I recently started dating a girl who is very different from me in a lot of ways. I’m a firm believer that opposites do attract but sometimes the opposites become too opposite and thus, my query. I grew up not really caring too much about football, watching the Superbowl and that’s about it. Then I moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and watched Reggie Bush run that first kick back for a touchdown.
After watching that game and seeing people dancing on the bar and the immense joy and happiness everyone felt, I became a pretty hardcore Saints fan. Anyway, the girl I started dating about a month ago doesn’t really care for football and since we both work full-time, we really only see each other Friday-Sunday. Should I try to educate on her on the sport enough to where she could possibly watch it and also yell at the TV with me? Or do I just say “look, I’m going to require 4 hours a week to watch saints during football season, it’s just kinda how it is” and drop it?
It’s weird because it’s almost a “I want to introduce you to something that people do in New Orleans” since she isn’t from her and has only been here a short time.
On the other hand, I know how much I hate watching a sport I don’t enjoy. However if I had a girlfriend who loved watching the hornets, I would compromise and watch it with her just because I wanted to spend time with her? We’ve been going out for about a month and a half…
Thanks in advance for any feedback or advice on how you might have dealt with this.
I know that you’re asking about a very specific situation, balancing and sharing your interest in football with your partner, but I think I’m going to approach this in a way that focuses less on your specific hobby and interest and more on sharing fandoms in general.
Your interest in football is great, and it’s cool how you got into it, but what you’re really asking is “Should I share my interest with my date, and if so how do I do it?”. When we simplify it a bit, making it less about football and more about sharing interests or hobbies, it makes the question a whole lot easier to answer. I read a pretty great post on dating geeks on the Project Dragonfruit blog called How To Date A Geek that had part of the answer, so I’ll just quote it here:
"If your love interest has never seen or read Harry Potter, instead of responding with “Sweet, slithering Voldemort! We need to find a time-turner and give you a proper childhood,” try thinking analytically about why you love Harry Potter stories... Articulating those feelings is to let someone in on who we are and what we value."
Now, maybe you’re not a Harry Potter fan, so I’ll paraphrase:
“If your love interest has never seen or is interested in (Your Hobby) instead of responding negatively, try thinking analytically about why you love (Your Hobby). Articulating those feelings lets someone in on who you are and what you value.”
Letting your girlfriend know why you’re interested in football on a deeper level is a great idea. Start with your story if she hasn’t heard it yet. Then, ask if she’d like to learn more about football. It’s possible football will just be a thing you enjoy on your own, so don’t try to force it down her throat. If she’s interested, teach her about football, why you’re interested in it, give her some interesting facts about football, and just try to be inclusive of her interest. If she decides to watch a game or two with you, bear in mind that you’ll be teaching her the game while she watches.
Now, if she decides not to get into football with you, that’s also okay. You don’t need to share all of your common interests with your partner, because in relationships you build mutual interests. I’ve dated people who shared all my interests, some, and almost none and I’ve found that being cool about your interests without being rude about it is the way to go. If she doesn’t want to watch a game, don’t tease her for not wanting to watch a game with you. Simply saying something along the lines of “Okay, I’m gonna watch the game from 1:00pm til around 5:00pm. You’re welcome to join me but it’s okay if you don’t” is pretty much the only thing to say to someone who hasn’t expressed interest in football or learning about football.
With that said, what you shouldn’t do is something you alluded to in your question, comparing x to y. Saying something along the lines of “If you were interested in y, I’d compromise” sounds good, but let’s be realistic here. Sometimes couples don’t have the same interests and that’s okay. If she says she’s not interested in football, don’t try to make it an apples-to-oranges comparison. If she wants to learn about football and watch it with you, that’s okay. It’s also okay if she doesn’t want to watch football with you. Just because you’re willing to explore other sports if she was into them doesn’t make it wrong that she potentially wont have an interest in football. Just because she might not want to spend 4 hours out of the weekend bonding with you doesn’t mean that the other 68 hours are somehow less valid.
Try to be inclusive with your love of football (or any interest) but if she isn’t interested, don’t push it. It’s okay to be alone for 4 hours, once a weekend. I’m sure your relationship will survive if she’s not sitting next to you on your couch yelling on Sunday afternoon for 4 hours but is around for the rest of the weekend.
Good Luck Out There.