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Being Pressured to Try New Stuff I'm Not Comfortable With


Original Post
Sandi Bourne · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Hi everyone, I'm wondering if any of you have had this experience:
Your significant other wants you to try climbing something you're not comfortable doing, like multipitch or trad, and refuses to accept that you're really not interested at all. The main reason I get from my significant other is that I haven't tried it, so how could I know that I won't like it? (I've done some sport and one fixed-line two-pitch 5th-class scramble before and my fear of heights has always outweighed the fun of the situation, really kills the stoke everyone has)
While I'm always down to try new (lowball!) bouldering routes, I'm really not ready to get into trad, multipitch, or maybe even sport climbing. Mostly because I'm afraid of heights and I'm really not that interested in pushing those boundaries (though I'm stoked to hear of women pushing their boundaries). I might be down in the future, but it seems it's important to him that I try it sooner than later. I'm super supportive of his need to do that stuff, and I'm more than happy to come along and be a base camp manager or first-pitch belay slave or meet him up at the top. But he's always trying to get me to go because he wants to share that part of his life with me. I've been able to avoid it by chance so far, but it's becoming a problem in our relationship.
Have any of you had this sort of experience? What are your thoughts? Am I being a total wuss or is he not respecting my feelings?

wonderwoman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 88

Put yourself first.  It sounds like you are trying to please him rather than doing what makes you happy.  If this trend appears in other parts of your relationship, consider reevaluating whether this is a healthy partnership that is making you happy.

Maybe HE needs to change to make you happy.  ;)

Dr Strangelove · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 30

I don't know about you but I love having a partner that pushes me to expand my limits and face my fears. Hes probably just hoping that once you go for it you'll find out what an amazing experience it can be. But it may just not be your thing. Oh well.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476
Dr Strangelove wrote: I don't know about you but I love having a partner that pushes me to expand my limits and face my fears. Hes probably just hoping that once you go for it you'll find out what an amazing experience it can be. But it may just not be your thing. Oh well.

Dude, no. She clearly has a fear of heights and is not having a good time. It's just not her thing and he should back off asking all of the time. A friend of mine also is just not into trad and she married a big trad guy. He took her out on repeated trad trips and guess what? She really was not into it. He stopped trying to get her to go on his trad endeavors and they both took up road biking. Now they share that and no more gnashing of teeth at the sketchy trad belays.

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25

This is more about a relationship than about climbing.  Having a partner or friends push you out of your comfort zone can be great for some people in some situations.
Also this isn't just a 'ladies' question.  This can apply just as much to men as it does to women.

Communicate.  If it XYZ isn't your thing, and you've told your partner that.  Then you partner should respect that.  If he or she doesn't then work at explaining that to them that this isn't what you want.

Eric Roe · · Spokane · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 11

I know you didn't ask for my opinion, but my wife is very similar to your story.

I tried to take her up Wherever I May Roam (5 pitch 5.9 sport route at Smith).  She was not into it at all, but sucked it up to please me.  On top of pitch 2, we bailed because she was obviously uncomfortable (though she was willing to push through if I asked her to).

You should be willing to step out of your comfort zone to try something that your SO is into, and likewise if he sees you not enjoying it he should be gracious enough to accept that.  I recommend you find (or ask him to find) a short route with large, comfortable belay ledges and give it a try.  If you want to bail early he should be ready to be supportive and not be an ass about it.  Otherwise, if you know that's not possible for you... you need to talk to him and work it out.  Either it's a deal breaker or it's not.  Relationship basics, not specific to climbing.

Kirsten KDog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 80

I once had a boyfriend that would push me to get on stuff I was not comfortable with and/or at my climbing limit. I wanted to please him so I'd try. Then I'd get terrified and cry and then he'd get angry and not want to lower me and it would become a whole stupid THING. Looking back.....dang, why did I ever let him push me around and then make me feel bad about it?! So outrageous!

So I say you tell him 'thanks but no thanks.' If you're not psyched, you're not psyched, and that should be the end of it. Don't let someone dictate these types of things---this type of behavior can be unhelpful and extremely bad for your confidence in the long run. If part of you does want to try, maybe it'd be best to find a beginner women's club or something and keep it uber-mellow until you are more confident/happy in your skills. But if you aren't having fun then you shouldn't be doing it! And if he doesn't like that than maybe you should re-evaluate the situation. Good luck!!!!

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Sandi Bourne wrote: Am I being a total wuss or is he not respecting my feelings?

Both.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395

I have a significant fear of heights. Every spring, when I haven’t been on outside routes for some time, climbing is unbearable for me. It’s not fun. It’s scary, and I hate it. My climbing partners make fun of me. I can’t help it.

But like every human fear, the only certain way to overcome it is to expose yourself to it repeatedly.

It takes about a month each year, but eventually I get comfortable on the rock, and climbing becomes enjoyable again. By summer, I don’t think about the heights at all except to enjoy the freedom of exposed movement.

I’m not suggesting you do something you don’t want to do, just sharing my experience.

Forrest Carver · · Edgecomb, ME · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 85

I constantly pressure my wife to climb with me. I guilt-trip, coax, bribe, bargain, complain, threaten, you name it. She just doesn't want to, period. I refuse to accept that, and it's important to me, so I still ask her constantly.

I'm doing the right thing by continuing to ask, she's doing the right thing by continuing to say no. IMO anyway

EDIT: whoops, was I allowed to weigh in? hope so

Trad Princess · · Not That Into Climbing · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,175

FWIW, climbing cured my fear of heights.

Kirsten KDog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 80

Funny that the pushy "just do it and get over the fear" mentality is coming from the guys. This is why I separate boyfriends from climbing nowadays, but that's a whole other thread....  ;-)

wendy weiss · · boulder, co · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 10

You respect and support his choices. He needs to do the same.

JohnnyG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 10

Here's a system that works for my wife and me, and has worked we first started dating. I am more in to climbing, and she is way more into running.

I climb with her whenever and whatever she wants, she just has to initiate it. She always gets to pick the line if she wants. Or I pick something easy. It's a date, not my time to work my proj or get on a suffer fest. I don't pressure her to climb with me or depend on her to be my climbing partner for any adventure. I've got other friends for the routes that I'm dying to do, friends that are also wanting to do the same routes. And she doesn't take me on the suffer fest runs that she does.

That said, she has picked some climbs that have really challenged me.

Nothing sucks more than pushing your partner to do something that they don't want to do.

 

sDawg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 0

Does he know it's bothering you enough to write this post? If not, you are undercommunicating and that part is on you. Look for what you can do better here. Take initiative to plan climbing days you will both enjoy and be 100% open about your feelings when you reject his plans, even though it means showing vulnerability
If he is really not accepting "just thinking about climbing that route makes me anxious and scared and I really want to have fun with you but I can't do it on that climb. Can we do this instead?" he is the problem. But if you're not saying all of that directly to him, you are the problem. 

Sandi Bourne · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0
sDawg wrote: Does he know it's bothering you enough to write this post? If not, you are undercommunicating and that part is on you. Look for what you can do better here. Take initiative to plan climbing days you will both enjoy and be 100% open about your feelings when you reject his plans, even though it means showing vulnerability
If he is really not accepting "just thinking about climbing that route makes me anxious and scared and I really want to have fun with you but I can't do it on that climb. Can we do this instead?" he is the problem. But if you're not saying all of that directly to him, you are the problem. 

We've been communicating  about this. He knows I'm not interested in doing any of it, but he's still pressuring me because he "wants to share [his] passion" with me. My intention in writing this post was to get outside opinions from the climbing community so that I can better approach the topic with him as soon as possible and have my arsenal of ideas (from both sides) to better support my opinions.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Continuing pressure from him could just pressure you right out of his life. He needs to know when it's time to back off. Before he hits the point of no-return.

I would be alienated and irritated by someone who didn't take "No" for an answer, multiple times.

wonderwoman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 88
Sandi Bourne wrote:

My intention in writing this post was to get outside opinions from the climbing community so that I can better approach the topic with him as soon as possible and have my arsenal of ideas (from both sides) to better support my opinions.

It sounds like you have already made a lot of adaptations or good suggestions.  You mention being happy hanging out at base camp, etc.  That is perfectly fine if it makes you happy.

However, it doesn’t sound like you are interested in pursuing the same style of climbing- which is also fine if it makes you happy.  But it is not fine if it is persistent badgering that makes you feel bad.  If it is, indeed, this, then the best thing you can do is set some healthy boundaries.  
No means no.  That has to be good enough.
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,460

This song has your answer.


AndyMac · · Center, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 604

Do you actually enjoy climbing?
Nothing you said suggests that you really do.
If low ball bouldering is something you do enjoy, then pressure him to do that with you.
Maybe this is something that is representative of bigger issues in the relationship?

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395
AndyMac wrote: Do you actually enjoy climbing?
Nothing you said suggests that you really do.
If low ball bouldering is something you do enjoy, then pressure him to do that with you.
Maybe this is something that is representative of bigger issues in the relationship?

Or maybe it’s not.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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