The World cup kicked off yesterday, and some women are already dreading how the month long football event may take away the attention of their men. This is a piece ORIGINALLY written for the Super Bowl. It has been adapted for the World cup, especially for football widows.
Women never stop complaining that men are unemotional. But if you’ve watched your husband or boyfriend watch a football game, you know that he can be very emotional. His face can turn red, his muscles tighten, loud screams. In fact, sometimes it seems like he may have a heart attack if he doesn’t calm down!
If you like football, that’s great. You can watch the games with him and enjoy your emotional man. However, if you don’t enjoy football, like me, you dread the whole month long football festival. But you at least know that there’s some finality to this season, and next month maybe the two of you can do something that you also enjoy!
Years ago when I was married, I was an angry football widow. It was one of the many reasons our marriage ended in divorce. I dreaded weekends and Monday nights. I was disgusted by the ugly sight of my husband in front of the TV drinking beer and yelling. I resented the hours he spend involved in this pastime, when he never had this kind of time or passion for me.
Maybe if my husband and I had spent the quality time together I longed for, I wouldn’t have resented the games. Maybe, if he’d ever shown emotions with me, I wouldn’t have felt so slighted. Maybe, if I’d gotten as involved in something I really enjoyed instead of trying to play the “good wife,” it wouldn’t have seemed so unfair.
In other words, the problem wasn’t really football. It was that I sat through those games with him, sacrificing my needs for his, hoping that someday he would do the same for me. Healthy relationships involve compromise and trade-offs.
But too often, one person does most of the sacrificing. And no, it isn’t always the woman. But often it is. I resented the games because I resented my husband. Football was just symbolic of the other relationship issues my husband and I hadn’t resolved.
In my new relationship, I don’t behave that way. I’m no longer a football widow. I don’t sacrifice. I don’t try to please him, hoping he’ll some day please me. I don’t hope he’ll be emotional with me instead of the football game. I don’t think, “If he loved me, he’d want to talk to me instead of watch the stupid football game.” Instead, I make sure that I get my needs met — some on my own, and some within the relationship. I tell him what I want, and we make deals, like these:
Deals to Make with Him
- I’ll go to the sports bar with you if you’ll go to the ballet with me Friday night.
- You can watch the game uninterrupted and I’ll go to the mall and shop uninterrupted.
- Since you watch games every evening, I’m going to sing karaoke or have fun with my girlfriends every other evening. If I feel like it.
- During the games, you can drink as much as you want to and scream as much as you want to, and I won’t interrupt you because I know this is important to you. However, every Wednesday night I want us to go out to a romantic dinner and talk about our relationship. Deal?
Don’t consider yourself a football widow. Instead take advantage of the fact that he likes football, and use that to pursue your own interests or to negotiate getting him to later do your favorite things with you!
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This article was originally written by Carolyn Bushong