Welcome to Robust Love. We’re answering your questions on relationship, breakups, and every part in between. Our recommendation giver is Blair Braverman, dogsled racer and creator of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Dice. Have a query of your personal? Write to us at toughlove@outsideim.com.

I met my associate on a relationship web site about two years in the past and we clicked due to our widespread love for triathlon. The beginning of lockdown was nice. With few different distractions, we might run and cycle to our hearts’ content material, and we did.

Nevertheless, 9 months in the past she injured her knee, and that harm has grow to be persistent. She’s tried every part from physio to steroid and botox injections however her harm isn’t getting higher. She has grow to be depressed and resents me exercising. I’ve exercised much less and resent my misplaced health.

We’ve talked about it loads, and though she says she doesn’t thoughts me exercising, she clearly does. I would like her to hunt assist for melancholy however don’t know methods to sensitively carry this up.

We moved in collectively throughout lockdown and he or she is eager to purchase one thing collectively. I’m involved this relationship is falling aside and I’m not able to commit. I hold attempting to see a method ahead however I believe we’d each be higher off with out the connection. Are you able to shine any gentle on the matter?

Since operating and triathlon are out of my wheelhouse, I reached out to Dr. Jen Golbeck, an ultramarathoner, for her recommendation. Her coronary heart goes out to what your associate goes via.

“For individuals who do lengthy endurance occasions, I believe lots of us share the concept that pushing our limits is a very significant strategy to discover pleasure in life,” she says. “Just like the BIG type of pleasure. It feels good bodily doing it, however there’s the larger notion of molding ourselves—mentally and bodily—to achieve issues we couldn’t with out the work. I liken the work of coaching to one thing like a faith, as a result of there’s one thing very religious about it. There’s struggling and transcendence and sacrifice. It’s not the identical, however there are components there. And when that will get taken from you, it may be devastating. I’ve had accidents like that—I couldn’t run for 3 or 4 years due to a ugly harm and strings of surgical procedures and restoration. It was terrible.”

She recommends that your associate see a sports activities psychologist, who will be capable to deal with her melancholy and communicate to her emotional wants as an athlete. Melancholy isn’t a weak spot or a personality flaw, so that you’re not insulting your associate by mentioning this suggestion. That stated, when you haven’t spoken a lot about psychological well being collectively, she might really feel self-conscious throughout the dialog. So your finest wager is to be variety however direct, and to ensure you’re talking from a spot of affection relatively than one in every of frustration. You may say that you simply’ve seen how a lot she’s struggling, and also you surprise if it could be useful for her to speak to a physician about what she’s going via. If she’s open to it, it is best to supply to assist her make an appointment, as that may be a frightening first step for somebody who’s struggling.

Then there’s the problem of your associate resenting your train, or the truth that you are feeling she does. It’s exhausting for me to gauge how this dynamic performs out. If she really desires you to overlook out on the stuff you love most, that displays a far deeper drawback. However I think that, when you’re appropriate in sensing that she’s sad about your exercising, it’s not as a result of she needs you weren’t doing it; it’s as a result of she needs she might, too. Jen provides, “If lacking time collectively is a part of her resentment, it’s value desirous about how one can adapt, too. Are you able to do in a single day exercises? Or break up them between early morning and late night, to permit extra time along with her.”

She additionally factors out that in case your associate’s harm is her knee, “there’s loads of stuff she will be able to do that permits her to work towards difficult targets, compete, and practice. She might shift to lengthy distance swimming (if that works), or rowing/kayaking might permit her to ultimately regain her exercises. And from my expertise, even years of battle might resolve with good bodily remedy and medical assist. A yr looks like a very long time, however a number of accidents take longer. Meaning hope for her nonetheless.”

For those who and your associate are each dedicated, and put within the emotional effort, I believe you would work via this. A troublesome interval, particularly throughout a pandemic, doesn’t imply that issues will at all times be robust. And even when your relationship appears to be like totally different than it did a yr in the past, it might nonetheless be wholesome and constructive—together with your associate processing her grief, so she will be able to cheer on your triathlons, and also you supporting her within the ongoing challenges of her harm, in addition to encouraging her different pursuits, which is able to seemingly evolve as she learns her new choices and limits.

However right here’s the factor: out of your letter, I’m unsure you wish to make issues work. It appears like perhaps you’re in search of a method out. If that’s the case, it’s OK. You moved in collectively a yr in the past—probably earlier than you’d have in any other case, due to the pandemic. And it’s not the connection you thought it might be. For those who’re sad, and you recognize that you simply don’t wish to make the sorts of commitments that your associate is in search of, then the kindest factor is to finish the connection gently and swiftly, with out dragging issues out or making guarantees you don’t intend to maintain. 

One notice: if there’s even a tiny a part of you that desires to go away as a result of it’s too aggravating to be round somebody whose physique isn’t performing to the athletic customary that she and also you count on it to, then I’d strongly encourage you to speak to a psychologist your self—out of respect on your present associate, for potential future companions, and on your personal sake, too. Athletes get injured; our bodies change, generally loads. It’s no extra honest to count on in any other case than it’s to begrudge a associate’s passions simply because you possibly can’t take part. No matter occurs, you need to be able to assist your associate via all their ups and downs—and also you deserve somebody who will do the identical for you.

Lead Photograph: The Good Brigade, Getty Photos

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