As the months drag on, you might be looking forward to spending time with your spouse to enjoy the changing of the season, longer evenings together, and walks around the neighborhood in crisp weather. Sadly, however, like so many women across the world, these plans may never come to fruition thanks to that all-consuming pitch god known as football. When the new fixtures are released and you lament losing your man to the beautiful game, there are five stages you might recognize as the season wears on.

1. Denial

This stage may come upon you as early as warmup matches, when you see that glazed look appear in your spouse’s eye at the mention of the upcoming season and when his chosen team (otherwise known as the one that’s “really gonna show them next season”) is mentioned. As the denial stage increases, you may tell yourself that this season is going to be different and that you might have time for those long walks because your spouse refuses to pay for the price increase of sports on cable.

As the season approaches its start, it is perfectly normal to plan weekend shopping trips and other events, even if, deep down, you know you'll probably end up facing them alone. This is simply your mind’s way of coping with the relentless grind and the helplessness you feel as your husband sinks all his time into match predictions on Footy Accumulators and fills your grocery list with chips, dip, and beer.

2. Anger

Once the new season gets into full swing and your house becomes filled with the shouts of crazy men, referee whistles, and those insufferable, smug famous footballers who didn’t have the smarts to bank up their cash, you may experience feelings of increased anger. Rest assured, this is perfectly normal, especially when weekend dinners go cold because that “five more minutes left in the game, hon,” is actually 30 minutes and the kids wonder why daddy no longer joins them at the supper table.

Online shopping may help you curb your feelings of anger. Buy that moisturizer kit, that new pair of jeans, or that latest James Patterson hardcover. While sublimating your rage by binging at Amazon might seem like a quick fix, it is kinder and gentler than tossing your spouse and your ruined roast to the curb every weekend.

3. Bargaining

Football on TV

As the season approaches midway and you're hip-deep in football jerseys and club mania, the urge to bargain might overtake you. Whether you try to lure your spouse away from the television to look at your new tantalizing outfit while a commercial is playing, or offer him DVR space for the next game if he goes to visit your parents with you, bargaining can be an effective tactic. And after all, do you really need to save all those reruns of Say Yes to the Dress?

4. Hopelessness

By the time the talking bobble heads on sports talk shows start to toss around championship words, you may feel like your time as an abandoned football partner is never going to end. This hopeless phase can be difficult to navigate, but it can also be a time to discover new interests, such as tossing out the underwear your spouse bought around the last time Culture Club had a hit song. Reducing such clutter may allow you to see a light at the end of the touchdown tunnel.

5. Acceptance

As the season comes to an end, you will likely move into the final stage of acceptance. You might even find yourself sitting down to watch with your spouse to see what all the fuss is about and end up becoming a fan yourself. Whether you find yourself buying club swag with your partner or choosing a team to cheer for, acceptance is often the best path to closure.

Losing your man to football is often a frustrating experience. However, from denial to acceptance, there are always ways to cope once your spouse is carried off by the annual and dreaded seasonal football mania.