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Addicted to Watching Sports?

answered 07:50 PM EST, Fri August 09, 2013
anonymous anonymous
Can a guy be addicted to watching sports? I swear my marriage is close to ending because he chooses sports over me and it is almost like he cannot help his decisions. He also bets on games but he will watch any type of game over doing pretty much anything with me. Now that NFL season is around the corner I think things are going to reach the breaking point.

E W Says...

Is it possible for a person to be addicted to watching sports?  Well, I do not believe there is an official diagnosis for sportsaholic, but you are definitely not alone in feeling like a "sports widow."

We often refer to ourselves (as human beings) as "creatures of habit" and there's no denying we are capable of harboring many compulsions and obsessive behaviors.  Can a person be "obsessive" or "compulsive" about watching sports?  I think there are plenty of folks who would say YES!!!  However, for most people, most of the time our love of watching sports is a "passion" or we are "avid" fans - and given that most sports run in seasons, we feel the push to pursue those passions while we have the chance.  

Now, having said that, it is possible for human beings to become so focused or obsessed about things that the need to pursue that "passion" interferes in that person's normal life.  When our pursuit of something interferes with our relationships, our care-taking responsibilities, our ability to hold down a job, or is pursued even in direct opposition to personal or professional goals, then there is potentially a larger problem.  

Most creatures in nature are inclined to develop habits, follow impulses, and maybe even obsess a little about things that produce a "reward."  When we found methods that got us food, water, shelter, etc., our primitive reward centers gave off the "good" signals - and then we want to repeat those methods to get more "good" signals.  This drive is as old as time and vital to survival!  

The difference, however, is that as creatures in possession of higher thinking abilities, we are not, most of the time, consumed by these "rewards" because we can evaluate the nature of the "reward" and the consequences of continuing their pursuit.  When there are physical, clinical, severe addictions, logic and reasoning are abandoned.  Even in the face of clear evidence that the "reward" costs far more than it is worth, addiction is a disease that compels people to pursue it anyway.  But as I always believe that people are capable of change, and I believe people overcome addiction every day, I believe that we can use our higher powers to act in our own best interests.

So what does this mean for you?  It means that you and your spouse need to communicate about this issue.  If you can do it on your own, that's great, but if not, then face to face counseling might be a good next bet.  A counselor can help determine if his obsession with sports seems to indicate something deeper, such as an obsessive/compulsive disorder, or if the two of you just need help working through some issues.  Ideally, if his love of sports is just that and nothing more, and assuming both of you are wanting to keep your marriage going and growing, then it takes two people, negotiation, communication and compromise to make it happen.

Before you break, seek help.  You may just need to talk to each other, or talk to a counselor together, or find a group support venue, or other guidance/resource.  There are actions that can be taken to address this issue.  Don't suffer, don't suffer alone.  Life and relationships are full of trade offs and negotiations, and asking for help is a good first step.  Best wishes to you!  

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Page last updated Aug 10, 2013

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