Extreme workout habits may take a toll on your marriage

By February 8, 2011Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Did you know that you can run a marathon through Disney World? Or complete a triathlon along the Honolulu coast? It seems like marathons, triathlons, Iron Man races and other extreme fitness competitions are popping up everywhere as more and more Americans turn to endurance sports in search of a healthier lifestyle.

However, an interesting article from the Huffington Post suggests that extreme athleticism may be connected to divorce. The article cites several couples therapists and psychologists who say that intense exercise habits are bringing more troubled families into their offices. According to these sources, an endurance athlete’s struggle towards top physical fitness could take a serious toll on the emotional health of their marriage.

The Huffington Post uses the term “exercise widows” to describe spouses who often feel abandoned by the large amount of time their significant other spends training for their sport. Such spouses may wake up alone as their loved one sneaks in an early morning workout or find that family mealtimes conflict with the athlete’s nightly swim. Others complain that their spouses’ 20 mile weekend runs leave them with no time to help with household chores or play with the kids.

Besides time constraints, therapists also mention that a shift in one partner’s level of fitness may undermine a relationship by creating jealousy and resentment between partners. One spouse’s increasingly fit and toned physique may cause their partner to feel insecure about their own level of attractiveness.

There has yet to be an official study which clearly connects extreme exercise to rising divorce rates, yet testimony from couples therapists suggest that this is a growing problem. On a brighter note, couples who exercised together may find that the common bond they find on the race track actually strengthens their marriage.

Source: Wall Street Journal. “A Workout Ate My Marriage.” Kevin Helliker, 1 February 2011.