You've probably heard the term "football-baseball-golf widow," meaning "the men" are gone for an entire day (or weekend, or week) to participate in and/or watch sports. And even if they're not gone — they might still be in the house watching their favorite sport on TV — it can feel like they're gone.
Some of my women clients thoroughly enjoy this time their partner spends watching or participating in sports. Most of these women spend that time doing something they enjoy (or sometimes doing nothing at all), and this helps them not resent the time without him.
Other women tell me they don't like the time their partner spends engaged in sports activities. These women feel resentment because the sports take away from the time their partner could be spending with them and/or their family. As an important side note before we go any further: if the "time away" is out of balance with the "time spent with you and/or your family," feeling resentful is understandable, and can certainly lead to feelings of frustration and anger. In my next article, I'll talk about how to request your partner spend more time with you.
But for this article, let's talk about the need many men have to engage in sports. My hope is to (1) help women understand men's desire to dive into a day of sports doesn't mean they don't care, and (2) give men the words to explain their reasons to women.
As a general rule, a man's stress level is reduced when he doesn't focus directly on the problem that's causing him stress. So when he focuses on his favorite team or participates directly in a sporting activity, his mind is freed up to work on the solution to his problem. This can ultimately lead to him finding a solution.
You can imagine how playing a sport would dispel stressful energy. But something you may not know is that just watching a sporting event (in person or on TV, and even the replays) can lower stress levels for men. It's all the better if the team they're rooting for wins; they physically feel the "win" inside themselves and this "winning" feeling can translate to feeling less stress. A man's stress level can also be reduced by watching the news or reading the paper if he feels engaged in the outcome.
If you're not a sports fan, this may all sound pretty foreign. Many women instead reduce their stress level by talking about their problems or "venting".
So, what's my advice for a woman when she notices her man is feeling stressed? Leave him alone to watch or participate in the sporting event without nagging or complaining. When he's done, his stress level will be lower, he'll be in a better mood, and he'll be ready to give you the attention you desire. And to make the "waiting" easier, make plans to use the time to enjoy an activity of your own. It will be a time of renewal and recharging for both of you.
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