It might sound sexy to start a romance with an outdoor adventurer, but before you think about dating that mountain biker, skier, surfer, kayaker or mountaineer, read on to find out exactly what you’re getting into by committing to an outdoor junkie.
Don’t wait up for dinnerMissed turns, mishaps on the river, the perfect swell: There’s no telling what will keep them out hours after they said they’d come home.
Eat when you want to. Make it an impromptu dinner date with your friends or go out. Don’t get mad and roll your eyes; instead, make them schedule a dinner date for later that week -- on a day they’re not playing outside.
You will sometimes (maybe frequently) come second
Maybe not always second, but at the beginning, they just don’t know you like they know those jumps, that break, the berms or those rapids.
As the term “outdoor junkie” implies, they are almost all obsessed, maybe even addicted. They will leave home early, do their sport all day, then come home and talk about what they just did all day.
Give them time -- with an emphasis on “give them time.” You’ll create other memories together and find some other things to do and talk about. Trust them.
Don’t feel like you have to pick up their sportThey fell for you somewhere off the river or slope, so don’t feel like you need to get on it to get their attention. The important thing is to develop a connection wherever (and however) it’s sustainable for both of you.
That could be picking up square dancing together, reading together, date nights -- absolutely whatever works. Just make it something where you two can focus on each other, bond and develop that deeper friendship.
Side note: Athletes, don’t feel like you need to get that person into your sport. Yeah, you’re stoked on it and want to share that stoke because you truly believe they’ll be as stoked as you are once they “get hooked.” But pay attention: You remember that feeling when that wave or jump took hold of you, and it looks obvious when that feeling’s grabbed someone else. If you don’t see that look with your partner, do both of you a favor and accept that.
And never, never, never buy the gear thinking that will somehow magically make your partner stoked on your sport. Most of my bike and paddle gear has come secondhand from guys who originally bought it for their girlfriends or wives thinking it’d impact something other than their wallet. (Actually, keep doing that; those sales are the best.)
Find a passion if you haven’t alreadyIt can be drinking wine at a book club or even playing video games. But there’s no better way to understand your outdoor-junkie partner’s obsession than simply having one of your own.
It can even be the same sport, but you have to make it your own. An avid mountain biker friend of mine decided to pick up paddling after watching her husband and the rest of our group playing hard on the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River one summer.
After learning with him and others, she immediately began building her own network of paddling friends through a women’s event. Be autonomous and you’ll be pushing your significant other out the door for those alone times -- a request with which they’ll be more than happy to comply.
They will speak in strange lingo
You don’t have to come to most events or social gatherings, but if you do, be prepared for a whole new language. Dating a paddler? Get used to hearing things like “boofs,” “beaters,” “church” and “demshitz.”
“Gnarly” is heard in just about every outdoor and actions sports, and so is its noun form, “the gnar.” One wife of a paddler offered up a phenomenal kayak drinking game that would work well for any partner of any athlete so you can have fun in their social environment too.