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My sudden transition from a hardcore trophy hunter to... a non-gamer?!

Posted by AkariK, 12 August 2013 · 635 views

I didn't notice CAG blogs were back, I've been thinking of writing this one for a while.

I doubt anyone noticed, but a few blogs back I mentioned that I had basically slowed down on playing games for personal reasons, but I didn't want to mention them yet because there were still things up in the air. Things have settled down now, so I think it's time to at least get this off my chest. Yes, this is a relationship entry, and it will be long. I think it's worth the read, but you don't have to take my word for it!

So at 31, I've never actually had a steady girlfriend, and up until about 3 years ago, I had basically decided that I would be ok being single. It's not about fear of commitment, but more like I couldn't see how a relationship would benefit me, as well as seeing enough examples of bad relationships to decide that it likely wasn't worth the risk (my uncle had a SUPER messy divorce, someone I knew online had 2 messy divorces in a row, etc). I was generally happy the way I was. This all changed after I moved into my house with my brother. While he was around I was fine, but then, about 3 years ago, he decided to move to China. I'll tell you this, living alone for a year in a 2 story house without local friends to go out with will do some damage to your psyche... At that point I decided I'd try to at least enter the dating world - but do note that yes, it was a very late start.

The introduction:
Right as I was picking a site to join, out of the blue, one of my dad's old college classmates who lived in Kansas contacted him and wanted to visit. I met him and his wife, and it turned out that he had met his wife through a Ukrainian marriage agency (they had been married 6 years at this point, and were very happy). While they were here, they visited my house as well, and I guess I made a good impression on her, because behind the scenes, she decided to try and matchmake me with her friend back in Ukraine who was NOT using an agency. Unbeknownst to me, she and my parents traded our pictures, and once all sides (minus me!) said ok, then I was given her contact information. This was about a year and a half ago.

The courting process:
Initially we attempted to communicate via email, and she tried to type in English, but our emails were sporadic and simple. I couldn't really ask much, and it just didn't work out too well. However, due to my dad and his classmate communicating every so often, I had insider information - Elena (my dad's classmate's wife) would talk to the girl in Ukraine, and then would pass on at least some of that to her husband, who would pass some of that on to my dad, and then to me. Apparently she was frustrated that we weren't communicating more, so after a few months of that, we finally discovered that she wasn't really good enough at typing in English (but her speaking/reading/understanding is excellent), so we decided to communicate via Facebook, and with her typing in Russian and me in English. Google Translate would be our guide. After that, things took off and we were talking nearly every day (~1 hour per day on most weekdays, generally not on weekends due to time zones and scheduling).

A note here, I knew that since she was not using an agency, her desire to leave Ukraine was not necessarily as strong as people that did use agencies, so while our ultimate goal was indeed marriage, it would take a much stronger bond than general agency relationships.

About 6 months in (~March 2013), we decided to take the first step and try to meet. I figured that visiting Ukraine would be too risky because the relationship, while very good, was still not anything above a good friendship, so after some debate, we settled on Hong Kong - a nice neutral country to visit, and I had enough backup in relatives that I'd have a place to stay and help making plans. So I flew her out to HK for a week, and while the trip went well, she was so tired all the time (she can't sleep on trains or planes, so she was dead on her feet a couple of days) that I didn't push anything. Despite my insider info saying she was waiting for me to make a move, there were 2 problems - 1. I didn't know how, 2. she turned down taking pictures at a couple of slightly romantic locations, so I decided just to not do anything. The conversation was great though, and we ended that trip as closer friends, but still just friends.

After returning to talking online every day, she invited me to Ukraine for a second visit - I had known that Elena would be visiting Ukraine in July, and I had hoped to tag along and maybe have her help advance the relationship further, but I couldn't say that, so I waited for her to invite me first. After working out the details, it was decided that I'd visit, but after Elena left, due to timing issues and other things.

The courting process, advanced:
With all that settled, I was in Ukraine July 15-23. The first 2 days I stayed at a hotel, and the next 2 days we went to a beachside hotel with her brother (plus his wife and daughter), and her friend. It went well, but my major issue was just seeing no reciprocation from her. Everything I had been told said that she was refusing to make any move at all, but I was getting absolute 0 in signals to work with. After a discussion with my dad where he said 'you'd better try something now or just give up and stop wasting her and your time', I figured I'd take the plunge - remember, I'm socially awkward at this stuff, so this was actually a VERY big step for me. That night I confessed everything to her, and after talking it over for an hour or so, our relationship was official! Not deeply so, but at least it was a load off my back (and likely hers as well). Unfortunately this was 2 days before I left, and the schedule actually left us absolutely no free time at all. I do mean ABSOLUTELY none. But that was ok with me, at least we had better terms to work with.

The courting process - the proposal:
The next day's plans were to visit Elena's parents for lunch, and then come back and have dinner with Inna's (my date) parents and her brother's family - they were all supportive, of course. All in all, it went well enough that that night, I decided to pop the question...

Spoiler


Unfortunately I had to leave Ukraine before we could do anything (my flight was at 3 in the morning and the airport was ~an hour away on not so great roads so we just went to sleep so she could be well rested for the drive), but we've started the fiancee visa process now. If all goes well, the wedding is projected to be first quarter 2014. I'm dealing with a lot of separation anxiety, but overall, I'm a lot happier than I've ever been. In keeping with the topic, I had slowed down on games because my nights had been spent talking to her, but now I've basically quit. I will still play here and there, but I've lost all interest in trophies, so that's that. She's a very outdoorsy person, which is 180 degrees from my lifestyle, but to be honest, I had never been all that happy with my lifestyle to begin with. I just never had motivation or opportunities to change it. This is my chance, and I don't plan to let it go.

Will I make a good adjustment and be a good husband? I don't know, but I will absolutely try my best. Thanks for reading this, I just needed to let someone (anyone) know.

Footnote: Ukraine was a lovely place to visit. It's so much more laid back than the US that honestly, I kind of prefer it there. I dislike their roads because they're in terrible condition, but I enjoyed the general natural feel of the country enough to make up for it - for example, there are very few processed foods there, so people eat a lot healthier. Produce and meats are plentiful and VERY cheap. Also, the people were very friendly. Just something to think about, maybe I will visit much more often.




I don't really have enough information to judge whether or not this is a good thing for you..other than you seem ready for a change in life and like you said, this can be the way to do it. I don't know if that means this is 'the' girl for you, but I, again, don't know enough to have an opinion one way or another on that front. I think it shows courage to make a change when you are not happy and I am glad you are doing so. Good luck!

When I started reading this I was expecting something really sad about a breakup, but color me shocked when in fact it was just the opposite!
 
Congrats dude, really happy for you! Trophies can wait, +1 for taking a chance on something that really matters (no offense intended to trophy hunters, but I don't think they in any way compare to a relationship). But just for old times sakes:
img_520932932201a.jpg

Thanks. I've never believed in love at first sight, so I don't think you can really know that they are 'the one' until much later, but at this point there is strong support from all sides for both of us, and I think the future looks very bright.

 

As for making a lifestyle change, I know it seems like a rather abrupt and extreme decision to make, and even now I don't know how ready I am - this is the downside of all the waiting for the visa process, I end up with much more time to try and predict what's going to happen and how I will have to handle it (she says I think too much, and it's true). However, I obviously won't have to work through it alone.

dood, congrats!

 

I say to people (mainly my clients whom are children with some sort of behavioral issue) that life isn't all about video games. weird, since I am typing this on a gaming website lol. But, you have something now that many people lack and/or hope to have- a significant relationship!

 

relationships are what really makes my life special. I have been lucky enough to find someone who casual plays games (and tolerates my collecting habits to an extent), maybe you can introduce your lady to a game that you both find interesting! if not, its ok because a good partner always works with you on things such as hobbies/free time activities.

 

again, congrats and I hope it works out for the best! continue with gaming as much as time permits, and remember to never let go of who you are. cheers!

Congratulations!  It's a big step, that's for sure, but I hope this change in your life is everything you want it to be, and you have a long and happy life together.

Well, that was an interesting read.

 

Just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, so you were only technically in a "relationship" with her one day before you asked her to marry you?  That seems kind of fast to me.  I understand it's way different in that you guys can't actually "date" when you're living in different countries, and this is probably the only way you two can be together besides you moving over there, but that still seems kind of odd to me.

 

Anyways, best of luck.  I'm gonna catch your trophy count one day!

Well, that was an interesting read.

 

Just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, so you were only technically in a "relationship" with her one day before you asked her to marry you?  That seems kind of fast to me.  I understand it's way different in that you guys can't actually "date" when you're living in different countries, and this is probably the only way you two can be together besides you moving over there, but that still seems kind of odd to me.

 

 

I agree.  There are so many things I could say.  But they may be considered negative.  Good luck and hope all goes well with your relationship.

tyler: Officially, that is correct. But we had been communicating frequently, with Skype video occasionally, for about a year, and the Hong Kong trip told me that we were compatible (in-person conversation, behavior, intellect, general attitude, etc). The Ukraine trip cemented that. The goal was mutual, and you do have to remember that European girls tend to be much more strongly family oriented and down to earth, so they (and especially her) are far more observant of little things - certainly more than I am, I can say that for sure. Like I said, it was a big step, and we both knew it, but I think it was the correct one. And while the relationship title was short, I think it was unofficially there for much longer than 1 day. Actually, feelings-wise, I think I could say it was there ever since Hong Kong, but due to distance, it's tough to pin a date down, you know?

 

Additionally, from what I was told after the HK trip, she went into the Ukraine trip with her mind already mostly made up as well. I just had to also leave a good impression on her family and friends, and be the first one to act - which, like I said, was tricky on me, since I really had not sensed that from her... it appears she was as awkward about it as I was.

 

mer: I absolutely welcome negative statements. I did try to summarize a lot here, and I could have made it a lot longer, but I am light on details to save space. It's better than making it a 2 part blog with a cliffhanger. If I can allay those negative statements with more detail, perhaps I can edit the blog accordingly. If not, I don't expect 100% support anyway.

Congratulations!

 

In 2004, I had a former co-worker in Kansas who met his fiancee, who was from one of the Eastern European countries (I don't remember which one), over the internet.  But his experience sounded similar to yours.  From what he told me, they talked a lot and met in her country.  I got the impression that her parents told him in some polite way to get serious or get out.  I left that job before she moved to the US, so I don't know how their relationship worked out in the end.