You may become a football widow this fall, here's how to handle your football fanatic.
The NFL kicks off this week (September 10th), the college ranks began playing ball sometime last week. On any given weekend (Thursday to Sunday), there will be up to 30 hours of gridiron action, and that doesn't include pregame shows, the highlights or any games that may have been recorded along the way.
Unless your guy is a complete diehard or employed by ESPN, he'll probably watch only a fraction of those games, say 6 – 15 hours… per weekend. That's not an insignificant amount of boobtube time. Being men, our hands are sort of tied on this. Football is clannish, a great excuse for the awesomeness known as daytime drinking and something fun to do with buddies (whom, we suspect, will judge us if we don't enjoy football as much as they seem to).
If you're into a guy who digs football you have two options: like it or lump it. Liking it, the path of least resistance, is certainly the easiest option. But not everyone enjoys eating wings and watching strong men exercise on television. Some of you will choose to "lump it." There are tons of ways to live a happy and successful relationship sans football, with varying degrees of militancy.
1) Non-cooperation. You can refuse to take part in any football-related activity. This could result in a very lonely fall. Read: Can An Artist Love A Diehard Football Fan?
2) Guerilla war. You can fight against football, but you have to be prepared to get dirty. There is no way to win against something as big as football, but you can make sure football doesn't win. Consider these tactics: withholding sex, cancelling cable, setting arbitrary deadlines on immaterial errands, throwing game-day tantrums and making expensive, non-refundable weekend plans. Like an actual insurgency, this approach is likely to alienate the fighter from her populace rather than win hearts and minds.
3) Power sharing. You can share your loved one with his sports team. It's weird to suffer the consequences of a team's ineffectual play, but dude really loves his team and will never give up his allegiance to his hometown, alma mater or a team that he adopted when the world seemed fair and just and like anything could still happen if you believed hard enough. If you don't like football but really want to spend time with him on the weekends, some kind of compromise is necessary.
Most dudes, even football fanatics, can limit their football loves to one college team and/or one NFL squad. (If he's following multiple teams remind him that ESPN's Sports Guy condemns sports polygamy.) Your guy's team plays, at most, once per week. He'll appreciate a bit of sensitivity around their schedule, and in return he won't accuse your best friend of intentionally planning her wedding for the day of the annual Kent State – Akron grudge match. In return, you may be asked to wear a jersey or spend a gorgeous Saturday inside a bar screaming at the guys to live up to their potential.
I don't know how many men would consider football non-compliance a deal breaker, but some of them would likely consider inflexibility a bad omen for future issues.
Any tips about making it work between a big fan and a not-at-all-fan? More tomorrow on how to trick yourself into actually liking football.