Why People with Serious Passions and Hobbies Make the Worst Partners

Why People with Serious Passions and Hobbies Make the Worst Partners

Dear Evan,

I know that the most important things to look for in a man are his character and how he treats me. However, most of the guys I meet online have hobbies that include things like extreme hiking, skiing, biking, four-wheeling, etc. I understand every guy needs hobbies and that’s great but these guys always mention that they want a woman who shares their interests and I don’t like any of those things, in fact, I can’t do most of them because of health issues and lack of any athletic ability. I know I could just search for guys who are more low-key and into things I’m into but when these sporty/outdoorsy guys message me, should I ignore them? It seems they are the only ones messaging me and they have other good qualities so I don’t know if I’m wasting my time or not if I go out with them.

Mandy

I know it’s not popular to say this – especially since it would seem to condemn many of my readers, but, well, I’ve got to follow the truth where it leads. Let’s start with a fact:

There are a finite number of hours in a day and a week.

We spend 8 hours a day sleeping. We spend 10 more working or commuting. We have two weekend days to catch up on our errands, priorities, or hobbies.

If you’re passionate about your hobby, you are likely devoting a lot of your spare time to it. Which makes sense when you’re single and have a lot of time to fill.

Might as well do something you love.

But when you’re looking for a relationship, hobbies can be extremely problematic.

Being a marathoner or an animal activist may be the most profound and meaningful experience on earth for those who share your passion, yet they’re kind of rough on the 99% who don’t.

Which is why there are dating sites to match up people based on being athletic or spiritual. Why haven’t you had any success on these sites? Well, because anyone who puts her love of horses or his passion for skiing ahead of a relationship is likely to remain alone.

When you’re looking for a relationship, hobbies can be extremely problematic.

You’ve heard of the phrase “must love dogs?”

That was clearly written by a single person who thought mutual hobbies were important.

Free advice from a happily married dating coach: he must TOLERATE your dogs.

Just like you must TOLERATE his fantasy football. And he must TOLERATE how long it takes you to get ready. And you must TOLERATE how he only listens to half of what you tell him.

The people who insist that others share their hobbies eliminate most of the population, but worse, they don’t realize the damage they do to their patient partners.

The Wall St. Journal even wrote about this years ago in an article called “The Plight of the Training Widow,” a term coined to describe the woman whose alpha husband works hard and plays hard, waking up at 5am and going to sleep at 8:30pm, leaving her effectively widowed.

She may have a ring on her finger and a roof over her head. What she doesn’t have is much quality time with her partner.

So yes, Mandy, I hijacked your question to say something I’ve wanted to say for 14 years.

Many of my clients have passions: restoring houses, forming new businesses, traveling internationally. While such ventures are benign, when you consider how much time they take away from both meeting Mr. Right and nurturing a relationship with him, it’s no surprise when my clients continue to struggle.

In fact, perhaps the greatest thing I have going for me as a husband is that I have no hobbies! J

I work from 9 to 5:30.

I come out of work and play with my kids, bathe ‘em, feed ‘em, put ‘em to bed.

I eat dinner with my wife at 8 and watch TV until 9 or 10.

I go upstairs and read until I fall asleep.

I suppose you can say that reading is a hobby, but I only do it for one hour a day and I’m more than willing to sacrifice if circumstances demand. I also work out some mornings between 7:30-8:30, but that never gets in the way of our life. My wife and kids always come before my “hobbies.”

If your hobbies are structured similarly, that’s great. Keep doing what you’re doing. However, this is not the case for many people who prefer to build their relationships around their passions instead of vice versa. Alas, most of us don’t want to come in second to a video game or a cat.

Ultimately, the answer is determined by how happy YOU are in your relationship.

Nor should we.

I’m not here to tell you passionate hobbyists to immediately cease all activities outside your marriage. Really, I’m not. Whatever works for you.

If he plays golf for four hours every Saturday and Sunday, and you see it as a perfect time to ride your bike or see your girlfriends, that’s cool. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that every second you spend apart is a second you could be spending together. And last thing you want to be is the couple that leads separate lives, with hobbies that take the place of conversation and connection.

Long story short, Mandy, if a guy demands you take up four-wheeling to be with him, dump him.

But just because he likes four-wheeling doesn’t mean you ignore him; rather it means you get to determine over time if you are content with the effort he’s putting into the relationship.

If he rides every day after work and all weekend at the expense of your relationship, you know what to do. If he squeezes this in the hours you’re otherwise occupied, then congratulations, you found a way to make it work with a hobbyist.

Ultimately, the answer is determined by how happy YOU are in your relationship.

Join our conversation (89 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Stacy2

    I agree with Evan on the hobbies. A guy who crosses South America on a bike and then feeds homeless kids in his spare time at home could be a great dinner friend and an exciting hook-up partner but he is not the father of your children. And he knows that too. All these hobbies are simply another way for these guys to let you know that they’re not looking for anything serious. This is their way of being unavailable. They don’t really expect you to take up 4-wheeling whatever that thing is. No, they’re simply telling you they are only looking for something casual, to get laid in between their busy life events. That’s all.

    1. 1.1
      Yet Another Guy

      Here is finally something on which we agree.  Yes, I do believe that guys who have busy schedules are only looking for something casual, that is, unless they miraculously encounter a woman with whom they compatibility and chemistry who also shares their passions.  At that point, all bets are off. 🙂

       

    2. 1.2
      ScottH

      I don’t disagree with you but those of us who aren’t out skydiving every weekend or scuba diving in Australia twice a year or jetting off to Europe on the weekends are just plain boring and most women don’t want that either.  I hate getting asked what I do for fun.  I was just asked that recently and was tongue tied because when I do my “things,” it’s not like I say to myself that I’m going out to have fun.  I just go do them.  I know that’s my problem and I need to formulate a real answer.  Should have done that a long time ago but it just seems that the things I do aren’t fun enough to excite someone else and i get self conscious about it.  i guess the right person will be fine with it…..

      1. 1.2.1
        Nissa

        I am so with you on this one, ScottH. Does cleaning house count as a hobby? For example, a weekend to me includes laundry, yard work, vet visits, food prep for the week, shopping to buy pet food, etc. For me, watching a movie on DVD and reading a book is my relaxing time, but I’m pretty sure most guys aren’t spellbound by that information, lol.

        1. Sum Guy

          Depends on the book :).  I love to read and discuss books.  I disagree with Evans example about golf, although I really don’t like golf, if you are living with someone spending 4 hours apart on a weekend doing your own things is healthy in my view.   I guess it depends on your personality type.

          What might work is an in-parallel approach.  He’s on the golf course she meets him at the club and they share adventures.  She shops at the mall he shows up they go to dinner and she shares what she bought.  For me it’s not so much sharing in the activity but the excitement my SO derives from it.   If you support these things that rejuvenate your SOs soul then that brings you closer.

          Caveats: it needs to be a two-way street.   Also there are limits, when the hobby begins to dominate other life activities and your lives are built around the hobby, everyday and almost every weekend; like the widow example.

      2. 1.2.2
        Stacy2

        Scott:

        its who you ARE, not what you DO (for fun) that makes you exciting. I am not sure I can explain this very sissinctly. The most exciting guy I ever dated was a PhD turned wall streeter who spoke 5 languages and played an instrument and rode a motorcycle. lol. Yes, that type. And, btw, he was actually 15 years my senior (and before ladies jump on it, he’s now happily married to a woman much closer to his age). So, he didn’t have any particular time consuming hobbies, but he could order a rare wine at an Italian restaurant in italian, quote french philosophers not to mention he was an excellent cook and other stuff. So I guess you could say he was investing on himself all his life to be that amazing person. You just simply can’t get there by picking up a weekend sky diving hobby or flying to Paris to visit some throat traps once a year and posting a selfie in front of the Louvre on Tinder.

        Now, I also hate this stupid question. Here’s what I say when I get asked: “I work long hours and travel a lot, so when I have some downtime I prefer to spend it with my friends and family. I also stay active and do a few skiing trips a year and do yoga religiously”. If that’s not enough “fun” for them, they are not a fit.

        also, I’d say – show me a guy with a demanding hobby, and I will show you a guy who is not working hard enough. I mean who has the time? Those of us who travel 3 days a week and put in 60 hrs on a good week do not go skydiving on Sunday. We’re at our pool trying to recharge.

        1. ScottH

          “investing on himself all his life to be that amazing person.”

          Yeah, this is what matters.  Thanks Stacy

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy2

          Those of us who travel 3 days a week and put in 60 hrs on a good week do not go skydiving on Sunday.

          Anyone who is traveling 3 days a week and putting in 60 hours of actual work every week is living to work, not working to live.  I did that grind in my twenties and thirties.  I refuse to do it now.   I would rather have more free time and a smaller compensation package.  That kind of grind takes years off of one’s life.

        3. Cletus Rothschild

          “So I guess you could say he was investing on himself all his life to be that amazing person. You just simply can’t get there by picking up a weekend sky diving hobby or flying to Paris to visit some throat traps once a year and posting a selfie in front of the Louvre on Tinder.”

          You sure do use your personal preferences to create some false dichotomies. And I wonder: you admire this man for his ability to quote French philosophers, but how do you think those philosophers lived their lives? They were originators of ideas, not followers like your amazing man.

          “. . . I’d say – show me a guy with a demanding hobby, and I will show you a guy who is not working hard enough.”

          Why? Those French philosophers spent the bulk of their time sitting on their butts developing original thoughts that would endure through the ages. What you’re talking about are ways of life. YOU place a higher value on work, presumably to earn money. Other people place a higher value on doing what you’re pejoratively referring to as “hobbies” . . . like a penniless painter who spent his life painting pictures that your amazing friend would spend his free time familiarizing himself with so he could impress someone like you. Or a winemaker who immerses himself the very narrow niche of winemaking to the exclusion of French philosophy. And finance. And motorcycle riding.

          I used to have a job that some people found impressive until I suffered a brain injury. I could hang up life altogether because I’ll never be able to be an amazing man, or I can redirect my life to find another way to make it meaningful. Enter hobbies. The other day I was out hiking through an amazing forest that I’ve lived near for decades. I was struck by how thousands of mountain laurel bloomed every year around a beautiful lake not far from where I lived, along with who knows how many amazing people, yet I had spent so much of my life working at my job and working in my home to ever see the beauty that’s all around us. I’ve spent countless hours exploring a world to a degree that amazing people will never know. Which is fine of course. I didn’t choose this; I was forced to choose SOMETHING. By the way: since I can no longer be an amazing man, my ex left me for a new amazing man.

          It’s your preference to have someone who can impress you with his familiarity of a broad range of subjects. That’s also fine of course, but you’ve placed what appears to be an objective value judgement on it that says that those who engage in “hobbies” are lesser people. And you’re wrong.

          “. . . who has the time?”

          Those who MAKE the time.

          “Those of us who travel 3 days a week and put in 60 hrs on a good week. . .”

          . . . have decided that working is your life priority. I don’t begrudge you or judge you for that as it’s obviously important to you. But make no mistake about it: hobbies can also be a valuable way of life. We have one life to live on this earth. Immersing ourselves in a passion can be a fulfilling way to spend it.

      3. 1.2.3
        Marika

        I know what you mean, ScottH and agree with what Stacy2 said below. For me, I think it’s all about careful wording. In the early stages of dating people magnify every little thing, so if you say you don’t have a lot of regular hobbies they picture you sitting on the couch eating chips every night :). When most likely it actually means you work hard & are a great friend / parent / daughter / sister, and will likely make a great partner.

        This hasn’t come up so much for me dating online, but it came up all the time when I tried speed dating. So I focused on one ‘hobby’ / thing I like to do and talked at length about that, so they could see me come alive and be passionate about it. I also chose something a guy was likely to relate to and see himself doing with me (e.g. not yoga! – which is my most regular ‘hobby’). You don’t have to give them a blow-by-blow description of your weekend or be overly honest & tell them you spend most of your outside work hours cleaning & sleeping (for instance). But just give the other person the idea you have a life & interests.

        1. Clare

          Marika,

           

          This is so true!

           

          I’ve found another good way to handle this question about hobbies/interests/what I do for fun is to focus on what I love. I do love my job (writing/tutoring/teaching) and it extends into other areas – for instance, I love to read, write and be well-informed in my spare time as well. So I focus on telling guys that I love to keep up with the news and world events and alternative viewpoints – even though I do this from the comfort of my own home, this is certainly a passion of mine.

           

          I also think it’s fine to talk about stuff you wish you had time to do more of – in my case, travelling, horse riding, dancing etc. These are all things I’ve done at one point and which I’d love to get back into. I think people are just as attracted to someone with dreams as to people with busy, full lives.

  2. 2
    D

    It’s funny, I was just thinking yesterday — as soon as my last partner started throwing herself into volunteering for a non-profit, it was the beginning of the end (for us). I just got sidelined and all evenings (even into the wee, wee hours in the morning were spent on her computer, writing newsletters and what not). And recently, someone canceled out first phone call because she had to rescue a dog and then canceled the RESCHEDULE because she “didn’t want to wake the puppy up” (what — she couldn’t have moved to a closed room?) — interestingly, my first GF is into dog rescue and said “Stay away from all of them.” 95% of Bumble profiles I read just list 300 characters of hobbies — I almost wanted to put on Twitter, “Telling me how much you love your dog / horse, etc” doesn’t tell me anything” but didn’t want to come off as bitter — which I’m not — I’m just glad this writer and Evan vocalized a frustration that’s been on my mind.

  3. 3
    KK

    Agree. With all of it.

  4. 4
    Luka

    It’s worth considering that lots people say they’re into all these activities because theyre trying to make themselves look more interesting and appealing. Lots of the advice for building a profile refers to creating the appearance that you have stuff going on. Hence the tinder profiles with 5 different extreme sports photographically documented. Far fewer people than it seems are really doing any of this stuff.

    On the other hand, as alluded to above, there does seem to be a significant number of people on Tinder who are obsessed with animals, and are adament that their prospective dates share their feelings. It seems real to me, but perhaps much like our putative adventurers theyre putting out what they consider their own good qualities (ie animal lover).

    1. 4.1
      KK

      I agree, Luka. But it’s pretty easy to determine what’s really going on after dating for a relatively short period of time. If someone claims to be a weekend warrior and uses that as an excuse to date on Sunday nights, you should probably take them at their word and move along. If they’re available every weekend, they either B.S.’d a little bit hoping to project a positive image or they’re attempting to prioritize a budding relationship. Either of which should be fine.

  5. 5
    Jeanie

    Lol @ the hiking bit.  I just skip over the profile if they are too intense about hiking or surfing.

  6. 6
    CaliforniaGirl

    Last guy I’ve dated had all these extreme sport pictures in his profile and in his bio he stated he “loves to travel and go on adventures” (the guy in his 47 years was out of the country exactly one time), but it was almost impossible to get him even to go out, haha, he was just sitting on his couch watching sports all weekend, every activity I proposed was declined because it was too expensive for him or unless I paid for both of us, he wouldn’t do anything with me. So, I’d really ignore their “active” lifestyles until you actually meet him.

    Another guy I went on a date with, after divorce, started to race motorcycles and was doing it every weekend. He also had 50% custody of his son, so it was literally one evening a week when he could see someone. We tried to set up a second date for a few weeks and I just lost interest.

     

  7. 7
    DevVa

    I disgree with the title “Why people with serious passions and hobbies make the worse partners.” Why? Because its not about the hobby/passion or how serious they are about it, its about how they prioritize that hobby, when and where does that hobby come first, and how they delegate that hobby with other things in there life. You can be very serious about a passion but not have it be your first priority in life. For example, I highly serious about hiking, horses, cooking and muscle cars but that doesnt automatically mean Im a bad partner. What WOULD make me a bad partner if I chose those hobbies over my relationship. Some signs of people putting their hobbies before a relationship is when one partner always has to resheldule or flake on a date, or “forget” about a date because of those hobbies. Another sign is everytime the couple goes on that date its almost always about THEIR hobby, not what there partner wants todo, its always about them. If your partner doesnt have time for your from the signs or the relationships evolves around them and their hobbies, dump them. As long as the relationship comes first your fine, theres still room for extra curricular activities. In fact, Its completely healthy and HIGHLY recommended to still do activities with people outside with your partner because you can have a break from them, and still do what you like and you wont lose your sense of self. What happens to some couples, esp married ones, they lose there sense of self because they are so enmeshed and engrossed in each other they dont do anything outside of each other, so they can lose friends, or they “forget” what they use to like doing. They “forget” who they are. But beware, be balanced. Couples still need alot of together time. The reason why these men say its vital to find a partner with similarities is because, you cant be compatible with someone who doesnt share at least some of your big hobbies/likings. You would be offtrack. There is no chemistry, you wouldnt click. How can you be compatible with someone who doesnt care abou ehat you love. Im not saying you need to love your partners hobby just as much as they do, but show respect for it and be willing todo that hobby from time to time. Because when you a relationship gets serious, you will have todo activities with your partner that you dont want todo, but you do it for them because you love them. And what if your partner big hobby is hiking but you dread it, how will you be able to do it for your partner when the time comes, you will be miserable. Im not saying, people need to have the same exact hobbies to be with each other or have the same exact amount of value or love for those hobbies, because thats what makes relationship thrive which is about being different and unique to each other is some ways. But what Im saying, have a little liking in the major hobbies, the ones they do the most, as your partner because you never know you might just have todo that hobby just for them even when you dont feel like it. Besides, they would go do a hobby with you that wasnt there fav thing todo in the world but do it just for you, because they love you. Relationship are about sacrifice. You dont have to even like the minor little hobbies, just have some liking in the major ones because they will do the major ones more often than the minor ones.

    1. 7.1
      Emily, the original

        Its completely healthy and HIGHLY recommended to still do activities with people outside with your partner because you can have a break from them, and still do what you like and you wont lose your sense of self.

      Agreed. It’s kind of red flag if someone has no interests/hobbies outside of trying to date/looking for a relationship.

      1. 7.1.1
        Ross

        I totally agree too that you ABSOLUTELY need to have hobbies and passions that do not involve your partner. Who on earth wants to be someone else’s only source of happiness and they always depend on you to give them all your free time. I’d rather stay single my entire life than giving up all my passions and spend all my off-work hours with a single partner. Just thinking about it makes me feel nausea. I very briefly had a partner years ago that had no hobbies going on. At first his sweetness and availability attracted me. But soon after I started feeling like a caged animal. He wanted to spend the whole weekend together every weekend and I had a ton of other things I wanted to do and cultivate. I felt such a burden that after that I stayed completely single for a full year, that’s how disgusted I was in the idea of a relationship at that particular point. He also looked awful because he did not workout. Taking care of yourself, learning about fitness, pushing yourself in training sessions etc, is a hobby that takes time. But that is the only thing that is going to allow you to be healthy and energetic and good looking for a long time.
        If you got nothing going on in your life, then you need an equally lazy partner. End of the story. Do not say those that have serious hobbies are bad partners. They are just people that are not gonna grow a big fat belly snuggling on the couch with you for the whole evening and weekend all the time.
        If you are active, seek an active person so that they are not clingy. If you are lazy, seek a lazy person so that you don’t get panic attacks because you are alone in the evening. Simple as that.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Few hobbies = lazy? I don’t believe that’s true. Your hobby time is time I spend with my wife and my kids. No one mistakes me for fat or lazy – they see a devoted husband and father. If you prefer a triathlete to someone like me, that’s your prerogative. I’d be surprised if a man who trains early, sleeps early and devotes large chunks of his weekend to his hobby has the capacity to be as good a partner.

        2. Stacy2

          Evan this is all right and fair but what is it exactly that you do with your wife and kids? If you work light hours (you mentioned 9-5) that leaves an awful lot of time to just do “nothing” (eg eat and watch TV) together. Is it possible that may be you guys ride bikes or go hiking or go to theatre/shows together, etc? How is that not the same thing?

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Great question, Stacy2. Here’s last weekend for the Katz family:

          Friday night – stay in and watch Art and Craft on Netflix (produced and directed by my college ex-girlfriend!)

          Saturday day – wife sleeps in. I wake up to take my 4-year-old son to basketball practice from 9-10am. I take the kids to see an 11:30 matinee of Captain Underpants, then bring them to Chili’s for lunch, then bring them to Coldstone for dessert. Wife takes kids to a Kidzbop concert at the Hollywood Bowl at 3:30. I watch some Bill Maher, read a little on the internet and find out that a friend cancelled plans on me. I text another friend who agrees to come out for dinner and drinks at 6pm. We have such a good time, we stay until 11pm. Great sex upon my return home.

          Sunday day – lazy day. We let kids climb into bed with us and act generally silly from 9:30-11. I go out and get Subway for the family. We attend a 1-year-old birthday party with a bunch of my wife’s friends at 2pm. Then we have another party – a smaller one with three couples – at 4pm. The kids play together. The adults drink and talk together. We wrap up at 9pm and head home.

          If I said, “Sorry, honey, I’m playing golf on Saturday and Sunday,” it changes the family dynamic. My priority is my wife and kids – and socializing (which I don’t consider a hobby). Everything else comes in second. Watching football on Sundays, which used to be a weekly ritual for 40 years? Maybe I do it three or four Sundays a year. So I repeat: you’re allowed to have your hobbies, but the more they pull away from your spouse and children, the weaker your bond. I can’t think of anything that gets stronger the LESS time you spend on it.

          And no, no rich parent in my area has ever considered me “boring” just because I don’t care about golf, scotch, cars, or gadgets. I READ. I ASK questions. That’s more than enough for me to remain engaging without having to spend time on mountain climbing or surfing. I’d much rather be a basketball coach father than a great surfer.

        4. Emily, the original

          Ross,

          I totally agree too that you ABSOLUTELY need to have hobbies and passions that do not involve your partner. Who on earth wants to be someone else’s only source of happiness and they always depend on you to give them all your free time. … I very briefly had a partner years ago that had no hobbies going on. At first his sweetness and availability attracted me. But soon after I started feeling like a caged animal.

          Agreed. Even if the hobby only takes a couple of hours a week, you should have something that interests you that exists outside your relationship. I don’t want to organize/create someone’s life.

  8. 8
    Carla

    I love baseball passionately always have. I am now with a man that not only loves it as much as I do, and he coaches his kids. It’s a passion we both share and another way we get to spend time together. I go to every game, practice, and scrimmage without fail. It brings us closer as not only a couple, but also as a family unit.

  9. 9
    Aly

    Also inordinate amounts of money spent on said hobby can interfere in the relationship.

  10. 10
    FG

     
    First and foremost, a hobby, sport or activity need NOT be practiced by both partners. Its continued practice may provide a little downtime from the relationship, as well as social-circle / friends maintenance opportunity, which is HEALTHY in a relationship.
     
    There are three prevailing factors in the type of activity practiced: old habits, family activities extended into single / divorced years, and environment, past or present. Let’s examine that! Something practiced for a long time may stay with you, and there is an advantage to finding a partner early as the activity MAY have been adopted by both. Ex: a couple I know spent many an evening playing MMORPGs together (I can hear Stacy2 going “OMG!”), side by side, two accounts, computers and monitors. Btw, want to call them goofballs? They’re BOTH PhDs! EMK has a very young family, but sooner or later, his kids will grow into “more active”. (Not telling you how to raise a family, btw) At which point, you want reasonably-priced family activities enjoyed by all, and the reasonable portion is less a question of means as an entitlement-avoidance scheme. Some NYC high-earners might decide to join the yacht club in Montauk or the Hamptons, while others want their progeny keep their feet grounded on the same planet as the rest of us. Kids age, hit 14, and mostly have their own life. Parents age, lose their kids to adulthood and emancipation (if parents did their job well), and if single / divorced, must occupy themselves, so whatever the family hobbies / outings were tend to persist into divorced life.
     
    Or filler for a partner-less life, but (from my POV), ladies become accustomed to same and expect to continue their various endeavors. Space and time for a newly arriving partner? The guy is supposed to shoe-horn himself into HER patterns. Some men may do the same.
     
    As to environment, if you live near the ocean or lake, some of your faves may be watersports, or fishing. Near mountains? Hiking. In a seasonal wintery clime, skiing. And the list goes on. Where a potential partner came from when a potential couple meets may be hugely divergent.
     
    A 55 y.o. woman (1 year my jr) a few weeks ago clamored that she sought a sporty guy. She also biked 35 miles on a coldish, grey Saturday. Great! Just my idea of a fabulous time. Errrr, not! Subjectively, from my experience, the (overly) physically-active folk are not very interesting people. And their seemingly endless quest, or is it addiction, for endorphin release seems (a perception, not an affirmation) to be deleterious to a fulfilling sex life.  
     
    Btw, it’s quite alright if your life centers on a 60-hour work week. Plus bouncing around and commuting. It also means your relationships will CRATER around that same work week, and that’s a choice. Or family-life will never enter your equation. Work IS your all-consuming hobby, at that point.

    1. 10.1
      Luka

      Working a 60 hr week takes years off your life and ages you rapidly. I have a couple of friends working 60hrs+ (Doctors – medicine is the only profession in Europe where people work such long hours), and I feel so bad for them. They just work and sleep and wait for their pension. Its no way to live. You don’t want to be one of these people or date one.

      1. 10.1.1
        Stacy2

        “Chose the job you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life”. Or something. I personally have never found a man who has an “average” 9-5 job and no passion for what he does attractive in any way. The lack of competitiveness and drive is a major turn off for me.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Stacy, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you have enough competitiveness and drive for two people. Find a guy who digs you and says “yes, dear” and live a happy life. Please.

        2. Luka

          If you’re a movie director or a great painter or something, yes. But no person should ever spend 60 hours in an office. You only have one life, don’t waste it sat in front of a computer.

          Anyway, back to the scheduled programme.

        3. Shaukat

          The lack of competitiveness and drive is a major turn off for me.

          Interesting how you often assert that men are the superficial gender for being drawn to looks and how a woman makes them feel, and then make statements like this. I have news for you, prioritising ‘ambition’ and ”drive’ above character, empathy, sense of humor, etc, IS superficial. It’s just superficial in a different way. I’m not even knocking it, just asking that you at least own it.

        4. Stacy2

          Shaukat:

          “prioritising ‘ambition’ and ”drive’ above character, empathy, sense of humor, etc, IS superficial”

          Ambition and drive IS a part of “character”. And  I never said I would prioritize that over other components so I have nothing to “own”

        5. Emily, the original

          I personally have never found a man who has an “average” 9-5 job and no passion for what he does attractive in any way. The lack of competitiveness and drive is a major turn off for me.

          I’m the opposite. I don’t find men who want to climb the corporate ladder particularly interesting. I have a male friend who has a good-paying job in a heart cath lab in a hospital but on the side developed a medical product that will likely sell for enough money for him to retire in his 40s. Someone who is an entrepreneur looking for ways to not have to be told what to do all day … that’s much more interesting to me.

        6. Shaukat

          Ambition and drive IS a part of “character”. And  I never said I would prioritize that over other components.

          I suppose you can define it in that fashion, but I don’t believe that’s what most people understand as character. The latter is associated with traits such as empathy, generosity, compassion, etc. ‘Competiveness and drive’ are, for many, a type of cultural and economic privilege. By the way, your favorite power couple from House of Cards? If you keep watching you’ll see that it turns into a dysfunctional, sexless marriage where he has to resort to pimping his wife out to a young writer because he can’t satisfy her any longer. That’s what happens when you completely remove the masculine/feminine polarity from a marriage and try to turn it into a business arrangement. ‘Competiveness and drive’ are not crucial ingredients for a good romantic relationship.

        7. Stacy2

          @Shaukat:

          In general, I personally hate the term “character”. I’ve always suspected that is a substitute for a “loser”. Oh, he has nothing to offer, but you know he’s got character. WtF does that even mean? Healthy levels of “empathy, generosity and compassion” should be a given, not even up for discussion. And definitely not reason enough to date someone (though the lack of the above would be a reason to not date someone). By this definition character is like minimal wage – you can’t go below it, but sure you wouldn’t just take any job that pays it and hope to do better than $7.25/hr.

          And I hope we can all agree that the HoC is the work of fiction, fiction, guys. No, this is not what happens in real life, this is what happens when the exasperated team of writers is trying to sustain the drama for 8 (?) seasons. You want real life -look at successful real life power couples. Like Cheryl Sandberg’s marriage (sadly her husband died but I hear she’s dating a billionaire now.. ). There’s nothing wrong with wanting that type of marriage/relationship.

        8. Evan Marc Katz

          There’s PLENTY wrong with wanting to be part of a power couple, Stacy2. But I’m not here to offer you any more free dating coaching if you haven’t caught my drift yet. Think: math!

        9. Chance

          The interesting thing about the women who claim that they want to be part of an “egalitarian” power couple is that they still tend to want to be with a man who is more successful and is of a higher status than them, but they want to be treated as if they were equal.  This is why I find the HoC example to be so interesting…. it essentially replicates this common dynamic to a tee.  The writers have to be aware of this phenomenon.  An interesting kind of “equality”, indeed….. even the most supposedly liberated women have little interest in suppressing their hypergamous impulses.

        10. Callie

          Chance – have you seen this season yet? It definitely does address the fact that in a power couple one person will inevitably have more and that usually it is the man. But do see this season if you haven’t yet because yeah, no spoilers, but the end is very interesting.

          Also Shaukat – I think it’s VERY interesting that that’s your interpretation of their relationship. That you take away all agency from Claire in saying that her husband pimped her out. And that you seem to be completely forgetting that from Season 1 they have had an open relationship that was agreed upon by both sides and communicated about very clearly. Their relationship isn’t about sex, and never has been. You say he couldn’t satisfy her any longer, but he always did, in the way she wanted him to: they satisfy each other in that what they want from their marriage is power and working together to get there. In fact every time there is an issue in their marriage it’s usually because Frank is getting what he wants career wise and Claire isn’t. They remedy this several times over several seasons by Frank wising up and helping Claire achieve her goals power wise too. Sex they get from other places (unless they are having a threesome of course). From the very beginning. In fact another character in season 1 essentially says what you said to Claire about her not being satisfied by her husband and she hands him his ass explaining that she is getting exactly what she wants. Power.

          Anyway . . . the notion that Frank pimps out Claire to dudes (not even that Frank pimps out dudes to Claire, you won’t even give her that amount of agency or power) is honestly not remotely accurate based on anything we know from the actual writing of the show. So the fact that you decided that’s what was going on . . . very interesting rorschach test indeed. . .

        11. Shaukat

          Callie,

          It was not at all my intention to deprive Claire Underwood of any agency in their arrangement, I fully realize that both characters are satisfied with the agreement. However, if you recall, it was Frank Underwood who broached the possibility of Claire exploring her passions with a younger man when he noticed that she was attracted to Nick; it was in that sense that I used the term ‘pimp’ to make a point; I certainly wasn’t implying that the dynamic resembled the classic pimp/prostitute scenario.

          Your synopsis of the show essentially highlights the very point I was making, that their relationship is more like a business arrangement, it’s using marriage as a tool, which I have no problem with if that’s what two people find mutually satisfying. My purpose in raising this issue was to simply argue that ambition and competiveness are not necessarily signs of good character, and that there is nothing less superficial about a woman being attracted to a man with high status and financial success versus a man being drawn to a woman who is physically attractive (according to him), affectionate, and fun to be around. They’re both preferences, to each their own.

        12. KK

          Stacy2,

          “Healthy levels of “empathy, generosity and compassion” should be a given, not even up for discussion”.

          Key word here is should.

          But that’s not how it works. If it was, every single (relationship status) woman you know would be signing up with Millionaire matchmaker.

      2. 10.1.2
        Marika

        I’m not sure if many of you live in smaller, cheaper towns, but working 60 + hours a week in expensive cities & financial centres, is not unusual. Especially New York. Even in Sydney, working those hours in professional jobs is very common.

        Besides, from memory Stacy2 is paying alimony & helping out her family. I’m sure lots of you guys can relate to that. Give her a break.

         

        1. Stacy2

           

          LOL indeed, something people from smaller cities don’t get. 60 hrs has actually been a step down from 80-100 that more junior people work. This is practically normal. And yes, I have multiple dependents (though thank god no alimony – the judge threw the book at him) so I do need to hustle.

          Emily: being an entrepreneur and an inventor i think is sexy. Except all entrepreneurs I know work like CRAZY. They literally don’t stop, don’t take vacations and don’t relax.

           

           

           

           

           

        2. Emily, the original

          Stacy2,

          Emily: being an entrepreneur and an inventor i think is sexy. Except all entrepreneurs I know work like CRAZY. They literally don’t stop, don’t take vacations and don’t relax.

          Yes, probably true. I just like their independent spirit and desire to be able to live how they want to, because that usually takes a certain level of backbone non-cookie-cutter thinking.

      3. 10.1.3
        Stacy2

        The list is a bit cheesy but still a good list with not just household names on it:

        The 19 hottest power couples in tech

        The point is, marriage/relationship doesn’t have to conform to any one model. What Evan described and what he advocates is indeed the most common type of marriage that “works” (meaning: persists and is stable). But should anyone just mold themselves to conform to it, or give up on finding love/relationship? No. We can define relationships on our terms and make it our own. That’s my point.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I’ve long stated that a broken clock is right twice a day. But that doesn’t mean that I have to validate that a broken clock is a great way to tell time. For the life of me, I don’t know why you’d come to a dating coach’s site, only to spend the majority of your energy telling him how he’s wrong. If you want to fuck a guy on the first date, hold out for a guy who is a millionaire, and look only for men who are younger, fitter, Ivy-League educated, with sexy hobbies like MMA and Tough Mudders, go ahead. The rest of us will continue to see you here, wondering about the dearth of good guys left in NYC.

    2. 10.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @FG

      And their seemingly endless quest, or is it addiction, for endorphin release seems (a perception, not an affirmation) to be deleterious to a fulfilling sex life.

      This assertion is absolutely not true if one is a post-age 50 male.  A woman who wants a healthy sex life wants a man who spends a lot of exercising. The two major threats to man’s sex life after age 50 are reduced cardiovascular health and low total/free testosterone levels.  Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and strength training increases testosterone levels.  Reduced testosterone and cardiovascular health both lead to men who have big ideas, but little realities.  🙂

      1. 10.2.1
        Yet Another Guy

        *lot of time exercising

      2. 10.2.2
        FG

        A long ride  to nowhere on a questionable day serves no purpose.

        As to cardio, we’ve long known it’s not how much time you invest but HOW you do it! Which by definition is an exercise management style contrary to outdoor activity.

        Now at the edge of 57, I can asure you, my sex life problems are nonsense from (some) women (can’t ot simply not willing to put up with it) and the numerous women in my age group who are inhibited, or are adepts of the average blehhhh 8-12 minutes foreplay, 5-7 mins intercourse. In my book, that’s a quasi quickie. No, this is not a marketing ad. To each his own. 🙂

        1. Yet Another Guy

          To each is own, but it is only a matter of time.  It is not matter of “if,” it is a matter of “when!”  I used to think that I was invincible as well.  That was before my doctor told me that I was on the fast track to impotence followed by a cardiac event.  Now, I guard my health like it is Fort Knox.  There is no replacement for daily exercise.  I am a very efficient exerciser.  I spent twenty years as a steroid-free gym rat before I married.  I gave up traditional splits and double splits.  I do high-intensity interval training in addition to slow-rep strength training, which builds muscle and improves blood flow.  I do not what I need to do, and I leave.   I make very good use of the time that I allocate to exercise. It is not an excuse for socializing like I see a lot of people do in the gym.

        2. Luka

          FG,

          I can’t find your original comment but I think you referenced somebody riding 35 miles? That’s the tip of the iceberg:) I’m a weekend warrior myself and spend most sundays of summer doing what we call ‘centurys’ (ie 100 mile rides). It’s five hours of riding, perhaps six, plus a break we have at a mountain cafe. I can see it might look a bit pointless to an outsider, but its just more fun than I can describe. Once you’re at a certain level of conditioning its not even particularly difficult. As for this style of activity versus the gym, well you have equally informed seeming experts making mutually contadictory claims, but my own anecdotal evidence is I feel much better now than when I was doing strength training and HIIT (and btw the medical advice is still 200-300 mins of low intensity cardio per week). Endurance sport does look weirdly masochistic from the outside but I love biking so much I’d urge you to give it a try. I’ve seen so many people who sounded like you end up loving it.

        3. FG

           
          @ Luka and “centuries”
          The actual US recommendation, from memory, is 150 minutes cardio per week, not daily. And I know this because I wrote a (well researched) book. Which I jokingly refer to with friends as “I wrote a book, once”. One of my theses is how we reduce everything back to a subjective tunnel-vision, and how this applies to almost everything, including, in sexual matters, to how each individual is personally wired and how generalization statements are nonsensical, and there is no contradicting argument that will overcome what somebody else tells you about their own reality.
          In our current context, exercise afficionados “get off” on the endorphin charge. This relates to opioids, as endorphins are a naturally generated or produced morphine. Caveat: you are not me, and I am not you. I do not experience the same high as you do. I can easily explain why: my resistance threshold to opioids is, roughly, 6 times greater than average (may be on a specific basis, variable, and changing; not turning myself into a guinea pig to find out). And I know this how? Skip recreational substance uselessness experimentation, and delve into this: whether dental work or surgery, experience shows (in my case) that normal anesthetic dosage does, pardon the vernacular, sweet FA. See my point? I’m happy for you that you enjoy the activity at that level. I don’t, and won’t.
          Since sex is always a fun topic, I would much rather spend hours in the sack with a willing, loving partner, and dedicate myself to elevating my gal to “rapture”. Apparently, some people don’t see the point, or have never known such proceedings, or never had the opportunity. When I willingly deride and scoff at the average sex session (the 8-12 mins foreplay and 5-7 mins intercourse mentioned earlier), I am not taking aim and ridiculing people who have that as a main (and perhaps ONLY) course in their sex lives. I merely attempt to point out this very important, and healthy, aspect can be expanded.
          Is it obvious or easy to set aside much more time to dedicate to the matter? Probably not if you have kids, and certainly not for repetitive weekly sessions, but the average sexual encounter is equivalent in time to enjoying… a glass of wine. Which I find preposterous (subjective), but some people are asexual, some inhibited, some (self?) constrained, some inexperienced, etc., while others embrace tantric sex. Some women are wired to reach orgasm easily, others not (which may be psychological, physical, or both), others fall in the multi-orgasmic machine gun category. J
          Like all other activities mentioned, a little variety is great. If a couple solely focuses on roll-in-the-hay hoopla, their lives would be, again imho, incomplete or limited.

  11. 11
    Stacy1

    For all married and living together couples; Im all for separate interest and spending time doing what you love; however, the need to be realistic about the monetary spending on them as well as the timing spent should be taken into account. When you neglect home and aren’t financially in a place to spend $100 every Friday night on poker night or that $100 weekly Tuesday night spending on league bowling, beer, and nachos, yet feel angry at your being asked to cut back on the needless spending and become obligated or feel deserving of this time because you work hard, you should reevaluate your priorities. Your hobbies are important but not at the expense of having a financially sound marriage and family.

  12. 12
    Clare

    I love this topic!

     

    I dated a wonderful guy once (wonderful in the sense he was gorgeous, easygoing, interesting, deep) who travels for months at a time for work, which is also his hobby. He’s a game ranger who also loves to fish/shoot/hike. When he was home he always got in touch, but he made a point of mentioning his rounds at the golf course, his hiking weekends, fishing trips, trail runs etc. even on his time off. I agree with those posters who have said people who live this kind of a life are not very emotionally available and not looking for anything serious. As much as I loved this guy, I came to see that at this time in his life (he was still in his twenties) his work, passions and hobbies were more important than me or a relationship, and maybe that would never change. Perhaps he’ll meet a fellow conservationist who will be happy with his life and will do all this stuff with him, but I doubt it. I strongly suspect all the outdoorsy stuff was a way to get away from people!

  13. 13
    Maile

    I’m a female strength and conditioning coach, who participates in Olympic Lifting…plus launching a personal business.  I am also a single mom of a 5 year old. Yes, relationships are challenging given that I will be dedicated to my craft forever.

    Evan, you helped me date and find a man who fits (so far).  I’ve been divorced twice…each time because a deal breaker thing on his part (cheating, violence).  There are so many good things that you say (that I’ve needed to hear about myself and change to find a fitting partner)…and this is another good article.

    But this article does leave those of us (who have a massive personal goals) wondering why on earth, we should not reach our fullest potential . Lack of time, would only be an issue if the person didn’t want a relationship with me. A relationship with me would require some creative scheduling.  I met some really great guys, where scheduling was just impossible…(another trainer and a detective)…it did not work…on both our ends.  I did find a guy who was a store manager that has the flexibility to design his schedule.

    I’ve found for me that it takes dating someone, that it who also has their own goals to that they are passionate for, but the ability (and desire) to set a schedule that allows for regular time together. I found a man who navigates the challenges with me, and collaborates on a schedule that allows for us to see each other 3-4 times a week.

    I appreciate your openness and advice that people (like me) are hard to date.  But people like me have a part of our souls that feels like it’s dying, when we are told that we are less capable of making good partners… due to the time we spend on our craft.

    I’ve made it 18 months with my guy…and with your help and advice I’ve been able to navigate a very packed schedule, by making sure I have regular/scheduled pockets of time available  (alone with him )3 times a week…and with my son a 4th day.

    I’ve been excited to see him working with those times I have.  I’ve been excited to see him support my passions.

    I just wanted to chime in for the ladies who are not willing to give their  “serious passion”.

    It just takes a willing partner…a partner who is on board with supporting your dream.  But of course you have to do all of the other things (that you’ve advised) to make sure the relationship exists and thrives.

    Wish me luck 🙂 🙂

     

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      It was a provocative title, to be sure. Just know that – for many of us – we want partners who are emotionally and physically available OVER partners who are pursuing their “dream.” Which is why I would never encourage a woman to date a rock star or basketball player or politician – examples of “passionate” and often charismatic men whose life goals get in the way of a good marriage. It’s not an insult to point out that less time spent together in a marriage can weaken a marriage; it’s a commonsense observation.

      Thus, there’s no judgment towards Olympic lifter with “massive personal goals”; just pointing out what you already know: most men don’t care about your goals, they care about what THEY get out of the relationship. And if you’re only around half the time, they may get less than they want to accept, no matter how amazing you are.

      Ultimately, if your way is working for you, keep doing it. If it’s not, consider my advice. Same as any other column I’ve ever written.

      1. 13.1.1
        Stacy2

        Evan, why would anybody want to be with a partner who doesn’t give a s$%t about their aspirations and only cares about “about what THEY get out of the relationship.”?? This is the definition of a child.

        I like your described family routine (and especially approve the part where the wife sleeps in on Saturday lol) but this is taking it to the extreme. We as humans do not exist solely to eat and reproduce (which is essentially what you’re trying to boil it down to). There needs to be room for aspirations and goals. Personally I would rather spend 10 hours a week with an exciting partner than 40 hours with a partner whose interest do not go beyond kids soccer practice and stuffing his face with pizza.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t know why I bother, Stacy. You take a reasonable stance and turn it into a caricature. You’re like the queen of straw man arguments.

          a. My disinterest in golf or skiing doesn’t mean I’m boring nor that I stuff my face with pizza. Same with most men. Nor does working out make someone a shitty partner. Life is about balance. Many “hobbyists”, whether they’re dog people, video gamers, mountain climbers or entrepreneurs, lack balance.

          b. Despite what you say: life is ALL about understanding OTHER people’s needs. A woman (or man) who makes $500K working 60 hours a week with a hot triathlon body – who happens to be cold, selfish, argumentative and critical is WORTHLESS compared to a partner who is kind, selfless and warm, despite her lack of “credentials.”

          c. You accuse ME of being childlike for wanting an available partner, while you extol the virtues of shallow NYC people dating shallow NYC people – with no evidence of your own success or happiness. Sorry, Stacey, YOU’RE the child here. Like our President, it’s so hard for you to admit that you’re wrong, that you double down on inane statements like the one you made above about your choices being an “exciting” guy and a Wall-E-like sloth. Or your “point” that people like me only live to “eat and reproduce” because I quit work at 5:30 and am available to my family on weekends. Seriously? Get that ridiculous argument and insult out of here.

          d. Remarkably, what hasn’t sunk in for you yet is that your way of doing things hasn’t yielded results. Mine has.

          Thus, the defense rests.

        2. Stacy2

          @Marika:

          Yes I hear you and you are absolutely right. That said, people who do fit the mold of a – let’s call it “conventional marriage” –  don’t usually need help getting into said conventional marriage. They fall into it easily and naturally. It’s the ones that don’t that ultimately form Evan’s client base and the readership here. These are the square pegs. Perhaps they are more insecure, perhaps they lived more complacated lives than an average suburban American, perhaps they are more free spirited, more creative or more driven, they are a deviation of some sort, the outliers.  This is why they are single. So, is it really helpful to be telling them to become round pegs instead? They cant and probably wouldn’t want to. I think this is what irks me the most actually, though really it shouldn’t. Evan’s product IS getting average people into conventionally working relationships. That is what he knows and what he offers and I think he’s pretty good at it, and he basically said that he doesn’t have any advice for people who don’t fit this mold. And I clearly don’t, nor do I have any desire to make myself into somebody I am not, so I think I am going to take a long-long break from reading this blog or participating in discussions. What I found is that it actually makes me feel angry, more disillusioned and more jaded than I already am. I mean, I really don’t need daily reminders that “men don’t care about your goals, only about what they get out of  the relationship with you” (c). I already suspect that most men are selfish jerkoffs who want to use me and don’t really give a shit about me. Don’t need that view reinforced. But, I did have a great time with my beau tonight, we watched a beautiful sunset and I would like to think that he – may be- cares about ME and my goals and dreams, and not just about what he can get out of me. And if not, I will be perfectly fine watching the sunset by myself. Best of luck to you with your dates, I hope you find what you are looking for

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          My advice consists of two pillars:

          1. Sand down some of your rough edges to fit more men.

          2. Change your choice of men.

          The reason you are frustrated is that my advice is to do a little of both but you refuse to do either.

          Welcome to the definition of insanity: dismissing my advice without trying it in good faith because you feel you are an exception to all rules.

          If you take no advice but only criticize how wrong it is or doesn’t apply to you, you’re not learning anything. That is all I implore you: you’re an alpha female; choose an easygoing partner who puts up with you.

          I did that and now I’m the one who gives advice instead of complaining about dating.

        4. Jeremy

          @Stacy2, if you’re still reading.  Please understand – it’s not that men don’t care about women’s goals, dreams, ambitions or plans.  If a man loves a woman, he does care very much about those things.  But if he isn’t getting his emotional needs met in the relationship, those things will not be enough to keep him there.  Similarly, if a woman is not getting her emotional needs met by a man, her caring about his dreams won’t keep her there.  The only asymmetry is what it takes to meet the emotional needs of men vs women.

           

          So I think that good advice for a thinking woman (such as yourself) is to understand what men need from relationships (and particularly, what the one MAN you are interested in needs), give him that, and allow him to love you for who you are – with all your dreams and hopes, without the need to be a “cool girl” – as you perceive that to be, without ambition or desires of your own.  A good man does not need you to be a pretty mannequin.

      2. 13.1.2
        Stacy2

        Oh Evan, it wasn’t an attempt to insult you. It was a for-example contrasting two extremes. I don’t disagree with much of anything that you wrote, actually. The model of a family that you described, what you have, is in my experience what indeed works best. All of my successfully married friends have the same model. “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – I always found it to be true (and if as you claim you’re an avid reader you’ll probably know this quote without using google)

        Your bind spot is that this type of arrangement simply is not everybody’s version of happiness. This isn’t the only way to be happy, or to be with someone. And surely for some people this is a way to be miserable. That’s all.

        1. Luka

          Stacy2 you need to think a little more about the way you come across to other people. Look at your interactions in this thread. Asking Evan ‘what exactly do you do with  your wife and kids?’ Do you even realize how that sounds?

          You’re telling people who work 9-5 jobs (basically everyone) that they have no competitiveness and drive. And they’re unattractive. Fine. But maybe think about keeping that to yourself? It doesn’t further discussion and just comes across as very abrasive. For the last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot of Evan’s blogs and you’re in every comment section, mostly attacking people and telling everyone how you want to date a Captain of Industry and nobody else is good enough for you. Maybe you should go do that and stop being such a downer.

        2. Stacy2

          @Luka:

          uhm, may be you should take your own advice and stop telling others what to do and attempt to police strangers on the internet on somebody elses’ blog?

        3. Rampiance

          Luka ~ I agree with what you said. Stacy2 comes across to me the same way as what you said and what Evan said: abrasive, critical, and I’ll add self-aggrandizing.

        4. Marika

          I can see where you’re coming from Stacy2. I think the thing is, though, Evan doesn’t go knocking on the doors of happy couples who define happiness and organise their relationships differently to his and tell them to change & do things his way. He works with people who are clearly not getting the results they want in dating to help them see their blind spots and maybe change their way of doing things / question their assumptions. For instance, there’s an example on another post of a 33 year old who married a 50-something with his help – I’m sure as a concept he wouldn’t think that’s a perfect pairing, but it worked for them & he supported a situation where both people were clearly happy & getting their needs met.

          We all have blind spots. I know I must because I date A LOT, but it’s rare that it goes beyond 2-3 dates. So I know I’m missing something and I’m open to ideas (which is why I read this blog). I think it gets frustrating when someone keeps wanting to do things the same way and arguing that it’s what they want & it will make them happy, when they clearly aren’t happy. If you gave any sense that you’re happy with your dating results then it would be a case of, keep doing what you’re doing.

    2. 13.2
      Don F.

      Divorced twice? I think anyone with multiple attempts should take the time to reflect on themself and what part they played in the breakdown. Divorce is seldom 100% one sided.

      Extensive passion along with a child. Where do you and other single parents with huge workloads and scheduling challenges even find the time and energy to look for a date? Most single parents are running non stop as much as two parent households if not more.

      Hopefully your business is going great and you and your child are living life well.

  14. 14
    Sadie

    What a timely post. I have been struggling with the idea that I might need to “give up” some of my hobby/socializing time in order to spend more time with my boyfriend. Thankfully, some of our hobbies can be done together. I can happily knit in the garage while he wrenches on his hot rods. My horses aren’t quite so portable. Also, does TV watching count as a hobby? I don’t watch TV at my home, but I recognize that many (if not most people) spend hours in front of the TV on a daily basis. Is escaping into TV programs any different than a serious hobby? What I do know, is that when I was dating online I put a fair amount of significance on what hobbies/interests a man listed on his profile. Avid deer hunter? Pass. College football fanatic? Pass. Lists twenty weekly TV shows that he just must watch? Pass, with a quickness. Gear head? I can do that. I like going to the races and riding in cool cars. (Not to mention mechanic skills are rather useful). Fishing? I can do that. I love being near the water and cruising on a boat. I agree with the premise of Evan’s post here that hobbies should take a backseat to the family we hope to build in our relationships. I agree that people need some alone time, certainly. I also think that being able to share some hobby/interests with each other is a lovely way to bond and create fun filled memories.

  15. 15
    Yet Another Guy

    I do not consider a daily exercise routine to be a hobby.  Exercising is part of living a healthy lifestyle.  Daily exercise becomes even more critical as a person ages. I gave up exercising when I got married and had children, and I paid a price for it health-wise.  That is a mistake I will never repeat.  If a woman cannot handle the fact that I exercise five to six days a week, she is free to walk.  I do not need that kind of negative influence in my life.

    1. 15.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      YAG – quit the black and white thinking. It’s disingenuous. NOBODY said that there’s anything wrong with working out from 7-8am every day before work. What I DID say was that anyone who spends half of his/her free time working out is probably not much of a partner. I stand by what I said and resent having my words twisted so blatantly.

  16. 16
    ScottH

    I was thinking about this today and a lot of you have summarized my thoughts:  it’s all about balance.  An unavailable person does not make a good partner but passion gives purpose to life.  It doesn’t have to be passion for a hobby or occupation or a cause.  Passion for your family and raising your kids is what you should have when your kids are young.  It all depends on who you are and what you want and where you are in life and like every other aspect of pairing, whether there’s a good fit between what you want out of life and what your prospective partner wants out of life.  When my kids were young, they were absolutely my top priority but now they are self sufficient and spend most of their time at their mother’s house.  (Evan’s weekend sounds absolutely perfect.)  And now I find myself looking for something to dedicate myself to.  I want to be more passionate about a cause at this point in my life.  My kids are pretty much gone and I’m very lucky to have excellent health and strength in my early 50’s (not to mention good looks and superior intelligence).   I tried guitar lessons, starting a furniture making business, just inquired about flying lessons, etc.  Nothing has really stuck but I’ll find it.  And if I find a suitable partner, she will become my first but not my only priority.  I guess finding her has been my passionate hobby.

  17. 17
    Alexandra

    Very interesting input that we rarely get elsewhere. People who dedicate a lot of time and effort into a cause, sport or hobby are often admired (understandably so) but we rarely hear about the impact their extracurricular pastime has on their family. I’m pretty big on fitness myself and trained for two half-marathons a few years ago. My then boyfriend (now husband) would point out how much time a sport can take and I would say “but I run for only 2 hours on Saturdays and 30-45 minutes during the week…” but no, it’s actually more time than that. He was right. My Saturday long runs would take at least 4 hours, if we count the time it would take to prepare for my run (get up at crack of dawn, dress, eat/coffee, drive to meet my running buddies), warm up/talk, run, come back and stretch/talk, drive back home, eat second breakfast, then shower. Oh, and let’s not forget that in order to get up so early to get my miles in, I’d have to go to bed at 9pm the night before. And I would be so tired from running I couldn’t even stay awake to finish any movie we’d be watching that night. I loved it, personally. But I would be in denial if I didn’t ackowledge that this kind of dedication takes a toll on a relationship.

    Now, can you imagine if I trained for a FULL marathon or a triathlon (training for three sports at once??). I still would like to do a marathon day, but if I don’t because I decide that being a wife and mother is more important, that’s okay too. I have to agree with Evan on this one. What makes my husband a GREAT partner and one of the reason I appreciate him so much is because he is always there. He doesn’t travel for work. He has a flexible work schedule and a job that doesn’t consume 90 hours a week. He doesn’t watch sports for 8 hours every weekend. He doesn’t insist on going to church or having lunch at his mom’s every Sunday (I’ve dated both of these guys – no offense to religious folks or sports fans, but it sucks if you don’t share those interests) or has nights out with his friends every week. He’s not passionate about any one thing in particular. Does that mean he’s boring, uninteresting, or has nothing to talk about? Heck no. We have a lot of fun together and we never run out of things to talk about. He’s just normal. And we’re together every week night, Friday night, every Saturday, every Sunday (with a few exceptions of course – he still puts up with my Thursday night runs…).

    1. 17.1
      Stacy2

      FWIW, i ran two half marathons and a triathlon and a number of smaller races over the course of 1.5 years. I was dating my ex at the time and I don’t remember the practice putting any strain on our relationship. I practiced on the stairs (lived on 36th floor at the time) without leaving my apartment building while he was watching whatever game would be on, and I only did one trial 13 mile run before the actual event – 2 loops around central park (which was 2 blocks away also so no minimal prep time). Sometimes we just unnecessarily complicate things.

      1. 17.1.1
        Alexandra

        Marathon (or half marathon or triathlon) training takes more time than the actual running does. When you’re training to that level, you’re eating all the time, you need to sleep more (and maybe shower more and do more laundry to!) and you also want to add other exercises like weight lifting and cross-training to make sure you’re a well-rounded athlete. Some runners also go to chiropractors, massage therapists, etc. I’m not saying you need or did all that, but being an athlete often becomes a second job. These kinds of passion become a lifestyle, not just a hobby. I get it, the sport definitely does have its rewards. But at the same time, I’m glad I’m not married to a runner or triathlete.

      2. 17.1.2
        Marika

        Gonna miss you, Stacy2 ! Even when we were disagreeing, I always got a kick out your posts and that last one was particularly thought provoking. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability.

        FWIW I hear you. At lot of the advice is a bit conventional for me, but I think you have to mould it somewhat to your circumstances. Like, for instance, Do Nothing in Australia wouldn’t work. So I’ve changed it to Do Less and stop over functioning in relationships. I also couldn’t be with an unambitious man, but I’ve loosened up on the degree thing/professional job etc.

        Evan, if you have any stories of unconventional matches, some of us would love to hear those too, as Stacy makes a good point about the type of people reading this blog.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Every story is about unconventional matches, Marika. Look at my success stories page. Read the testimonials in every email. It’s a miracle when two people fall in love, overlook each others’ flaws and get married. And yet it happens ALL the time.

  18. 18
    Nissa

    You know, Evan, this post is a great jumping off point for a discussion that I just had with a friend, about wanting a husband who ‘wants me enough’. This confused my friend, so I had to explain a bit. For example, in the Emma Thompson movie version of Sense and Sensibility, the younger sister falls in love with a young man who spends a great deal of time courting her. Just before he asks her to marry him, he loses his inheritance, and marries a rich girl instead of the sister. The elder sister says to her, “I do think he loved you”, to which the younger sister replies, “yes, but not enough“.  Not enough to live in poverty with her. Not enough to make it worthwhile to him, to choose her over money. In modern times, it’s loving someone ‘enough’ to prefer them to hobbies, whether it’s a marathon, work or drinking with the boys.

    When I am in relationships, I don’t necessarily need to do a shared activity (although I do like that). What I do need is someone who is more happy to be in my presence, than he is outside my presence, because being with me just makes him happy inside. I think if you have that, then it will naturally balance, because being with your partner is just as pleasurable as the hobby in question even if it’s not shared.

    I particularly care about this because both of my major life relationships did not have this quality. I can remember always looking forward to the end of day, where I could go home, and lay my head against my husband’s shoulder while he watched tv and I read or just snuggled. I would sigh with pleasure just getting to crawl into bed and spoon after a long day. It was such pleasure, comfort and peace. However, I don’t think my partners felt that way about me. I think to them I was a ‘good on paper’ girl, but I didn’t make their hearts sing. (Why they would choose me, for years, when that was the case is a mystery for another day).

    Which brings up the point of someone who wants you in their life, but at a level that might be described as ‘beige’, ‘tepid’ or ‘part-time’. What I hear from people who want their partner to have hobbies is that they have pleasure in people who show a passion for their own life. For those that have hobbies, I hear them say that these are the things that help them know who they are and that make their hearts sing. Since both of those are pleasurable, it seems like that should be a good match, so long as those are in equal measure. If one consistently outweighs the other, that is not an issue of time, it’s that the partner is valued less than the hobby – not enough. Which is less painful than having someone cheat on you, but is still an indication that you probably have less of a loving connection than you really want.

  19. 19
    Noquay

    As an ultra marathon runner myself, going on group runs, hanging with fellow athletes is now my major form of socialization.  Runners tend to be better educated, have disposable income, are healthier and disciplined compared to the rest of folk in this region. When I was with my husband and other non-runners, I’d do what they wanted to do first and run at some other time. I lead a well balanced life, not taking work too seriously, am well read, much more of a participant rather than a spectator in life. The issue is one of being a whole person, having balance. Being in a sort of high altitude island surrounded by ski resorts, we attract a lot of ski bums; folk that deliberately work as little as possible or live off of relatives. They live in their cars, camper trailers, hovels, so they can afford $500 ski passes and the latest gear. Their main goal in life is powder days and racking up consecutive days on the hill. Hookup and drug culture thrives. When they get injured, some very seriously, 99% of their reason for living is gone. Just another middle aged person with no money and living in a dump. Had a few runners go that way too; one injury and they’re lost souls. I too get injured; right now I have a stress related heart issue due to a combination of a bad breakup and a deteriorating work/life situation. This seriously affects my running yet I still have and achieve goals, stay fit, stay active and vital.

  20. 20
    Speed

    One thing that I’ve noticed on this blog is that some of Evan’s most basic advice (ex: “If you invite a woman out, pay for the first few dates,”  “If you like a guy, let him kiss you”) gets the most extreme pushback in the comments section. 

    As a I read it, Evan’s main points are:

    —If you are a big hobbyist (or person with an activist cause or huge workload, etc)  and these activities consume a lot of your time, it’s likely to negatively impact your relationship, as you’ll have much less quality time together. It may also hinder your search, since many people may hesitate to date an intensive hobbyist/activist/athlete to begin with. 

    —If you insist on doing these hobbies intensively, and want a partner who acquiesces to that or shares them with you, you’re likely to have a much narrower pool of potential candidates  to date.

    —If you enjoy an intensive hobby and are happy at it and see no need to ever compromise over it, then keep doing what you’re doing.

     —If you’re doing all these activities and are still lonely, consider making an adjustment. 

    Frankly, I fail to see the flaw in his logic.

    On a personal note, I see page after page of hobbies and interests on most women’s dating profiles, some of them quite arcane (“must love Icelandic folk music!” is not the least of them). Any potential partner “must share my passion!” for these hobbies. 

    Well, I guess I have to be really grateful this information appears in their profiles, so that we can be sure to avoid one another. Either that, or I have to start intensively studying Icelandic folk music. 

     

  21. 21
    John

    Daily exercise in moderation is great. But I think that doing marathons and 400 mile bike rides are a little extreme.

    What are those extreme exercisers running away from? My guess is a relationship where they have to actually participate.

    1. 21.1
      Noquay

      John

      Speaking as someone who watched (and had to support, a VERY expensive and time consuming hobby) her father and other relatives die prematurely and painfully from unhealthy lifestyles, we’re running away from heart attacks, strokes, obesity 🏃🏾‍♀️🤸🏾‍♀️

      1. 21.1.1
        John

        Noquay

        I am physically fit and understand the need to work out.  My point is you don’t need to run a marathon or do triathlons to keep healthy. My male friends who are work out junkies have a hard time maintaining relationships with their girlfriends. They can get the girl but can’t keep her.

        Their is an interesting book called “Blue Zones” It is a study by Dan Buettner that shows the habits and lifestyle of people who live to be over 100 and are healthy to boot. I don’t remember any of the people being extreme in any aspect of their life.

  22. 22
    Michelle

    Very interesting posts and comments. The OP is still in the dating stage. My two cents is to be open to these guys that are writing to her – my personal experience with the “extreme activity” guy is that my boyfriend and I met offline. He described his online dating profile and it basically said “I exercise 1000 hours a week” and only talked about health, 65 mile bike rides, etc – which would have really put me off because it sounded obsessive (I am happy with working out 1 hour a day 5 days a week and going for a walk on the other days or a weekend hike). However he revealed over time that he started exercising multiple hours a day because he was lonely in his failing marriage, and the physical activity helped him deal with his divorce and the passing of his father, and as a single guy, he had a lot of time to fill up.  So guess what – when he met me and we fell in love, he adjusted. He looks great and wants to maintain it, but when we’re spending the weekend together we go on shorter bike rides, hikes or just walks around town and during the week I’ll join him for a yoga and calisthenics in the morning and he goes on his run or swim in the afternoon on his own most of the time. Point is, he wants to spend a lot of time with me, and though he prefers that it be in an active way, it’s not a problem as it encourages me to be fit and I prefer being outdoors on a nice day even when I’m alone. Along with health goes cooking and we both enjoy that too, even going to the supermarket for ingredients, so that builds in more time we can spend together pretty effortlessly.  For the OP, these guys might want to impress you with their athletic prowess and seem strong and manly, but you may be pleasantly surprised that a guy who is really into you will dial it down so he can spend more time with you. (I always listed surfing and scuba diving on my dating profile but I rarely have time to do those things lately – but they made me sound interesting and cool, hopefully!) I think you should only be concerned if how you want to spend your time is the total opposite. If you prefer an air conditioned movie theatre on a sunny day to hiking (moderately) by a lake, you might find yourself never spending time together or putting a LOT of energy in to compromising.

  23. 23
    tealou

    Whilst I agree with the sentiment, there is also something quite great about sharing a passion with your partner. In our case, it is running a business and working together. Having both come from marriages where we were “tolerated” for that passion and drive – it is very refreshing to be part of a team with a shared vision of both happily working together, as a team, for 12 hour days :-D. granted, we are unusual in that we aren’t 9-5ers.

    Would it have been a dealbreaker if he wasn’t like me in that regard? No. Is it a whole lot nicer to be with someone who ‘gets it’? Yes. Does it have the potential to erode a relationship over time if you feel unsupported in your passion? Yes.

  24. 24
    SSarah

    This is true.  Wouldn’t it also apply to mama’s boys in a way?  Too much passion for one thing or person?

  25. 25
    Cletus Rothschild

    Great article with a terrible title. People with serious passions can be seriously engaging, especially if that passion is shared. And guess what? Perhaps one of the reasons why people place their passions front and center in their profiles is because they’re targeting that 1% pool of people who also share their passions. Similarly, I wrote my profile with an entirely humorous bent. It had hints of who I am along with the jokes that was very well-received by a number of women. There was a lot of self-deprecating humor that could be taken literally to conclude that I was too flawed. A friend read it and complained that women would arrive at false conclusions about me because as she said, “we’re judgmental creatures”. That was one of my very specific purposes: I hoped that it would intrigue women who, as so many of them write in their profiles, “love to laugh”, and I also hoped that I would weed out those judgmental creatures about whom my friend spoke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *