A tri buddy is a tri buddy……

Spends many hours away from home; is in the company of an attractive, physically fit, disciplined person of the opposite sex; comes home sweaty and out of breath; makes excuses for why they’re late, such as had a flat tire – sounds like the scenario for a spouse having an affair, doesn’t it?  But in this case, it’s just part of living with a triathlete.  In part 1 of our series, we addressed time spent away from home as a potential cause of friction in living with a triathlete.  In part 2, we address the very sensitive issue of your triathlete having opposite sex training partners.  For this piece, we looked at the issue ourselves and spoke with people who are in this situation to determine if it is a real phenomenon or just a tantalizing subject.  We wanted to bring it up, so it DOESN’T become a problem.  Here’s what we found…..

Due to the long and often monotonous hours spent training, it’s understandable that your triathlete would want to make someone suffer with them.  It’s also great to have another person along for company, safety, and for motivation; when they just want to say, “I’m done.”  Not to mention the competitive nature that comes out when someone is riding along side them on a bike….My husband trains alone, with people we socialize with, and with people I just know the names of, but have not met.  Should I be concerned?  Should I question if Sean is Shawn?  Should I ask to meet them?  Have you asked yourself these questions?

Training group in action, except for Alex, the dog, who only does the runs.....

Training group in action, except for Alex, the dog, who only does the runs…..

For those of you whose significant other trains with a person of the opposite sex, this is a very personal issue.  We’ve seen it discussed from the triathlete’s point of view, but that’s not who we are.  So, we decided to look into this issue ourselves and posed the following questions to both men and women who have been in this situation:

  • Would you prefer your significant other just avoid any situation that could potentially lead to trouble?
  • Does it make a difference if you know the person to begin with?
  • Is the amount of time spent with the training partner a consideration?  The age?  The marital status?
  • Did your significant other  immediately suggest meeting the training partner?  Or did you have to ask?
  • Is there a difference in attitude if you are a man or woman?
  • Are you concerned about what they talk about while working out?
  • Should workouts be in a group or at least with someone the significant other knows?
  • Is it more of an issue when one of the partners is not married?
  • Would you let your significant other travel to a race with a partner of the opposite sex without you?
Strategizing for the next training session......

Strategizing for the next training session…..

Experience amongst the triwives has been to keep the green-eyed monster in check and put away the voodoo dolls….they don’t work anyway – just kidding.  Our husbands have had female training partners, but they have been part of a group and we have known them in advance.  Of course every situation is different, but in general, we have found that a triathlete is a triathlete….viewed as a bit unisex among the group.  It’s better to treat the situation in the same way you would any other….without discrimination to sex, religion, political view, race, education, social standing, eating habits, bike company preferences, or running shoe fetishes. Training with others can be about competing almost as much as races are, and gender differences seem to take a backseat  in the eyes of most in training for race mode.

No cause for concern here...

Cause for concern?

Most of the people we spoke with were women, but we did have a chat with a few males.  While we did find it to be a somewhat uncomfortable subject, we did not find it led to any divorces among the group.  Yeah!!!! We’d like to share the following comments from fellow tri supporters:

  • I want my husband to be mindful of my feelings and not dismiss them just because he doesn’t think it’s an issue.
  • If you spend enough time with another person, it’s just too easy for feelings to develop.
  • I’m very concerned with what the conversation is about when they’re training and if they talk about me and her husband.  I don’t want our personal life shared that way.
  • Affairs can happen due to many different reasons, why take the risk when there are other options.
  • Just talk to me about the situation and if I’m still uncomfortable with it, that should be enough for you to say no.
  • I actually am happy to have my wife train with a guy or in a group.  I feel she’s safer and I worry less, actually.  Sorry….
  • I guess I feel secure in my relationship, so don’t worry about it.  It’s all about communication and trust.
  • I never thought about it until you asked.  Gee thanks…..
  • I did have an issue several years ago when my husband first started doing triathlons.  He became close to a woman in a triclub that he joined and they did workouts together outside of the club.  Another male training partner actually talked to him about it – I found this out later.  Short version- I have to believe nothing happened and it hasn’t come up again.
  • It seems a little weird to me and I probably have a concern in the back of my mind, but I can’t let it take over my thoughts.  I guess it’s like the work situation and I don’t honestly worry about that.
  • He had a female training partner once that wasn’t married and I have to admit, I wasn’t too happy.  I probably should have said something, but never did.  I met her at a couple of races and she was really nice.  She moved and I guess that was that…But, I think if it happened again, I would have to bring it up.
  • What I like to do is have everyone over for a cookout when the weather gets nice, so the families can get together.  I just like to do this so we can all get to know each other and commiserate.  I haven’t had the situation with a training partner of the opposite sex, but, I think getting everyone together would be a good idea.  When everyone knows everybody else, it may be more difficult for something untowards to happen.

So, what do you think?  While we found the topic to be more than just a tantalizing subject, it also has solutions.  The overwhelming theme seems to be COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE and let everyone get to know each other.  Being upfront takes all the mystery out of the situation and meets any potential conflict head on.  Did we miss something?  Let us know.