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How to avoid becoming World Cup 'widow'

Sick of getting kicked off by your partner, who prefers soccer ever since World Cup started, here are some tips.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 11:23 IST

Since the moment the World Cup kicked off on June 9, millions of women across the world have been forced to share their husbands and boyfriends with a seductive rival: the all-consuming love of football.

It can be a testing time when a woman is forced to share her other half with a game of two halves, but relationships do survive the World Cup. All it takes is skilful tactics and fair play.

Here are seven ways for women to take men on at their own game, and make sure they are not sidelined for the duration of the month-long tournament:

1. Join Them: One way to make sure you do not feel left out is to become a supporter yourself. If you know nothing about football, Soccer Tips for Dummies by Michael Lewis (Hungry Minds Inc) may help you get the hang of the off-side rule or try The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup (Abacus) for some insight on what makes your man tick. Alternatively, get your partner to talk you through it and explain the rules. One word of warning: Don't expect chat during the match.

2. Play Away: Not infidelity but finding something else, rather than someone else, to fill that void in your life. A survey in Britain found that 30 per cent of World Cup widows would rather go shopping than watch a match while another 30 per cent said they would prefer a meal with friends. If you are in a part of the world like Asia where games are on after shops close for the night, you could try going to the bed early with a good book and earplugs, have a late night out with like-minded friends or retreat to your own space with the DVDs you would never watch together.

3. Play Fair: Fair play is all part of 'the beautiful game', which means your partner should know to play by the rules and be prepared to give something back to you for being so understanding. Organise some quality time to be together and with the family or go for a trade-off: Tell him you will keep out of the way if he promises something in return.

4. Stand By Your Fan: Even if you don't watch you can cash in on the emotions the game produces to build a closer relationship. If your partner's side loses, be the shoulder to cry on and when they win, share the joy and celebrate with him. Durex company has produced a range of World Cup condoms in three varieties (England, Germany and Brazil) which seem tailor-made for such an occasion. Relationship counsellor Sharon Glick says what you should not do is to ignore your partner's misery if his team loses or tell him not to be so silly.

5. Enjoy The Spectacle From The Sidelines: Even if you find football really is a bore, you can still enjoy the festival fever, gossip and human tales of tragedy and triumph, which go hand in hand with a big tournament. Go along to a bar screening of the big matches with your partner and just enjoy the atmosphere, kissing after the goals and hugs of commiseration in the worst-case scenario.

6. Get The Whole Team Involved: Children too can feel neglected. Make the big matches family events. Encourage the children to watch games, dress in the colours of your team or paint your faces. Children will love being part of the event and sharing something with their parents. Plan a football dinner or even a party. Decorate the house in your team colours and invite other footballing friends, widows and families over too.

7: Don't Cry Foul: Dirty play and dramatics is no more appreciated off the pitch than on. Whatever you do, don't try to win back your partner's affection by using tactics like temper tantrums, sulks, threats and pulling the plug on the television. Do that, and you may find yourself taking an early bath alone and may even force your partner to seek refuge at more welcoming venues such as a friend's house or bars.