Dear Thelma: My boyfriend is an online game addict who has no time for me

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Dear Thelma,

My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for five years. We have been through breakups, and then patched up, twice in this relationship.

It has always been hard to get to spend quality time with him. I feel that he doesn't prioritise me. Also, he is not a good listener to my problems.

I believe there should always be give-and-take in a relationship but I'm tired of being the only one who is giving 100% to work on this relationship and ending up not getting any love, time or care from him.

My boyfriend is a gamer. After he wakes up, he plays PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) until he sleeps. He won't even give me five minutes of his time to just talk.

Whenever I call him without knowing that he is playing a game, he would cancel my call and sometimes get angry because if he answers my call the game would lag.

I call him because I want to hear his voice. In the end, he makes me feel lonely even though we are in a relationship.

How do I know when to call him, and what if there's an emergency?

I respect his time and space, but I can't tolerate this all the time.

He would never ask me how my day was, have I eaten, and so on, in our daily conversation. It's just me who has been updating him, messaging him and initiating plans all the time. Just small and simple things that matter, which a girlfriend would wish for.

I have never asked him for anything but his time, attention and love.

What's the point of being in a relationship when one person is unhappy all the time?

When he is out with his friends, he does not treat me right in front of them. He uses words that hurt me in front of others too.

My boyfriend always gets manipulated within his circles. He is a totally different person when he's with his friends – he treats me with so much disrespect. I feel like there's no privacy between us.

He and I are pursuing Bachelor's degrees in the same university but different courses.

I have been doing 100% of his assignments, online tests and quizzes for him in spite of my own workload. I feel so burdened doing all his tasks when I do not even understand the course content.

He doesn't know anything about his course, either.

Yet, when I help him out, there's no appreciation from him.

I'm doing all his tasks because he once told me that if I can't, he will ask other girls to help him. So, I was afraid that he would talk to other girls if I didn't help him.

When he needs anything from me regarding his assignments and so on, he would text me in a proper manner; otherwise, he wouldn't care about me.

I feel that he is using me. But I've convinced myself because I truly love him so I sacrifice a lot for him.

I have tried many times to communicate with him and share my thoughts on how I feel, but he doesn't even bother to prolong the conversation and immediately goes offline. Not once does he even ask me if I'm OK, if I'm happy with this relationship, and so on.

He just says that he is fed up with me because he thinks that I complain all the time.

But I'm not complaining. I just want him to put himself in my shoes. When he gives me time, love and care, would I have so much to say?

I can't give up on this relationship, though, because it was hard for me when I went through the breakup with him previously. I'll do anything to save this relationship but not all the time because eventually one day I will get tired too.

I'm mentally exhausted and I don't know what else I can do to make this relationship work. What shall I do, Thelma ?

Broken and lonely girlfriend

Let me summarise what's going on. He is completely disinterested in you. He says this and he shows it through his actions.

My dear, why do you think you're in a romantic relationship? There is no love here. There isn't even basic politeness. Your only connection is that you cheat for him on his papers and exams.

You said it yourself: You have convinced yourself to love him.

I'm extremely concerned about you. I urge you to make some serious changes.

First, he has involved you in his deceit. To put it formally: You are facilitating academic dishonesty or cheating.

Taking someone else's tests and writing their assignments is a serious matter. And you've been doing it for years, which means persistent fraud. You may be expelled.

Although it's less likely, if his course involves practical work or research that comes from businesses or professional associations, they may sue the university – and pull you into court as well.

Cut your association with that man immediately. Never repeat that behaviour.

Confession may lead to serious consequences that ruin your future. Therefore, I would hesitate to take that route. Frankly, I think you should take legal advice. As you're a student and likely short of funds, call the numbers above.

Second, you've clearly been in a bad situation for some time, and I'm curious where your family and friends are in this. You've not mentioned them, and I'm concerned you may have few or no resources.

Therefore, get yourself some therapy sessions. You're at university so you should have access to a free service. Book yourself twice weekly sessions, because you need to review who you are and to build some effective change.

Start by figuring out how you got into this situation. I don't say this as a personal judgement but as an observation: You have put yourself in serious jeopardy. I get the sense from your letter that you haven't realised how unprincipled your actions are.

If you continue on this path, you may run into serious difficulties. Review your home circumstances, and see what values you have learned. To stay out of trouble, you must learn right from wrong.

In addition, work on understanding how healthy relationships work, and how you can build up a sense of self-esteem. If you have a solid sense of self, you will find it easier to resist peer pressure.

You also need a support network, with some healthy activities that help you connect with nice people.

I appreciate this reply may be a shock. However, I think you are very unhappy because you recognise on some level that you are in an impossible situation.

So get the help you need and move into a happier space, OK? Know I'm thinking of you.

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