Ask Dr Nerdlove: My Date Doesn't Approve Of My Geeky Hobbies

Ask Dr. Nerdlove: My Date Doesn't Approve Of My Geeky Hobbies

What's going on, everyone? Welcome to the latest instalment of Ask Dr NerdLove, dedicated to solving your dating problems and making nerds just a little sexier every day. I've got a trio of questions for you this time, centered around some of the most common issues geeks face out in the dating pool.

Hey Dr NerdLove,

I'm an Japanime/comic enthusiast and I'm recently dating this girl who says she doesn't understand why grown people are into comics and cartoons. I have literally been keeping this secret from her to the point if I watch an anime on HULU and netflix I literally leave my PS3 on to watch other shows so that way it doesn't come on my queue for recommendations/recently watched. I was wondering what's the best way to introduce my girlfriend to the idea that I'm one of these supposed weirdos?


I'm gonna be honest Otaking: If you feel like you have to hide your interests from the person you're dating, it's worth asking why you're dating her in the first place. One of the keys to a successful, lasting relationship is that your partner needs to at least respect your interests. It's cool if she doesn't necessarily share them, but if she can't appreciate that they're something you love and doesn't like you spending time on them… well, that's a recipe for disaster.

To give a personal example: I'm a table-top gamer. I've been playing AD&D since the first edition. RIFTS, Robotech, TMNT, Mage… I love pen and paper RPGs and I've played them most of my life. In my younger days, however, I was dating a woman who thought those kinds of games were the province of man-children who couldn't deal with the real world. The few times I actually blocked out time to game with my friends she would come and literally drag me away because, as far as she was concerned, I was wasting my time. Small wonder that our relationship ended with the worst break-up story ever.

Seriously. It had a body count.

Now, to answer your question: How to introduce your girlfriend to the idea that you're into the stuff you're into? Start by bringing up the topic in a way that doesn't necessarily come across as picking a fight. Say that you've been reading X lately or just watched Y and you think she'd really enjoy it. The key is the way that you roll it out. Being into anime and comics is nothing to be ashamed of, but if you present it like it's something disgraceful then all you're doing is confirming that she's right to be looking down on you for it. Instead, you want to explain why you like it and what draws you to it and then provide some examples that she could check out.

Pick titles that are related to what she already enjoys. When in doubt, I recommend Saga, Perfect Blue, Criminal, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Spirited Away and Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind as good ways to introduce newcomers to the potential of comics and anime.

With luck, she'll understand that she's had a mistaken idea about anime and comics fans. But if she can't at least appreciate that you like the things you like... well, I hate to say it, but you might be better off dating somebody else.

Hello to the good Doctor,

Avid reader of Kotaku and glad to see you on board!

So, here's my question. Can you give some hints on where exactly a nerdy girl can find a nerdy guy? I live in a horribly small town of a few hundred people. I went off to college and now I live back here. Dating is limited to, well, They don't exactly know what an Xbox is. Last date I went on I made a Zelda reference and he asked me if Zelda was a friend of mine. Does a girl like me have better luck going to comic cons or video game cons to find someone? Is there forums for this kind of thing? Either way - I hope you can help!

- Looking for Nerdy Love

If you'll forgive a really awkward metaphor, dating is like hunting: You have to seek your prey where they congregate. If you're looking for nerds, then you have to go where the nerds are.

Online dating is the most obvious answer; you can look specifically for geekboys or gamers, although you are may have to expand your search to include nearby cities within a reasonable driving distance.

But don't neglect online forums - not ones specifically for dating but just places where people hang out and chat. I've had several friends who met their spouses via World of Warcraft, comics forums and even on Reddit. In fact, I officiated at the wedding of a good friend who met her husband via the Warren Ellis Forum back in the day.

I'm not the biggest fan of going to comic or game conventions specifically to find a relationship. While love can bloom on the convention floor, cons tend to be pressure-cooker situations where emotions run high and simple flirting suddenly turns into A LOVE THAT WILL LAST FOREVERRRRRR, only to fall apart after Sunday.

It's easier to hook up at a con than it is to really get to know someone well enough to know whether or not you have actual compatibility. But hard doesn't mean impossible — I've seen it happen. If there's a convention near you, I'd actually recommend volunteering as part of the staff. It's a great way to meet lots of people and plug into the community, allowing you to get to know people better than just trawling the artist's alley.

Conventions can also be a great place to meet up with people you've met online. You don't want to go with an agenda of actually getting together - I've seen far too many hearts be broken when one person assumed that bangin' was all but guaranteed - but it's definitely a great place to find out if the two of you have as much chemistry in person as you do over IM and email.

And to be perfectly honest: If you don't have responsibilities that keep you in town, it can be worth your time to save up your money and look to move to a larger city. Wanting to improve your romantic options is a perfectly legitimate reason to pull up stakes, and if it's at all a viable option, there's no real reason not to at least consider it.

Good luck.

Hi Doc,

I wanted to ask you a simple question when it comes to women. Should you call them out on their behaviour if they act disrespectful? For instance, if a girl takes 2 days to respond to a text message or if she flakes on you, do you blow it off, move on or call it out? I tend to gravitate towards the middle and latter but I'm also single and have been for a while.


The One Who Texts

If a person flakes on you, then he or she simply isn't that interested in you.

Let's start by defining terms: Flaking is when somebody decides to cancel a date at the last minute without rescheduling for a specific new time. Someone who has a legitimate reason why they can't make it and wants to make it work will propose a definite date to meet again. "Maybe some other time," on the other hand, is a way of saying "I don't want to see you after all."

Now, it can be tempting to call them out. It's totally understandable. You're feeling hurt, even a little insulted. You've been excited for this and now you're getting the rug yanked out from under you without warning. The patronizing excuse they offer can feel like the lemon juice of "go fuck yourself" on top of the paper-cut of rejection.

But here's the thing: Calling her out on her behaviour isn't going to accomplish anything. To start with, most of the time, it's not about correcting her behaviour, it's about the fact that you're mad and you want to lash out. You're hoping that by scolding her, she's going to realise she was wrong, have a change of heart, and beg your forgiveness. SPOILER ALERT: that's never going to happen. She's not emotionally invested in you, so why should she care about your opinion of her?

Now, it is theoretically possible to reverse an impending flake if you catch one early. But the question is: why would you want to? If she's going to be so rude as to flake out on you at the last minute, why would you go out with her at all?

In the end, it's far better to recognise that her flaking is doing you a favour. She's showing that she's not only uninterested, but she's too self-absorbed to even be polite about it. You have a limited number of fucks to give and she's just shown that she's unworthy of any of them. The best thing you can do is shrug your shoulders, realise you dodged a bullet and go talk to the other women out there who are actually awesome.

Have you found a way to share your geekier hobbies with your significant other? Have you found love - or something like it - on the con floor? Let's hear about it in the comments. And we'll see you in two weeks with more of your questions!

Ask Dr Nerdlove is Kotaku's bi-weekly advice column for matters of the heart, hosted by the one and only Harris O'Malley, AKA Dr Nerdlove. >

Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove and the Dr NerdLove podcast. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove. Dr Nerdlove is not really a doctor.

Picture: Shutterstock


    I am both lucky and cursed at the same time.

    My girlfriend in a bit of nerd and gamer as well. Though we may share interests, it also means we have to share the TV, consoles, PC and bandwidth.

    A good example is when I got Skyrim. I burst through the door with my copy in hand and turned on the PS.
    "Didn't you say you would do those dishes today?" She asked. I glanced at the kitchen and back to her with a frown.
    "Don't worry" She said with a grin, "I will install it"

    Thankfully now she has taken the PS3 upstairs to our room in preparation for Lightning Returns and the FFX/X2 HD remakes while I get the PS4 downstairs.....for now

      You lucky bastard...

        My wife plays Halo and call of duty with me. Watches through 3 mass effects and Ni no kuni. Best wife ever.

    @namiwakiru My wife and I have our own xbox and tv. It's bliss

    Last edited 30/01/14 3:38 pm

      I may or may not have gotten mine into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.


      So do I and the wife, problem is we only got one Xbox one so I'm always stuck playing ghosts split screen with her all the time....not sure what will happen when titanfall comes out :|

        Yeah. There comes a point where you just can't share split screen anymore. I picked up a 30ish inch HD TV from JB Hi Fi years ago, best decision ever.

        But yeah. Now with the Xbone out we're back to one console. We'll probably be sharing turns in it until finances allow us to buy another Xbone.

          And there's no other same or split screen games on the horizon either that I can tell :| destined to play cod all year

            We still have our 360s tho and there's fun to be had there. I'm hoping they release Diablo 3 on the Xbone, you can play that co-op on the same tv without it being split screen. You should check it out, there's a demo on the 360 that's a lot of fun.

            Last edited 31/01/14 3:34 pm

              Yeah we allready played it on the 360. Hopefully it will come out on the xb1 with the expansion included so I can justify buying it again :D

              we hooked up during a diablo2 lan in 2000.....gee's its been 14 years we've been together :D

              she even converted me to console gaming with her Pussy2, as I liked to tease her PS2 and in 2002 when she bought me a Xbox along with us having our first kid and I havnt looked back :D

              Last edited 31/01/14 6:03 pm

                Wow, we're a bit similar, we met in 1999 and got engaged and married in 2000. How big of a deal was Diablo 2 back then? It was THE thing if you played PC. Ever get into Heroes of Might and Magic 3? That was pretty big back then and the wife and I played it countless hours.

                  We also spent countless hours Lanning heroes and diablo.....its amazing how games like that can bring people together.....after that we both got into halo and starting going to Xbox LANs where we met other gamer couples our age which have now turned into life long friends :D

                  gaming has brought us a lot of happiness on so many levels.

                But some ignorant people insist games are anti-social =(

                Ah well. Another few decades and they'll be bred out of existence.

    I remember when my gf and I first started going out. She said something like “I hate gamers”. I responded immediately “Well I play games”.
    I find a straight forward approach is always the best method. Be confident in who you are and what you enjoy. There are reasons you like to play games and hopefully it’s more than just “I JUST LIKE TBAGGING PPL ON HALO LOLZ”.
    We discussed it and what she really hated was guys who are obsessed with video games and neglect other parts of their lives, including their s/o’s.

      Oops, double post, sorry

      Last edited 30/01/14 3:37 pm

    Gotta be up-front & take charge of the relationship guys.

    My first gf knew I was a playa (role-player) before we got together. Second GF - just had to have a DM conversation with her (not deep and meaningful - I explained I was our groups DM). My last GF and current wife - well I let her know I wasnt going stop hanging out with models just cos she came into the picture (I paint a lot of 40k chaos space marines).

    My fiancee doesn't play much games and she like casual games like cooking mama, candy crush, guess the emoji sort of game. Tried to introduce games to her and even Animal Crossing failed lol. She knows I'm a huge gamer and she don't mind as long as I don't get too overly obsessive with games and ignore her.

    Best of all she bought most of my consoles too. DS, 3DS, Vita, PS4. I only bought Xbox One and Wii U. Best future wife ever.

    If they don't approve of your nerdy hobbies they don't approve of you

      Agree if she doesn't approve get rid of her.

    If you feel like you have to hide your interests from the person you’re dating, it’s worth asking why you’re dating her in the first place.

    I need to agree with this 100%.

    I'm happily married now, but when I was out looking for my future wife, when I met a girl I was very upfront about my geeky video games, my computers, my sci fi. If they didn't like that idea from the start, then it was ended before we even got started. No point going any further with it if she didn't like me for who I was.

    Oddly enough, the woman I ended up marrying is the complete opposite of me and doesn't like any of that stuff herself, but she understands who I am. She buys me games, she smiles and nods whenever I talk computer stuff, and comes to watch sci fi movies with me. And that's what you want in a partner. She actually told herself once that she'd never marry a computer geek, but funny what life ends up throwing at you...

    Last edited 30/01/14 3:45 pm

      Haha your wife is much like my fiancee. She listens and agrees with me when I talk tech and geek, but deep down she has no clue which can be seen by the blank stare when you ask a question.

      Sounds exactly like my gf. I start talking about some fantasy book or trying to get her to play on a private WoW in prep for Wildstar and she just smiles and hugs me with a nod of zero understanding. I love her, haha.

      Unless you have some real freaky interests....then maybe its best to get to know someone first before scaring them away :P

      first date....Hi I'm Jack and I'm a panty sniffer :D
      but hey it may work.

      Last edited 01/02/14 1:45 pm

    I am another of the lucky ones, my fiancee has no problems with it at all.

    While she may not understand the reason why I watch my 'cartoons', I respond with why do you watch 'show x' or 'show y'? We laugh about it and carry on, it is never meant as a snipe or attack but more in jovial sneaky way.

    Just be straight up. As they say, honesty is the best policy.

    Last edited 30/01/14 3:50 pm

    The 2nd one is, to the point where I'm a little scared, the literal story of my life.
    (Except it was a Zelda shirt for me)

      It's very nearly mine as well

      Aside from my being a guy

      And my not really being into Nintendo stuff

      And my never having been on a date

      Aside from all that, uncanny!

      Last edited 30/01/14 4:54 pm

    I think there's a difference between someone being actively disgusted by your hobby, thinking it's pretty nerdy (which, sorry, anime and D+D are, even by average gamer standards), or just not being interested in it.

    If it's the first of those, then you have a legitimate problem. You shouldn't be with someone who has so little respect for you (or other humans) that they can't imagine someone else being interested in anything that they are not interested in and vocally opposes anything in that category.

    If it's the second or third, just deal with it and move on. And perhaps reflect on whether the other person demands that you celebrate their random interests or is happy to just do their own thing sometimes. Life would be unbelievably boring with someone who had the same views and interests that you do about everything.

    Did you seriously just recommend Perfect Blue as something to watch. In the situation where the date disapproves of Anime and cartoons. I wouldn't watch that with my wife who likes anime, let alone somebody I was dating who already had a negative opinion. I suppose it would end the issue one way or another pretty damn quickly

      How about Urotsukidōji? That'd sort people out pretty quickly

        To get my missus remotely interested in anime I started off with Spirited Away... You can't not like Spirited Away.

        After that we watched a few more... up to Ninja Scroll (pushing the limits) ... then she said 'I thought these things were full of tentacle r***, where did I get that from!?' I then (for a laugh) put on Urotsukidōji. She lasted 15 minutes before hurling all sorts of abuse at me.

        Needless to say she doesn't watch anime anymore.

          My wives into Anime.....if she started me on spirited away it wouldn't have worked :| luckily she started me on Ninja scroll ........she didn't introduce to the tentacle sex till later :P

      I agree you shouldn't bother trying to convert people who don't like cartoons, but if for some reason you're hell bent on trying, what's wrong with Perfect Blue? It's just a good, solid 90's psychological techno thriller that happens to be Japanese and animated. None of the giant robot schoolgirl tentacle stuff.

        Uh, no. While well made and atmospheric, it's also pervy, rapey and disturbing (not to mention completely nonsensical). If she has a low opinion of anime, Perfect Blue will just cement her opinion.

        Maybe it is just knowing my wife and knowing that movie.
        Hey I know you don't like this stuff but sit down and watch this creepy dude and the filming of this rape scene while she become mentally disturbed.
        Depending on what his girlfriend likes maybe it would be a good choice, I certainly know it wouldn't be in my situation

          Admittedly Perfect Blue, made it hard to know what was going on, but I thought she was acting in that scene although the way they talk makes you think it's what really happened. Been awhile since I've seen it but I will never watch it ever again.

      I have shown a two of the women I have dated Perfect Blue, one had a small knowledge of anime (Deathnote and Miyazaki films) and was willing to get into it, the other had never seen it.

      Both thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps I am just into "weird" women, but I'd say to judge their general tastes first (like Black Swan? You'll probably like Perfect Blue). Others I've shown are Paprika and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, all except Hunter D have had 100% positive reactions after viewing.

      Just wanted to share from my own personal experiences on the subject.

      EDIT: Funnily enough, one of them actually bought a copy of Urotsukidōji themselves to watch.

      Last edited 30/01/14 6:34 pm

        Fair enough, again I was probably talking about my own situation more than anything.
        I guess if I was making recommendations to people who I didn't know that wouldn't have been something I would recommend

          My wife is the anime fan in our relationship and to be honest I don't like half the stuff she watches....but I make an effort and give everything a chance.

    When I met my now wife, she was playing Pikmin on a Gamecube (we still have it), loved Firefly and is a huge Star Trek geek (even if she didn't knew what the T in James T Kirk meant). It started with me introducing her to Dungeons & Dragons, then to World of Warcraft, and last year even to Dead Space 3, which she got very fond of and really enjoyed it in Co-Op. When I took her to Supanova at the Gold Coast for the first time, her comment was: "Looking at all these people makes me feel... normal."
    Couldn't ask for a better missus than her. :)

    I have four kids (all girls) and they are all growing up to be gamers.....just wish I had better internet :|

    My missus is now telling me off for spending too much time on games.

    Games are something I have been really into for a long time, and she knew this when we met two years ago. But it's now becoming a problem for her she says.

    She would prefer me to spend more time with her, which is very understandable. One problem I have though, is that by spending time with her, she means, watching Idol, My Kitchen Rules, Big Brother etc. with her.

    If there's one thing I can't stand, it's most reality television shows. I have no interest what so ever in them.

    I have tried the approach of: "I will spend an hour or two watching TV with you this afternoon, and then you can spend an hour or two with me gaming tomorrow afternoon".

    That didn't work either. Suggestions???


      It is what I do while sitting on the lounge 'watching' those shows. :)

    They dont have to understand/like what you do. As long as they can respect why you like it in the first place.

    Its all about communication and expressing yourself. My loves watching the same shows over and over again. I think its weird, i tell her its weird, i tell others its weird. But I let her do it and enjoy it. If you have to hide something from your partner than it wont end up well.

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