My office at home includes a nice chair for reading and sometimes Bonnie will come in and read quietly while I’m working at my computer. It’s not “together-time,” but it’s closer than spending all our time in separate rooms. Such was the case on a recent Saturday when I opened an email from a friend inviting us both to dinner sometime before the end of that month.
“Bonnie, we’re invited to eat with Pete and Gladys. They have a nice comp they wish to share with us — and maybe another couple. Do you want to go?”
“Don’t know yet. I’ll keep you posted.”
I sent back an email saying that in general Thursdays and Sundays were best for us. Pete asked about the Sunday coming up.
“Bonnie, other than the show at South Point we’re going to, is there any reason the Sunday eight days from now is out? So long as we leave the dinner by 6:45, we can easily make the 7:30 show time.”
Bonnie told me it was rude to accept dinner reservations and then leave early and we were more flexible timewise on the following two Sundays.
“But Pete suggested this date first. For some reason, this Sunday works best for them. Let’s try to make it work for all of us before we move on to another date.”
“I still think it’s rude. Gladys may not want to eat that early.”
“In that case, it’s up to Pete to say that and if he does, then we’ll move on to Plan B.”
“What is Plan B?” she asked.
“I don’t know yet.”
I sent off the email saying that if we could begin around 5:00 and could leave by 6:45 so we could make the show, we’d be happy to attend. Pete shortly sent back an email saying that 5:00 worked perfectly for them and they were looking forward to it.
When I passed on the information to Bonnie, she told me that if I wasn’t going to listen to her, why did I even ask her?
I explained that I did listen to her response. Since her only objection to this Sunday was that it was rude to leave by 6:45, I decided that I was pretty sure Pete and Gladys could easily cope with that level of rudeness. If she had presented a different objection, it could easily have been a show-stopper and I would have aimed for another night.
“Whatever! Just do what you want. Don’t even ask me next time! I don’t care!”
I knew from experience that continuing the “discussion” that evening would be futile. So, I invited her for a walk around the block as long as the dinner invitation would not be discussed at all. By the next day, everything was fine and there was no lasting resentment.
At the risk of being called sexist, I’ve had numerous versions of that conversation with several women in my life over the years. While there’s plenty of evidence that my social skills are occasionally less than stellar, I suspect this conversation didn’t sound too unfamiliar to my readers.
There are direct analogs from what Bonnie and I went through there to gambling intelligently with a partner. In my current case, I am the only one doing the gambling and I have a partner in life. In other cases, the two partners may both be gambling on a common bankroll whether they are life-partners or not.
One of you is going to have to be the decision maker insofar as what, how much, and when to gamble. The other person can offer input, and sometimes that input is sufficient to change the plans, but one person has to be in charge. And once the decision is made, the other one should go along with it without mentioning that she disagrees with the decision every five minutes.
There must be trust between the partners. If you don’t trust each other with money, skill-set, or decision-making, it can make for an unhappy partnership.
In my case, it’s obvious who the decision maker should be insofar as gambling goes. Bonnie and I have been together less than four years and I was already a video poker professional when she came along. Also, I’m the one with the gambling bankroll. In addition, making logical decisions when there are a lot of competing variables is something I’m better at than she is. (On occasion, Bonnie might dispute this last one.)
In other partnerships, it’s not so clear cut who should be in charge. Should it be the one with the money? Should it be the most knowledgeable gambler? Should it be the one with the best organizational skills? Should it be the one who wants to be the leader the most? Should it be the only one willing to take on that role? Can you agree who’s best at it?
Well, each partnership is different and each must come up with its own way of doing things. We’ve had several “team captains” on the radio show explaining different ways they did things. It’s different if you have the same people in a long-lasting partnership than it is if you’re together only for a weekend for a 3-day play. (I know I’m riding roughshod over the difference between being a two-person partnership and a multi-person team. For today’s discussion, I don’t think that difference is important.)
Can it create hard feelings sometimes along the way? Of course. This depends at least partly on how abrasive the decision-maker is and how sensitive the other person is.
I’ve known of marriages that have broken up because of gambling. I’m not talking here about problem gamblers (who have their own set of problems and certainly many marriages have been ruined by problem gambling). I’m talking about winning players who couldn’t agree on things such as how much, how often, and when — and when you should get away from gambling for a while. Just having money coming in is not nearly enough for a happy life.