Thugs in Love: Balancing Love and the Game

Posted: 2010/12/03 in Athletes, Conflict Resolution, Current Issues
Tags: , , , , ,
“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.” ~Michael Leunig

Okay, so it’s not easy being famous and being in a relationship. We see this everywhere in the tabloids. Celebrity marriages failing for small reasons- egos, paychecks, other people, jobs…. And for athletes who play sports professionally, playing a sport is their job. It’s a great job since there are a lot of perks; however, in many celebrity athletes’ cases, it’s not always easy to balance those you love with the game you play.

The truth is that it’s not easy being a professional athlete. Despite the million-dollar paychecks, the paycheck only remains as long as you stay in good health, stay in good shape and stay at the top of your game. A few slip-ups and you start getting questioned. You practice for long hours off season and, on season, you travel. A lot. When do you even have time to date, let alone plan a life with someone? And do they really like you for who you are off camera, or for who you are on camera? These are some of the questions faced when choosing such a demanding career. Both relationships and sports take a lot of time if done well, which is why it’s hard to choose both. This is why many of these relationships fail- the stresses are too much, there’s too much at stake, and there’s not enough time spent together.
So how does one cultivate and keep a long-lasting relationship despite the stresses of playing a sport professionally? The advice below can apply not only to athlete relationships, but also to any relationship in which one or both partner may have a job that means they’re not home a lot of the time. So without further ado, here are some qualities essential in a relationship that’s meant to last.
1) One of the foundations of a strong, lasting relationship is that of trust. Particularly for a relationship of this magnitude, trust is essential. If you’re going to be gone a lot, your significant other should be comfortable with that. However, make sure your behavior when you’re on the road is such that he/she can trust you.
2) Good, consistent communication is also a must. Maybe your significant other doesn’t have to know every single place you’re at or every single thing that you’re doing, but they should have enough of an idea that he/she doesn’t think anything funny’s going on behind his/her back. Do whatever you need: call, text, email, chat, Skype… We live in the Information Age- there are plenty of communication channels you can use to keep in touch with your sweetheart.
3) Adaptability is also key. With such fluid schedules, both people must be able to adapt to changes in the other’s schedule. Sometimes inconvenient things happen, but this shouldn’t be a huge stress in a relationship. Things change, but your relationship should not. Be flexible. They’ll make it up somehow.
4) So you’re gone a lot, but the dynamic between you and your significant other should not fall apart because of this. You and your significant other are the ultimate team. Your partner is your haven, the one you come home to after the end of a hard week on the road. Don’t neglect the importance of this. Make time for dates just for the two of you- cook dinner together, go to the movies, see a different sporting event… Remember what it was like in the beginning and don’t lose that original spark. Date nights are essential even if you’re just hanging out on the couch in your sweats.
Finally, the most important for celebrity relationships is:
5) Keep it private. This is ESSENTIAL when one of both of you is in the spotlight. Even though it’s so easy for reporters to follow you around so they can sell tabloids, do not talk about your relationship in public. Any problems you’re having, don’t have in public. There are certain things you don’t even tell your friends, because in the end, it’s just you and your partner in the relationship. No one else should be involved.
My last point is this. If you’re a pro athlete (or even a D1 athlete) and want to keep a relationship going despite the stresses of playing a sport, then I hope these tips will help ground you and remind you why you chose to be in a relationship despite everything. However, if you want to play the field (and no, I’m talking sports), then that’s also honorable. Just be safe out there.
Next week we’ll discuss remembering to love the game you play.

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