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Mysteria (played anonymously)

So recently I had a incident that made me extremely uncomfortable with the way a rp partner ended a rp.

They linked the rp to adultery among other things as the reason they were ending it. It deflated me for awhile and honestly, for a bit, I did not want to rp at all. Because firstly the rp had not at all developed to a point where romance/mature scenes were coming into play (and depending on if the characters meshed or not may not have happened at all) and it was only a few weeks old.

I believe that romance in rp should be plot driven. I know some lean more towards smut, fade to black or no romance/mature stuff at all and that's fine to each their own. We should all rp the way we want.

To me the actions of my character do not embody me, it is suppose to be role play. I mean that my characters have a personality/habits/etc and I stick to that with their actions.

So the point of the post are these questions. Where do you draw the line? do you see yourselves as your characters and if so how do you separate it from the real you(nothing wrong with it if you do everyone rp's differently. I just need clarity)? Do you find mature rp to mean a person is cheating or is it about perspective (how you see what you/your characters do in rp)?


I know my post is probably confusing but I myself and confused about this and could really use some other view points.

(Please no comments about not thinking romance or mature stuff belongs in rp as that is not what I'm asking. It is a known stance that I accept that some people have and that's cool but this isn't the focus of what i'm trying to talk about. Please understand.)
My belief has been that roleplay should always, 100%, be separated from your irl self. Not just in the cases of romantic or sexual plots, but in plots of every stripe. I believe in that more as an ideal to strive for than a strict rule to follow. Sometimes we make plots to explore parts of ourselves that we're not comfortable with voicing irl, and sometimes distancing yourself from your character can be different from person to person. But the whole point of roleplay is to... be someone else.

The issue with 'sexual themes in roleplay is adultery' is that the line between player and character is different for everyone. I've run into a lot of games where it felt that the line didn't exist for that player at all and I felt too uncomfortable to continue, but there are others where I've truly felt that I can be comfortable and not risk feeling like The Other Woman.

((There's also the one particular run-in I had with someone off-site where they straight up admitted that they use roleplay to cheat on their wife. Like, that was their intended goal. It was a shame, too, because they had a fair bit of writing skill. But no amount of skillful writing is worth that kind of energy in my life, imo.))

I'm not going to judge your particular situation because it's unfair to make assessments when one only knows one end of the story, but I will say that it sounds like you're doing fairly well at keeping yourself and your character distinct. Honestly, the fact that you're aware of it at all is a huge step compared to some others I've met.
Mysteria (played anonymously) Topic Starter

Not at all asking for anyone to judge the situation. I'm just stating what happened (bare bones) and leaving info out for the privacy of the other person. Then I just stated how I felt about it which is separate.

I'm just trying to see how others see rp and what they think of things like this so that I could understand the other side better as there is no way to gain clarity form them so I figure since I don't see my characters as myself maybe others with different view points could help me understand.

I have had one before where I had to end the rp because of being uncomfortable so I can understand having to do that. But never because I felt like rp was like having an affair. I just couldn't fathom seeing it as something like that. I spoke to rl friends about it because I was so bothered and let them see it directly because I trust them to be honest.

The line seems to blur for so many and I don't want to mess up peoples immersion or anything but sometimes it feels like it goes too deeply. And maybe i'm being unfair or something. I don't know. I just can't wrap my head around it.

Like I began to question it. Is that how mature rp is seen? Am I wrong thinking it is separate? Was I enabling?

I don't know...
I'd like to think that at least most steady RPers keep things separate. Even though some types of content can certainly stir up real reactions within the player, I think most still keep that compartmentalized, in a way, recognizing that those reactions are no different from, say, watching a movie or reading a book.

I know that there are those who struggle more to keep a solid line, though, as well as those who aren't really trying to have a line to begin with, and those simply have different lines or lines in different place. Some examples of mostly the last one, but maybe not only that, are things like...
  • There may be those who recognize that certain themes give them emotions that they have trouble maintaining the IC/OOC split with, and so they opt to avoid those, even if personal circumstances may change that.
  • There are people who consider even something like watching/reading/otherwise observing pornography to be cheating if they are in a relationship. This can be amplified as it becomes more of an interactive thing.
  • There may be those who keep the line fine themselves, but who are in a relationship with someone who doesn't understand it so well, so they keep extra boundaries for that partner's sake.
  • There are those who may feel they connect too strongly to their characters or who see their characters too much as something like an outfit they put on to feel okay having any fictional relationships when they have one IRL.
  • There are folks who, especially when in a relationship IRL, feel it's better to only have their characters be romantic and/or sexual with characters run by their IRL partner.
  • They may want to hook their character up with one run by their partner and don't like the idea of that character having multiple relationships, even if it's an AU.

Again, I think the majority keep things pretty separate. If it might help you to feel more secure though, you're fully within your rights to ask potential RP partners where they specifically stand on the matter in the process of standard setup expectations and whatnot.
Mysteria wrote:
So the point of the post are these questions.
- Where do you draw the line?
[- Do you see yourselves as your characters and if so how do you separate it from the real you?
- Do you find mature rp to mean a person is cheating or is it about perspective (how you see what you/your characters do in rp)?

Three good questions. Where I draw the line is I keep a solid boundary in my mind and in my OOC communications making sure it is known that the RP is just a fantasy hobby and nothing more. I do not see myself as any of my characters even if I use some of my RL experiences in RPs. How I seperate my characters from the real me is mental training. I look at my characters as if they are individuals n a make-believe world, like in a fictional story in a book or someone portrayed on TV or a movie. I Do not see it as cheating as long as the writers of the characters do not start putting their real life energy into the character’s relationship with each other to the detriment of their real life relationships with their partner. It gets back to the first question you asked and that solid boundary I keep between my actual existence in this world and the hobby of creating characters to RP with and writing stories. If one takes acting as an example, the scenes an actor is playing may include very intimate parts, but at the end of the day they get off work and go home to their real life. It’s important to keep a firm perspective and a mental demarcation between the two.

“Snipehunt wrote:
”My belief has been that roleplay should always, 100%, be separated from your irl self. Not just in the cases of romantic or sexual plots, but in plots of every stripe. I believe in that more as an ideal to strive for than a strict rule to follow. Sometimes we make plots to explore parts of ourselves that we're not comfortable with voicing irl, and sometimes distancing yourself from your character can be different from person to person. But the whole point of roleplay is to... be someone else.”
I agree with Snipehunt in this. I’ll again reiterate that it’s very important to keep a sharp mental line between RL & RP. When that line gets blurred and the two start to intermingle, things can get ... crazy (I have some personal experience in this which I had previously shared in another thread at one time). When someone recognises that roleplaying is taking too big of a toll on their RL and decide to remedy that, it usually leads to the end of an rp. Sometimes the person will say farewell in a message, or they may simply ‘ghost’ or disappear.

Edit: I agree pretty much 100% with what Zephyr posted while I was concocting my post.
Mysteria (played anonymously) Topic Starter

This information has been extremely helpful in me understanding this.

All of you hit points that make this make way more sense which in turn have given me more of a view of seeing the other side of this. I'm glad I decided to actually post this instead wracking my brain trying to understand what happened.

This also helped me see this is not about fault but more about perspective and that was something I was having difficulty grasping at first. Everyone has different levels of immersion and it is up to them how they see themselves and/or their characters.

Zelphyr I also think I will take your advice on asking how any new rp partners I get stand on it as I think it will help.
I had a very nasty experience in the matter of RL/RP overlaps, gaslighting, and bullying. I'll make one thing clear, though; it didn't happen here on RPR, far from it, here I've only found wonderfully creative and friendly people with whom I get along very well. But in this other platform where I originally played (a forum hosted by a former friend, and which since went down), well.... it got quite heavy. Since it involves topics that might be triggering, like mental illness, though, I'd like to know if there's a way I can make it visible only on click? Like a "Spoiler" function so that people who might not want to read can just skip it altogether?
cri86titanium wrote:
I had a very nasty experience in the matter of RL/RP overlaps, gaslighting, and bullying. I'll make one thing clear, though; it didn't happen here on RPR, far from it, here I've only found wonderfully creative and friendly people with whom I get along very well. But in this other platform where I originally played (a forum hosted by a former friend, and which since went down), well.... it got quite heavy. Since it involves topics that might be triggering, like mental illness, though, I'd like to know if there's a way I can make it visible only on click? Like a "Spoiler" function so that people who might not want to read can just skip it altogether?

There is a spoiler function, it's just 'spoiler' in brackets akin to bolding or italicizing something.

It looks like this!
I've always put a little bit of myself into my characters, whether it be just a small detail or a personality trait, there's always some piece of me in my characters. But I always make sure that my characters are not me, and I am not my characters. Generally I'll make this obvious with the partner either through how I speak with them out of character or by outright saying such (although everyone I've met on here has understood that boundary and hold a similar mentality as far as I've seen).

I feel like someone shouldn't ever apply some sort of label or image to a player based on their characters or roleplaying habits/preferences. It was a pitfall I had made once in the past and learned really quickly to avoid doing that again (still good friends with that person too!)

And like Zelphyr said, its good to ask your rp partner about these things too.
cri86titanium wrote:
I had a very nasty experience in the matter of RL/RP overlaps, gaslighting, and bullying. I'll make one thing clear, though; it didn't happen here on RPR, far from it, here I've only found wonderfully creative and friendly people with whom I get along very well. But in this other platform where I originally played (a forum hosted by a former friend, and which since went down), well.... it got quite heavy. Since it involves topics that might be triggering, like mental illness, though, I'd like to know if there's a way I can make it visible only on click? Like a "Spoiler" function so that people who might not want to read can just skip it altogether?

There's both spoiler and collapse options. I'd suggest spoiler (with a prior warning stated) for shorter stuff and collapse for longer stuff.
Alrighty, here we go!

My bad experience, contains heavy subjects like mental illness and bullying, proceed at your own risk
Okay, trying to summarize.

For a long while I've been struggling with severe depression, as in very severe. RPs where my mean of escape, and in the community I had going with these friends, we had a lot of fun and an amazing time, it also helped that we were best friends for over ten years. Then... things started changing. Every time I'd suggest an idea for RPing, it seemed the two more active members - whom I considered my long distance "brother" and "sister", to give you an idea of how close we were - would find a thousand good reason to shoot it down. And I rolled with it. Because I had depression, and I was desperate to be considered, and to have some form of social interaction since I have some pretty limiting handicaps IRL.

I've always differentiated between characters and players. I do "feel" what characters feel, because otherwise it'd not be believable to write them, but the same way I feel my novel character, or the characters in books/movies that I sympathize with. But it doesn't differentiate the fact that I am the player, with my ideas and thoughts and feelings, and the characters are their own people, with their own idea and thoughts and feelings. I don't know if I'm making sense....

Turned out, my "best friends" were the exact opposite, and maybe that was the reason we clashed. Let me summarize: one of my main characters ended up in conflict with two of theirs. For me it made a world of sense, it was IC, not everyone can get along with everyone and my character lent herself well to hostility because of her often stern views. It did not mean that I disliked the players, or that I disliked their characters, or that I didn't want to play with them; but I enjoyed playing rivalry/conflict just as much as I enjoyed playing sunshine and rainbows. These other players, instead, started disliking my character intensely, just because she disliked her characters. And as a result, they didn't want to play with her even with characters that she was in friendly terms with. It got worse when one of the two, who played her husband, started playing him more and more distant and when I wrote my poor character trying to reach down, she had her character blame her for things out of her control (for example, the fact she didn't get mad when he was raped; i wish I was kidding, it's almost as if he/his writer wanted her to get into victim blaming, which was the farthest from her character it was possible to imagine!) and then ditch her after saying literally that it was "all her fault". It wasn't even IC, because he had never been a d*ck to her before, and there had been no build-up (ie: an argument, or her doing something reckless and dangerous, that might justify his behavior).

The result? I was stuck with a character who felt guilty of GOODNESS KNOWS WHAT, who blamed herself, who couldn't find solace or happiness because her life revolved around her family and her husband... and in all this, I was supposed to still enjoy playing the character. I told my so-called "friends" that they had had me write her in angle where I wasn't comfortable; if I write to get away from depression, playing too depressing situations isn't going to help. Their reply was "You have other characters, focus on them and forget her" nevermind the fact that I wanted to tell her story.... and when I said I didn't feel so much "into" the other character, I was basically given the boot because they told me "We want to play our favorite characters, not with her, your plots with her are just about action and adventure and romance and we dislike that, we want our slices of life". Then something worse happened, they bullied me online for my mental illness (long story short, I had asked for #tw hashtags because I have several triggers, and was extensively mocked for being mentally ill and for those very triggers, with them ridiculing and laughing at me and my illness) and we cut off ties, I remained in talking terms with one person who still is in touch with them. And she'd let me know, some time later, that they were now into D&D and playing.... "action and adventures and romance" the very same things I wanterd to play with my character, but got denied jut because they couldn't differentiate from the way their characters felt to the way they felt. I was insulted, being told I play "shitty OCs" and ostracized in all possible ways. It left some scars.... which kept me away from roleplaying for the best part of a year. It's why I'm glad to have found this site, where I can finally indulge it again.
In my personal opinion a respectful and responsible RPer is separate from their characters. Sure we all have bits and pieces of similarities with our characters, pieces of our creativity, and often feel the emotions they feel in fleeting moments. Books do that to us too, cause us to feel things - but, we are not these characters.

Some people RP differently, and RP for sensual pleasure, they RP erotic content and well, derive pleasure from the RP so to speak. Making something go from sensual only in character, to sensual out of character too.

I personally am uncomfortable RPing with people who do this, it makes me uncomfortable as I do not RP for that type of pleasure and makes me feel as though I am being used. I think that is okay if both/all writers are aware and have stated that they consent to their RP posts being used in such a manner. If both/all people have no consented to this, it feels wrong to me.

I do not even allow the lines to be blurred with romantic partners and RP's I may have with them, past or present. I make it clear that even though we are together IRL, our RP's are entirely separate than our IRL romantic relationship and should be treated as such. (ie, characters arguing in RP doesn't mean we are mad at each other IRL)


I only RP with people who have a solid and clear understanding and belief that our characters are separate from us and know what is appropriate to say OOC and what isn't about what is happening in the RP.

I have run into only a handful of people who had blurred IC and OOC lines, so not that many. A handful out of 50+ RPs.

If you feel an RP partner is blurring the lines between IC and OOC, you are totally valid to not want to RP with them anymore.
Mysteria (played anonymously) Topic Starter

MercyInReach wrote:

If you feel an RP partner is blurring the lines between IC and OOC, you are totally valid to not want to RP with them anymore.

That probably is a good way to go about it. I have had a few were they start think we are closer than we are and that's difficult to handle depending on how the person grasp things.
I've never had the real life / role play distinction problem with other players. However, I've had players whose partners did not like the more romance-heavy RPs if/when they found out about them. People outside of RP don't really understand it, and--in my opinion--it's about reaching agreement with your real life partners.
For various reasons, I almost never want to RP romantic relationships with other people. However, there was once a time in my life when I was more open to that sort of thing, years and years ago. That was when I most frequently encountered people who did not or could not separate RP from reality. In fact, I've seen people end their IRL friendships with each over other IRL romantic jealousy because the person they both had feelings for (me, though I was unaware until the arguments started and wouldn't have RPed a relationship with either of them had I known) chose to have an RP relationship with one over the other. In a similar vein, I've also seen people mistake in-character chemistry for some kind of out-of-character romantic connection despite the RPers being literal strangers who'd never met outside of an online RP context. I don't know if your situation is anything like that, but that's the kind of experience I've had with people not knowing where the line is between RP and real life. I can't think of any examples where such a blurred line could be a positive thing.

In my humble opinion, there should always be a boundary between IRL and RP. Not having that boundary, or not having enough of a boundary, is sometimes referred to in RP circles as IC/OOC bleed, as in you're letting IC events bleed into your OOC life or vice versa. In most of the good RP communities I've been part of, IC/OOC bleed is regarded as poor RP etiquette, but some people, especially the youngest RPers and those who are otherwise not very experienced with RP, struggle with that boundary. Now, where exactly the boundary should be is up to the individual to a reasonable degree, especially where romanctic and erotic RP is concerned, but in my experience it's generally agreed that an IC relationship is not an OOC relationship and characters are not their writers. If someone who's in a relationship IRL isn't comfortable RPing relationships with someone other than their IRL partner, that's totally fine, that's up to them, but they must communicate that boundary or else no one will know they feel that way. But if someone specifically wants or expects an IRL relationship to stem from an RP one, well, that sounds like IC/OOC bleed to me, unless that's what was agreed upon by all involved parties from the very beginning.

To me it sounds like your situation had no such agreement, and indeed a lack of communication about boundaries in general. Though, as has been stated, we only have the bare-bones version of one side of the situation. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, but I hope this thread has helped to bring light to what may have happened and how to avoid it in the future.
I'm just going to share some general experiences and thoughts on this. I do put a bit of myself in my characters, but I try to make each one unique and different.

I'm very particular about who I play with. If you look at my profile, it is very long and detailed about my expectations and the kind of person that is an ideal match as well as things I don't like in a roleplay partner. Each point is based on one or more experiences I have had. I've been in dozens of games over the years and found what works and what doesn't, at least for me.

I don't mind sharing some personal things, but I've also learned to set up walls and boundaries. I've learned the hard way not to share personal contact information or social media accounts. I try to be somewhat anonymous so people can't track me down in real life. I have had people that have tried to involve themselves in my personal life outside of my games. I have had numerous female writing partners that straight up will make a complete pseudonym and false persona to protect their privacy due to stalker and harassment issues.

A big thing with me is talking OOC and thinking ahead on where the game is going. I don't like dealing with people that are rigid and unwilling to edit if something takes a wrong term or people that refuse to plan or discuss outcomes of actions.
Mysteria (played anonymously) Topic Starter

I noticed a few comments about not having boundaries/rules set and that is were I need to clarify some things. The person in question and I had a very long detailed ooc conversation before starting the rp. We went over quite a few topics. Through none of that did I get the impression that they felt that way about rp whatsoever.

honestly I never realized that, that was something that would need to be addressed as I have never felt the characters reflect me as a person. I guess it is an oversight but someone not eluding that they feel that way shouldn't be seen as the other party not being thorough enough. It seemed like something they wanted hidden and hid well.

The rp we were in never got to the point where they characters were romantically involved but their character did hint interest. Of course going forward it is something I am going to check now that I know that is something i should look out for.

My actual profile has plenty of rules and things like that but that will definitely be added to it I just have to find the right way to word it.

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