How to Deal with an Unsupportive Partner

One of the places I hang out online are female focused running groups on facebook. Sometimes I even get ideas for posts there and if you don’t at least lurk there I highly recommend it. It is what you think it would be but every once and a while a lady will post about how nasty her husband is towards her running. I sometimes read them out to honey and his perspective is really interesting on these guys so I’ll be sharing that too. 96.7% of the time he’s incredibly supportive of me, save for the odd “you’re going running to get out of _______, aren’t you” comment. In his defense he’s usually right. And it’s not just one comment I saw they tend to pop up once every one or two weeks. It was honey’s insight that made me want to write about it.

How to Deal with an Unsupportive Partner

While the situations are all individual there tends to be some overlap in the behavior described. I’m going to say man or husband here because it’s women’s Facebook running pages I hang out on. But.. I’m sure for some the wife or woman does the same sorts of things in other relationships perhaps with some slight variations. The advice and discussion really could apply to both genders here so don’t think I don’t get that! I’m also putting it in my ‘not fitness’ spot on the calendar because even though it’s about running it could be about a lot of different other things as well.

The behavior

While the situations are all individual there tends to be some overlap in the behavior described. One common theme is to invent a circumstance that means you don’t have the time for your run. Like he’s supposed to do homework time while you run but he all of a sudden forgot long division. Or work comes up when it’s time for your gym visit. Sure life happens but it might seem like it’s happening all the times you want to get out to train. Often times in busy families a plan gets made for the day. Something like you watch the kids and I’ll change the oil in the car then once I’m done you can go for your run. The thing is the dude procrastinates changing the oil until it’s too late in the day for your thing. Another is to act really put out of cranky if you do take the time for yourself and get a run in. Some men will just make nasty aggressive of passive aggressive comments like “for how much time you spend at the gym you’re not loosing any weight.” In some families there seems to be ample money for hobbies and trips until it comes tp your gear and races. We can’t afford it comes up when that’s obviously not the case. It might be eye rolls, dramatic sighs or another way of showing you he’s not happy about it. If you’re in this situation you already know that don’t you?

It’s a lot more than not ‘getting’ it

Trust me Richard doesn’t ‘get it’ either. He just stopped calling every running race a marathon, now he only does it occasionally. He doesn’t like talking about running for hours at a time and will sometimes skip a function it that’s what it’s likely to be. He has a metal rod in his leg that prevents him from doing it but he also hates running himself. He thinks that since I ran a half marathon in May I can still get up and do one right now. His mind literally boggles at the distances I’ve gone (not that far really) and he thinks I’m nuts for finding it fun. He  really, really doesn’t get it!

Solo race selfie, there was a snow storm that day!

But… he’s still crazy supportive of me. I’m not going to get into it again here but read this post to see how a person who doesn’t ‘get it’ at all can be the best of quiet supporters. So that IS NOT an excuse for bad behavior. Read down to a man’s perspective go see why.

How to deal

Exercise at extra times: If the issue is taking time away for your family then get your runs in at extra times. This could mean very early in the morning but it doesn’t have to be. You could run other times too. When we were little and then when I took my sister places I remember there was a lot of things to drive kids to where there was either no point or at least no real point, in going home in between so my parents and then me would just wait in the car. Many, many hours of homework got done in the backseat in high school for me. With some careful planning and prodding there is a good chance you could get them all enrolled in swimming lessons, dance classes, tutoring or some other activity a couple of times a week and get your run in.

You could talk to your boss about taking alternate lunch breaks or earlier starts. So if you get half an hour 5 days a week could you take 3  fifteen minute ones and then one hour and fifteen minute one later in the week and get a longer one in. If working post run isn’t something you can do, I argue that it is with carefully planned outfits and dry shampoo you can. You could take the time at the end of one of your workdays too. So you could do one early morning run a week, one when your kids are busy, one at work and potentially one you negotiate with your partner a week, not too bad right? Check out this post on if you really are too busy for exercise for more ideas.

Of course there are sneakier options. I’m staying neutral on recommend or not here. You could just lie and say your visiting a friend, maybe even go for a run with her, tack a short one on to an efficient grocery trip, visit a more supportive relative who clandestinely babysits for you. Or potentially get up in the middle of the night. If you’re actually going running or to the gym ie doing something good for yourself and not something shitty then… That said if your partner has legitimate concerns about how much your exercising or you’re doing it against medical advice you actually might have a very supportive partner who wants what’s best for you

Communicate: Have a conversation about self-care, health and you’re overall level of sanity and how working out is that for you. Find out why it annoys or upsets your partner. It might be resolved of you find out a way to carve out the same amount of time for his passions each week. Pick the right time and approach it in the way that’s likely to have the best results for the way you two work.

I can’t complain about the level of support I get. If your guy can look at you in a triathlon swim outfit and not laugh you’re doing alright!


Ignore him an do it anyway: If you’ve tried communicating and you’ve thought about it a lot and you’re not being a dick in any regard, just do it anyway. You know what’s not your problem other people’s moody and crappy behavior. If you spend plenty of time with all members of your family, you’re doing it on your own time, there is little to no financial implication, there’s no medical reason you shouldn’t workout and no amount of communicating is going to fix it and he still is a dick about it. That’s not your problem to fix any more. Just ignore and get moving.

Find support elsewhere: No one says your husband has to support everything you do wholeheartedly. If on the whole he’s otherwise supportive don’t fixate of this one thing. Maybe another friend or relative will end up being your biggest supporter. If you don’t have that either there are lots of groups out there where people will celebrate your accomplishments and they are more knowledgeable too. If you prefer the in person thing join a local running group or even start one!

I converted these two into runners, this was their very first run. Could you rope someone in


Take a step back and a long look

I’m going out on a limb here and suggest that if this is a really big issue for you in your relationship there are other issues too. If that’s the case take some time to think about the relationship as a whole. Also make sure you read a man’s perspective on this too. This might just be the thing you’re focused on because it’s relatively safe without having to look at other harder things.

A man’s perspective

I went looking for more bad behavior examples online when writing this and they weren’t hard to find. I also read the reactions from other women like, he’s just missing you but can’t express that, he’s jealous of the time you spend training or that he’s afraid that you’ll be in better shape or looking so good he’ll loose you. Let me tell you that WAS NOT honey’s perceptive on the matter. One night I read him out one of the lady’s stories and some of the comments and his takeaway was simple, “That guy is a jerk!”

He also went on to say all those lady justifications were just wrong. This guy was just trying to exercise control over his wife. By not ‘letting’ her run he was keeping her under his thumb and his rules. He went on to say that he doesn’t want her to be happy and have nothing in her life besides him. Harsh right? I pushed him for more details and he said he might also be a jealous freak but even that’s all about control. The takeaway message another guy had no justifications for these sorts of actions at all! If he doesn’t see an excuse should we?

I also asked him what he thought about my running. He said what’s not to love? It gives me alone time, you’re always in a good mood after, you’re passionate about it and as you get older you’re just getting hotter. I love showing you off and then telling guys about your triathlons. You might be able to kick their ass, that’s pretty hot. Spoken like a true man right?

He’s pretty supportive of me an I have no complaints but he’s not crazy supportive either, he doesn’t dress like me for themed runs, make signs, ring a cow bell, change locations on the course but he does other stuff. He cheers at the finish line is my official personal race videographer and photographer, holds my tutu on occasion and makes sure he hangs out in the transition area the whole time so he doesn’t miss a shot. But I do occasionally go to races alone. That’s where I am with his RC’s too. I don’t completely get it beyond toys for big boys aspect. It makes him happy, it boosts his mood and he’s certainly passionate about it. He spends a lot of money on it but he has something to show for it when he’s done and I tease him about certain parts of it too kindly, I swear. Just like he says we can sell the truck now, when I’m half training. But I edit his youtube videos when needed, get his boats and go on tiny truck walks in the woods too. So give and take right?

RC boat and paddle board, often used to retrieve said boats.



If it actually the only shitty thing about your partner probably let it slide after all you’re probably not completely perfect either. If it’s one thing on a longer list start thinking about how many things on that list might be about control. If you have two sets of twins under three then I’m on his side.

Have you encountered this sort of behavior from a partner? How did you resolve it? Do you agree with the ladies nicer opinions of why a partner might be unsupportive or do you side with my honey? PS if you’re dealing with this, that really sucks for you and my heart goes out to you. I can put you in touch with my mom on the DL, she can be your biggest cheerleader too! She loves to send texts about running!

13 thoughts on “How to Deal with an Unsupportive Partner

Add yours

  1. Answer your question it’s not resolved. Life has thrown me too many curveballs lately to really have much of a fight when it comes to her supporting my running.


    1. That’s too bad. Hopefully something in here is at least 5% helpful even if it’s to know you’re not alone. Even though I’ve only read about women who have this issue I figured it works both ways.


      1. It does I’m sure and life is life. I don’t ask her to run with me just support it and she gets mad when I run with men and women


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