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Non-climbing spouse?

Greg Hand · · Golden, CO · Joined Jan 2003 · Points: 2,156

When my kids were young I tried to teach them that when I said "JUMP!", their response was to be "How high?". Unfortunately, they were a little too young, and when I would say "JUMP!", their response was "Hi Ho!".

Sims · · Centennial · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 655

( We still struggle for time now and then, when she feels left behind. But when she's busy there is no real problem.)

That's just Life insert work,children,climbing, fishing, Butt surfing or what ever.
AS with anything look to the ones that have succeeded to see what works.
To make a realationship work do you ask the divorced guy hanging out at the gym or bar what to do? Or the person so driven that there is really no room for a better half?
For years living in a van climbing I knew I had no room for us or we it was climbing,work and then relationships. As far as relationships were concerned they were worked around climbing.
Then I changed not all at once. But a time came when I knew I was ready to share and give.
If you are lucky to find and know that you have found the person you will spend the rest of your life with nothing is better.
I believe in balance but when in life is anything 50/50. At times in the past 25 years of marriage ( this March) Both my wife's needs and mine have taken priority. That is not 50/50 but a balance ever changing as any healthy relationship.
For sometime I resented that after our first daughter my wife stopped running and climbing. Then I realized my wife was happy and it was me that had the problem.
When I asked myself tonight am I my wife's equal I laughed to myself.
I could never match her qualities on so many levels.

Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi? · · Vegas · Joined May 2005 · Points: 4,115
Greg Hand wrote:...... 33 years of marriage:
Congrats! I thought my relationships lasting two-five years were long term in this day, and age. 33 years.....Now, that's some serious dedication to each other. : )
Shane Zentner · · Colorado · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 205

Getting a divorce and/or quitting climbing are not the answers. Seriously, it's no wonder why the divorce rate is 1:2. I can testify to this as I come from two broken families. Again, divorce is not the answer, especially when it comes to climbing.

My wife is a non climber. She knew what I was and what drives me before we were married. There are times when I have to make sacrifices and tell my climbing buddies I can't make it. Married friends do the same with me. No big deal. Life goes on. No divorce needed. Go climbing another day. Spend time with your spouse.

My advice:

1. Don't get a divorce because climbing puts a strain on your marriage.

2. Understand what your spouse is feeling because those feelings are important. Climbers are inherently super driven people, and, when not climbing, can be 'edgy'. Work through the edgy times.

3. Find activities that BOTH of you enjoy together. I actually found myself in a paddle boat on Evergreen Lake last fall on a beautiful 70 degree Saturday afternoon and enjoying myself.

4. Marriage counselors will tell you that your kids will pull through a divorce and that everything will be OK. Wrong. Your kids might appear to be OK, but, they will suffer deep emotional problems for years. Sometimes those feelings don't surface until adulthood. As mentioned above, I am a child of two divorces. I still feel the pain and emptyness in my heart.

5. When away from your spouse and climbing, try to make the most of your day. Climb with people who you enjoy climbing with and climb routes that inspire you.

To my divorced climbing friends with kids: Sorry guys, I had to get this out. I feel your pain.


Joseffa Meir · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2003 · Points: 50

Holy cow, can't say I read all those posts, but here's something to add.

I'm a woman married to a non climber and it's great! I get home from a long day of climbing and he has a wonderful dinner ready.

Seriously, it's great to do your own activities as well as doing things together.

( clarified I'm not married to Tony, we just climb together)

chrisp · · boulder · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 45

Nice Joseffa and when you get to climb with me I make you dinner, break out the soothing lavender foot spray, get to lead calcite covered chimneys....

Sounds like you have all your men well trained.

I am just glad to have you rope gun thin hand cracks and even more pleased that your great husband lets you climb with a punk like myself.

You arent married to Tony????HA!

Lee Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2003 · Points: 1,545

I have been married for 15 years to a non climbing wife. The solution to our happiness is simple:

She lets me do whatever I want, and I don't do anything she doesn't want me to do.

Sims · · Centennial · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 655

I knew it you have been two timing me and your married.

Sorry dude just making light of something that has hurt and destroyed so many.
Next sunny day lets ditch the wife's and go climbing then we can take them to Cuba Cuba and make good over a couple Mojito's .

Brother Numsie · · AnCapistan · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 880
Sims wrote: Next sunny day lets ditch the wife's and go climbing then we can take them to Cuba Cuba and make good over a couple Mojito's .
Taking good care of the spouse when you return (or before) really seems to be the key.

With me, that's not easy. My wife's son will provoke her to tears when I am not around; so when I return from a long day out I am usually greeted with "kill that boy!". Thats how I lost 10-12 years of climbing. The solution for me was to get her out with me more.
David Champion · · Centennial, CO · Joined Feb 2005 · Points: 80

As the husband of a non-climbing wife I feel the need--nay, the duty--to chime in here, albeit at the risk of adding to an already lengthy thread. Further, I consider Mike--the original poster for anyone who bothered to look back that far--a good buddy.

And...I promise to keep my comments relevant to the topic.

Mike, great question! It should be clear by now that every climber with a non-climbing spouse/significant other (and even those without) has a different opinion, based of course on his or her own experiences. If you're lucky one or two tidbits from all these opinions will ring out and add some perspective to yours.

Here's mine:

First, I made damn sure before I even started dating my wife seriously that she knew the full extent of my obsession, and that I had no intention of suppressing it for anyone or anything. Of course her desire for me to correct my devious ways creeps in from time to time, whereupon I am forced to remind her of this fact. The bottom line is this was a huge starting advantage for me. My wife would be loath to admit she is trying to change me, which is precisely what she would have to do given the original understanding, so she backs off. Anyway, on the rare occasions she hassles me it's usually due to some short-lived, petty insecurity that we all get from time to time. The great thing she knows herself well enough to admit that's all it is and gets over it. All of us should be so self-aware.

Second, my wife has a life and interests of her own (this is also something it helps to know in advance). She doesn't sit at home while I'm out climbing waiting anxiously for me to come home--she does her own thing. It's not uncommon for me to stay home while she goes out and does her thing.

Third, and most important, my wife is really cool. I climb two to three days a week year-round, whether that be a weekday evening at the gym, a whole weekend day at the crag, or a week-long trip to the Bugaboos, and she RARELY complains about it. I am only too happy to repay this courtesy by spending a Saturday taking a walk in the park, or taking a plush week-long trip to Cancun, with her. It's called compromise. It's also what makes me love her so much and WANT to spend time with her.

Finally, there have been times I felt like chucking my married life (no kids, by the way) and becoming a full-time selfish pig. Thing is, I've been there and, while it has it's advantages, I don't like it. After 40+ years I figured out that no matter what life I choose for myself, I CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING.

Good luck with your situation, Mike.

P.S. How about the trials of those who have spouses/significant others that DO climb? That's not necessarily a picnic either, from what I've observed.

Brad "Stonyman" Killough · · Alabama · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 5,785

Well, I have a non-climbing spouse. But she love's to be with me and loves being outdoor's. She would probably climb, but she's scared of hieght's. We have been married for 23 yrs. I couldn't be happier!! I know, now you guy's are jealous right? haha>

Livia · · Doha, QA · Joined Mar 2005 · Points: 230

To try to stay with the OP:
My husband and I met climbing so I can't comment on that directly but my husband also raced go-karts when I met him. I have no intrinsic interest in go-karts. He invited me to come. I came a few times because I love him and to show him that I supported him in his passions and then quickly bowed out. He does the same with me and yoga. On the one hand, it was easy because I have a busy and active life and had plenty to do while he was racing. On the other hand, this is perhaps different than your question because he only raced a weekend or two a month, and only during the summer so we had plenty of time together and we shared climbing.

So the more difficult question for me is whether your friend wants to climb during the only time that he and his partner have to spend together OR does she want to spend more time with him than he does with her. Either of those creates a situation where climbing really is pitted against the success of the relationship.

You either grow together or grow apart. Assuming your friend and his wife started together... (I have no idea who these people are of course so IMHO, YMMV, etc)

Tony Bubb wrote: But, it is a fact that Men are higher in Vasopressen and lower in Progesterone, which tends to make them more present in the here and now of a situation and less likely to be emotionally driven by what should be. ****Theresa**** Crenshaw's book 'The Alchemy of Love and Lust' has a chapter on each hormone's influences and the gender differences caused by them.
This is an area of interest to me and I want to jump in, because I think it is important, without getting in the middle of the mud flinging.

I agree there are hormonal or behavioral differences between the gender. They exist. I might add that we make a big deal out of the differences rather than the thousands of ways the genders are exactly the same, which says a lot about what we want to hear, but I digress. What is more questionable is the direction of the causal relationship you (e.g., "tends to make them") and the researchers cited draw.

So, in the interest of the purely academic and geeky, I wanted to point out that one flaw in this line of research is equating hormones and biology with the causal. "Hormones causing behavioral differences." Evidence that researchers line up to support this are from two main bodies: 1) hormones go up prior to behavioral differences and 2) experimentally manipulating hormones causes changes in behavior.

But we also know that 1) environmental factors push hormones around and 2) that experimentally manipulating behaviors and environments alters hormones.

So, as per usual, we have no idea how much hormones are pushing behavior and behavior is pushing hormones. The more interesting questions always being, how do they interact?
Livia · · Doha, QA · Joined Mar 2005 · Points: 230
David Champion wrote:P.S. How about the trials of those who have spouses/significant others that DO climb? That's not necessarily a picnic either, from what I've observed.
That would make an excellent separate thread...
George Best · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 5

Anyone run into the problem of having a climbing spouse who has lost the ability to join you? My wife and I were blindsided when she was diagnosed with MS in 2/06. She still would love to join me, but her gas tank is half of what it was. I was going out a good bit this past year, and she openly communicated that she felt left out and alienated. I know there is no simple solution to this dilemma, so anyone with any productive thoughts?

Bruce Diffenbaugh · · Cheyenne,Wyoming · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 295

You just go climbing if she wants to go fine,If she don't leave her ass at home.If she can't handle it.Get a new one!Or more than one!Who knows! I know one thing, my wife I have now knows I'm climbing for life. With her or without her.You see for me climbing is not just a hobby its a life style.And she knows that!Sounds like this chick needs to be married to a bowler or maybe a golf or some shit.

Shawn Gibson · · San Antonio, Texas · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 20

Heres what works for me (married 18 years to a woman whose idea of outdoors is the distance between the car and the building).

Always plan extra time into your schedule, keep your gear in your vehicle at all times.

Never go within two days of your anniversary, her birthday, or your kids birthdays (if you have kids).

Always reserve a personal holiday on your birthday.

Make the case that climbing is exercise.

Find something she hates like fishing for example, then whenever she complains about climbing, mention spending 50,000 on that bass boat and being gone the next seventeen weekends. An indoor worm farm would go well with that BTW.

Buy yourself gear for Christmas, wrap it, and place it under the tree when nobody is watching. If you have kids put there names under "from."

If you have kids get them started early and stress the importance of that quality time together, but plan on being belay-slave.

Greg Hand · · Golden, CO · Joined Jan 2003 · Points: 2,156

Today is our 33rd wedding aniversary. While we met climbing, she has not really climbed since the birth of our first child 32 years ago. Although she did manage to climb Arrow at the Gunks while 7 months pregnant. Just make sure you are sensitive to your spouses feelings.

For gbest, check out the Jimmy Heuga Center for MS . My wife is taking someone she climbed with 35 years ago there in May for a Can DO class. Good luck.

Bruce Diffenbaugh · · Cheyenne,Wyoming · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 295

Shawn you got this thing down.I gauss one has to do what one has to do.One thing for sure is you don't give up Climbing!!Otherwise your shoes end up in the Layton Kor museum of climbers that just quit.

Allen Hill · · FIve Points, Colorado and Pine · Joined Jun 2004 · Points: 1,410
Stacy McMahon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 300

Shawn Gibson's post (above) says it all!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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