Somebody tell my husband to slow down!

I'm slower than he is, that's all. I'm just slower.

By Cary Tennis
Published February 25, 2008 11:11AM (EST)

Dear Cary,

My husband and I have been in several ski marathons together. He always finishes with decent times. I always take forever to finish, barely making it in before the cutoff, when the race officials decide you're taking too long and force you off the track. I'm OK with this. I like taking all day and gutting it out to exhaustion. That's how I ski -- slowly.

But my husband cannot understand why I won't go faster, and he gets upset when I ski slowly. He even thinks I ski slowly on purpose. But I cannot go fast, or at least not as fast as he does. I've tried. It's just not my thing.

We get into horrible fights over this, and it's not just skiing. It's all sports or outdoor activities. Hell, it happens when we walk, too. He always walks at least five paces in front of me. When I ask him to slow down he says I should speed up. But I can't! I'm not that fast! I could -- I guess -- jog along next to him, but that's crazy. This whole thing is crazy because I've told him over a hundred times that I just can't move any faster. I don't know how to make it any clearer. I'm a very fit person. I work out every day; I'm just not fast, and I don't think that he should get so upset about it.

So my question is this: How can I explain to him that I am just slower than he is, that I'm not moving slowly on purpose, and that he'd better stop bothering me about this?


Dear Turtle,

It sounds like your husband needs a different exercise partner. You do, too. Maybe you got together around sports because you both like sports and you understand and appreciate each other in a sports kind of way. But your actual routines and levels of ability do not mesh sufficiently for it to be mutually beneficial to exercise and work out together. Not all the time anyway. This has gotten out of hand. So why don't you find an exercise partner who will keep pace with you and work out with that person? And tell your husband to do the same.

He should find somebody faster than he is to exercise with.

Yes, faster than he is.

You should, too. That's how an athlete improves, right? You work out with somebody faster than you are. I wonder why he isn't doing that.

Maybe there's something more going on, like he sort of enjoys being so much faster than you.

But let's not get into that now. Just solve the problem of finding a suitable exercise partner.

If each of you solves the problem of finding somebody of compatible ability to exercise with, and he's still walking five paces ahead of you, then something else is going on. Like, if he's walking five paces ahead of you in the mall, that's just rude.

And there's probably more to this. There always is. But start with finding compatible exercise partners.

And, uh, for those of you who like a nice, focused, real-world-type answer and can do without all the self-indulgent mumbo jumbo: Not bad, eh? This one's for you.

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