By Dr. Marianne Brandon
The struggle between men and women over watching football or spending time with their significant other and family has been the source of major relationship strife - not to mention countless sitcom plots.
While he's glued to the tube; you're bored, ignored or forced to be the only one to do the chores. Hence, the players on the field aren't the only ones ready to tackle each other. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Dr. Marianne Brandon, relationship expert and author of Monogamy: The Untold Story (Sex, Love, and Psychology), explains how women can take advantage of their partner's football addiction to actually strengthen their relationship and use that time to spend on themselves :
- It is important for each partner to have their own lives and things they enjoy. If one partner considers this an obstacle to the relationship and interferes in their lover's personal life too much, it can backfire. For example, a woman in this situation could lose respect for her man if he ultimately loses his identity by giving up the things he loves.
- Too much closeness in a romantic relationship can actually inhibit passion! (Too much distance can do the same, so couples must find a balance). Couples can easily become "too close," and more like best friends than lovers. See if you can use his football watching as an opportunity for some healthy distance in the relationship.
- Understanding his love of football may help you tolerate it. Men experience competitive sports as an outlet for their natural competitive drives. It also gives men a sense of group belonging, which is important for all of us. Plus, when his team wins it actually temporarily gives him a testosterone boost!
Suggestions for talking about the issue:
- Discuss the issues when you are in a good mood. People tend to avoid talking at those times, but if you are already upset it will only add fuel to the fire.
- Offer to make changes for him as well. Make it a two-way conversation. What does he need/want from you?
- Start with a genuine compliment. Starting a conversation off with a negative tone will make it a more challenging interaction for everyone.
- Keep the conversation focused to just this issue. Try not to let it become an opportunity to air all your grievances.
- Everyone has irritating traits. Remember you have them too. This awareness might help you discuss the issue with more compassion.
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About the Author:
Dr. Marianne Brandon is a clinical psychologist and diplomat in sex therapy through AASECT. Dr. Brandon is Director of Wellminds Wellbodies LLC in Annapolis, Maryland. She is author of Monogamy: The Untold Story and co-author with Dr. Andrew Goldstein of Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido.