Dear Annie: My boyfriend, “Mark,” can be a sore loser, and it’s beginning to ruin game night.
Every week, a few of my friends get together to play games – video games, board games, anything that can be played with a big group. Most of the time, I go alone, as these friends were made before Mark and I started dating. However, he gets along really well with everyone when we’re out at parties and events, so he’s always invited to play. Last game night, we played a difficult strategy game that I’ve only played once but a few friends are very proficient at. They play aggressively, so I matched that enthusiasm. I ended up winning, but any pride was hampered by Mark’s sulking. About halfway through the game, he decided that he “got cheated” and couldn’t win, so he stopped engaging with the rest of us and scrolled on his phone instead. His childish behavior was annoying for everyone, and frankly, I was embarrassed by him. We’ve talked about this before, but it keeps coming up. And in the moment, I don’t want to have to nag him to play nicely. I’m close to uninviting him to game night. What should I do? – Tired of Playing Mom
Dear Tired of Playing Mom: How exasperating for you and embarrassing for him. A year from now, nobody is going to remember who won at Monopoly, but everyone will remember who almost flipped over the board.
If Mark acknowledges his rudeness and irrationality after the fact, perhaps you two could come up with a warning signal he can give you when he feels himself starting to get upset or a signal you can give him when you notice it. Also, you might suggest playing some cooperative games together rather than competitive ones. If he doesn’t admit that this is a real problem or doesn’t make a real effort at changing it, tell him that you’re not going to keep playing with him if he acts this way. You’ve been more than fair.
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