"The World Cup and other sporting events could cause extra tension in relationships, but there are ways of coping with problems that may arise. One half of a couple may feel jealous of the attention their partner lavishes on sport. They may wonder why they don't see the same passions in their relationship. If you feel strongly about your team or club, ask yourself if you are showing the same kind of feeling towards your partner. Let them know how much you care for them, and be open in your affections. If one partner insists on watching the latest match, try planning ahead to manage the TV coverage. Trade a day or an evening of sport for a day out. Discuss which events are "unmissable" and which are less important. Agree to watch the unmissable event, and then switch off the TV. Make sure you have a TV-free zone at least once a day, and do something enjoyable together; that way you won't feel neglected, days out won't be spoilt, and domestic tasks won't get ignored. Don't try to discuss the issue in the middle of the big match - standing in front of the TV will only cause you to row. Choose a time when you are relaxed and able to talk without interruption. If all else fails, try watching the sport with your partner occasionally. You might find yourself entering into the spirit of the match, and at least be able to share some of the excitement." Fiona McClymont

Julia Coles is press officer for the counselling service Relate. For your nearest branch, call 0870 6012121

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