When I first met Will, one of the things that attracted me was the fact that he seemed to have a childlike enthusiasm for almost everything in life. We met through mutual friends and he came across as someone with so much energy who really enjoyed every day to the fullest.
We started dating a few weeks later, after many long and entertaining phone conversations. I am generally a bubbly person so I loved that he was very chatty too as one of the things I enjoy most about being in a relationship is being able to talk about anything and everything for hours.
So, after a few dates, I was totally smitten with Will. He was polite, charming and made me laugh like no other man I had ever met. He was always excited about spending time with me and, before a date was over, he was already making plans for the next one.
It was obvious Will was keen on me and I really enjoyed his company too so I started taking the idea of him and me seriously. We went on dates only on the weekends so I suggested to Will that we meet during the week too. He seemed a bit hesitant to commit to that and I must admit I was a bit perturbed by his reaction.
Did he not want to see more of me? Did I come across as too forward by asking to see more of him? Did I scare him away? My mind was whirring with these thoughts as I struggled to understand why he didn't seem interested.
A couple of weeks later, Will invited me to his flat. He shared it with two childhood friends and one of them was having a birthday celebration and Will wanted me to be there. During the party, his friends teased Will about me and I found it adorable how he got shy, I had never seen that side of him before.
His secret nickname
That night, I saw another new side to Will. His friends kept calling him 'Gamer Boy', a nickname that he seemed to not want me to know about. One of his friends noticed this and asked me if I knew why Will had this nickname. After I said no, he proceeded to explain to me - Will was apparently a very good gamer and, over the years, had got hooked on various games.
His friends saw this as some sort of extraordinary achievement but, to me, it seemed like a childish obsession. I don't have an issue with men who game but I drew the line at men who took it seriously enough to do it as a frequent hobby.
It was the first time I had been to Will's flat so, when he showed me his bedroom later that night, it came as no surprise that he had a computer set up with gaming equipment. I asked Will about his gaming habit when he walked me to a taxi after the party. He confessed that he really enjoys gaming and that it helps him to relieve stress and forget about the worries of the world. He said it was his way to unwind after a hard day at work and that being good at it was just a bonus.
I asked him if this was why he never seemed to want to meet me on weeknights. He looked sheepish but at least he admitted that that was the reason. I was a bit taken aback but was pleased that at least he was honest with me.
We kept on seeing each other on the weekends but I wasn't comfortable with this arrangement. I brought it up again, the idea of meeting on weeknights. He agreed reluctantly and we started going for a movie or dinner a couple of times during the week too.
However, Will was always in a rush to leave. It seemed like he had a curfew of some sort and always made sure he was home by 10pm. He didn't live with his parents so I was baffled as to why he had to be home by a certain time. Plus, he was a grown man!
You're not serious?
Then it all clicked - it obviously had something to do with his gaming. I asked him after this happened a few times and he told me he competes against several gamers living in other time zones and, therefore, he was often gaming into the wee hours of the morning.
This also explained why he never wanted to meet for breakfast on the weekends. I wondered how he managed to get to work in one piece every morning if he wasn't getting much sleep. But his body was obviously used to little sleep and he was able to function like a normal adult during the day.
This confession didn't sit comfortably with me. It was one thing to enjoy a particular hobby but to let it dictate your life was another story altogether. Also, it showed me that he wasn't as serious about me as I was about him since he wasn't willing to make any sacrifices - or even compromise - to spend more time with me.
While I really enjoyed Will's company, I realised that I had to end things with him. I saw no future for us and couldn't get past the fact that he preferred to spend more time with his online gaming friends than with me. He clearly had some sort of addiction and I didn't want it to be my job to deal with the consequences of it.
So I told Will that I couldn't see him anymore. He was shocked and asked what he could do to make me change my mind. I told him that his gaming addiction was a big problem for me but he didn't offer to make any changes in that aspect of his life. It was then that I knew that dumping him was the right decision.
*Name has been changed
This article was first published in Her World Online