By Lucy Anna Gray

Gearing up to pretend you like American football this Super Bowl? My interview in Yahoo News shares some hacks to help you enjoy this bonding process with your mate: #SuperBowl #couplesgoals #bonding #AmericanFootball

Lucy writes, “Maybe you look forward to the Super Bowl all year, your spot at the local bar earmarked weeks in advance. Maybe your family comes over, leaving you squished on the ottoman not really meant for sitting on while uncle Andy insists everyone try his homemade wings sauce.

Whatever your ritual is, a single sports game – albeit with a likely earth-shattering Rihanna show –  is one of the biggest social events of the year.

Herein lies the problem. If you don’t understand it, football itself is nearly impossible to enjoy. Stop start, complex rules, seemingly disjointed play; as a non-football fan, I can appreciate it is an intricate game of chess, but who wants to watch people play chess?

My boyfriend loves American football, specifically Alabama Crimson Tide (roll tide, roll tide). I am not hugely interested in sports, but always get fairly into the World Cup, the Olympics, or other major headline-worthy finals. Yet, football remains out of my grasp.

For my partner, friends, and frankly sanity, I am determined to enjoy the game itself this year.

“The best way to prove support for your mate’s hobby or interest is to learn the ‘why’ of their passion,” relationship expert Susan Winter told me when I asked how I can attempt this impossible feat. “Why does this sport, hobby, or craft excite them so? What is it they feel when they watch or participate in this hobby? Asking this question shows thoughtfulness and a willingness to learn the key to their intrigue. It will also reveal a finer cut on what makes your partner tick.”

At first, my boyfriend’s response to why he liked football was to simply send me a link to this clip from The West Wing, and said “replace ‘hockey’ with ‘soccer’, and ‘baseball’ with ‘football’”. After a dutiful lol, he said: “Football is the sport I grew up with. It’s the sport my dad tried, patiently, to teach me. It’s the sport my mother and various other relatives have had to explain to me. It’s a touchpoint with a home I said goodbye to a long time ago. It makes me miserable, it makes me furious, and it only occasionally makes me truly happy, and I love it.”

The uncharacteristic sincerity to what was initially a flippant question made me instantly like the sport more. Perhaps, as Susan said, the first step is to simply ask why someone loves something.

According to Susan, it’s fine that I don’t love football. I would, in turn, assume it is fine that my boyfriend doesn’t love trawling through StreetEasy for houses I’ll never be able to afford.

“It’s healthy for each couple to have their own thing. This creates personal growth. It’s also healthy for couples to have a shared interest. This creates bonding. It’s always wise to have autonomy. Healthy relationships incorporate two interdependent people,” she says. “Neither are codependent, and both individuals have their own lives and interests while also merging their time and joint interests together.””


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