How to Make Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend a Better Adventure Partner
You entered the relationship either before you got tied up in the outdoors yourself, or with someone who seemed willing to try all this new stuff — and then the novelty of the relationship wore off. Either way, you know you need an adventure partner and who better than your better half?
If only they saw things your way.
It’s possible, with a little patience and a few tactics, to get your significant other loving the outdoors at least enough to happily trek through the forest a few times a month with you or ski the slopes on your down days. From there, you can build up momentum and transform them into full-fledged partners in love with you and the outdoors.
1. Your Approach
Take a look at how you’ve been handling the situation outdoors with your loved one: Do you get impatient because they are slower than you? Do you get frustrated when they aren’t willing to try a more difficult level? Have you ever pushed them into trying something they’ve adamantly expressed fear about an aspect of your outing?
One of the biggest reasons people can’t get their love interest to hang out with them a second time in the outdoors is because their experienced partner expects them to be on par with them nearly from the get-go — and that’s a huge no-no. (Sorry, but maybe rhyming will help this point stick.)
Remember, they want to please you. They’re not out there to kill your fun. Heck, they want to have fun, too — they gave up their time off for this!
Besides, didn’t you invite them? Act like a gracious host and ensure they are comfortable. Start easier than you think and gauge their level from there for the next trip. Be excited about their progress (sincerely). Help them take their minds off their own skills and worries by pointing out the incredible details surrounding the two of you (e.g. “Man! This fresh air is so sweet!” or “I love the way everything is so silent in winter. It’s so peaceful.”).
And for heaven’s sake, after waiting for them to catch up with you, don’t just bolt up the trail or down the hill as soon as they get there. You’ve been resting while they’ve kept going. Grab a snack or take a minute to enjoy the view with them. After all, you’re outdoors together. Remind yourself of that last word repeatedly.
More points if you just simply slow your pace to match theirs and suggest breaks of your own accord.
2. Hand the reins to an instructor.
You really oughta consider this point! As a former ski instructor, the number one thing folks said caused them to never come back to the sport after their first go around is because a boyfriend taught them. (I’m sure the same could go for girlfriends!) When we’re in the role of teaching something that comes second nature to us, we forget the primary steps it took to get ourselves to that level. The result is fast tracking our friends right through ignoring that they’re still stumbling along.
If you haven’t had the training (and sometimes even if you have), perhaps it’s time to let someone with knowledge of progression teach your partner. Not only will they be able to help remove any mental barriers and explain the dynamics of what, where, why, when, and how, but there’s also much less chance that a emotional breakdown will occur with this stranger than it would between the two of you.
Let go of your own pride (and the dollars in the wallet) and get them started the right way. Think of it as an investment in your built-in adventure partner.
Isn’t this the basis of all great relationships? You do something they love and in return, they take a hike with you.
This can go even further, though, to when you are planning your outing or even when you are already outdoors doing it. Maybe they really hate biking up hills and just enjoy the downhill part of it. Consider lift-serviced mountain biking, then. Maybe they’re still afraid of heights because they don’t trust the climbing systems yet. Take them bouldering (no highballing it, please) or stick to single pitch. Do they hate your sport altogether? Try another until they love that one, then try to reintroduce your sport after they’ve gained confidence in the other.
Remember, if this is someone that is worth your notice, then this is someone who is worth your time. Be patient, cheerful, and look for ways to make them more confident in themselves outdoors. And in the end, if they’re just not having it and you’re stuck on ‘em, settle for roasting s’mores. You can partner up with friends who are ready for adventure in order to keep harmony at home.