When it comes to the start of a new football season, transfer deadline day or a major championships (usually without Scotland) fans of the ‘beautiful game’ will be glued to TV screens and stadium terraces.
For all the excitement and spectacle a season or tournament offers, couples across the country will be split as one half delights in more football, and the other despairs at the prospect.
The football is on the telly
So why is it that people in happy relationships can find themselves struggling when the football season begins? Or when golf season or a new gym membership begins?
The reasonable and rational often find it difficult to negotiate time for each other and to sustain a relationship due to an external attraction.
The issues that create tension are not gender specific and neither are people’s needs. In times of stress we often misread each other.
The small things matter
We are relational beings who look to each other for caring. This caring is demonstrated in the small things that we do for each other every day. We sometimes do these things with our partner in mind and sometimes unconsciously.
When the pattern that is our life gets interrupted for an extended period our rules for living change. What was tolerable occasionally can become intolerable with the frequency and intensity present in a tournament like the World Cup or the long August to May football season.
When a passion is not shared
Is it then a surprise that a partner’s passion for something that exists out with the relationship could feel threatening?
Commitment maintains the bonds that we create and when misdirected it leaves in its wake feelings of abandonment.
What commitment to the relationship should look like is so often unspoken rather than agreed. Fear of abandonment may initiate behaviours in our partner as they try to reconnect.
We don’t necessarily recognise that we are fighting to have our needs met so struggle to convey the message and worse, often send the wrong message.
If this pattern is familiar to us we may attempt to avoid the issue in an effort to control the situation.
In choosing to avoid we may believe that we are being non-confrontational but this behaviour can lead to our integrity being brought into question. It is human to make assumptions and to create our own reality when we lack the information necessary to ensure that our needs will be met.
At the end of the day, it’s a team game
In finding the courage to share our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and intentions with our partner, we demonstrate a vulnerability that strengthens bonds. This gives our significant other the opportunity to appreciate that they are valued and their contribution to the relationship recognised.
Negotiations had with this level of transparency encourage flexibility in the construction of new rules for living, reduce stress and open the relationship up to new possibilities.
During the thrills of the season and excitement of transfer deadline day it is worth considering how you can balance out that steady diet of football, football and more football with time for each other and shared passions.
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