drop this? Should I tell them how I feel? I fear that starting down this path may lead them into believing I’m interested in a mono relationship. Please help.
If knowing whether someone you’re seeing is also seeing other folks is important to you, that’s something you need to bring up early on, especially if it’s going to be a deal-breaker for you. But if you don’t say anything? Then you can’t really be that surprised when they don’t say anything either because honestly? It’s their business, not yours.
So if you’re going to pursue something with them — something beyond flirting for fun — and this is going to bother you, then you can ask for them to give you some advance warning if someone else is in the picture. But I think it’ll be better for you if you let this past hurt go and let it be the past.
Did you go from friends to dating? Did your relationship survive an inconvenient crush? Did you get ghosted only for them to come back into your life? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.
Ask Dr. Nerdlove is Kotaku’s bi-weekly dating column, hosted by the one and only Harris O’Malley, AKA Dr. NerdLove. Got a question you’d like answered? Write email@example.com and put “Kotaku” in the subject line.
Hello all you walking slabs of haunted pork, and welcome to Ask Dr. NerdLove, the only dating advice column that’s a certified keyblade wielder.
This week, we’re tackling the tricky art of relationship maintenance. How do you introduce future boyfriends into a platonic polyamorous relationship? How do you turn down a friend who’s looking for a relationship upgrade… without losing the friendship? How can you tell when you’ve moved on from a failed relationship and when you’re on the rebound?
It’s time to load Tinder back onto your GummiPhone. Let’s do this.
Dear Dr. NerdLove,
First off, I’m a big fan. I even read your book! I’ve also never written to an advice column before so here it goes. I’m 28 and a self-professed gamer girl. Last year, my fiance of 5 years dumped me…over discord msg. It was heartbreaking. Now I’m considering getting back out there but things seem a lot harder than it was the first time go around.
First off, I should explain that I’m kinda already in a committed relationship with my best friend. She & I have known each other since we were ten. We’ve lived together for almost nine years now. We own a house and have a shared bank account. Hell, she even makes me lunches to take to work and books me dental appointments. We take care of each other. She has supported me through my parents’ divorce, college and the previously mentioned break up. We’ve often joked that we should declare ourselves common law since we’re so financially joined if one of us were to pass away the other would need to figure things out. She’s literally my soulmate. The only problem is that I’m a hopeless heterosexual and she is…well I’m not even sure she knows.
She has also expressed zero interest in dating. While she’s had crushes on guys in the past, she’s only ever been on one date and doesn’t seem that bothered by being single at all. Which is fine with me; that’s her business after all. As her best friend I can only encourage her and no, she is not in love with me. If she was that problem would’ve presented itself in my previous relationship, but it didn’t.
My ex was okay with how close we were and understood that I was a two package deal (though he had serious commitment issues but that’s another story altogether) but I struggled to balance the two of them and their separate lives. Even living between two houses every week. Eventually, I couldn’t juggle them both anymore.
I’m a romantic person. Children are not high on my priority list but I genuinely want to be in a loving relationship with a man. It’s one of the things I need to be happy, but I also am committed to my friend/sister and absolutely do not want to abandon her. She’s family and the person I rely the most on. I’ve thought about pursuing just physical relationships with men but I find it hard to detach my feelings in those kinds of situation, leaving me depressed.
How should I explain to a potential gentleman friend that being with me would mean also becoming a part of her life as well? How do I manage this weird pseudo poly relationship?
– Truly Odd Couple
The first thing to do is stop seeing this as a deep dark secret, TOC. You and your best friend are family — a family of choice, rather than of blood, but no less family for that. There’s nothing shameful, weird or terribly unusual about any of this.
It’s love, yeah, but there are many kinds of love. There’s more than just eros, love of the body, or agape, love of the soul. There’s also filia, the love of devoted friends, and pragma, the kind of love that exists in a relationship of long standing. The fact that we as a culture tend to focus on the first two — often to the point that we forget that platonic love exists — doesn’t mean that it’s unknown or alien.
The way to bring this up is to to treat your relationship with your best friend not as a weird platonic poly relationship, but simply as your sister and roommate. You wouldn’t keep the fact that you have a sister a secret. Nor would you avoid mentioning that you share a house with somebody. Hell, you wouldn’t see having a close relationship with your family as unusual or something to avoid mentioning. It’s just another fact of who you are.
Once you frame it in that light, then things become much simpler. This may mean that the first few times you and your new beau hook up, it may be at his place, at least until you’re feeling like this may be a relationship with staying power. Like introducing any potential new partner to your family, it’s not something that you necessarily want to do until you’re pretty sure the relationship has some potential. After all, meeting the family is often a significant relationship milestone.
The key to how you introduce this to people you may date is to start as you mean to go on. The way that you roll this out to potential partners is going to color how they react to the information. Your partners will tend to take cues from you about how to respond. If you treat this as something that you have to apologize for, something that you feel uncomfortable with or otherwise something shameful, they’re going to be primed to see this as unusual and awkward. If you treat it as something normal — even something cool and unique about yourself — then you’ll be encouraging them to see it the same way.
It’s also worth noting that this sort of relationship is actually a boon for you and your future lovers. No couple can be all things to all people; having strong emotional connections and friends outside of the relationship helps strengthen and maintain your connection with your partner. You won’t be putting all of your needs for support and intimacy in one figurative basket and straining your relationship (and your mutual patience).
Just remember: even if this weren’t fairly well known, it’s still part and parcel of who you are as a person. It’s what makes you unique and contributes to your being the person that those future potential boyfriend are attracted to. Anyone who’s going to date you or share your life is going to be accepting of this. If they aren’t… well, that’s a pretty good sign that they’re not compatible with you in the first place.
Hello Dr. NerdLove,
So my question is not related to attraction, at least not from my end. It’s what I can fairly confidently call attraction from a friend of mine to me. More than that however, is to receive proper confirmation or denial of my suspicions, and to receive advice on how to deal with it. Ideally in a way that has a chance at allowing our friendship to continue.
Now for context, I am a straight male in my mid-late 20’s, and I know we are often (quite rightfully) accused of assuming that girls like us when they just want to be friends. And certainly, I don’t exempt myself from having made erroneous assumptions in the past, as well as being oblivious to advances, even fairly evident ones. And yet in spite of this, I believe with due certainty that this friend, “Samantha,” wants to be more than friends.
We met a couple of years ago, and both of us were dating someone when we met. The four of us all were part of the same social circle. We were all tabletop gamers and all-around geeks. Over time, we both broke up with our then partners, but Sam and I stayed in contact — especially since we were in the same social circles.
A year ago or so, we began to hang out one on one. Before, we mainly hung out whenever the group was all together. Now we’ve also been meeting up separately, since we’ve found that we have more things in common than we initially realized.
Recently, our friendship has started to be strained. I’ve been dating a woman, “Charlotte,” for about six months. Obviously, this is something all my friends know about. And while Sam did seem happy for me when we texted, she seemed far less so when she actually met Charlotte.
When we all got together for the first time, Charlotte fit fairly well with most of my friends. Samantha on the other hand was just one step below being straight up rude. She would cut conversations with us short, giving the kinds of answers that shut down the topic. On its own, this wouldn’t be so bad; we all have our bad moods. But Sam would act like this every time Charlotte was around. When she wasn’t present with the group, Samantha was quite pleasant.
Samantha dated and broke up with one guy in the interim. The one time he hung out with the rest of the group and us, Samantha was particularly obnoxious about him. Every time when specifically Charlotte or I piped in with a story or comment, Samantha tried to one up the two of us with a story or comment about her and her boyfriend. Charlotte pointed out that Samantha only did this to the two of us.
I never confronted Samantha about this, however the next few times we would all hang out in a group, Charlotte and I would just talk to one or two people at once rather than joining in on group conversations. This fortunately and unfortunately didn’t last long, Samantha eventually broke up with this guy and stopped hanging out with our group altogether.
Flash forward to two months ago, Charlotte and I broke up. We left on good terms, but it hurt regardless. Charlotte was fun even if things didn’t work out as they should for reasons beyond the scope of this question. All of a sudden, Samantha, who had limited herself to talking with me in monosyllables and the odd meme here and there, sends me a request to meet up. I agreed and we met up, it all seemed to have gone back to normal, and Samantha was hanging out with all of us again.
That said, the incident that, for me at least, made it very clear that Samantha wants something more was rather recent. A couple of weeks ago, Samantha told me that the group was going to watch Aquaman together. When I got there, Samantha was there by herself. She told me that nobody could make it. Most of us have relatively busy lives so at the time I didn’t question it. But a couple of days ago, I met up with another friend from the group who told me me that it was the first time he learned of this.
Samantha never actually invited him. I asked the others and all of them said the same.
At the time this made me feel simply… hurt. Things did gradually start to click. It didn’t seem like there was any other explanation. And while I do think Samantha is pretty and I enjoy hanging out with her, I’m just not interested in her that way.
Plus, there are other factors that make me less interested in dating her. For example: she has severe depression issues and takes medication for them. I don’t judge, since I take meds for my own disorders, but Sam has, on occasion, dropped the meds without consulting the psychiatrist. This leads to her being difficult to deal with. I am not equipped to deal with her when she’s at her worst, which would be bad for the two of us. Plus, I met her as a friend so it’s hard for me to see her as anything else.
My question is, is there any way I can talk to her about this and get an answer? I’d rather stay friends with her, but if she is feeling like that, first and foremost, I don’t want to lead her on anymore. It’s not fair to her.
Thanks a lot, and I love your column!
-Hoping to Keep a Friend
I wouldn’t necessarily leap to “she’s attracted to me,” HtKaF. While it’s certainly a possibility, there’re other potential ways to read this — ways that seem as plausible. I think Samantha was jealous of Charlotte’s place in your life to be sure… but that doesn’t mean that Samantha’s attracted to you.
As I was saying to Truly Odd Couple, the fact that we focus so much on sex and attraction means that we tend to end up downplaying the importance or intensity that friendships can have. Or, for that matter, the way those friendships can make us react.
It’s entirely possible that part of why Samantha was so passive-aggressively hostile towards Charlotte is because she felt threatened by her presence. Not because Charlotte was a romantic rival but because she was a threat to the friendship dynamic you had. Lots of people get pissy when their friend starts dating someone because it cuts into their relationship. The cliché of “they got a boyfriend/girlfriend and now they never see their friends anymore” exists for a reason after all.
Watch Chasing Amy some time; half the conflict of the movie is due to Banky’s jealousy of Alyssa and the time she’s taking away from him and Holden. Holden assumes it’s because Banky’s attracted to him, rather than his being upset that someone has disrupted their friendship.
Absent more concrete proof that Sam’s attracted to you, I’d err more towards the side of “awkward friendship” drama. This would potentially cover the “Let’s all go to the movies, oops, nobody else could make it” move; yeah, it gets her alone time with you, but sometimes we want one-on-one hang-outs with our friends. If she can’t express herself like a grown-ass adult when she’s upset, it’s not unusual that she may not be able to express herself like one when she’s trying to rebuild a friendship either.
But whether it’s attraction or just a friend who’s not so good with emotions, my advice is more or less the same: continue acting like a friend until she gives you reason not to. You’re not Killgrave or Professor X; you can’t control other people’s emotions or make her not like you. Unless you’re actually flirting with her or otherwise acting like a potential boyfriend, then you’re not leading her on — not in any way that you can control for, in any case. As every woman who’s ever been stuck dealing with a Nice Guy knows, some folks will take anything as a sign to continue, regardless of the actual behavior.
If she starts to actually press for more from you than friendship — or she starts getting snotty around you when you start dating again — then it’s time to call the question and establish some boundaries.
But for now, never play an ace when a deuce will do. I think you’re safe in continuing to act like a friend and possibly dialing back the amount of one-on-one time you spend with her if need be. There’s little to do that won’t cause unnecessary drama and risk the chances of maintaining your friendship with her.
I was married to a woman for a very long time. As in all marriages, we had good times, bad times, and of course times when everything was average. However some sticking points were that we didn’t share a lot in common and she hated my hobbies (video games and other nerdy stuff).
When we met I was working retail, she was getting a masters degree. When we married, I worked my butt off to go back to school and work a full time job. After finishing school I got to the point where I was making good money. However for her it was never enough. She would criticize me for “starting so late” and even though I was making very good money, more than her at this point, she said I should have been farther along. Also she held her background over my head, touting how she came from a white collar background and mine was very blue collar.
She quit her job and went through a myriad of other ones before she settled on a new career. She was going back to school for this new career and got into one that was out of state and would be living halfway across the country for 3 years. I supported her in that. Even after I lost my job and had to move to a new city. Between her school and the move I was wiped out financially and I am just now getting on my feet after a couple of years.
We tried to make it work but I could feel her pulling away quickly. One day she hit me with “I want a divorce” and was very adamant about it. Well adamant is an understatement, more like cruel. I won’t repeat the things she said exactly but it can be summed up in variations of “I used you because I was alone, I needed support, I never loved you.” I was crushed by all this.
I took some time, examined everything in the relationship. Where I messed up, all the things I did wrong and all the things she said and did during our marriage. After reflecting on all this I came to the conclusion that I would be better off without her and started moving on.
The divorce is in process and should be completed in 3 months.
I started dating and I’ve met a wonderful girl who actually treats me well, and we share a lot of the same interests. She knows about my situation and is willing to stick by me.
The issues now are:
1. My soon-to-be-ex wanted a second chance. I told her no, not after what you did and said. However I feel kind of guilty about it. She has also gone back to bouncing aimlessly between job to job again and I feel sorry for her. Some people have told me I should hate her but I can’t bring myself to do it. Is there something wrong with me that no matter what she said/did I can’t bring myself to do so?
2. I really love my girlfriend and everything is great. We even talked about a future together after the divorce is final. However I also heard about the dreaded “Rebound Relationship” that ends in disaster. How do I avoid that happening here? I really feel a great connection with this girl and I don’t want to lose her.
So Damn Confused
First SDC: No, you shouldn’t give your ex a second chance, nor should you feel guilty about it. It is totally understandable that you feel weird about things; you were with this woman for a very long time. Even if she was an abusive shitbag to you — and she was — it’s normal for you to have complex and complicated feelings. Even people who are in physically abusive relationships often feel guilt about leaving or worry about their ex.
This is totally normal and it just means that you’re human.
Just don’t let that feeling of guilt persuade you into giving your ex even a second more of your time. You don’t owe her any more of your brain’s bandwidth than the bare minimum it’ll take to get through the divorce. She burned those bridges herself and she can fuck right off into the sea.
Second: A rebound relationship is just the fancy name we give for getting into a relationship before you’re ready. Just like some folks will try to walk on a sprained ankle before it’s healed, some people will leap into a relationship before they’ve finished mourning and processing their last one.
The problem is that we tend to call any relationship we get into a “rebound” if it’s the first one post break-up, especially after that one ends. But if you get right down to it, by that definition, every relationship is a rebound for the one before it.
The truth is that we process break-ups at different speeds. In fact, sometimes the reason why we’re able to get over a relationship, even a long-term one, incredibly quickly is because we left the relationship before it ended. We started the “getting over them” process while we were still dating them and the official end date was much more of a formality than a milestone.
The key to making this relationship work is to make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. Not because you have anything to prove to yourself or your ex, not because you’re afraid to be alone, but because this person, specifically, gives you the love, companionship, support, intimacy, compassion and care that you need, and you can return that in equal measure.
Let that be your guiding star, and you’ll be just fine.
Did you have a platonic hetero lifemate? Have you dealt with a friend’s inconvenient crush? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.
Ask Dr. Nerdlove is Kotaku’s bi-weekly dating column, hosted by the one and only Harris O’Malley, AKA Dr. NerdLove. Got a question you’d like answered? Write firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Kotaku” in the subject line.