Friday, 27 December 2013

a quick note

Just letting you know things are a bit chaotic in my head and heart right now, but I'm ok. After another terrible x-mas I made a decision, but I will write more when things develop a little, I'm still figuring out how to do what I have to do. Yes, I mean breaking up with Josh.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

looking back

Just came back from a painful conversation with my parents and though of updating this. My step-dad told me lots of things about Josh and how he's getting himself into a trap with Poker and failing to invest in a real future... and he analyzed Josh's reasons to do so, on a "psychological level".
 
I agreed with everything and I asked him to do that very same analysis with me: why, knowing all that I know and have experienced with Josh, am I still with him? He told me he thought my problem is that I'm unable to deal with loss. That's why I always find ways to stay in the relationship, to adjust and adapt to Josh, even if I see no future with him and am unhappy with him. It's always better to be with him than without, because I simply cannot handle loss. That was his opinion and he told me I should treat it in therapy (although he doesn't believe in therapists).
 
He also thinks that this problem either comes from the loss of my father or from the fact I was kept in a hospital for over a year when I was just two years old, without seeing my parents regularly.
 
During this conversation, my mother was particularly pissed with the fact that I can't bring myself to end it with Josh, or to force him to change, and she said I must be pretty incompetent, because she always found ways to get my father (and step-dad) to do what she wanted. This made me sad. Then I lashed back at her saying that she might have changed my real dad, but they were still completely miserable together. She agreed but she said she only continued the marriage because I was born and my real dad threatned her that if she left him, I would never set my eyes on him again. What a douchebag. My real dad was a horrible, horrible dad and a worse husband, I wish my step dad was my real dad and I wish I didn't spend a minute of my childhood with that asshole.
 
So... yeah, it seems I'm getting somewhere. Loss issues. Facing the fact that "daddy didn't love me" and he used me to force my mom not to leave (he had already been abandoned by his ex, who cheated on him and left him). Bah, fucking pathetic. But at least I know where to turn now.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 13 December 2013

working on acceptance

Hi everyone, things have been quite good this week, as they usually are after a big fight. Josh is still playing and going deep on tables, but no major final tables so far, he's finishing up in the final 100, final 40, it depends. But December is still halfway ahead of us and I'm hopeful.
 
Our last fight had at least one positive outcome: I've decided to stop obsessing about my problem. I was looking at this relationship from a million different angles, like I was testing a bug or trying to solve a Rubik's cube, and there's really no point in that. It is what it is. For now Josh is still more important in my life that out of it and I have to stop fighting that, it's exausting and meaningless.
 
So I'm focusing more on myself (also therapy-wise), on listening to my thoughts and feelings throughout the day and even trying remembering stuff in my childhood that I totally blocked out. No success there so far.
 
The day after our fight I went to my parents' house (I didn't tell them what happened) and my mom was talking to me for an hour, complaining about my step-dad. I love my step dad and I think their relationship is great, they do stuff together, he's sweet to her, he buys her gifts, he helps around the house... but my mom sees it differently. She was complaining that she can't tell him anything or he'll start with the "I'm always the one to blame" speech and that he doesn't help her enough around the house (I think he does), or that she feels unloved because he doesn't make her feel special.
 
Her complaints, making absolutely no sense to me (but I didn't tell her this, I listened and supported her, obviously), are 100% real and painful to her. This made me wonder about how much of my complaints could be perceived differently by another person. And ultimately, if I should work a little on acceptance as well - since I want to stay with Josh, for now, that is. I mean, it makes sense to try and not get mad about everything all the time (he didn't pick up after himself, he isn't paying me enough attention, he didn't shave and is always with his beanie on and looks like a bum, he doesn't pay his bills, etc etc). 
 
I think I need this now. Trying to relax and focus on myself, not getting upset over little things and over things I cannot change for now (leaving Josh). Acceptance of myself and of him. For now. Yep.
 
 
Hope you guys are ok, I wish you all the best.
 
xoxo
Andrea

Monday, 9 December 2013

the fat lady didn't sing yet

Hello everyone, hope your weekend was nice, mine started off good, but ended up like crap. It had been a while since me and Josh had a big fight, so, naturaly, it had to happen. I'm at home now, couldn't go to work because I cried so much last night that I look like a monster this morning.
 
We started arguing because I told him I was sick of him not paying any attention to me and not investing in our relationship, because for the past month he's either playing Poker or sleeping. This led to an argument about my needs not being met and his needs as well. Or I should say "need",  because he only complains of one thing: sex (or lack of).
 
My attention needs don't make sense to him because I did exactly the same to him while I was working away from our house: I was too tired and unavailable to spend time with him and even kept meeting my friends although we had little or no time together as a couple. He believes I'm never satisfied with anything, I complain if he doesn't play enough and then I complain if he plays too much, I'm never happy and women in general are impossible to please.
 
For his part, I don't accept his sexual complaints because we always have sex at least once a week, and I feel like if I don't initiate it it's because he doesn't make me want to do it. I feel used in this relationship, for being his financial support, and even though he supports me in other levels, I still feel it's not enough. So... initiating sex doesn't come naturaly to me because I feel like I'm already "giving enough" and he has to try harder to get it (like being romantic, a better partner in house tasks, or, most importantly, being self-sufficient financially). Basically I've become turned-off by our problems and by his personality/life style.
 
So... he said he couldn't live with someone who felt like this, "turned off" by him, he was tired of always trying to set things right and never being enough and he was leaving. He packed, again. And I didn't stop him, I was trying to do the "right thing" for me.
 
But after 4 hours (he said he'd leave in the morning) of crying and talking and fighting, I couldn't hold on anymore. I kept saying that I didn't want him to go for a while, but meaning to let him go, I was like "yeah, we love eachother but this is not working, it's best that we part ways" and blabla. But then it was too much for me to handle. I said I didn't want him to leave and really meant it. In the end I didn't have to beg him or anything, he didn't want to leave either. So... yeah, he stayed. And dependency won.
 
It's sad for me to admit this, but it's an eye opener too. This really is like any other addiction. I was all strong and saying to myself "I won't stop him, I wish he'd just leave, I can't live like this anymore" but the truth is I'm not ready yet. It is arguable whether or not I'll ever be ready. But this is what I know: the pain of separation that I felt last night isn't natural. And it is even less natural when we observe the relationship at hand. Getting separate from Josh should be, not easy, because there are memories and feelings involved, but definately not this hard. It's like I'm in the hospital again and my parents are leaving me there again. Or it's like I'm finding out my father just died again. It is a primal, childish, desperate pain, that makes me curl up in a ball in the bathroom floor and cry my eyes out. Not normal. So... treating codependency is the only way. Yes. It is. Last night's experience only made this belief stronger.
 
Thank you for reading.
 
xoxo
Andrea
 
 
 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

the power of vulnerability

I'll leave you with this today, you might have seen it or not, but it basically sums up a lot of what I'm struggling with my whole life. It's not about Josh, our relationship, his "job", his choices... it's about me and what needs fixing inside me. It's about what I have to admit to myself about my past and stop trying to control in my present life.



So.. yeah, just watch this video. Does it make sense to you?

xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 29 November 2013

small things

Hi everyone! Not much to say today, things at home have been rather peaceful, Josh is playing all the time and we're a bit distant now. He's been going to bed at around 7am. But I don't complain, it's nice to know he's focusing on the game.
 
Actually I think he's getting a bit obsessed, today he was talking about Poker in his sleep. He sometimes talks in his sleep, but I hadn't heard him going on about his hands yet.
 
This is my last day working away from home, yeaaaahhh! Next weak I'll go back to my usual routine of waking up only an hour before I have to be at work, instead of two. So, more free time to do what I want.
 
Christmas is coming and, although I'm not religious, I enjoy the season. Josh usually sets up our x-mas tree (I'm not very good with the decorations) and our house is all cozy and warm, I like spending time just laying on the couch with a blanket reading a book or watching my fav TV shows. I'm following Boardwalk Empire now (season 4) and reading The God of Small Things, beautifully written.
 
Let's see how things go, Josh has been winning some money, I hope he keeps it up and things can take a positive turn by the end of the year.
 
 
Thanks for reading.
 
xoxo
Andrea

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

what's in it for me

Hello everyone. Josh didn't win anything special during the Micro Millions event, so.. no miracles so far. However, he did go deep in several tourneys and won a few hundred dollars, which is excellent and gives me a little hope for the future. I'm thinking that if he wins a large sum of money soon (like, by the end of the year), I can either give us another shot at being happy, or leave him without feeling guilty, because he has the money to support himself.

Meanwhile, I'm focusing on my recovery. In one of the books I'm reading, the author asks us to describe the gains in our relationship. Since there are always reasons to stay in a codependent relationship, what are those reasons in my case, what do I gain by having a relationship with Josh? Many of you asked the same, I guess it's part of my recovery to answer it and be completely honest.
 
I'm not alone. Sometimes I wonder if being alone wouldn't be easier, because I wouldn't feel half the anxiety I do by living with Josh... but I like having someone else in the house in case something happens to me, like I get sick or something. I feel protected or safe, having him here. Also I tend to scare myself at night and have nightmares, it helps when he's here. I also enjoy his company when watching movies or shows on TV.
 
I get my share of laughs. Josh is funny and we do have fun together.
 
Josh occasionally teaches me stuff I don't know. He's into mathematics and statistics (which I'm not) and, since he watches a lot of TV, sometimes he shares stuff he learned in History or Science channels.
 
He cleans the house and walks the dog. But this is a constant struggle, he doesn't do it willingly and we usually fight over his lazyness (or any other reason his offers as to not have done his tasks). Don't know if this is an actual "gain".
 
He has his family's beach house. I truly looove it there.
 
We have our dog. And in case we part, he's taking the dog. Although I'll admit it would be like 90% grief and 10% relief, since I pay for all the dog expenses and also I wouldn't get stressed like I do when he doesn't walk the dog (which is something he frequently neglects).
 
This is basically it. A pathetic little list. Obviously he has a lot more to gain from this relationship than me... this, along with what I admitted in my previous post (especially because of it), has got me thinking and thinking... and worrying.

I had trouble sleeping last night from confronting this reality and the simple urge to leave Josh. I have to take things slow, I'm afraid to rush out and create a more painful situation than it has to be. My options would be: simply move out and leave a note telling Josh he had like 2 months to go; break up and keep living with him until he finally left (too painful and a bit scary); break up face to face and  then move out, facing his anger and the whole drama of him watching me pack and leave.

Another question I have to ask myself is... is leaving Josh going to fix my life? Or am I, again, searching for solutions outside of myself, when in reality I could find happiness regardless of Josh being in my life or not?

A lot of thinking to do.


Thanks for reading.

xoxo
Andrea
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 22 November 2013

the most important question you can ask

Hello! I read a very interesting article (click to read it all) about the things we want in life and how our perspective on them is actually wrong, I thought of sharing it with you.
 
According to the author, to become a fully accomplished person, we got used to asking ourselves a question - what do I really want in life? - and then lead our lives in a way that somehow would result in succeeding at those goals.
 
The thing is, answering that question doesn't get us anywhere. Our answers will always be something like to "live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room." Which basically means nothing and will only contribute to make us feel like loosers for the most part.

So, the alternative would be starting to ask ourselves another question - what pain do I want to sustain in life (in order to achieve certain goals?). What are we willing to do or put up with, in order to achieve this or that? That is the million dollar question and can really change our lives.

An example from the article:
 
"If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the six pack, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten.
 
If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe you don't actually want it at all."
 
Since I'm searching for what I really want as part of the therapy process, this was a good exercise for me. When it comes to my relationship the (painfully) real answer is "I want to be with Josh, I am willing to have arguments regularly regarding his bad habits at home, I'm able to sustain the stress of living with a man who doesn't bring money home regularly, I want to feel nervous and sad every other day, I wish to doubt my future and get frequent stomach aches, I'm willing not to ever have children to stay with Josh, if I have to, I am able to wait for him to become what I need forever, even if that means waking up someday and be an old woman that no other man will want, I am ok with giving him an allowance so he can pursue his dreams and hopefully become what I wish him to be."
 
Hm... yeah. I know it's bad. But it's reality and I have to deal with it. I mean, do I really want these pains? Not really, but since that's what I have to put up with in order to be with Josh, the answer is yes, I really want them. For now. Hopefully my therapy and building my selfesteem will change my answer a bit.
 
When it comes to playing poker, thinking about Josh, I think his real answer wouldn't be "I want to be a successful poker player", but it had to be something like "I want to play poker and deal with months of insecurity, bad beats and coolers, I want to put my relationship at stake, I want to spend many sleepless nights playing and most of my days watching videos on Youtube to improve my game. I want to spend years trying to accomplish something even if it means reaching the age of 40 empty handed and with no job perspectives." I wonder if he'd really answer this, if he's aware of this... I guess I'll ask him later.
 
What about you? What do you really want in life? What are the pains you want in your life?

 
Have a nice weekend!
 
xoxo
Andrea

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

no means no?

Hello everyone. Just keeping the blog alive here. Things at home have been peaceful for a week (wow), Josh is spending lots of time playing the Micro Millions thing, yesterday he entered a 21 thousand people tournament and won 200 dollars, he played for 6 hours and got to the final 200 players. It was a little frustrating because I was secretly hoping he'd go further and, who knows, win the 15K first prize (that would be awesome), but... yeah.
 
He said he was going to change his strategy a bit and start playing MTTs (he only played Sit and Gos for the last year), from now on. This is somewhat "refreshing" to me, because I always thought he should play MTTs. Not that I know what I'm talking about, but I figure that if he can pay like 8 dollars to win 15K, he should try it from time to time, even if it's a long shot. He always said it wasn't a good idea because the game doesn't work based on "long shots", but on long term persistency and repetition, which means he might have to play dozens of MTTs to make sure he'd win something decent and he couldn't risk his bankroll like that.
 
Now, after seeing that he has gone far in several tournaments, he got his confidence up a little, and decided he's going to play more of it. Not sure if he plans on stopping SNG, but I don't think so and I hope not, I think he should play both to keep things balanced.
 
 
Now, regarding our relationship... What happened last time we had a huge fight was a small victory for me (not giving in, making him buy his pills and pick up the Dog License for me), but unfortunately, for boundaries to be deeply set, they must be tested, and those tests happen when we disagree, have a fight and I stand my ground (or not). So, I passed my first test. The problem is that sometimes fights don't happen often enough (ridiculous, but please understand) and this tends to make me "softer" which in consequence makes it more difficult to keep my boundaries when the next altercation arrives.
 
I was talking to my mom about this the other day. Her reaction was the same as many of yours: it can't be that difficult to leave someone if you're not entirely happy with the person. I showed her the book I'd just bough (Codependency for Dummies) and explained to her that I've had this problem since my teens, that I spent my whole life saying yes to men when I really wanted to say no. I didn't get into many details (she's my mom), so I didn't mention anything sexual (which happened several times), but I did admit to her that I'd accepted a guy's request to be his girlfriend (when I was like 20) only not to upset  him, and then I got home and texted him saying I was sorry but I didn't want to be his girl after all. She was a bit shocked to know this, lol. I can tell you a dozen stories of situations when I said yes instead of no (with other men, not Josh), for a single reason: not to be unpleasant and create what would be an awkward situation for me.
 
So we talked about how this problem only happens when it comes to men, because I have no problem standing up for myself with women. And we talked a bit about my real dad and how he might have influenced me to become like this, since I was always trying to make him love me and he was very demanding and cold and always busy.
 
So... yeah, to answer those who accused my therapist of being a charlatan, I disagree completely. It's very simple, actually. Imagine you found out that the way you lived your entire life was wrong, unhealthy or even dangerous for you (and I've had more than one dangerous situation because of my inability to say NO, the worst being almost getting raped). Imagine you'd have to learn how to live differently. Do you think you'd be able to change a little chip in your brain and wake up a new person? No.
 
It takes time. It takes tests. This can last months or years, depending on the situation. I'm still coming to terms with the reality of my life: I have to change the way I lead my life. And this has to be done in small steps. First I say no to buying him pills, then I say no to having sex if I'm tired and don't feel like it, then I say no to getting his dinner on the way home just so he doesn't have to move, then I say no to doing just about anything that goes against my will. Simple... but difficult.
 
Hope you guys are ok.
 
xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 15 November 2013

one day at a time

Hello everyone, didn't want to end the week without updating, but things at home are pretty much the same... we have peaceful days and then along comes another fight.
 
I was hoping for some huge breakthough in my therapy session, but nothing like that happened. My therapist says I'm not ready to leave Josh just yet and I should focus on myself, my boundaries and self respect, to stop the codependency. This can take months. She also suggested we had couples' therapy. I asked Josh but of course he said no, therapy isn't for him, there's nothing wrong with him, blablabla... obviously.
 
Meanwhile his bankroll isn't getting any bigger and I'm considering my options, leaving is looking pretty good to me, but... the house, the relationship, what will become of Josh... those things still worry me enough not to let me move out.
 
Now with the Micro Millions in PokerStars we'll see if he wins something amazing and something changes. Or not. As for me, I'm not in a good mood right now.
 
Hope you guys are doing good!
 
xoxo
Andrea

PS: Someone asked me what platform I use to keep this site, but I can't find that comment, it's gone. Anyway, I use Blogger, not Wordpress. Blogger has several themes you can use, this green one with the poker chips fit perfectly :)

Friday, 8 November 2013

a long update

Josh didn't leave. Obviously. And unfortunately. If he had left, my beliefs and personal confidence would still be intact. But as he didn't, he had a lot to tell me and that, besides hurting me, made a huge mess inside my head. Right now I'm totally confused and feel terrible, like a kid caught doing something bad. I'll try to explain his arguments as well as possible.
 
First a little background.
 
During 2012 I was caught in a situation with an abusive tenant - I rented a family house (which I later sold) to some... man, who never paid the rent, destroyed the interior of my house and, worse, left me with a debt of 700 euros - because electrical power and water supply were in my name. I had to pay bills he accumulated and had lots of trouble getting him to leave (he was living there with two kids without water or electricity, gross). Ultimately it was Josh who got him to leave, by showing up with some friends that apparently intimidated him.
 
I am now accused in the police of robbing my own house, because the... man, to get back at me, fabricated a story of me going in "his" house and leaving with several electrical supplies, gold and whatnot. Josh is one of my witnesses as to those are all lies, but the process is still pending.
 
But moving on. When I first rented the place I was conviced I'd get paid 300 euros monthly (a bargain, but our market is terrible now), so I increased my expenses:  joined an expensive gym and started having piano lessons. An extra 160 euros a month, that I didn't have because wasn't getting paid.
 
Later that year, I got into another situation, this time with a cat. I bough a Scottish Fold kitten from this... woman, that ended up dying just 12 days after. Besides the horrible experience of having the cutest kitten sick and dying in our house (and all the trouble it created, since I was at work all day and Josh had to take care of it), it was another disaster to my account. I remembered having 200 euros in my account and withdrawing 220 to pay for the kitten. It was a mistake. I paid for the cat (I bought it alone, Josh didn't go with me and didn't participate in this, I just called him and he said he was ok with it, if I wanted it) and I had to pay for the Vet and then to take the woman to court for selling me a sick kitten (she didn't want to give me my money back). I ended up spending about 600 euros in all this and only got 220 back.
 
Meanwhile, that was also when I got my arm tattoed and spent a total of 1250 euros in it, in about 4 months. So, during that year, I spent money I didn't really have and still did my life as usual - out to dinner, parties, some make-up, etc. During that time I was also helping Josh: lending him money for his expenses, that he later paid. We did this, as I said, until the summer of 2013 - I lended, he paid (my problem was that he didn't pay when I wanted him to).
 
As I said in a comment (and may have mentioned earlier) I have now over 70 thousand euros in savings, from selling that family house and so on. That money is safely stached in savings accounts that grant me small interest every year. Smaller than the inflation rate actually, which means I'm not winning anything, I'm just not losing as much as if the 70K were in my current account.
 
Josh's point of view is the following:
 
When I lended him the 5K, he was supposed to make it to SuperNova level in one year, but only if he would play certain stakes. This meant that he either had to win at the game, or couldn't withdraw money every month. Or else, he'd have to lower his stakes. Since he didn't win and I demanded him to withdraw money every month to pay for his expenses, although he made 4500 dollars, his bankroll went down to less than 2K.
 
So, if I had cut back on my expenses a little (since I was going through all those difficulties), I wouldn't feel as compelled to demand monthly payments (this is true, I admit to that), which wouldn't have caused him to lower his stakes and ultimately (along with the ridiculous bad luck he's had, according to the EV graph) made it impossible to reach SuperNova or to keep his bankroll.
 
In Josh's opinion, if I'd moved part of my barely profitable savings - let's say 5K - to my current account and had used it to help pay for my expenses along the year, I wouldn't have felt so stressed, wouldn't demand monthly payments (he'd pay me back everything by the end of the year) and none of this would have happened.
 
Regarding his hair loss pills, he said he didn't understand why I couldn't pay for them because his only issue is that he doesn't have money in his current account, only on his credit card (that receives his PokerStars withdrawals) and the pharmacy doesn't take credit card payments. So I'd pay for the pills and then he'd go to the supermarket and buy me 23 euros (their cost) worth of stuff, with his credit card.
 
He thought I was being extremelly selfish on this particular occasion (pills) and that I was always blaming him for my poor decisions regarding my money. He said he didn't know if he could live like this, so he was leaving as soon as he got a ride to go. His bag is packed. I seriously doubt he goes, because I know he still loves me (or, as you might ask, does he love my money?).
 
He also said my low self esteem is always causing me to doubt that he really loves me and making me think that he's only there for the money, but that's bull, because he knows he can survive on his own, even if not with the same quality he has with me. And that he's only trying to earn more money to please me (so we can have a family soon) because if it was only for him, he'd live with 400 a month and didn't give a damn.
 
This was basically it. My head feels like a drum and I had a bad day at work yesterday. I don't know what to think, but I must find out what I want. I didn't buy him the pills though, he asked his grandmother and she paid for it. I'll go to therapy later, which will be good. Got to get my thoughts together. I think he has a point, but I'm afraid to be manipulated. Maybe I'm crazy and a bit paranoid and can't believe he loves me for me. Maybe not.
 
Thanks for reading all this, appreciate it.
 
xoxo
Andrea

Thursday, 7 November 2013

the sh** has hit the fan

This morning before coming to work, Josh and I had a fight and he told me he was leaving me. I left the house anyway, right after he opened the closet to supposedly pack his stuff, because my country is on strike today and I only had one bus to catch if I wanted to get to work.
 
It all started last night, when he asked me if I had bought him his hairloss pills. I hadn't. I told him I wasn't going to buy them because that wasn't on the deal and I already have my bank account below zero (-550 euros actually). Besides, he already ows me around 100 euros for food and stuff that I wasn't supposed to be giving him. I feel bad. As his girlfriend, should I be helping him without asking for him to pay me back? This is what's going through my mind now, I already know your answer.
 
So, since I wasn't agreeing on buying him the pills, he refused to help me on something I needed. Our dog got surgery last month (I think I mentioned it) and I paid for it. It was over 500 euros, which I had to get from my savings because my account was already below zero then. We have insurance for the dog, but in order to get my money refunded, the insurance company asked me for the dog licence, that people can get in their local City Hall. But as I'm working far from home now, I have no way to go to my City Hall and get the document. I had asked Josh to get it before the pills' situation. After he realized I wasn't helping him with the pills, he told me he wouldn't get the paper and didn't care if I never got my money back.
 
That infuriated me. He said "I'm always doing stuff and you refuse to help me, so I refuse to help you too! I only do what's on the deal from now on!" and I told him in that case, and since the dog is actually his (because when we got separated he took the dog and that's what will happen if we part ways again), I wouldn't pay a single dime for him anymore (it pained me to do this, because I absolutely love my dog), his expenses like food, pest control or insurance. Josh just said "Fine!". I also told him that he was totally unfair saying that I don't help him, because I pay his bank loan, his bills and for his "housekeeping", and he'd have to get used to the idea that soon that help would end. Then I opened the door to go to work. As I did this, he said "I'm leaving, I'm leaving right now to [his family's beach house]." I stopped for a minute, the open door in front of me, but then I remembered everything I've been reading about codependency and "enablers", and I just left.
 
It was excruciating for me to do this. I got on the bus and felt sick, I called my therapist and texted my best friend, but no answer from both of them. During the trip to work I tried to remember everything I read online last night about codependency and enabling, specially on how enablers are allowing a person to live a lie; how enablers are stopping an addict (or debtor) from dealing with the consequences of their actions; and how enablers must STOP enabling and be very very strong, following through with their actions and their beliefs, even if the addict/debtor/gambler/child tries to manipulate them or pressures them to their limit. This was the case. 
 
My therapist called me when I was getting to work and she told me to try and relax, that I hadn't done anything wrong... that is my biggest fear, that I've been unfair and am losing my relationship because I wasn't giving enough, or was being selfish or was focusing too much on money... I don't know.
 
Now I feel terrible. I'm afraid of what will happen when I get home. Josh is so very proud, that I actually believe he might leave, after the threat he made and seeing that I didn't break. I pray to god he didn't leave, but I also know that if he did, it was for the best. Now I have to survive this day at work and gather my strength to see what's waiting for me at home. What if he commited suicide or something? God I'm so scared. You might think I'm crazy but I'm holding my tears right now. Damn, how did I get into this?
 
I hope everything works out, please Forces of Nature, almighty God and Goddess, let it be all ok when I get home. Please.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea
 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

the bargain

Alright, so yesterday Josh made me a counter-offer to see if we could continue our relationship in a way that would satisfy us both: for him this means not working, for me not feeling used. These were the terms of the deal.
 
On my part, everything would continue as we decided in September:
 
- I would pay the house expenses on my own (water, electricity and gas - we don't pay for cable TV, phones or Internet because I work for the company) - about 100 euros total (meaning I'd be giving him 50 euros)
- I would pay his bank loan monthly (125 euros)
- I would give him 20 euros a week (80 euros)
 
This is a total of about 250 euros worth of help.
 
He would:
 
- Do everything in the house for me, including: cooking, cleaning, laundry and walking the dog for me every single day - this sounded immediately good because I hate walking the dog on weekdays (we currently take turns walking the dog and I usually don't feel like doing it);
 
- The 20 euros a week could only be used to do things together as a couple, or for him to go out with his friends in case I want to stay home, but never for things that are exclusively his, like supplements; - this is also better, because the previous deal implied that if I wanted to do something with Josh, I'd have to pay even more, since he used those 20/week to do stuff for himself. So I was paying him 80 a month + any other cash spent in "couples stuff".
 
- He would continue to pay for his own food;
 
- I would only pay for the stuff above mentioned until he was able to recover some of his bankroll and, as it grew (supposedly), I would gradually pay less and less, until we would finally distribute our expenses equally.
 
 
 
He made a convincing point on how this was a way for us to be together and how he's not with me just because of what I can offer him, but also because he loves me, or else he wouldn't put up with my mood swings or indecisions or pressures or even try to change things to accomodate me.
 
So... basically now I'm thinking and looking inside to see if this would be ok with me or if the alternative (giving up and get separated) would be better. The main question is.. are these things worth my 250 euros? Do they balance themselves out? Is he working enough for me to feel good, to be worthy of my help?
 
It's tempting, because the deal seems now a little more balanced my way. But it's still a "deal", an "arrangement", a "sacrifice" of my finances... of course he'd also sacrifice by doing all that stuff... so the thing is trying to realize if I'd have good quality of life with this arrangement, or if I'd be going against my wants and needs again, by accepting it.
 
Must think about it... I am inclined to accept, because I don't want the relationship to end, but I'm not sure if that is reason enough, or if I'm just being co-dependent again. :(
 
 
xoxo
Andrea
 
 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

first step

Ok, so yesterday I was reading a lot about codependecy and learned a few important things, very life-changing stuff. There were two major lessons for me:
 
A codependent relationship automatically ends when you develop a healthy, working relationship with your anger (in other words, yourself) and use that relationship as a springboard for creating and maintaining sound personal boundaries that protect you.
 
And
 
When you listen to your anger, form a bond with it, and work with it constructively — you naturally pay more attention to your boundaries or lack of them. And you set and maintain healthy boundaries to protect yourself.
 
And guess what? That kind of behavior is the complete opposite of codependency.
 
 
Read the whole thing HERE. (I just realized that angerisagift gained a whole new meaning for me hahaha)
 
So... I decided to set the boundary that is really missing in my relationship with Josh: to stop giving him or lending him money, since that is what makes me feel used and overall bad.
 
Along with it, I decided not to repress my anger anymore, which is something I constantly do with Josh. I feel violated, I push the feeling away; I feel used, I push it away; I feel deceived, I ignore it; I feel manipulated, I silence it. No. I have to stop doing this, I have to set and respect my own boundaries, I have to allow myself to get angry at what he does to me.
 
Baby steps. Yesterday I went home and explained to Josh that, since I have very little money available this month (actually I just got paid on the 20th and my balance is already below zero), I couldn't give him the 100 dollars we had agreed on (so he could go out with his friends or so). I told him he didn't have to clean the house, because I couldn't pay him. He didn't take it well.
 
He started accusing me of joining the gym and getting another tattoo done (I'm getting it on the 16th of November, so I need to save up some of my already out of balance account) and messing with our agreement. I told him I was sorry but I just wasn't feeling ok with our arrangement at all and had to put my needs first, even if they were just going to the gym or getting a tattoo. (Because I can afford those things, if I don't have a leach attached to my bank account.)

He then told me that he wouldn't clean or do any cooking for me (even though I am still paying for his bank loan and all the bills - I just cut him off on the extra 100 dollars). And he said that this way he wouldn't have any money to take me out or do fun stuff and I'd get bored. And that I was ruining everything. And that I ruined his dreams because I forced him to withdraw money from PokerStars more than he should have (to pay me what he owed me thoughout the year).
 
I kept my ground, apologized for the inconvenience, but kept my ground and told him he should also prepare for the day when I'd stop giving him/lending him money altogether, because that day is near. He was very upset and didn't talk to me for the rest of the evening, not this morning, when I got up and he went to bed.
 
I feel sad, but this is necessary. If he loves me he'll find a way for us to be together without making me feel used, right? I hope I wasn't too harsh on him.
 
xoxo
Andrea
 

Monday, 28 October 2013

ramblings from a crazy person

That would be me.
 
I've been talking to some friends about our situation and am getting more and more convinced that there's no other way to go but to leave Josh. Everyone agrees, even his closest friends. They actually offered their house for me to stay (to me, not Josh, which is funny but also sad) for some time if I decide to leave and have to give him a month or so to move out of my house. Maybe he doesn't need that much time, but I don't want to make things harder than they already are.
 
Things at home are a little bit better, but only because I chose not to think about anything. Yesterday I was able to tell him that maybe we'd have to get separated, which doesn't mean I don't love him anymore, but that things just aren't working for me. He was... very agreeable. Maybe he was just being nice to keep things from falling apart, I don't know.
 
Last week my therapist told me that she didn't think I was ready to make the decision of breaking up yet and I should take it easy, or it could be more than I can handle and lead me straight back to him. So.. yeah.
 
Meanwhile I went to see a psychic (this is ridiculous) to see if I could get some clarity and the result was.. good, I guess. This lady had already talked to spirits for Josh and had told him several things that seemed true, like he was the destructive force in our relationship and had to change and so on. She also told him that we had already been together in another life and were trying to set things right on this one. This actually affected me a little bit (I believe such things), but after talking to her last weekend, I felt I have nothing to worry about. I was worrying that I had to pay my dues to Josh for something I'd done in another life, and that I might have to live with him and help him all my life to set things right or something.
 
But after talking to her, I didn't feel she was for real. She had no real message for me other than the obvious things that anyone who knows Josh and doesn't want us to break up (she's a friend of Josh's grandmother) could tell me. She told me I should look into myself and respect myself and that if I wanted to keep Josh I had to treat him like a child (she even mentioned an allowance), that I had to teach him to behave and not let him manipulate me. She told me she wasn't seeing any breakup soon and that he would eventually quit playing poker, but not now. I didn't believe much of it, although I will do what she told me regarding respecting myself and all that.
 
I bought another book online about Codependency that might help me. Supposedly if I found the inner strenght to stop Josh from manipulating/hurting me, I wouldn't even have to leave him, because the relationship could turn into a healthy one. If I changed, he'd be forced to change as well, or we'd part naturally. In theory.
 
And that's all for now... do you believe in psychics? Have you used those services to get peace of mind or even to help you in the game? :) I usually watch Long Island Medium and that show just blows my mind! Is she for real?
 
Hope all is well with you guys.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 25 October 2013

a little chat

Well, I have to write this down so I won't forget.
 
I used one of Pokerdogg's comments to confront Josh with the real possibility of him finding a part-time job and still play poker. This is what happened.

Me: "You can plug in the games you play and see how many points you get. To achieve supernova status, you need to get 100,000 VPP in a year. I played with the numbers a bit, looks like if I stay disciplined, and play single table turbo SNGs, 10 tables at a time, I'll be able to play 100 matches per day. That gives me 611 VPP per day. I only need to play 164 days out of the year, or about 15 days/month." I found this at a poker forum, is this possible?

Josh: Yes

Me (I made this up to see what he'd say): He has a part-time job and also plays. What do you make of it? He doesn't have to withdraw from his bankroll.

Josh: Andrea... where does he have a part time? and does he make 200 euros a month? (it's what a part time pays here)

Me: I have no idea, he's not from around here.

Josh: right... LOL.. no wonder

Me: but wouldn't it be a solution for you?

Josh: If he lived in our country he'd play twice as much and win the 11K
Me: And live off what?

Josh: because working part time and make 200 euros would be ridiculous

Me: and live off what meanwhile? Since you say he shouldn't touch his bankroll...

Josh: Off his ass, I don't know.

Me: O.o  Why does this look like a bad solution for your case? Honestly.

Josh: Because working for 200 euros is just sad. I'd rather move to (his beach house) and become a fisherman.

Me: So... just to confirm, you intend to survive without touching your bankroll and without working, with my support, is that right?

Josh: I don't intend anything. Since you're always changing your mind, you figure it out.

Me: I can't figure out/decide your life... I think it's time you come clean about things.. meaning: to "intend" something, to admit your plans to yourself and me. Whatever they may be, it's important that you decide what to do with your life.

Josh: Right.


And from here on he just evaded the question. But I guess it's pretty clear what he wants. This time I'm not even expecting any innovative comment from you guys, this is just venting, pure and simple, so that I won't forget this conversation.
 
I'm still at work but it's pretty obvious we'll have an argument about it this weekend.
 


xoxo
Andrea

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

just a small update

Hello everyone, I caught a bad cold and have been in bed, I haven't been able to update or answer your questions. I'm actually fed up with thinking about all this. But I will find the time to go over his stats related questions you asked, specifically Pokerdogg's.
 
Things around the house have been pretty much the same, lots of tension mixed with peaceful periods. Josh hasn't been playing on account of his bad luck (well, he restarted yesterday). And I haven't had the patience to think about it.
 
We argue a lot, he still believes that because we're a couple I should "hang in there" while things go wrong, and pay for some extra things so we can keep a lifestyle that makes me happy (like movies, restaurant dinners and stuff), that he can't afford now, but will pay me back later when his luck improves.
 
I still believe I've given him enough and have actually started looking for a place to move, if it comes to that. I have a couple of friends that can take me in if I decide to break up with Josh. Kicking him out would be too dramatic and I don't want to go through it, I'd rather move out, give him a couple of months to go wherever he chooses to, and then return to my home.
 
It was my birthday the other day and he (again) made me feel bad. He went to his gym and was late to my birthday dinner with my family... oh and he only gave me my birthday present the next day, even though he had it at the house earlier. Me and my dad think all this is related to his past (he had a terrible childhood), because every year is the same: he always acts like my birthday is something completely unimportant and as if I had to be taught that. That's why he doesn't give me presents "on time" and despises any family events we organize. He has trouble dealing with family stuff, actually. I don't know if I told you his whole story yet... I believe not. Maybe on my next post. 
 
Meanwhile I found a broadcasting service (Justin.tv) I can use one of these days to show my face and answer some questions if you like to be 100% certain I am who I claim to be.
 
Hope things get better soon.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea
 

Friday, 18 October 2013

calling his bluff (and josh's HM stats)

Edit November 20, 2013: Josh showed me his HM is actually crazy (like, he's been playing for 6 hours and the program only shows 40 minutes), which means I can't be sure of the accuracy of the stats I posted before.

Yesterday I kept my ground and didn't go all "please don't go" on Josh. I told him he has to find an alternative to Poker, or... if he chooses to leave, I won't stop him or be upset. So yeah, I basically was calling his bluff.

We talked a bit about his stats and he even showed me Hold'em Manager. This might help answering some of your questions.. let's see.. he told me he plays games with 45 people max but usually will only go there if he wins enough on smaller games. His usual games involve 9 to 18 people (if I understood correctly) - that's all he plays now.

Regarding his attempt to reach the Super Nova level, he told me it would be impossible to achieve only with 5 thousand dollars (what I gave him last year, when he said it would be a piece of cake) because there could be major losing streaks (he mentioned one of 20K by some pro). His winnings in a year come to 5K, including rakeback, and he plays an average 30 hours a week.

He also told me about something called EV (no idea what it stands for) and how it showed he would be losing much less if he wasn't having suck bad luck for such a long time. This is his actual graph:
 



The green line are his winnings, the yellow his winnings + rake and the red what he'd be winning if he wasn't so unlucky. That's how he put it. This is a screen he sent me through Facebook, that's why it's very small.

Later I was able to get the following screens from his computer (all stats are from the entire year). You can see the photos in a larger format by CLICKING HERE (it has all the pics of this blog, so you'll find a chicken there also, haha).
 

 
 





 
 

Regarding your comments and advice... I know you keep hoping I kick him out, and I totally understand it. But as some of you already know (thank you Pokerdogg), this blog isn't entirely about getting advice (or following it blindly), but getting some personal clarity! Your advice is good, reasonable advice. But I'm not an entirely reasonable person.
 
Anyway, I am feeling very disconnected from Josh lately and this might result in some permanent change of the way I feel towards him. For now I'm just evaluating the situation... but if he were to leave me today, I wouldn't try to stop him. And this is quite different from how I was feeling a couple of months ago.

I'm now working a bit far from my house (one hour away by train), which leaves me little time for myself and very little patience for Josh's difficulties. So I'm feeling pretty saturated... but I don't know if this is how I'll feel when I get back working at my company's headquarters, near my house, in January and everything settles down. One thing is for sure, I don't feel the same way I did a few months ago.

Just... living one day at a time, always. Thank you for reading.

xoxo
Andrea

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

threats and more threats

Hi guys. I'm a bit upset today.
 
Josh and I were talking just now, he was complaining about his bad luck and told me that if things go on like this he'll have to leave my house. I asked him where to, he said he didn't know, just leave. Actually his exact words were "when my bankroll dries out, I definatelly will not work at a store... and you won't support me, so I'll leave, just go somewhere".
 
I told him that if that is the case, maybe he should start building an education, take some courses or something, while he still has money, so he can later pursue a "normal" job. He immediately said no. He said that entering the market at 30 years old and earning $1000 was out of the question. So I told him "well, fine, at least you're aware of your situation". And that was that.
 
He believes that the problem in his life isn't Poker and the fact he doesn't win anything, but me and the "pressures" or "influences" as he puts it, that my presence implies. He believes that if he moves somewhere else he will be able to save a lot more, because I make him spend money. This is ludicrious to me, but what can I say? I mean, I'm paying all the bills from now on (and until now I helped him pay and he paid me back later), I pay my half of the food, I pay him an extra $25 a week for him to do whatever he wants. He speaks as if I was like a little tempting voice inside his head telling him to go eat beef every week or go out drinking every two weeks or spend his money unwisely.
 
Besides, he blames my father for raising false hopes regarding the antique business. He bough a few things and now claims he was wasting money based on the false idea my dad gave him (that the business would go just fine). Damn... is it me, or is he not taking responsibility for his choices?
 
I think I have nothing to apologize regarding my lifestyle. I've always tried to save money, since I was a kid. I usually don't indulge in stupid spendings, and even when I do, I pay my credit cards entirely every month, without interest fees. I don't eat at fancy restaurants and I certainly don't force Josh to do so. I think he's just angry for losing so much and is blowing off steam with these threats of leaving me.
 
Maybe he expects me to say that I will support him no matter what, that I will accept my "blame" for making him spend money he shouldn't have from his bankroll (the bankroll I provided him with) and give him back those 2K (or so), so he can get back on track. But I feel like he's always trying to get back on track. And my patience isn't the same as it was a year ago.
 
So... yeah, if he decides to leave, if he convinces himself of the preposterous idea that I'm responsible for his life choices and his finantial situation, I'll have to let him go. I just have to.

PS: I will try to post his Hold'em Manager stats as soon as I have a few alone moments in the house, so you can get a better idea of how he's doing at Poker.

Monday, 14 October 2013

long lost lady luck

Hello everyone. So... two weeks without a word, but this is a good sign, I guess it means I don't have much to complain about lately. Things at home have been not picture perfect, but... they've been ok (he's still cooking and cleaning!). My mood is a bit strange though, for these past weeks I've been noticing some changes regarding my feelings for Josh, mostly because I'm disappointed and tired of waiting for the great life he promised me a year ago.
 
Josh complains this was one of the worst years he's had since he started playing poker. According to his stats, he should be winning like $3500 more than he did, because of the so called "suck outs". I wonder if this is normal... I mean, I know Poker can be a game of patience and losing streaks can last a long time, but.. a whole year? I don't know. I'm not saying I don't believe him, but I just don't know if this is normal. He complains that he's been losing with the best hand over and over on Poker Stars, and when he wins it's only enough to compensate for what he's already lost. So basically he isn't losing, but also not making any money, which makes life complicated for us.
 
Meanwhile, he started reading "Poker Winners Are Different" and we went through the first chapter together, the one with some sort of quizz to help the reader compare himself to a typical "Winner". I was surprised to see he's thinking straight, he answered the questions honestly and when we compared the results with what a winner would do, he would have done the same on every question, except the first. If I recall it correctly, on the first question they asked how many callers he'd want if he went all in with pocket aces. He answered 1 and the book said that, considering long term results, the best would be always to have as many callers as possible with that hand, so 9 callers. That's chinese to me.
 
I was thinking about posting his Holdem Manager stats here, without his name, so you could get a better idea of the type of player he is and give me your opinion, but... that means I have to use his computer when he's not home. So for now I'll ask: what was the longest you've been without winning (I mean without covering your losses and winning on top of them)?
 
And... I'll keep waiting for Lady Luck to find her way back to our house, she must have gotten lost or caught up somewhere.
 
Thank you for reading.
 
xoxo
Andrea
 
 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

minor update

Just telling you I'm still here and things are going ok so far. I've just finnished eating my first Josh-cooked-lunch and it was pretty good! He's keeping his side of the bargain so far (yeah I know it's still day one, but I guess it's a good indication that he will at least try).
 
Hmm there are some doubts about my blog being real or not (one of you said I was a man), so I thought of giving you the best proof I can. This:


Unless you think I'm a transvestite or that this is all some elaborate plot and I borrowed a co-worker's hand (or even severed a female hand, who knows), you'll know I'm a woman. Got my nails done last saturday.
 
I won't take offence on those who say I'm just seeking attention, because that is true, I would like to be read by women in the same situation as mine, share stories and don't feel as alone with my decisions, as I sometimes do. If you know anyone like this, please send them my way. Meanwhile, as long as I think this is a positive experience that might help me and others, I'll keep writing from time to time.
 
This whole thing with Josh cooking and cleaning for me might turn out pretty well, I mean, it's cool to have this done for me (even if I pay the bills in return) and all my female colleagues think it's awesome. Even my best friend, who "hates" Josh, thought this was a good idea and was surprised he agreed to  it. So.. yeah, we'll see how it goes.

Thank you for reading.

xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 27 September 2013

dreams and fears

I don't know what happened to all those Poker Wives who just disappeared from the blogosphere after writing a couple of posts, but I better keep writing. Nothing special to say today... me and Josh have been apart for 2 weeks, he's been at his beach house (I'm writing this and thinking "yeah, this sounds bad", so I'll add) he's got his computer with him and has been playing (or so he claims).
 
He'll be back tomorrow and I'm getting a little anxious about how things will work out with our new "stay-at-home-husband" arrangement. I'm not sure how I'll feel, if I will still feel used or if we'll reach some kind of balance.
 
I'm also anxious about his trip back home and that something might happen to him. This sounds crazy, but I have these worries from time to time, that something might happen and he'll die from a freak accident or something. I read somewhere that women have this kind of "worrying gene" or worrying part of their brains, which makes us worry about stupid things, while men can live their lives much more peacefully. This sucks.
 
Anyway, just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been commenting or even emailing me with advice. I've come to the conclusion that if I'm going through this with Josh is not because I don't know what I'm doing, but because I believe he has a chance. And for now I'd rather live with a successful poker player than with a McDonald's employee (no offence, it's just a personal choice). I know things can go seriously wrong, but they can also go extremely well.
 
And I want to see him go through whatever difficulties he has to and then come out clean on the other side. I want to be able to tell people "hey, he's done it, he finally had a great couple of years, he paid me back everything he owed and is now making some serious money on the bankroll he alone put together". Or "hey, I followed my heart and ended up choosing the right guy after all and we're happy". Or "hey, miracles do happen!". You get the point.
 
Just dreams for now.
 
 
xoxo
Andrea
 
 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

to lie or tell the truth about your job

I've been reading some posts on the twoplustwo forum and one of the issues that caught my attention was the hard time professional players have explaining others what they do for a living, or trying to be accepted. This also happens to Josh, and to me, when someone asks me what he does.
 
When he first started playing for a living, 4 years ago, he told his friends and family, but wasn't comfortable with telling the truth to acquaitances. His family didn't take it well, immediatelly trying to make him quit and go back to a "real" job. My parents didn't take it seriously, they didn't imagine it would last this long, I'm sure. But for everyone else it seemed there would be too many explanations involved and that it would be easier just telling a little lie.
 
So, now I only tell the whole truth when I absolutely have to. On most occasions I just say "my husband works at home", because that leads to a world of possibilities that require no explanation: he could be a freelance designer, a stock investor, or whatever other "respectable" jobs you can do from home.
 
The issue with Poker is, obviously, its connection to gambling and with the idea of addiction. My real dad was a computer engineer and worked at least 12 hours a day, but that was ok, no addiction there... wait, what? Yeah.
 
Although other jobs can be equally addictive, Poker can have you loosing your entire family savings in no time. So.. it's understandable that most of the people I tell the truth to have a some kind of reaction. Men usually get excited, consider it "great" and say they wish they could do the same thing, or that their wives/girlfriends allowed them to do the same thing. Women just stare at me with a mix of amazement and worry in their eyes.

And then comes the explaining (or my general idea of how the game works) - that he pays only a small ammount to enter tournaments where he can win a lot, or just plays low stakes sit and gos and slowly builds his monthly income, that he doesn't go to the casino (this is usually reassuring to women and strange to men) and only plays online.
 
Making a living off online poker is the equivallent, for many people, to being a couch potato, someone lazy, unqualified for a better job, someone very irrealistic and immature or just plain dumb. The line between a professional player and a degenerate gambler is thin... and people have no trouble judging others, even if they've never even met Josh. I don't blame them. We all need some order in our lives and sometimes that means putting people into little boxes we can easily define, understand and relax about.

When I say my husband plays poker, the immediate reaction will most of the times be: poker = gambling = addiction = no stability or chance of a good future = she's doomed. So, instead of saying it and getting pity from others, I just lie and dream of a better world, like that chicken down there.

What about you?

 

Monday, 23 September 2013

about yours truly

Hey there, sorry for the "late" post, this week will be complicated at work so I won't be updating that often. Besides, most of my story is already told, now I'll update as new stuff unfolds. I had promised to do a post about me, so... here goes nothing.

Let's see... despite being 30, I feel like I'm still in my mid twenties, since I've got no kids or major responsibilities other than keeping my job. I spend my free time surfing the Web, watching movies, reading or writing. I particularly like horror stories and that's also what I like to write. I go out with my friends every other weekend, but during the week it's mostly work and my family: Josh, our french bulldog, and occasional visits to my parents'. I hate sports, but I still work out as much as possible and sometimes I go with Josh to the gym.

English isn't my first language, but I try to write as best as I can and sometimes use risky words that I'm not really used to, hope I don't make a fool of myself too often.

I'm a very spiritual person, but not religious. I don't believe you need anyone between youself and the God you choose to worship. I accept all religions equally - I find them all the same bullshit, a means of controlling the masses or starting wars, no offence... I respect all religious people as long as they don't try to sell it to me.

I'm also quite interested in politics and I think I'd be considered a "democrat" in the USA, not a republican. I believe in personal freedom and the power to lead the life you choose, whatever it may be, if it doesn't hurt anyone around you. I support gay marriage, the adoption of children by capable gay couples, and I am also pro-choice. I'm against the liberty to sell guns to whomever wants them (thank god that's not allowed in my country) and against the death penalty, in any circumstance. I believe the war on Iraq was a scam, there were no weapons of mass destruction there, and no connection to 9/11. I am unsure about the origin of 9/11 (but I mostly believe it was really Al Qaeda).

Now.. regarding my past and why I put up with what many of you consider "too much" from my boyfriend. I am a bit insecure, yes, I have some self esteem issues and a history of self-harm when things go a little out of control. I never thought of killing myself though, I wouldn't do that to my mother. My father died when I was 9 years old in a car crash and I wouldn't put het through that kind of suffering ever again. My mom remarried when I was 10 and I was raised by a loving step father, who, I'm saddened to say, I love more than my real dad. My real father was a workaholic, a very cold man, I never felt like he really loved me (my mom later said he wanted a boy) and I tried really hard to be perfect during my childhood. Besides, he could be violent - although he never hit my mom (that I've seen or became aware of), he broke things around the house frequently and hit me a couple of times (not beatings, just a hard smack in the face sometimes).

I've always been a good student and seen as "a little angel" by the adults around me. After smoking pot when I was 15 (and the subsequent panick attacks that forced me to my first visits to therapy), I went back to being their "angel" for several years. I never did drugs or alcohol ever again, because I don't like loosing control of my mind. I don't even smoke cigarrettes now and I seldom drink coffee.

Only at 24 I went "wild" again and decided to tattoo my whole back (and later on, several parts of my body). My parents hated it and it was difficult for me to deal with that. I guess I continue trying to be perfect in their eyes, even if that means doing things that displease me, or not doing what I really want. My therapist says I'm a "pleaser", I need the people I love to approve me and am more than happy to change and adapt for them to appreciate me. This only happens with my parents and boyfriend (sometimes at work, but I think it's necessary) not so much with friends or people in general.

Finally, also related to this, I have difficulty dealing with any kind of personal loss in my life, however small. For instance, last year I had a couple of fights with two friends that lead to the end of those friendships. Even though they were people with whom I didn't have much in common (life kind of lead us different ways), I felt like those were major losses in my life and couldn't accept it for some time. Then I realized I was just clinging to something insignificant, that for some reason I didn't want to lose, and finally moved on. I guess that's why even in the darkest times I insisted on keeping my relationship with Josh.

My friends consider me a very "maternal" and tolerant person. I'm usually quiet but speak my mind when some interesting discussion is going on. I don't like to stand out in a croud, but I also like to be heard and make my point in an argument. Going crazy like attacking someone or breaking things only happened with Josh so far!

And.. that's basically it. Anything else you'd like to know? :)

xoxo
Andrea

Saturday, 21 September 2013

the little voice inside us all

Well, I had a very interesting session today at therapy and thought about sharing some of my conclusions with you. Kind of weird, because therapy is supposed to be private, but since I'm using this blog to get my ideas straight, I guess it will help me (and, who knows, maybe other people too).

I've been feeling like a rag doll lately, being pulled in one direction and another every time I hear (or read) a comment about my situation. Only one of you noticed (or at least commented on it) that I seemed happy with my new arrangement with Josh, until I listened to my parents' opinion and became miserable again. After going over this on therapy, I realized (well, admitted) that I was having difficulty listening to my own voice among all this external noise. I'm not saying your comments (or my parents' opinion) are mere noise, but everything must be put in its rightful place and, in this and many other cases, our personal voice must be the one to speak loudest.

I still want you to know I value your opinion. Let me give you an example: once me and Josh got back together, my cousin freaked out on me. She called me stupid and said I'd spend the rest of my life hitting my head against a wall and never learn anything. It was very hurtful, but I understand why she said it. She only wanted the best for me, as I believe you do, for me as for any other human being. So even if I sound hurt when answering your comments (and I probably am), I know where you're coming from and I respect that. I hope you can keep respecting me and my choices.

What do I really want? As I've written before, I want to be happy with Josh. This may sound ludicrous to the majority of you, but remember: you are reading my partial story, miles and miles away from me, from a completely rational standpoint. I also have that rationality in me. It's the little voice that tells me "watch out, you're gonna get burned in the end!". But, I do have an emotional side, as I'm sure you all do. The question is how much credit do you give that voice and how often do you listen to it, if ever.

According to my therapist, many of us who are most miserable in life, and become addicted to drugs, alcohol or anti-depressants (she works with recovering addicts on a daily basis, just in case you're regarding this as psychological mumbo-jumbo) are those who disregarded their emotions too often -  in other words, the ones who don't follow their hearts, for several reasons, such as fear of failure, fear of suffering or simply peer pressure. 

I believe it takes strength to listen to your heart and be brave enough to go against the world for what you believe in. This blog is called Wives of Poker (Poker Wives was already taken :P), not "Ex Wives of Poker" or "How I booted my leech-boyfriend". I named it like this for a reason: I want to be as happy as I possibly can with my poker playing husband (well, he's my boyfriend, but I'm devoted to him as if we were married, as you might have noticed). I was looking for women in the same position that could help, because I'm willing to make some adjustments in my life to make it work. To a certain degree of course!

In the past, I was very unhappy with Josh. To be totally honest with you, I was. Not because of Poker though - but simply because I didn't feel loved (maybe I'll tell you that story in another post). Two years ago, I started being  happy with Josh, when he came back and started treating me well. I experienced the most memorable moment of my life with Josh: the moment he came back to me, when I was missing him so terribly that I fell into depression and went from 132 to 116 pounds in one month.

Now, things have gotten better and better and I am happy.. not completely, or this blog wouldn't exist, but I started writing when we were going through some tough times... I should start a new one called "Happy Moments with Poker Playing Husbands". Anyway, I have faith in Josh. How can this be?? Because I'm stupid?? No. It's because I'm in love. Not blindly in love, sickly in love, going over my own feelings in love, disrespecting my desires in love. Just in love, and still hopeful.

You say that if I leave Josh I will go through the grieving process in no time and be as good as new soon. I know, in my heart, that today that isn't true. It might be, in a few months, if my heart tells me I've had enough. Or not. You can come at me with your Nostradamus comments and tell my I'm damned to hell if I continue following this path. But my heart disagrees, today. Tomorrow... well, that's another day.

As long as I feel OK with a situation, even if its socially unusual or even unacceptable to some people, such as me providing for my husband instead of the other way around, I'll keep following this path. The day my heart feels disrespected, I'll change directions, I know I will (and my therapist is there to make sure I'm not in denial if that starts happening and I ignore it). 

Finally, I have a question for you, that I ask you to consider carefully. I know that in America there are many "stay-at-home-moms", a concept we don't have much around here. How would you feel if your stay-at-home-wife would play Poker and asked you for money to play (as long as it didn't jeopardize your finances), if she was doing 400 dollars a month on it? 

This might make you reconsider my position, or not. It doesn't matter. What's important is that I respect my own feelings and, for now, Josh is more valuable in my life than out of it. 

Thank you for reading this long post.

Much love and luck at the tables. And for all of you Poker Wives out there, I'm still waiting for your visit.

xoxo
Andrea

Friday, 20 September 2013

whys

I understand that reading my blog can become exasperating for some people, who believe I'm being unnable to do the easiest and more logical thing on earth. I imagine you reading this and thinking "how can she be so dumb?!"... but there's nothing I can do about it (apart from following your advice, if and when I'm ready).

Yesterday I watched a show called "Who The **** Did I Marry" where a 40 year-old lady married this australian guy that robbed her of like 250 thousand dollars on fake business trips in which he was actually meeting other women. I identified with her a lot, although my case isn't that bad. And it felt a little easier knowing that even a 40 year old woman can go through something like this.

But what I wanted to say is that, as she said, people who have never been in a relationship like this can't understand how someone can tolerate certain things. Keep that in mind. Basically I'm asking you to go easy on me... and sorry for not being, yet, able to "grow up". I'm working on it, everyday. Thank you for reading and for all the support.

Oh, for those who asked, I'm from Europe, from a country who is experiencing one of the worst financial crises. Our unemployment rate is at 20%. Our minnimum wage is 600 dollars (McDonald's, cleaning, security guards...) and, on average, someone my age and education (like young lawyers, architects, designers,...) earns like 1000 dollars. I earn 1700 dollars a month, not the 1200 I was saying (been doing the math and I was wrong sorry!).

Now, the scheduled post:

Hi there, finally got some spare time to write.

In response to grrouchie serge, who bothered to write a full post explaining how his life works (thank you): no I’m not related to Stephen King haha, but I do love the author and that’s exactly why I chose this surname (I also thought King would be a fairly common surname in the States). If you work and you play poker as a hobby, that’s great and that’s what I was hoping Josh to do. The problem is.. well, I’ll explain it in a moment.

My point when creating this blog wasn’t to whine about my miserable life and get sympathy from strangers, or even to get the necessary encouragement to leave Josh. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of encouragement from everyone I know over the years. I know that is the most obvious answer to our problems: just leave, go your separate ways, move on with your lives. That is also the most difficult thing to do, when you are in love with someone. My goal with this blog was to raise questions and start discussions that could lead to reasonable and original ideas on how I could continue living with the man I love. And the poker players’ (and their wives) community looked like the best place to do it, since it would gather pro and against-poker opinions.

I could give you a list of reasons why I love Josh, or why I think it’s worth to fight for this relationship, but you’d certainly be bored to death. Besides, some of those reasons are unexplainable by words, as I believe you know, if you love someone. What I mean is, I thank and respect all of your comments (and agree, when I put my heart aside), but I can’t be “reasoned with” into leaving Josh. It’s impossible.

So, I’ll give you some facts, plain and simple, that justify (to my belief) Josh’s choices and provide what I consider to be a valid argument for me not to feel “offended” enough to just dump him:
  • Josh didn’t go to college, so he can only do “minor” jobs like working at McDonald’s or so.
  • Minor jobs here don’t pay more than 600 dollars (full time) and 300 (part time) a month.
  • He hates minor jobs, he worked in several of them since he was 18, until starting his full time Poker activity (yes, I care about what he likes or hates).
  • Josh makes 450 dollars playing Poker, which is only about 150 less than if he was working full time on something he hated.
  • He says he has a chance of making his stash grow if he doesn’t have to withdraw too much every month, and we will see about that...
  • He feels Poker is his best chance at a good life in this country, given his education and working experience. He could work as a security guard, standing 12 hours on the same spot every day and make 600 dollars for the rest of his life, or he could try his best playing online and make his money grow. - This is how he sees it.
  • He is still committed to working the antique’s business with my dad and try and make an extra 100 whenever he sells pieces (he loves antiques).
This is, from a cold, rational standpoint, why I “tolerate” him, as you might put it.  The way I see it, if I earn 1700 a month, I can accept to take 200 and pay our bills and his loan, giving him time to make his money grow while not forcing him to withdraw more from his Poker account. In exchange, he’ll clean and cook every day, as I said, allowing me to let the cleaning lady go (and saving me money).

Strangely as it may seem, I can live with that... if, of course, he lives up to his part. Do you think it’s a fair deal? I'll tell you about our progress as the time goes by. I already have a big post scheduled for tomorrow.

Thank you for reading.
xoxo
Andrea