Q: Erika help!!!! i love my man but i need him to workout with me! he just doesn’t enjoy it the way that i do and it worries me because i want us to grow old and healthy together! i love him and hope the relationship goes all the way but i cannot see myself staying with a man who wont do healthy things with me! please save my relationship!
For the record, when I said people who strive to live active lifestyles should stick to dating people who also like active lifestyles or are at least willing to embrace one, y’all jumped down my throat.
I’d just like to point that out.
Here’s the thing—it’s a long-standing fact that you shouldn’t date someone with the expectation that you can bend them to your will. It’s unfair—how do you know what’s best for them? why should your desires for how they live override their own?—and if you’re not married, it comes across like a red flag.
That being said, if your boo-piece is a homebody, I think this is a great opportunity for conversation. Why are they such a homebody? Are they trying to save money for a big purchase? Are they film lovers? Maybe they can’t tear themselves away from prime time TV? Past injury leave them scared to get back out there? Ask questions, and listen intently to the answers. The key to solving your problem, believe it or not, is in what your boo says to you.
Luckily for you, this one’s much easier than you think.
Tell your boo [almost] exactly what you told me. Tell him you love him and want the two of you to grow old and healthy and happy together, so you would love to find some kind of activity the two of you can do together. Tell him you don’t care what activity it is, tell him it’s his choice, you just want the two of you to dive into it together. Tell him the together part is important, because you want to share an active life with him, even if it’s one night every couple of weeks.
You also have to mean it. You want him to choose the activity because you want to pique his interests and let him build some kind of excitement on his own. Those are both important parts of him not backing out. Don’t take offense if he pans the idea of joining you in something you already do regularly, because he might find it boring. And don’t harass him about it, don’t nitpick him about it, and if he picks something you find random like underwater basket weaving, don’t frown your face up. It might not be the Ironman you might’ve chosen, or the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon you had your eye on, but it’s a start… and that start is important—today it’s underwater basket weaving, next week it’s a swim class, and next summer you might get to do that Ironman together.
It’s fair to want to share this part of yourself with your boo-piece. My boo-piece loves to go on walks with me, even better if we walk near a place where he can pick up a good biscuit. He’ll even go lifting with me—and he’s not really a fan of that—but he knows it makes me happy and he knows it’s good for him. This is marked progress, however, because once upon a time he was a couch potato.
The upside to sharing your active and healthy lifestyle with your partner, if you do it right, is they learn from you in a shame-free environment in a way that is encouraging, loving, supportive, and explorative—four components that are key in a stable support system. Whatever you do, leave the ultimatums behind—if my partner told me they couldn’t see themselves with me if I didn’t change something I was comfortable with, I’d resent being manipulated and probably be petty enough to chuck the deuces to the entire relationship.
Be gentle, loving, and empathetic to your boo-piece, the same way you’d want them to be with you. I promise you, your relationship with thank you for it!