Exercise is one of the healthiest ways to spend time with your loved one, because aside from improving your health, fitness level and physical appearance, you also get the emotional benefits of connecting with each other.
But over-exercising, and doing it in inappropriate places and with the wrong companions, might ruin even a solid relationship.
Last year, the article "A Workout Ate My Marriage," published in The Wall Street Journal, described an "exercise widow" as someone who wakes up to an empty bed because of the spouse's early morning workout. This scenario has now become a reality, since running marathons and joining triathlons have become very popular all over the world. Instead of spending a romantic late Saturday night with the spouse, a runner who is training for an upcoming marathon would rather sleep early for a 25-km run at 5 a.m.
Sports enthusiasts and athletes should recognise their exercise behaviour and how it may affect the people around them. You might have been a sedentary person for the longest time and just recently discovered how running has changed your attitude, body, moods, energy level and outlook in life, so you always make time for it. However, be aware that becoming too hooked on something may hurt your loved one.
Making time for exercise is important especially if you are preparing for an event with the goal of breaking your record, but keep in mind that you also need to make extra special time for your spouse or loved one so he/she doesn't feel neglected.
One of the main reasons why people, especially women, resort to infidelity is neglect or the lack of psychological stimulation. So you need to communicate your exercise goals and plans, and of course, set aside quality time for each other. If you can encourage your spouse to train with you, then this might resolve some issues and increase the chances of being together.
If your loved one still refuses to join you, then you may invite him/her for a breakfast after the training or race. Let him/her feel that you really want to spend time with each other, and not because you are obliged to.
Do you use exercise as a stress reliever or as way to escape your responsibilities, issues and problems? If you have a healthy relationship with your spouse, then you will make an effort to resolve marital issues as soon as possible. You will also find effective ways to clear your mind and manage your stress by exercising, so you can have a better dialogue with your loved one.
But some people may use exercise to leave their unresolved issues with their partners, joining friends in the gym instead of facing the music by staying at home to resolve unfavorable situations. This could be a communication issue with the spouse, financial concerns, or problems of the kids.
Exercise should be used as a tool to feel good and energized so you can be a more effective person when dealing with stress and problems. You don't always have to register for out-of-town races just to be away from your house. Escaping from problems will just worsen them. Being always away from home with unresolved issues may lead to serious cases of emotional detachment and extramarital affairs, especially if you feel that you can find comfort, affection or attention from your frequent companion. As early as now, you should be brave enough to settle things, or you may even try to see a marriage counselor.
We all exercise to improve our health and feel better. But majority of exercisers are motivated by looking good, becoming toned and losing weight. However, some people become addicted to exercise in an effort to look perfect. This type of narcissism may harm one's physical and psychological state because of the time and effort being spent on achieving perfection, disregarding other important areas of life and even making one's partner feel bad and unattractive.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from exercise addiction, try to communicate your concerns-how the behaviour and attitude affects your feelings and the relationship. You can also ask help from health professionals specialising in addiction.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mitchfelipe.