Games

During a particular tricky period in our relationship (Ramadan in April last year – my first cancelled trip due to Covid), we started to play an online game.

I’ve never really been one for computer games. Occasionally, when bored, I lay download a couple for a while then delete. I like games involving strategy  – those that make my mind work and make me feel a sense of accomplishment when I solve them.

We started with a game of online Ludo. He had only recently downloaded it through Facebook and asked me to do the same. The first few games he absolutely destroyed me but I didn’t care. In this delicate period of our relationship, it brought us together and gave us something to do, to talk about and laugh about. Eventually … and I mean eventually, I started to win a few games which added to the fun. He won most of the time but whilst I am competitive I didn’t mind because I enjoyed it all so much.

During a recent conversation, chess was brought up and how he would like to play. We discovered that neither of us really knew how but that it may be too difficult to learn together due to the language barrier. He then suggested draughts.

My dad taught me how to play draughts  . Dad always won, but I soon started to learn and would win some games and I liked the strategy and cunning of the game.

So you understand, I was quite happy to find an online version of this game.

He destroys me. Nearly every time. We both started on 500 points – he is now on 27500ish and I am on 7500ish. We have drawn a few times, I have won occasionally. I don’t care though.

Or rather, I didn’t. 

I love that about him – his intelligence, the way his mind works. I don’t mind that I lose because we keep playing and having fun. Am I surprised I lost a lot? Sure. I thought I was reasonably ok at draughts and thought we would be more evenly matched, but it’s ok.

Then, this morning after I lost again, he commented that I always lose and maybe he needs to play with someone else- a stronger player.

Wow, that hurt. He was joking, it was trash talk. But it really stung and – as per goddam usual – my eyes filled up. I thought I had got away with it – it was the end of the call and he wasn’t playing full attention but he noticed as he always does.

How to explain? How to tell him that his comment felt like a knife in my gut – that I am not good enough. That my mind rolled and played with that idea…that I am stupid, not good enough and I never will be. That every moment of my anxiety comes from that – that I am not good enough for him and that one day he will find someone better and I will be left alone.

It is not the winning. I genuinely didn’t care about that because I loved the fact that he won, that he is so intelligent, and that made me more. But his comment – however much he was joking – just made me love myself less.

Is it his job to make me feel good about myself?

If you pay attention to the many online relationship and coaching gurus, no it is not. And I do get that. Confidence comes from within. You have to have pride in yourself, see your own worth – dampen down you inner critic. If I don’t feel positive about myself, how can I expect anyone else to?

But.

I can’t believe this is the entirety of the situation.  Surely, part of feeling loved is feeling that you are special to that person? That they love all of you: They value your strengths. They find you attractive and sexy.  They love your flaws and your faults because they make you who you are.

In making the person you love feel that love and attraction you feel for them, they feel good about themselves.

So…how does that work then? For someone to love you, you need to feel good about yourself but someone loving you makes you feel good about yourself.  Chicken and egg I think.

Does he make me feel good about myself?

Sometimes. Every call makes me happy. When he tells me misses me – which is not often. When he tells me I look beautiful or that he wants me. When he mentions something about our future.

These things don’t happen every day and I don’t expect them to.

But every day he calls me, every day he kisses me, every day he tells me he loves me. He makes me feel loved.

So what’s my problem? I have absolutely no idea.

His loving me has made me feel better about myself. It has made me want to improve myself more.

I try very hard to be a good person. I work hard. I am successful – I have achieved. I try my best when I can. I try to look after myself – make the best of who and what I am. I have a lot to offer someone.

So why do I feel this way? Why can a throwaway comment make me feel so bad – make me feel like I am not good enough for him?

The ‘Risk’ of playing Game of Thrones

How does that quote go again? ‘Families who play together, stay together’? I’m not so sure…

I’ve had literally just stroppes off to bed. Yes, really.

I have recently been introduced to the Game of Thrones edition of Risk. Risk is a strategic battle game where armies attempt to take over the map on the board.

It is a great game, honestly, and don’t let the following tale put you off. But it does come with a caution.

My first battle was played against my lodger, sister and brother in law. They are huge GOT fans whilst I’m am only on Season four. It doesn’t matter though. My lodger has played the game many times, whilst my sister and brother in law had only played twice at this point. It is a bit tricky to get used to the game at first. There are a few rules to remember and the whole ‘strategy’ to get your head around.

I managed to win a few territories, but when my lodger took one back, I made the mistake of letting him know ‘I’m coming for you.’ Big mistake. On his next go, which was before mine, he specifically targeted me. He wiped me out, even though other players’ pieces were more accessible and even though I barely knew how to play. My sister and I realised that an alliance had been made between the two men. They won. I was not happy.

Naturally, for the second battle, my sister and I made a secret alliance from the beginning which we denied until it became obvious we were winning. It was funny at first, but the bickering afterwards, amongst complaints of cheating and unfair play spoiled the game. A replay was called.

We had a break and set new rules. No alliances, secret or otherwise. No helping each other at all. One on one action only.

The game got underway. Everyone was subdued for the third battle. It was quiet and it was boring and after half a game, we all gave in.

Much discussion took place. Some sulking and protesting was had by all. No one wanted the potential bickering and accusations of the first games, nor the boredom of the third.

For the fourth and final battle, dice were thrown to make predetermined alliances. The battle commenced.

Mobile phones were priceless as we WhatsApped our strategies to our teammate. Plans were assessed and reassessed, the enemy’s next moves were predicted and the win swayed from one team to another with each play.

Three hours later, and my brother in law and I had had enough. It was nearing midnight and we were still no closer to a conclusion. Depending how you viewed the board, both teams could be classed as winners. We decided that at the end of that particular round , it was time for a truce. Once again, the sulking returned and when we asked how we were going to work out the winners, we were told that we had forfeited the win by going to bed.

After a stroppy retort (something about it being unfair), I stomped up to bed to record this atrocity for you.

Not quite together then….

21

After braving late night Christmas shopping at Asda (we could actually park which is a bonus!) I came home and unpacked and sent my children off to bed.

My daughter had been watching “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and after crossing off items from my list in a most satisfying way, I watched the second half of the film.

I love this film. I’ve not watched it in such a long time. Colin Firth is just dreamy and Hugh Grant is great as the slime-ball seducer.

The film brings back so many memories for me. I was 21 when the film was released. I had just bought a brand new computer (my uni lecturer had not been impressed with my second hand word-processor) and had treated myself to some DVD’s. I can’t remember exactly but these DVD’s were of some significance – maybe they were the first ones I had bought myself (??) as I can’t believe they were the first I had owned. It seems funny now as many people are getting rid of DVD’s now in exchange for digital versions. Anyway, I would sit in my tiny boxroom and watch Bridget Jones on my new desktop. I’d get so excited every time I watched it: laughing, hoping and stomach turning. Of course I was totally in love with Mark Darcy (character and actor) and just reveled in the idea that opposites could attract – there was hope for me yet!

My favourite part is the end where they finally kiss in the snow. Ah, it is so magical. Love it..

I was in a good place back then. I was in the second year of my degree which I was absolutely loving. I had lost loads of weight and was slim for the first time in my life. I had got rid of an absolute arse of a boyfriend who had sucked every bit of confidence and happiness out of me in 2000 and I had finally realised that I was so much better without him. I had met a new best friend and we were having great fun. I had a job and money. I was happy. Actually happy.

I wasn’t short of male attention but couldn’t find someone decent long term. I didn’t care though and decided to focus on my career and eventually my own place. I was going to move away and start afresh with this new found confidence and happiness.

Two years later and I had met my husband to be. And here I am.

I suppose in my current mindset it would be easy to talk of regret. But I don’t have any. Sure, I’m separated, fat and depressed but I have three beautiful children, my own home and a career. 😊

I do want that feeling again though. Not being 21 again, just that feeling that all is well with the world. Happy. It’s sad to say, but I can’t remember the last time I was truly happy- fleeting moments, yes, but not all encompassing happiness. Perhaps 2018 is the year that I regain it.

Tricks

Just a quick report..

I am at camp whilst the others have gone to the stage for the last song of a great band.

I can report that Lost Soul is up to his old tricks:

Talking about other women – check

Reminiscing about the past – check

Reminding me about times we were intimate – check

Purposeful talking about things I like – check

Reminiscing about books we both read and shared in the past – check

I am in dangerous territory but then I remember, I’m too old for these games and they only lead to heartbreak. Don’t go there!