Not a Fan(atic)

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m in a marvelous new relationship. My sweetie and I have great fun
together, and many of the same hobbies. When we connected in
spring he told me that he was a football fan. Now, no matter what I
suggest that we plan to do or buy tickets for, he says “I’m not sure if I
am going to be free, and I won’t know until the networks decide on
game time.” We have clarified that his blackout times are not every
Monday and Thursday nights and all day/night on Saturday/Sunday,
but rather limited to his alma mater, which is also the local team in
our college town. They mostly play on Saturdays, but are now good
enough that the timing changes from morning to night depending on
the week, and often just days before the game. I find it somewhat
disconcerting to come in second to a televised sporting event,
especially one that could be taped and watched much more efficiently
without commercials. He says the fun is in the suspense of watching it
live, and doesn’t want to risk knowing what happened. The one thing I
do know is that this town is like a morgue when they lose and a party
when they win. I’ve even seen people sneaking peeks at game updates
in services. Oy!

Not a Fan(atic)

Dear Not A Fan(atic):

You love the relationship and your sweetie. But you have the right to
be able to make plans for a weekend without worrying about the TV,
the team, or your sweetie’s preference for a pig’s skin to your own, at
least between September and December. This is a perfect time to set
boundaries and recalibrate expectations. If it works it will strengthen
the relationship. If it doesn’t, you will know what you are choosing, or

Sit down with a drink and with your calendar, your sweetie, and your
sweetie’s calendar. Have the football schedule on a screen in front of
you. Ask if there are any Saturday games s/he would be willing to
miss, or are sure to be played early enough in the day that you could
plan an evening together. Mark those on both your calendars. Then,
for the weekends that are Saturday blackout dates for your sweetie,
ask when would be a better time to have a date. Friday? Sunday?
Both? Neither? Once those are established and written in both your
calendars, announce that you are now unavailable on the Saturday
evenings where the TV schedule and his team have first dibs. Say you
plan to make other dates with friends, and that you hope the two of
you are getting along well enough after football ends that you’ll go
back to being regular Saturday dates. Say you have no hard feelings,
but you don’t want to have to dance around the TV and team. Unless
you hate football completely, you could offer to join in for beer, chips,
and a particularly hot rivalry gamey. You might find you enjoy it more
than you like.