Ask Brian: My boyfriend chooses watching football over having sex with me
Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.
I've been going out with my current boyfriend for almost four years, since we met in college. We're both still in our early 20s.
Things have been going well and we still really get on, but over the last year or two things have been going stale in the bedroom. I've read that the sexual spark fizzles out between people in long-term relationships but I thought that was older people in their 40s who were married for years.
He now mainly only wants to have sex with me after he's had a few drinks, but I can't cope with his beer breath in my face.
Things came to a head last month when I tried it on with him during a soccer match he was watching on TV (he is compulsive about keeping up with his team. He wears the same "lucky" scarf since he was a kid).
He completely rejected my advances and it's made me feel worthless and unattractive.
Why would he choose watching men running around in tight shorts kicking a ball over being intimate with his girlfriend? He shouldn't choose that over me.
Frustrated and confused.
Look - I don't get the football thing either. Never have.
Give me an episode of Real Housewives of anywhere over it anytime.
But as you say in your email, it's something he's very passionate about and has been since childhood, long before he met you.
I'll be honest here - you're setting yourself up for a fail even trying.
Why are you trying to initiate sex during something you know he's so involved with and enjoys? It's almost as if you're trying to test his loyalties to you knowing in advance you're going to be upset.
You need to accept that this is something really important to him, and let him have that time - no matter how much he loves you he still needs interests outside of your relationship.
Why don't you take his football time as 'me time' for yourself? Arrange to meet a friend or watch the aforementioned Real Housewives of X with a bottle of wine.
Some of the best nights I've had have been in my own company and a bottle (or two) of wine. There's nothing better for the soul than your own personal karaoke session to Celine Dion songs - your heart will go on.
You are deliberately setting yourself up in a situation that you're not going to come out the winner.
You're also putting unnecessary strain on the relationship by creating negative situations around something he enjoys. Don't sour it on him. He shouldn't get a knot in his stomach thinking about the next match because of the inevitable fight it causes.
That cliché about being a football widow exists for a reason - you're far from alone in it.
I know a lot of football widows who are happy for that 90 minutes of peace. They're even happier when his team loses as they can enjoy a prolonged disappointed silence for the rest of the night. Bliss.
Maybe other areas in your relationship that are lacking come to a head when he's watching football, but during the match isn't the time to address it.
Certainly some of your upset seems to stem from him not wanting to be intimate while 'watching men in shorts'.
Let's be honest; you might be having a very different sort of problem if watching men running around in shorts did make him want to be intimate with you.
The dwindling sex life is something I'm not qualified to address, but you're right in saying it's something that happens in many relationships after a number of years. There's plenty of suggestions from qualified professionals to help you with that.
Get over this self pitying around him rejecting you, and stop putting yourself in a position to be rejected. If you put your hand in a fire you wouldn't blame it for burning you - there is a predetermined outcome here.