April 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
I love sports. Watching them on TV, going to games, playing them. . . .I may as well be a dude. This makes my baseball-obsessed boyfriend very happy. But what happens when your husband is consumed with all sports, all the time and you’d rather spend the day trapped in a jail cell with a rabid raccoon than watch a game? Could a sports obsession actually doom a marriage?
That’s the issue this week’s couple, Carlos and Gloria, are facing. When they met, Carlos was a divorced, doting dad who loved taking his new lady out on the town, while Gloria impressed him with her cooking and her loving way with his daughter. Now, they’re locked in a passive-aggressive battle worthy of one of Carlos’s beloved teams’ matchups.
Gloria’s turn Everything her husband does involves sports: watching them, going to see them, playing them or teaching them to his daughter. Gloria’s lonely and bored because, though he’s often in the same room, her husband just isn’t there. She hates sports and initially tried to watch with him but now can’t even bother. She didn’t know how obsessed Carlos was until they moved in together after they wed, and now she misses the things they used to do while they were dating.
To retaliate, she refuses sex and won’t cook any of his favorite meals. She’s close with his daughter, Lucy, but she hates that Carlos is teaching the girl about sports because it’s replacing the time she and Lucy used to cook together. The last straw was when he backed out of a party because a game was on and she had to lie about the reason he stayed home.
Carlos’s turn He admits he’s a superfan and doesn’t understand what Gloria’s problem is. He’s tried to explain the rules of various games to her before to get her interested, but she couldn’t care less, so he gave up and stopped asking her to watch with him. He’s resentful that she’s withholding sex and refusing to cook and thinks she’s bullying him into changing his ways.
After his divorce, Carlos found himself with more free time when Lucy was with her mom, so he turned to sports to fill the void. He admits his and Gloria’s relationship has changed since they were married, but his expectations of married life are lower than hers, and he wants to save money instead of going out all the time. He can’t stand that his wife criticizes his teaching Lucy, since he wants his daughter to learn the lessons that come from playing team sports.
The counselor’s take It’s common for an outside interest to disrupt a marriage, and even more common for that hobby to pop up only after a couple moves in together: When they’re dating, partners can censor what they reveal about each other and can do whatever they want with their free time. But Carlos’s sports-watching was excessive and his ignoring his wife was selfish. Gloria was closed-minded and her withholding love from him, in the form of sex and food, was counterproductive.
First, they had to acknowledge that they actually admired each other’s hobbies: She fell for his passion and he appreciated her joy for cooking and entertaining. Then, Gloria had to learn to ask for what she wanted directly, not via childish punishments, and Carlos had to concede that he was indeed ignoring her most of the time. They worked out an arrangement for the time Carlos could spend on sports, and Gloria tried to improve her attitude, even learning the rules of some games and eventually joining her husband to watch. They started hosting game-day parties, so Carlos could enjoy the sport and Gloria could show off her cooking, and he’s even come to enjoy helping her prep in the kitchen. And instead of harping on him, Gloria joined in as Carlos taught Lucy how to play basketball, and the girls even teamed up to play him – in a friendly game, of course.
One Response to “Can This Marriage Be Saved? He’s A Sports-aholic”