Marriage counsellors have warned that Euro 2016 could trigger the final whistle for hundreds of rocky relationships across Ireland, as tensions among couples reach an all-time high.
Therapists are anticipating a sharp surge in demand for their services, as exasperated partners show their footie-mad fellas the red card in the days following the end of the tournament, which kicks off in France next month.
Leading charity Relationships Ireland said the fallout from international soccer tournaments has in the past always led to a sharp increase in the numbers of couples seeking counselling, particularly in households where one party is an ardent supporter of the boys in green and their partner has zero interest in sport.
Tony Moore, a therapist with the organisation, said that while big sporting events cannot be solely blamed for break-ups or separations, they can bring underlying tensions in a relationship to a head and prove to be the final straw for many couples stuck in unhappy marriages.
He said the charity expects to hear from a lot of couples once the tournament is over, as that has been the pattern in previous years once a big sporting event ends.
“A lot of women particularly will feel sidelined and neglected during Euro 2016 if their partner is watching football the whole time or out at the pub with their mates,” he said. “If a relationships is already strained, it will be a very testing time in a lot of households.
“Their sex life will more than likely go out the window for the month too and it can also create financial problems if her partner is out at the pub the whole time watching the games. Children can suffer too, as they may not to get see much of their father while he’s glued to the football.
“All of these issues come together and can come to a head if a relationship is already in difficulty.”
He also said the problems are unlikely to stop after Euro 2016.
“There are major sporting events taking place on a weekly basis these days and if a partner is constantly watching sport rather than giving his wife or girlfriend attention, this will cause huge resentment. We’ve also the Olympics coming up this year, and I’d expect a similar pattern to emerge after that event.”
Meanwhile, Relationships Ireland has warned couples booking their summer holidays to ensure they spend quality time together.
“Family holidays abroad can turn into a nightmare for a lot of couples, because they spend their whole time running around after the children and come back more exhausted than when they left.
“It’s important that couples make the effort to spend quality periods of time with each other, if possible, otherwise that tends to lead to more tensions in the relationship.”
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