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 Post subject: First Try
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:20 am 
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So I'm new on these boards and to the 5 step process but I'm trying it for the first time with something that occured last evening and caused me to have very intense feelings of rage.
1) I'm feeling angry and unappreciated.
2)I have to ask my boyfriend to stop playing online poker to eat dinner with me after I've finished cooking. This is an ongoing issue with us.
3) Possible courses of action:
a. The usual slient treatment with snippy remarks until I've manipulated the situation to make him feel guilty enough to quit playing the game and sit with me. (this is what I went with last night which just made me feel guilty)
problem I can't figure out another course of action for this. I have tried talking to him about how important it is to me to have dinner together on his ONE night off a week. We've tried compromise, which works for a couple days then he's stuck to the computer again. I need help thinking of other things I can do. I know this is such an insignificant issue, but the rage and hurt I feel over it are out of control.


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:28 am 
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OK, so you have a boyfriend who proves over and over again that online poker is more important to him than your feelings regarding eating together, and it's more important to him than eating together. That's reality. You can't force him to change and share your opinion of dinner time, and your efforts have not resulted in long-term success. Instead, your efforts to change reality have resulted in long-term misery for you.

So what do you have power over? Yourself. Given the reality that you have a bf who does not want to eat dinner with you, what can you do? This could take a lot of practice, and it won't feel good at first (using skills are about long-term life management, not instant gratification), but you could decide that if you are going to eat alone, you would rather only prepare food for yourself. Why not treat yourself with the same consideration you wish you would get from your bf? You are making delicious food for you!

One idea: Fix yourself a nice meal, sit down, and eat it, and if he comes mooning around an hour or two later looking for food, explain that if you are going to eat alone, you are only going to prepare food for yourself. Then go about your business and let him figure out his own dinner. Either he'll decide that if he wants your excellent food he's got to commit to having his butt at the table on time, or he won't change, and you won't have the additional resentment of having fixed him food that goes cold. Let him be himself: let him have his online poker. This may sound like Greek to you, but with practice, accepting reality and controlling the one thing you have control over (yourself) can lead to a much more peaceful life.

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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:53 am 
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Thanks Ann. That actually sounds like a really good option to try. For some reason I've always felt it's my responsibility to have food on the table for him, but it really isn't. He's a grown man, he survived before he met me. So even though my first feeling when he asks where dinner is will be guilt for not providing, I'm completely validated in my actions. I guess we'll see what happens next Tuesday night.


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:30 pm 
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Keep in mind that when you create a boundary like that, the person on the other side of it will often respond poorly. He may try to push your buttons, guilt you, pout, or any number of responses in an effort to get back the status quo. He obviously has some investment in playing online poker while you get increasingly upset; if you do not get upset, he may see what he can say or do to get his power back. It can take great strength to refuse to engage.

Or he might just shrug and microwave a burrito for dinner.

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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~Saul Bellow


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:32 am 
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The poker thing is really the only issue we argue about. He's always been very supportive of my disorder and usually does not try to make me feel bad for standing up for something. Which in turn makes me worry that he's "walking on eggshells" at home with me so I try to cut him a little slack. I just feel very strongly about the dinner thing, especially b/c we are planning on having a family together oneday and I feel it is important for a family to sit and eat together at the end of our day.


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:15 am 
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Having dinner together is a value of yours, but it's not a value of his. If you knew he would never change, and that the possibility exists that someday you'll be having dinner with the children while he plays poker, can you live with it?

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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~Saul Bellow


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:28 am 
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Er, "...could you live with it."

Sometimes it can be a matter of saying, "He's kind and understanding, and I choose to accept the fact that he does not value having dinner together, knowing that it is very likely that someday he'll play poker while the children and I eat without him,"

or

"He's kind and understanding, but eating dinner together is too high a priority in my life. I do NOT want to be eating dinner with the children someday while he plays poker."

Now, if it's the latter for you, you can state to him: "I don't think I can be in a relationship where I know I'm going to be eating dinner alone," and then he's got a choice to make, which he will demonstrate by his actions. You might not like his choice. But then you'll have his answer. If however you decide you can live with it, then you have accepted this character trait and you make your peace with it.

Attempting to change him through anger/manipulation/nagging only leads to misery. At best you get a temporary, false sense of having won, until he reverts back to his true nature. Some people spend decades in this sort of cycle, always angry, always let down, always trying to control something they can't.

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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:49 am 
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It's important to me, but not important enough to threaten my relationship with a good man who treats me amazing in all other aspects. While I wish that it will be different when we have kids, I believe I could live with it b/c all his other wonderful traits make up for this one. I cannot even bear the idea of losing him, I'd rather eat alone for the rest of my life than not have him in it at all.


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:21 am 
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That's fantastic that you can assess the situation that clearly. Knowing what you know, you then have choices, such as whether to cook for him and put his portion in the fridge for him to reheat when he comes for dinner, to put his dinner out and let it get cold and stale (which might be a little passive aggressive), or to only cook for yourself, among others. If you are into leftovers anyway, then, having accepted him, maybe the kindest option would be to put the food in the fridge and just go about your business.

I think in most relationships there are things that have to be accepted about the other person. It can be pretty painful, because we all have this image in our heads of what the perfect relationship would look like, and we have to give pieces of that up.

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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~Saul Bellow


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:07 am 
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I've been married for 37 years and have found that I have to pick and choose my battles. When we first got married my H and I ate dinner together. But after our son was born, my H liked to watch the news while he ate dinner. So we had a litte tiny TV we put on the table. We did this for years. Then we moved and the new kitchen did not have a TV in it. So my H would watch TV upstairs and bring his dinner with him. My son, who was a teenager, ate dinner in his room. I used to get upset and bribe them and pout and do all the usual passive/aggressive stuff. Then my son moved out and I decided to give up. My H works all day and if it makes him happy to watch the news while he eats, he deserves that (in my opinion). I either watch TV downstairs or read while I eat. However, we do eat Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts together, so that makes up for it.

In your first sentence you said you feel angry and unappreciated. But in your last post you said that your bf is amazing and treats you well. It could be you feel angry and unappreciated while you zero in on this one aspect of him. If you feel he's a great guy and you can live with him not eating dinner with you, that's great. Sometimes you have to know what's worth fighting about.

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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:40 pm 
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I feel angry/unappreciated when he eats dinner at the computer while I sit alone. Other than that, he is usually wonderful. He has his flaws, like everyone does, but overall he treats me so well and is the only boyfriend I've ever had that can handle/is supportive of my BPD. Thank you both for sharing your opinions with me, it has been very helpful. We have only been living together for 6 months now, so we are still working out the quirks. And I agree with picking your battles, I just need to be a little better about it. He does work a lot, about 56 hours weekly, so if he wants to unwind by eating his dinner while he plays poker I need to learn to get over it. I just get jealous sometimes b/c he will literally sit and play that game for HOURS on end if I don't say something about it. The last acting out episode I had was actually triggered by him (in my feelings) paying more attention to poker than me. And it got way out of hand to the point I screamed at him, locked myself in our bedroom, and ended up self injuring. That was shortly after we moved in together and hasn't happened since, but it still gets under my skin when I see him sitting there when I wish he was spending that time with me. I'm very needy of attention and act out when I don't get my way. This has gotten better with time and treatment, but sometimes I just lose it after I've had a bad day or drank. (Hence why I've backed off drinking regulary or heavily.) I still have a way to go in my recovery I admit, but I'm really working hard to get there... even reading over what I just typed I can see my emotions coming out in my words all over the place...


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:05 pm 
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Having a significant other who is heavily invested in, or possibly even addicted to, a computer game can be very emotionally difficult. I've been there.......

I fully support backing off on the drinking. Good daily self-care can put build a foundation that can withstand more stress.

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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~Saul Bellow


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 Post subject: Re: First Try
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:06 pm 
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Make that:
"Good daily self-care can help build a foundation that can withstand more stress."

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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~Saul Bellow


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