Those of you who know me well may expect that if I acknowledge Valentine’s Day at all, I usually mark it as Oregon Statehood Day or extol its origins in the celebration of familial and platonic love before its absorption by the romance cult. So I’m going to shock you: this is an actual romance-related blog post to mark Valentine’s Day.

Good communication is key to any lasting relationship, romantic or otherwise, and there are certain important conversations that the experts suggest people have before entering upon romantic commitments. But those experts are usually not geeks, so they overlook all sorts of situations that are specific to the geek lifestyle (or to the lifestyle geeks wish they had.) So, I have taken it upon myself to lay out some discussion topics. These are not small questions like who drives the starship: they touch on religion, ethics, life, death, and all that sort of thing. It’s important to settle such points if you want to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of your victory against the forces of evil together, instead of going on adventures all by yourself and wondering where your zippy banter has got to.

What is my authority to designate discussion topics for you and your co-protagonist? My authority is that I have a blog and you are reading it.

10 Serious discussions for geek couples

10. Am I free to date if you die? It’s just good to get this out of the way: how long should you wait to make sure your old honey isn’t going to be revived, or resurrected by magic, or regrown by sinister corporations?

9. Will you kill me if I am facehugged, bitten by a zombie, et c.? If it comes to that, your partner should do you both. If you’re not willing to even get someone else to stake my vampirized corpse, cut my head off and fill my mouth with garlic, what kind of commitment can you offer me?

8. Do we convert if we witness a miracle? If the Holy Grail cures your dad’s gut wound, do you consider yourself illuminated, or just move on to the next thing?

7. Do we welcome our alien overlords? For instance, I’m pro-cephalopod overlord, but I’m not too keen on reptilians.

6. Are we going to get cyber implants? If so, how many? If flashing lights and servos are a dealbreaker for your co-protagonist, it’s best to know now.

5. Are AIs and manufactured sentients deserving of human rights? Social justice, baby.

4. Is being body-switched with your worst enemy grounds for a break-up? For the record, Callisto is very pretty. If you have to switch bodies with an evil murderer, you could do worse.

3. Does the holodeck count as cheating? However you come down on the general rule, it’s best to specify that holodeck-snogging people you actually know is creepy as hell, as well as potentially more relationship-endangering.

2. Are we raising the kids Orthodox Jedi or Reform? Oh, sure, some of us geeks are atheists and so forth, but you know if you raise Force-sensitive kids without any religious training, they’re much more susceptible to Sith interference.

1. Are we in this for loot, or XP? Sure, you think this is an abstract question, but when you’re bickering over whether your co-protagonist should take the dream job or the six figures, or whether to return the culturally significant artifact to the village or fence it, you’ll realize I was right.


I <3 you, Felicity. Please never change, unless it’s to install cyber modules. Pathetic creature of meat and bone.

I ran all these by my husband. I won’t bore you with all of his answers, except for question #1: he answered with our favorite Futurama quote to use in everyday conversation: “First one, then the other.”

Excellent questions!

Oh, Kyle, rest assured my cyber implantation will be minimal. I am staying a pathetic creature (or as I prefer, an ugly bag of mostly water.)

You’ve made me consider other important questions, too, like: ’Does an affair you have when traveling back in time count as cheating in a monogamous relationship in the present? After all, that was way before we ever met."
Makes you think.

Love these. I’m sure I shared with you that I required my lovely wife to take a Star Trek quiz before I would propose. She got 90% and the rest is history.

That’s one of those very technical dodges that wouldn’t last long — like Dilbert saying to his girlfriend “I do not love that computer more than you” and thinking Don’t ask about the laptop, don’t ask about the laptop!

No, I don’t think you have ever mentioned that! Very specific standards.

We answered it. It was a bonding experience…

I think there was a monogamy disclaimer in one of the only-in-my-brain drafts, but it didn’t make it to the keyboard. Glad you got a chuckle from it anyway.

You have outed all the best stuff that should have been released only to the inner circle. (Unless I’m not part of the inner circle, and it’s the only way I would have been informed, in which case this is fine.)

Are you suggesting that I keep these crucial relationship tips to myself, when there are thousands of geek couples who could be broken up by tragic misunderstandings over holodeck cheating? FOR SHAME.

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