I'm better at sports than my spouse. Should I play down?

Postby asdfrasfd » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:52 pm

My wife and I enjoy playing a lot of sports together. We met while swimming in High School and enjoy playing tennis, racquetball, table tennis and pretty much anything else. The problem is that I am much better at sports than my wife and I feel bad when I beat her easily at everything we do. It's gotten to the point where I've started to play table tennis left handed in order to make the games more even yet I still win.

Is it better for me to "play down" or play at my level?
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:36 pm

asdfrasfd wrote:Is it better for me to "play down" or play at my level?

Here is what science has to say on the matter.

http://content.time.com/time/subscriber ... -2,00.html

If you watch rats wrestle, says Stephen Siviy, a psychologist at Gettysburg College, you'll see that the bigger rat lets the smaller rat win every now and then so that the smaller rat will keep playing.

If you always win, eventually the other person does not feel like playing anymore.

A common, and understandable belief, is that to play down is arrogant or condescending and that any "victory" the other person has will ring hollow if they realize you are playing at less than full capacity.

A way to correct for this that is used in various sports is the concept of "handicapping". For instance, if I play Tiger Woods at golf there is no way I will win. And I don't expect Tiger to intentionally screw up golf shots. Instead, the game is fun by using a handicap, giving me free strokes for certain holes. Maybe Tiger is not allowed to use a putter. This helps equal the game.

Using your left hand is a good handicap. If you are still winning with ease then up the handicap. She is awarded 2 points for every score, for example. Or she only needs to get to a score of 5, while you must still get to 21.
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Postby Candid » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:01 am

asdfrasfd wrote:I beat her easily at everything we do.

Another thought here: is it you who chooses the games?

One thing I've noticed (and gnashed my teeth over) is that my husband sets the parameters. It's been more than ten years since one of my friends told me I was disappearing. His exact words were: Don't bring him, because when you do we don't see you.

There's a tendency for married women to get lumbered with the maintenance work that has to be done while their husbands allocate more time for skilled tasks and recreation. Doing the same things over and over in order for the home to function fuzzes our brains. We lose our edge.

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:If you always win, eventually the other person does not feel like playing anymore.

That's when the husband gets home to find The Last Supper in the microwave and a note suggesting he empty the dryer. For some reason this always takes them by surprise.
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