Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Marriage Matters: Losing

I really hate losing.  I hate losing anything, from games to my keys.  Losing board games, or hockey games (my team lost the playoffs yesterday), or anything competitive makes me get this weird lump in my chest - not quite the feeling where I'm going to sob uncontrollably, but just enough that I become extremely agitated, uncomfortable, and upset.  I felt this way the entire time growing up, as I played cards with my grandparents, and my grandpa would lecture me to stop whining that it was unfair or my sister was getting dealt better cards than me.  Which, retrospectively, I see as reasonable, but I've never been able to recognize fully that a board game is meaningless in the grand scheme of life, and I'm incapable of acting like an adult when I lose.

So when my mother-in-law suggests we play a board game, I want to run screaming for the hills.  So far, we have discontinued playing pictionary, upWords, and bananagrams, because I cannot play them like a reasonable human being.  I also can't really handle darts.

So the problem here is that my husband decided recently that we watch too much TV and should play more board games.  He's hunted for games that we can play together, that is, good two-person games, and we have acquired several of them.  The problem is that I never want to play.  Which I explained to him today by pointing out that he consistently wins the board games, and since I do not enjoy losing, I do not enjoy playing if I am going to lose.

It seems like such a cheap way out, though.  I would love it if we could play board games and I didn't get frustrated and upset.  So far, the answer has been to find board games in which it's really hard to tell as you play whether you are winning or losing.  I hate getting trounced, but if at the end of the game, we count up our cards and figure out who won or who lost, I take it much better.  (If you have the same problem and need an in-law friendly game, I suggest Dominion or Ticket to Ride, also Scattergories.)

In some of my research about what makes a person a sore loser and how to get over myself, I came across this sentence, "Children watch how their parents handle things when they're frustrated. They pay closer attention to what we do than to what we say when we're under stress. " I will say, the ease with which I become frustrated when things do not go exactly as planned or expected is one of the things my husband wouldn't mind changing about me.  I am working on this, mostly by striving to be more organized, because it makes me calmer over all.  However, there are no solutions I can find to being a straight-up sore loser, other than my husband being smart enough to occasionally let me win and make me think I did it all on my own, and I would like to move past that.

Anyone else have my problems?  What are your solutions?


  1. So! I just finished doing an experiment on this for school. Turtle & I realized we watched too much TV and didn't do enough other stuff together... I can send you my paper when I'm done writing it up, but basically we implemented a token economy wherein you trade time you earn by doing "other" activities (for us it was reading out loud to each other, eating a meal just the two of us, going for a walk/hike/run, or playing a game) for TV time. We saw a huge drop in TV time and a huge increase in other activities. And you'll be pleased to hear that it wasn't all board games! Lots of reading, eating, and walking to be had. We think we might keep the system full time!

  2. How about games where you work together against the game like Pandemic?