The college football season kicked off last week, and the NFL regular season is upon us this week. It can be a pivotal point in a young relationship. Does she have any idea just how many hours you spend in front of the television on Sundays? Does he know you spend Saturdays at a bar with your local alumni club cheering on your alma mater? Are you – gasp – fans of rival teams?
As with most aspects of a relationship, communication and compromise are the keys to surviving football season with your relationship still intact. Below are some of the most common problems you might encounter during football season and ways to resolve your differences.
One of you doesn’t understand the game
We all enjoy watching sports more when we understand what’s happening. However, it’s unlikely to be a positive experience if you’re having to explain the difference between a quarterback and a tight end during a game you really want to watch. Instead, sit your partner down during a game whose outcome doesn’t concern you and use that as your teaching moment. Don’t buy a copy of Football for Dummies (although it’s a great resource and you can use the book’s online material to help you with your instruction) and expect them to read it in their spare time and pick the game up. If you want them to learn the game, invest time in teaching it. You could even head out to a local high school game and make it into a fun date night activity.
You don’t have the same watching habits
The good news is you both enjoy watching football, but the bad news is you don’t enjoy watching it the same way. You want to watch the game with 20 of your closest friends but your significant other finds it too distracting to watch the game around so many people. There are a couple of ways to compromise here. If you’re fans of different teams, you could always split up and watch games separately. However, if you’re fans of the same team, or you simply want to include one another in your game day plans, switch off throughout the season. Communication is key. If it’s really important to you to watch a specific game in a certain atmosphere, explain that ahead of time.
You’re fans of rival teams
You have no problem all season long until your teams face one another. Do you watch together? Do you split up and watch with other fans of your team? There’s nothing wrong with splitting up for a game and watching it with friends who’ll do the Gator chomp right alongside you in the name of keeping the peace. If you do watch together, however, keep the heckling to a minimum until you have a solid gauge on how the other person will react. Maybe they can take it as good as they can give, but maybe they can’t. Are you willing to create animosity in your relationship because you can’t control your need trash talk during the game? That probably says a lot about the viability of a house-divided relationship for you.
You don’t want him/her in your fantasy football league
Your partner is interested in football, but the problem is they want to be in your fantasy football league. Whether you don’t have room in your current league or simply don’t think trying to convince eight of your best friends from college that your new boyfriend/girlfriend should take the open spot in your league this year, there’s a simple solution: embrace fantasy football as something you can enjoy together and suggest a league you can join together, even if it means you now have to maintain teams in two leagues. If you really enjoy fantasy football, it’s probably not much of a sacrifice. It’s also a great way to enjoy watching games together as you root for your respective fantasy players.
You have season tickets with your best buddy
You’ve had Eagles season tickets with your best friend since the eighth grade for the last decade, and you go to every home game together. Now you’re dating someone showing a genuine interest in going to a game, but you only have the one ticket and your buddy isn’t giving theirs up even for one game. If you want your partner to continue to show an interest in football, you’re going to need to nurture it. Pony up for another set of tickets for at least one game and sell your season ticket to a friend. If you’re not willing to give up your tradition with your friend for even one game, then you’re probably not dating the right person. Embrace making new traditions with your partner.
Your partner’s life revolves around the football schedule
Some diehard football fans can’t imagine not sitting in front of the television from Thursday night all the way through Monday night to catch as many games as possible. However, it’s unlikely you’ll find a partner equally dedicated to that pursuit. If you’re a big college football fan, maybe you set aside Saturdays and make it known that is not a good date night. If you’re a bigger NFL fan, maybe it’s Sundays. Sure, there will be a Thursday, Friday or Monday night game you don’t want to miss at some point, but you can’t expect to build a relationship with someone early on if you’re blocking off every Thursday through Monday for football (unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to find someone who feels the same way).
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