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Editors’ Choice: May Blog Symposium on dating non-runners vs. dating fellow runners
Editors’ Note: The original version of this piece appeared at I Am Not a Runner and was our top pick among entries into the May 2014 Trail Runner Blog Symposium: Is it easier to date a non-runner or a fellow runner? View other highlights here.
This is the monthly question posed by trailrunnermag.com and I decided to take it upon myself to apply it to my life. Caveat: I don’t think this question is appropriate for me to answer because The Boyfriend and I can’t really be considered runners, but we’re both athletic and I decided that’s close enough.
My life example: The Boyfriend does PT at work and goes to CrossFit. I’m a fairly active member at our local gym and I run a few miles a week. Neither of us has sedentary jobs and we both love outdoor activities. The outdoor activities we love are not always the same. He’s a pretty good surfer and apparently fears nothing. The fear I have after being pummeled by wave after wave wears me down after a while (see: scaredy cat). Even though my surfing skills are sub-par, I still get out there and give it a shot. We won’t be taking any waves together just yet, but he’s helping me along while I try my darnedest.
We go on bike rides and I definitely care less about how fast we get to places, but it’s something we do together. We run together sometimes. He’s faster at that, too, but I’ll beat him at video games any day. All of that is fun, but we don’t do our normal/daily-ish exercising together. We’re on different levels and have different ways of exercising.
Sure, I’d love to try CrossFit, but I also love eating and I can’t pay for a membership and groceries at the same time. That doesn’t make our relationship any harder. I love knowing that from 5-6 he’s sweating his ass off doing Elizabeths or Annies or Fight Gone Bads while I’m getting home from work and lounging on the porch. He’s always really proud of me when I stumble into the house looking like I was hit by a smelly, sweaty truck and tell him how many miles I just ran. Sometimes, I think the support for each other can be more important than the actual activity.
It makes sense that dating someone who also enjoys the things you do is easier than dating someone with different ideas of what’s fun, important and worthwhile. That being said, I’m not looking for someone exactly like me, because, well, that’s weird. But also because that’s not the point of finding a partner. I’m pretty sure a partner is someone who’s supposed to complement you and your life, not be your twin (although that apparently doesn’t stop us from wearing matching shirts from time to time).
The Boyfriend complements my life in ways I didn’t even know was possible. He encourages me to think things from a different perspective and pushes me out of my comfort zone frequently. He sure as hell won’t take a Zumba class with me, but he sees that it makes me happy and that I have fun there, so he’s totally supportive. At the same time, I don’t need to surf with him for hours on end, I’m perfectly happy watching him take a few waves and cheering him on while I lie out on the beach.
In our case, it has less to do with what we do and more to do with us actually doing something. The Boyfriend doesn’t love me because I run; he loves me because I made up my mind to do something and I keep doing it. I don’t love him because he’s athletic; I love him because he wants to take care of himself and then he does. Our passion for life and support in one another are what make it easy.
Life isn’t as black and white as dating runners or dating non-runners. That non-runner you’re talking to could be the best person for you, but if you automatically cross them off the list just because they don’t like to run, you’ll never know.
Find someone who respects your thoughts, your actions, and your passion … and it’s okay if that person doesn’t participate in all of them with you.