When someone says they need space, it sometimes sparks panic in their partner. It’s natural to take it personally: “why would they not want to be around me all the time?” But if a guy is into sports — and I mean really into sports — he might legitimately need some space every so often (say, when the Ravens lose the AFC championship) and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. It’s not you, it’s him. Just understand that…
1. Nothing you can do or say will console me.
A few weeks ago, my buddy, Bryan, and I watched the Ravens lose to the Patriots in the AFC championship. Throughout the game Bryan dropped F-bombs and pleaded at the Ravens through the TV. When the Ravens missed a chip shot field goal to lose the game, Bryan stood up and wandered into the kitchen alone. His fiancé moved toward the kitchen to console him, and I silently gestured for her to leave him be.
After the game, the girl I’m dating (Pam) invited me to watch the Giants-49ers at the bar. I was miserable, but got through the first half. At halftime, I informed her I was going home. When I got home, I literally got under my covers and sulked until my alarm went off for work the next day.
Some things just aren’t curable, until the person deals with it on their own. Great sex won’t even help. In fact, Ravens losses seem to decrease my sex drive.
2. I don’t want you to be around when I morph into a semi-human beast.
A while back, the Ravens were on Sunday night football, which meant I could watch it at home instead of going to the bar. Pam expressed desire to come over to watch with me but I informed her that I needed to watch the game alone.
She took it personally, but it was more of a protective move toward her. I didn’t want her to have to see the beast I was destined to devolve in to. She’d see me screaming, cursing and eating disgusting food in a dark room in my boxers by the pale light of the TV.
3. Boys only in this tree house!
The other day my buddy gushed about happy he was that his girlfriend was flying to Paris with her family just a few days before the Super Bowl where he plans to watch his beloved Giants play the Patriots. “Can you imagine if she was there watching with me? I’m going to be so nervous… and wasted.”
Most of us didn’t have women around growing up while watching sports. And as we get older, it becomes a tribal ritual with the guys. Around our buddies on game day, we say crude things and ogle the girls in beer commercials. Because we are boys, it takes Herculean effort to practice chivalry and maturity on dates. When someone’s girlfriend joins us for a game, we all have the feeling that the teacher just re entered the classroom we once had to ourselves. Everyone is muted.
Avid sports dudes religiously pour over stats and matchups, reading local and national sports stories. This is usually done with relaxing beverage of choice (beer or coffee), and no distractions. Most women I’ve dated don’t like the fact that I require two hours on both weekend mornings to hyper focus on all sports media with my coffee — alone.
To guys, women are like riddles. It requires full brain power to keep a woman happy and understand how she’s feeling (or at least come remotely close to understanding how she’s feeling). Sports consumption takes full brain power too, so something’s gotta give.