A topic that I see come up time and time again in the runner groups that I belong to is the lack of support some runners receive from their significant other with regards to their running, training and racing.
The post usually goes something like this: “My [insert significant other title here] doesn’t support my running. He / she doesn’t take any interest in my running, doesn’t come to my races and makes me feel like I am not important.”
And since that topic is pretty popular, a lot of the replies to the post tend to be the same as well. The replies tend to belong to one of two sides. The first of which is the side where the people responding have given up on the their significant other to “get it” and they advise the person posting to do the same and just run for their own satisfaction. The other side of the responders tend to tell the poster that they need to get a new significant other.
My take on it?
Well, I usually cringe when I see these types of posts. Mostly because I have been there and also because it seems like such a personal thing to post to essentially a group of strangers. But I get the reason why people do post about it. Sometimes you reach your breaking point with the lack of support and you want an outsiders view on it. Specifically an outsider that understands you as a runner.
Here is my take on the whole situation. As someone who has gone through a divorce I understand the importance of having your significant other support you and what you do. I feel if something is important to you it should be important to your significant other. I do not believe that someone has to “get it” in order to offer you the support that you need. I also believe that you show others how they can treat you. So if you continue to allow someone to make you feel like you are not important than you are establishing a level of expectation with that person that is setting yourself up for disappointment.
Here is what I recommend.
1. Look At Yourself First – Before addressing the issue with your significant other first look at yourself. Are you fully supporting them and the things that are important to them? If not, perhaps that is why they are not supporting you.
2. Talk to Your Significant Other – Tell them exactly what you need from them. Do you need them to ask you about your running on a daily basis? Do you need them to be at every race or just at certain ones? Do you need them to do something specific at the races in order for you to feel supported by them? Sometimes your significant other just doesn’t know what you need and there is nothing wrong with asking for exactly what you want and need.
3. Assess the Relationship – Have you done steps 1 and 2 and you still do not feel supported? It may be time to take a good hard look at the relationship that you are in. All relationships will have issues. They will all have ups and downs. But if this is a continual problem and it is a deal breaker for you, I truly believe that no one should be unhappy and that no one should settle for less than what they want.
Obviously I am not a relationship expert so take my advice with a grain of salt. My advice just comes from my own experiences.
I can tell you that Chris and I also struggled with this issue early on in our relationship and what it boiled down to was that he just didn’t realize that it was important to me that he be at my races. Once he understood it, he made it a point to be at all of my races and now he typically runs them with me since he figures he might as well since he is going to be there anyways. He also discovered that really likes earning medals. lol
Keep in mind that although this post is mainly focused on running support, it is relevant for any area that you want your significant other to support you in.
Have you ever struggled with this issue in your relationship?
What advice would you give to runners who do not feel supported by their significant other?