The NFL football season kicked off on September 7, 2017, when the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs. If you follow football or are in a relationship with a football fan, you are well aware of this fact. In fact, your awareness of the new football season has probably been a continuous stream of stimulation, as everything involving the NFL has become a spectacle or event. After the Super Bowl (which is technically the end of the season) there is the Scouting Combine, the multi-day Draft, training camp, and then pre-season football in August. In addition, the Internet is absolutely packed with up to the minute news and rumors about players and teams.
Unfortunately, relationships can actually experience an incredible strain due to football. This is because in spite of the non-stop nature of football during the “offseason”, nothing compares to the exorbitant time and expense spent toward the game during the actual season. If you think about it, there is the cost of expensive game tickets, the time spent going to games and tailgating, the time and money spent at bars or at friends’ houses to watch the games, the costs and time spent planning and participating in fantasy football, and expensive authentic football jerseys and memorabilia to show love for a favorite team.
Simply put, a lack of mindfulness on either side of a relationship relating to a football obsession can cause arguments, loneliness, and lasting resentment. If football is negatively impacting your relationship, you should take action.
Communicate. If you are bothered by your partner’s football obsession, or if you are on the other side and believe that your partner is not supportive of your interests, initiate a conversation to find some common ground. Everybody is allowed to have hobbies and interests, and football fans are passionate and truly love their teams. They feel the highs of their teams’ victories and the extreme emotional lows of losses. There should be some appreciation from a partner who does not enjoy football that this is something their partner is passionate about.
On the other hand, a partner who is passionate about football needs to understand and show that their relationship is more important to them than a sport. An excessive attention to football can really make a partner feel lonely and unappreciated. Further, it is important to recognize how your football-related moodiness and anger spills into your relationship.
Set ground rules for the season. Both partners can try establishing ground rules about the football season. This can involve looking at the season schedule, your personal calendars, and your children’s calendars. Watching all of a favorite team’s games should be a given, as should the Super Bowl. Also marking other “big” games should help a couple get on the same page.
However, there should be openness to compromise regarding other games, as well as for unreasonable time spent on fantasy football and other activities. This is especially true if there are other dates or commitments that are important to the football-ambivalent partner, which should also be a priority. In addition, it might help to work together on a football budget, which sets a reasonable expectation for the amount of money that can be spent on games, travel, fantasy football, and gear.
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Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law