Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend While He's Busy Competing

Dear Ellyn,

Bryan has a disturbing competitive streak. The last time we played Taboo, he actually criticized my guessing style. Multiple times. And every time we go bowling I get nervous he won’t bowl well and get all sad and moody. When he’s not giving me overly detailed bowling tips, that is. I want to be adventurous and try new things but I fear anything involving some kind of score. Help.

Sometimes a girl just wants to have fun,

Dear Miriam,

Shaun and I used to go home together after work on the subway. It’s a forty-minute commute, so it was our time to decompress and talk about the day. But now he stays at work for an extra half hour or more almost every night to play foosball against coworkers. First of all, dork. Second, he sees these people all day long. We only have about five hours before bedtime. Should I be offended that he wants to spend that time away from me?

Home alone and sulking,

Dear Ellyn,

This is a tricky one. On the one hand, I totally believe in taking a half-hour or so to decompress on your own, before you see your loved one, so that when you do you’re already chilled out and can enjoy each other without being unnecessarily stressed and nasty. On the other hand, there are only so many hours in the day and you absolutely have to make time to remind yourselves you still actually like each other. Wonk.

While I definitely don’t think you should be offended, I do think you should do something about it, stat. Set some ground rules — maybe both of you take some time to yourselves after work every day, but put a time limit on it so that you can both get what you need and not kill too much time you would otherwise have together. Which brings me to the next point. What’s the Ellyn equivalent of foosball? Do it. More importantly, what time you do spend together during the week, spend well. I know we’ve talked about this ad nauseum, but don’t just use those three to four hours a night to cook dinner and do laundry or whatever. Play (board)games. Go for walks. Make ice cream sundaes.

So much as I love telling Shaun he’s wrong, I don’t think that’s the case here. You guys just have to use all your time well, separate and together.

Maybe I should start a relationship consulting business,

Dear Miriam,

I seem to recall our Anonymous Astrology Guru saying that you and Bryan had a little planetary competitiveness, so I’m not surprised by this one. Even though he’s the crazy perfectionist here and you’re not really competing against him, but rather annoyed that he’s pushing you to be as competitive as him.

My advice to Bryan: dude, it’s just a game. Miriam is doing the best she can, and it’s no fun playing with Sack Lodge from Wedding Crashers. If you didn’t see that movie, he’s an insane competitive ass, and you don’t want to be like him. My advice to you: besides avoiding board game nights, bowling, Wii, and playing beer pong together, my advice is to split up… not like that. But if you find yourself out with a group about to embark in a friendly game of Taboo, just don’t play on Bryan’s team until he promises to be nice. Do girls against boys or something. Let him win if he’s actually better at the game. Who really cares?

Think about the bigger picture. I’m sure Bryan won’t be upset that you lost the billiards tourney when you guys are 85. And I know you have enough confidence to get over his bossy demands by the next morning. Just realize it’s how he is (maybe it’s a phase?), and don’t let it ruin your adventurous plans to try new things. It’s not about winning. It’s about having fun. Does Bryan play foosball? Maybe he can join Shaun’s geek squad and we can go have a relaxing cocktail.

Game on,

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2 Responses to Please Help Me Not Kill My Boyfriend While He's Busy Competing

  1. Susan says:

    Miriam, I just want you to know, my boyfriend is the exact same way, especially with bowling and pool. It’s very discouraging, and I just don’t want to play any more! It’s not fun when your non-existent strategy gets picked apart. I know exactly where you’re coming from. You’re just out to play and have a good time, no pressure. The guys take it way too seriously.

  2. Sarah says:

    Susan and Miriam this is how i deal with competitive boys… i laugh at them and tell them im awesome even if i lose lol works every time 🙂

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