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Husband doesn't like me running

I’ve been a runner for at least 10 years. After the first few years, my husband developed an aversion to me running. Lots of different reasons: it takes time away from the family (read: him), I do it too much, I’m obsessed with it, I injure myself. Currently, I run twice per week for a total of about 10 miles weekly and do 45 minutes on an elliptical two more days per week.

I enjoy doing 5Ks. I used to do them every few months, but my husband refuses to talk to me around the time of one until a few days when it’s over. It’s because he doesn’t agree with it/think it’s useful/doesn’t want me to and i do it anyway. That has resulted in me doing many fewer 5Ks - maybe 2 or so per year now. I want to do more, but have to hold myself back and not talk about it because the fallout at home is so unpleasant to me.

Yes, we have marriage issues. He’s not this bad or controlling on other topics but this one is a particular sticking point. I don’t want to give it up or stop doing what I like. (I’m not too bad, either. I can run a 21 minute 5K at 38.) I hate hiding this and tiptoeing around it. But you don’t even need to say that it sounds like there’s a problem with him or he’s controlling. I know that. He also goes out and does lots of stuff on his own (including many camping trips, so it’s not like he’s isolated at home and wants me to be, too.)

My sister just asked me to do a 5K with her and I’d really enjoy it. When I told him, he clammed up and has been avoiding me ever since yesterday. I guess my question is do I just go ahead and do it (now and in the future) and figure it’s his problem to deal with his emotions or preserve harmony (but create resentment)? I really don’t know how to walk this very delicate balance. I know I should feel free to do things I enjoy despite what other people think, but I hate this tension and knowing it’s going to cause a huge problem.

Anyone else been there?

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Well, the simple answer is you should be able to do what you want. Especially something as simple as run a few times a week. However, I realize this will come at a cost to you. Can you change your run times to times that don’t interfere with family time as much? No chance that he will run with you, correct?

I can’t imagine stopping running. It clears my head, leaving me feeling…rung out. It also helps me stay in a healthy mindset regarding food choices etc. So this ask would be a huge deal to me.

I’m guessing since he goes to the silent treatment he won’t be easy to talk to about this, correct? Maybe you can make him understand how important this is to you or how miserable it will make you if you don’t do it?

I’m not sure this helps or not, I had to make some deals with my partner when I was training for a marathon because of all the running. That was semi understandable because of the time commitment. I really think whatever you do you need to do what your really enjoy. Running.

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I’ve not only been there, I’m there now! Except that I’m the husband who likes to run, with a spouse who doesn’t exercise at all! Opposites attract, I suppose…

If it helps, I’ve known a number of running couples that did not work out. Just sayin’, but in some ways you are lucky not to directly compete, given his personality. I think a different approach is in order.

The really sad thing about your situation is that you are really good at running. It’s not just an obsession; in your case, it’s an accomplishment. I hope that makes you feel better!

It probably boils down to the control thing. Running for the most part is an individually paced effort, and that makes you look very independent to him. Not to play amateur shrink here, but he could feel a bit threatened by you being good at something he can’t really share. Even if you were to run together, he probably could not keep up with you, and that would make matters worse from an ego standpoint.

Maybe you could involve him in some phase where he could feel indispensable to your success. Have you tried asking him to massage your legs between workouts, or maybe taking some pride in you bringing home an age group award, or soon maybe a master’s trophy? I’m wondering if he just feels left out since he probably can’t compete. If he felt like he was your trainer or coach, he’d be back in the game.

Another thing that might help, is to google up some articles on how healthy a sport running can be, how vigorous exercise affects epigenetics, weight control, heart health, etc. We only look crazy. If we thought this was as bad for us as he might be (erroneously) feeling, we would be simple exercise addicts, but we are as a whole, a happy and healthy lot, with less brain fog, depression, and a host of other maladies running keeps at bay.

Does he ever offer to take you out on camping trips? Maybe you could make a reciprocal deal to share, at least on your own part, one of his obsessions. If he prefers the alone time, making the decision to exclude you might drive the point home.

I’m going to guess that no change would be an overnight success, just as it took you years to get where you are in the sport. But there might be some way he could share this wonderful activity with you in a way that makes him feel proud and responsible, rather than possibly, intimidated by how awesome you are. Some guys can’t handle playing second fiddle, but maybe playing a different instrument in the same band is possible in your case.

I wish you both the very best, and hope you can find some middle ground.

Good luck!

Update: I did the 5K, won my age group with a time of 23 min flat. And endured 2 weeks of the freezeout. I didn’t want to give in because I DID NOTHING WRONG. So I’ll probably hold steady until the next time. That will be on Memorial Day weekend because there’s a local 5k I like to do every year.

I am thankful for your responses. Unfortunately, he’s so stubborn and concerned with himself that there’s no chance of doing something together (although I LOVED the suggestion of getting a calf massage!). One day when I feel more positive, I will try some of these suggestions.


hey guys i got a solution by reading your posts. Thank you both of you