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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! The Superbowl is the culmination of a man's season of emotions about football. If you like football, that's great. You can watch the game with him and enjoy your emotional man.

However, if you don't enjoy football, like me, you dread the weekend. But you at least know that there's some finality to this season, and next weekend 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: * I'll go to the Superbowl party 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 Monday night, I'm going to sing karaoke with my girlfriends every Monday night. * During the games, you can drink as much as you want to and scream as much as you want to, and I won't interrrupt 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!.

Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps couples and singles in her office, on-line,& by phone. Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With, & The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. 303-333-1888.

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