When you Give Up Too Much for Your Partner

In my past relationships, new hobbies I took up sometimes caused friction. I remember coming home deciding I wanted to start taking boxing, only to face a barrage of attacks. The attacks I faced ranged from attacks on the validity of the sport, to the logistics and cost, all the way to personal attacks on my character.

If you find yourself having to defend taking up a new hobby, healthy hobbies of course, then you need to rethink your relationship.

For example, you decide to opt-in on an invite to try out slacklining with friends and discover you absolutely love it. You are thinking about it every day and after a few weeks decide to commit. You research budget-friendly options to buy in, the health benefits and it’s outdoors, so that’s good. You come home armed to discuss your would-be hobby and instead of your partner listening and discussing your new passion, you face a barrage of attacks.

That ideal discussion of two supposedly logical and caring partners turns heated fast. You hear that you change too often, too much, that you flip-flop, and that it’s dumb because in six months you’ll lose interest. You hear “You change so often, I’m not even sure I know who you are.” I guarantee this whole encounter sucks.

First of all, life is short, too short to not be enjoying it and making memories every chance you get. Second, you shouldn’t have to defend living life to anyone. Who cares if in six months you don’t like it anymore. In six months, sell your gear, and invest in another hobby. You might also never stop and that initial investment turns into a lifelong passion that brings you joy.

In these types of relationships, it really is hard to win, because no matter what facts or support you provide to your position, the other person is going to attack. The relationship where this happens has an ongoing power struggle where the attacker has to remain in control. Their method of control is to reduce your identity to only things that fit theirs, which comes out as attacking the things that fulfill your life. Often the attacker themselves has a narrow identity and probably little to no hobbies. Your dissatisfaction with life shines an uncomfortable light on their life and so they fight it.

In a healthy relationship, your significant other would instead be supportive and maybe even opt to join you. You might be asked a few questions about what your new hobby would be exactly. If Jen told me she wanted to slack line, the first thing I would ask is “where do you do that exactly”, “is it a place like indoor rock climbing” and then “when are we going”? Your partner should be willing to engage in the things that make you happy because they want to see you happy. If they aren’t out to see you happy, then that is a big bad sign right there that you are probably in the wrong relationship.

A Web Developer by trade, find me on Github A motorcycle enthusiast at heart. Most days I'd rather be in the woods anywhere.