Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I’ve been with my boyfriend for several years and every year when football season comes around, it’s like I lose him to sports. He watches college and NFL religiously, which means Thursday night, all day Saturday and Sunday, and Monday night are pretty much shot. I’ve tried to be a pretty good sport about sitting with him during games, preparing snacks and buying beer when his buddies come over, hitting up the bar on Monday nights for the big game, and while I consider myself an average-level sports watcher, it’s still been a struggle to get really into it and not feel like I’m wasting my time.
So this season I decided to try something new and indulge in another one of his obsessions: fantasy football. He’s had a fantasy NFL team for a couple years, and again, it takes up a ton of his time. It seems like the days he’s not watching football, he’s on his phone updating his roster and monitoring potential points and making trades and benching people.
I have other friends who aren’t major football fans but enjoy fantasy leagues so I decided to give it a shot. I thought it would give my boyfriend and I something to do together and also make football more interesting since I inevitably end up watching it.
Well as I write this, the season is about to begin and I’m already regretting signing on to this madness. Several times now he has sat me down to try to teach me how to play. I’ve gotten on the app — it isn’t rocket science! And I never intended to win, I just wanted to have fun. But he’s going on and on about paying attention to match-ups, defenses, injuries, rookies, and I wish he’d just back off and let me have fun.
Basically, football is ruining our relationship. At least until after the Super Bowl. Any advice?
Well good for you for being game — game to host games, watch games, and now, play games. Your boyfriend has truly scored in terms of landing partner who is so receptive to his hobbies and interests. Now you’ve gone full-in by having your own fantasy team, definitely taking it up a level. Unfortunately what you thought would be a ready-made platform for bonding and social interaction is blowing up in your face.
Your “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach has appeared to backfire. Too late to quit now — the season is starting and you’re in the league, baby! But he needs to back off on his offense here. There is definitely a spectrum of people who play fantasy sports, and he needs to respect you’re on completely different ends of the field.
The sooner you set your boyfriend straight, the better. You joined the league to have fun with him, not slaughter the competition. And thanks to several years of football-filled weeks, you know enough to hang in and play along. While you admire his depth of strategy and knowledge, you’ll ask for help if you need it. In the meantime, you just want to have a good time — with him! By the way, you may not win your fantasy league, but you’re definitely getting the MVP for patience in my book!
Haven’t had enough football mansplaining from your boyfriend? Here’s a tip from retired NFL player/former NFL coach and crazy commentator Herm Edwards: “Hello? You play to win the game!”
And here’s a tip from me: There’s nothing more annoying than a fantasy team owner who doesn’t care. You don’t have to go full Jerry Jones or full boyfriend, and it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but at least turn in a healthy lineup each week and try to win. If you don’t, you’re literally creating an unfair advantage for the teams playing you, screwing over all the other teams that really are trying, and basically killing their fun by having your fun. Anyway ...
Back to Herm. His advice also applies to relationships, right? What’s the point of participating in a partnership if you aren’t going to give it your all? High-fives to you for giving 110% out there while your teammate’s head is not in the game. You are truly a champ and your boyfriend is a chump. This is not a healthy hobby. He’s literally neglecting you, being an ungrateful ass to you, and acting like an obsessed immature teenager around you. If he can’t rework a balance between loving you and enjoying football, you should seriously consider cutting him and becoming a free agent.
You’ve given him and football your best, and you still aren’t having fun. So if you do plan to stick around, and you do plan to let him dedicate more than half of every winter week to football, you should probably find something that you genuinely enjoy to pass that time. There have to be more interesting and fascinating things in your world than watching your boyfriend watch football and pretend to own a football team with a bunch of other pretend team owners, right? Do something that makes you happy and maybe just join him for Monday Night Football, which usually includes free food and door prizes at many fine establishments.