January 3, 2012

All The Way Turned Up

For the last several months, Kare has been obsessed with an online game (that I foolishly introduced him to lol) - and that's putting it mildly. He spends 95% of his free time playing this game instead of taking care of other responsibilities such as preparing documents for work or spending time with me. Generally, I do not interrupt him while he's playing the game even though it is something he can do for 12 hours straight on his days off. To avoid feeling neglected by him, I've asked that he take 30 - 60mins to spend uninterrupted quality time with me at some point during the day.

While Kare has provided me with my quality time (as long as I request the time, because he never volunteers it), I have told him that I still feel ignored. However, the importance of this matter and the affect it is having on me does not seem to be registering with Kare because he hasn't changed any habits associated with playing this game.

The definition of insanity is doing the SAME thing and expecting a DIFFERENT result so I think it's time for a different approach. For the last few days, I have taken the time to identify which of my specific needs are not being met and what I can do to meet them. Since Kare has demonstrated that he is unwilling to change his behavior to help me meet these needs, it's up to me to change my behaviors and communicate a more structured boundary regarding "us" time that I need for a continued healthy and fulfilling relationship with him. This will include not tolerating computer use at my house or during "us" time, not accepting an offer for his company after 7pm on weekdays (because he'll be ready for bed at that time, not to hang out), a date night, and a social night.

These conditions may mean a significant reduction in the amount of time we currently spend together (he usually sleeps over every night) but it's the best compromise I can offer based on the circumstances. I've also determined that I don't mind minimum to no interaction when we are not together nor do I mind how much time we spend "not-together" as long as we have a weekly date night and a monthly social night.

To facilitate a more neutral and compassionate environment of giving and receiving, here is my issue framed using non-violent communication that I plan on presenting to Kare (so some of the language may reflect that):

When we go out (either alone or with friends), I've noticed that you are affectionate, attentive and actively engage in conversation with myself and others. When we are at home, I've noticed that the affection, attention and conversation are minimum to non-existent unless I specifically request your time [per the agreement I stated previously]. All activities: waking up, going to sleep, and everything in-between are done with little contact between us.

I feel distant when we spend all day in the same house and take only 30 - 60 mins to interact with each other. I feel frustrated that I am usually the one that initiates our interaction on these days. I am beginning to feel very resentful that the majority of your focus goes to non-work related computer time. Since a large portion of our time together is spent at home, I am experiencing these negative emotions for a significant portion of any given day.

My need for companionship, intimacy and bonding with my partner are not being met when we spend so much time in the same space and so little time engaged in each others company.

What I would like to happen is:
  • Spend time actively engaged with each other and/or sharing in activities when we are together.
  • When we spend time at my place, I'd like for computers to be off-limits.
  • I'd like at least one date per week that lasts a minimum of three hours, with at least one hour of that time dedicated for just you and me. If it's on a weekday, I'd prefer if "us" time begins no later than 7pm.
  • I'd like at least one social night per month where we are together and spend time with our friends.
  • If you need/want to use your computer for work or play, I would like for that to be handled during "not-us" time and at your own home.
These are not demands, but rather a statement of what I would like to see happen. If any of the above is not possible, I am happy to negotiate something that would work better for both of us.

I'm hoping that by turning up the communication (not the volume), he'll be better able to hear me.

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