Just Because You Had a Bad Party Composition, It Doesn’t Mean Your Character Is Useless or You’re a Bad Player

an assortment of gaming dice
Image by James Bowe / CC BY

She’s doing it again. Beating herself up. We’ve been friends for a while now, and while I enjoy many things about her, her tendency to beat herself up over and over again about things that aren’t her fault? Well, let’s say it doesn’t make the Top 10 list of reasons I like her.

But there’s plenty of other stuff on that list, so I deal with it.

She’s comparing her past relationship with her current one. Attributing possible motivations to her new girlfriend based on ways that her ex-girlfriend did her dirty.

And while she’s trying her best to make these connections, they don’t make any sense.

Her ex-girlfriend and current girlfriend are dramatically different women. These are dramatically different relationships. Connections. Levels of compatibility.

“They’re so different,” I say to her. “Like so different.”

I point out qualities that she and her new girlfriend share in common that she and the ex frankly didn’t. “That’s why she’s such a good match for you,” I explain. “You’re like that. Your ex isn’t. So all of those good qualities you have just don’t hit her as efficiently.”

I use a role-playing analogy (since she’s into tabletop gaming), tell her it’s like she and her ex-girlfriend aren’t statted in a way that makes a good party. That it doesn’t mean that she isn’t a well built character.

“Okay, sure, maybe you wiped trying to partner with your ex,” I tell her.

(“Wiped” meaning a party wipe-out, i.e., a situation where your entire party dies at once in a dangerous encounter.)

“Doesn’t mean your character sucks. Doesn’t make you a bad player either,” I continue. “It’s bad party composition.”

*

For some of us, it’s all too easy to blame ourselves after a relationship ends in a disappointing way. To assume that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us and the way we do relationships.

While it’s true that breakups can be a good time to reflect on ourselves and what we can learn from the experience, it’s a mistake to jump to the conclusion that what happened in this particular relationship will necessarily dictate what happens in every other one we go on to have.

There simply are many situations where the issue wasn’t any of the individual people but the combination of them. And it’s entirely possible that everyone involved in the former relationship may simply leave it and find that they all click and work better with other people without changing a single thing, really.

Sometimes it’s not a matter of our stats or skills (or lack thereof) but of party composition.

That’s something to keep in mind, moving forward. Learn whatever lessons you can — so long as they empower you to move forward hopefully and with determination. But keep a doomed mindset out of the equation.

Just because you had a bad party composition, it doesn’t mean your character is useless or that you’re a bad player.

*

Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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