I have being thinking about the theme of THE GAMES WE PLAY over the past few days. I wrote about the kind of games an intimate gathering of up to six people from two households could play to spice up the winter months. But I know that as soon as I saw this weeks theme, it taunted me with the probing question, Do I play games with Ben emotionally?
I think I know the answer to that, otherwise I would not have this slightly guilty conscience. In the past I was not ready for the kind of relationship I now have with Ben. I was too immature emotionally. In past relationships, I have played emotional games, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes intentionally. Sometimes the way I communicated upset or feeling insecure in a relationship has caused problems. In the past I have used emotional arrows to pierce the heart or cause wounds. I grew out of that when my first relationship ended. Then I moved onto less intense emotional games, more like a game of baseball or cricket. I would pitch a challenge and they would have to try not to be caught out. What do I mean? Well, at various stages in a relationship, I might throw these kind of curveballs:
- do you think my bum looks big in this?
- are you seeing anyone else at the same time as me? or should I cancel my Tinder membership?
- when am I going to meet some of your friends? could we go out for a drink with them?
- my ex wants to meet me for a coffee, you don’t have problem with that, do you?
- why does your mother never make eye contact with me?
- Camille seems to text you a lot, I guess she is more than just a colleague?
- have I done something to upset you? you haven’t said anything other than YES or NO today?
- if I died tomorrow, how long do you think it would be before you started going out with someone else?
- am I boring? are you bored with me?
Ok, some of these questions seem pretty intense, but I don’t just spring them on men. They are usually weaved in subtly into conversations, but nonetheless, they are curveballs. Why do I do it? I guess sometimes it has been my own insecurities. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason (Simon was seeing other women at the same time as me) (Ben’s mother thought I had slept with Ben’s older brother, which I had not, but we had to clear that one up before she could look at me), but sometimes I am just being naughty.
I know these questions are curveballs. I know they don’t always go down well, they create awkwardness. Sometimes it is a sign that I am frustrated by the lack of communication in the relationship. I don’t necessarily want the answer to the question, but it is my way of saying, “Something is not right here and I don’t know what it is“. I regret it now, but I know that in the past, when I sensed that something was going wrong in a relationship, I started playing games, emotional games, throwing curveballs. In some ways, I was emotionally immature.
But with Ben, it has had to be different. I can’t throw curveballs at Ben (other than the question about why his mother would not look at me which is not an issue anymore) because he has been through a lot. I had no idea what I was putting Ben through in the past. (He patiently waited while I had my steamy relationship with Simon.) I don’t want to play games with Ben. I don’t want to throw curveballs at him. So I have been open about how I left things on a good note with all my exes and they tend to want to keep in touch and I make sure he is absolutely confidant that in no way are any of them a threat to Ben.
I try not to be emotionally immature or insecure in our relationship. On the whole Ben is chilled out and cheery. However, Ben has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, he sometimes is quiet and a little grumpy. I have worked hard to train my emotional reaction to that. I don’t have an off-switch when it comes to my ability to talk. But Ben is one of those people who needs quiet when he is so tired he cannot think. If he is tired and quiet, that is not a sign that there is anything wrong with our relationship – it’s a sign that his work is intense. If I started grumbling that I don’t feel loved or appreciated just because he is exhausted, that would add to his pressure. Instead, I take a different tone with him. If Ben is shattered, I don’t chatter away to him. I busy myself with cooking something yummy for him and I curl up next to him on the sofa until he is revived.
I don’t want to question the nature of our relationship. When Ben asked me if I wanted to move my things into his place, I knew he was not playing games with me. He meant, “Please stay, I don’t like it when you go back to your place. I want to come home from work and find you at the end of each day.” The M-word is not something I taunt him with. I know Ben wants this to be permanent.
So I try not to play any emotional games with Ben. If I am upset about something, I usually get a little tearful and need a little space. But that is because my emotions are getting carried away and I know I need to remove myself for a few minutes to think straight. Ben will come and find me and sort things out with me. It’s not a game, it’s just that we all have our ups and downs. I don’t want to play emotional games with Ben. I don’t want to throw curveballs at him.
Maybe in the past I was not ready for the kind of emotional maturity that you need to maintain a permanent relationship. I hope that I have matured emotionally and that I have greater esteem for my relationship with Ben – so that I have desisted from playing emotional games or throwing curveballs when I am upset.
The only games I want to be between us are the kinky ones. Ben likes roleplay in the bedroom. It is so much fun! He always brings some fun to the bedroom. Ben may have his hour or two of quietness after work, but once there is yummy food in his tummy, he quickly regains energy and enthusiasm to play with me. Play acting in roleplay sessions, playing sex games, playing with each other’s intimate parts – they are games that add a little sugar and spice to our sex life.