What is a football widow you ask? Find out how to cope when your husband leaves you every Sunday during the NFL season.

When your spouse approaches you the first day of the football season, gives you a big hug, kiss, and says that you will be missed on Sunday for the next several months, you are officially a football widow. How you grieve the loss of your spouse to the pigskin is up to you, but try not to let it build animosity and resentment between the two of you. Think about past patterns, make plans just for you, or just be ready ahead of time to be ignored, however you deal with it, and all will be well in February.

If you Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Touchdowns and field goals may be beyond your realm of understanding, but if they interest you in any way, use this as a way to bond with your spouse. Ask him (or her) to explain the game, take you through the finer points and point out the strengths of a preferred team. This way you get to join your spouse in enjoying the game instead of sitting in misery while they curse at the referees every weekend. You can even ask to join in a fantasy football league if you feel comfortable enough in the mechanics of the game. Keep in mind your spouse may not want you in their weekly gathering, viewing it as time to themselves away from you and the stressors of the day to day life you lead. Do not take offense to this, simply take it at face value, respecting that you feel the same way about some of your passions.

If you know that you will never be a true football fan, however, read on and learn ways to deal with the fall out of being a football widow.

Recall Past Patterns and Expect them to Repeat Themselves

Surviving as a Football WidowCredit: Skye McKiernanIf your spouse starts to freak out, get loud and boisterous and obnoxious about their favorite sport returning to the land of the living every year in early August, you can lay odds that it will happen again. If the big game is a day where you are expected to host a huge gathering of fellow football maniacs with food, drinks, comfortable chairs and the game on a large screen television, chances are it will happen again this time around. The beauty of these patterns is that if you remember what always happens you can prepare yourself for it happening again. When you are prepared for the activities that are coming up that are not your favorite, you have time to plan things to do, or time to simply know it is coming and not get upset about it when the countdown clock is mounted in your home for everyone to see. Try not to let these repeat behaviors upset you, even if they have in the past, instead come up with ways to deal with them. Once your spouse gets over a certain decibel level, promise yourself you will leave the room and close the door instead of screaming and yelling in response, raising your blood pressure and upsetting your significant other. Annual parties revolving around important football games shouldn’t be all your job, set up a to do list ahead of time and lay out expectations of work that you can get done as well as work that should be accomplished by others whether it be your spouse or other partiers. Use the knowledge you have accumulated over the years about how your resident football fan acts and plan accordingly to make the fall and winter seasons more enjoyable for everyone in your house.

Come up With an Avoidance Strategy

Screaming and yelling at the television every single Sunday during football season happens all over the country. Family members escaping or making plans to be elsewhere, also happens every single Sunday during football season. Create smart options for places to go and take time out for yourself. Plan to scrapbook with other football widow friends, take your daughter to get a manicure and pedicure while the boys stay at home and enjoy their (root) beers and pork rinds or even just choose another room on the other side of the house and relax with a good book. Be proactive by asking your household football fanatic what time his game is on this week, then call up some friends or set an alert on your phone and get the heck out of dodge when the time comes. Worst case, take the time to do household chores you put off all week. If you have enough “you time” already scheduled into your week, use those few hours and scrub the back patio, vacuum out your car or get the yard ready for the coming cold season. With a little planning you can make the most of your time as a football widow.

Ask for Concessions, Negotiate Time For Yourself

Say you intend to use the game time to handle your household chores. Politely ask your spouse when he plans to fit his into the schedule, so that you are not scrubbing the kitchen floor with fury running through your veins because he has not lifted a finger all week long to maintain your home. Without guilting him, or nagging him, simply tell him what your plans are and find out when he plans to address his part of the house work. Once he commits to a time or day, follow up, preferably in a positive way. Say he does not get all his duties completed, but the car is washed, make sure to thank him for what he did do, not nag about what he did not get accomplished.

Most important, though, is to make sure your spouses’ passion for the pig skin does not turn you away from each other. Keep up with date nights, or start planning them if you do not already to make sure you have time to focus on the two of you. Try your best not to react to a situation in a volatile way, walk away for a bit until you calm down then discuss your concerns with your spouse. But make sure you discuss them after the game, otherwise it will all go to waste.