If you or your long distance sweetheart are the competitive sort, and you both can handle losing, then perhaps you can use the occasional wager as a new way to stay connected. Putting some kind of stakes on a sporting event or a game you play when you’re together can be a fun way to keep score in your relationship, and in a much healthier way than “keeping score” when you argue. Challenging your honey to a card game or video game and making the loser do whatever the winner wants can provide a bit of a spark, as well as a personal conversation piece. If the stakes are something that can’t be cashed in until the next time you have some QT, it can heighten the expectations for that next meeting.
My fiancée and I both enjoy watching basketball, so it was a natural for us to start having a wager based on who would produce the better bracket for the college basketball tournament. The wager gives us a little extra jolt of excitement when we talk on the phone while watching the tournament games. We know that if we’re watching one of our top teams winning or losing, it could be the deciding factor in who wins the bracket challenge. (Setting up a private group that keeps track of who is scoring better throughout the tournament is as easy as pie on several web sites, but I prefer ESPN’s site.) I’m proud to say that by virtue of predicting Butler to make the Final Four, I was able to win this year’s challenge, and as a result, when I visit my fiancée in Memphis, she will have a meal of my choice prepared for me. I can taste the tortellini with grilled chicken strips and creamy pesto sauce already. (The prize of your wager can be innocent, like ours, but it can be as naughty as you would like it to be as well!)
Adding spice to your relationship can be very beneficial, and small side bets can be one way of doing just that. So next time you’re watching a ball game with your loved one, or you know a game is kicking off that night between your two favorite teams, ask him or her, “You wanna put a little something on it?” Even a game of Scrabble or Uno can provide a chance to put up a wager, and more and more games are being offered online for free on sites like Facebook, so you can play while hundreds of miles apart. The action will be more thrilling knowing what’s at stake, and cashing in your winnings—depending on what’s on the line—could bring lots more joy than one can find on a riverboat casino.