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My husband wants me to exercise more — I think his standards are too high

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They aren’t aligned when it comes to physical activity (Picture: Getty Images)

‘For our whole relationship, my level of physical activity has been a problem topic,’ says Dolly*.

The 32-year-old has been married to her husband, 34, for four years and the couple have a two-year-old son together.

Dolly’s husband is very physically active compared to her. ‘He used to play football (had to stop due to an injury), walks, bikes [and] hikes,’ she says.

‘When we met, I also was reasonably physically active, but doing totally different activities like yoga or dance.’

The couple got married during Covid and had a baby shortly after. Dolly now spends all her time running around after their child and taking care of him, as many mums do.

This has meant she hasn’t had any time for scheduled weekly exercise, and as well as being postpartum, she’s also had abdominal surgery.

For her husband though, this is a major sticking point – not physically, but in terms of a lack of shared interests.

‘Every few months, my husband and I will have a conversation in which he expresses that he’s quite upset my level of physical activity is so low, and that he wishes we were doing more active things together,’ Dolly wrote on Reddit.

They used to be more active as a couple (Picture: Getty Images)



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‘Specifically, he’d love to hike more together. Hiking has never been an activity I’ve enjoyed — and since we’ve been married my husband hasn’t been hiking much either, although he used to do a lot more of it before.’

Now, Dolly’s husband says their differences have become a deal breaker.

‘He said if he’d known this is where we’d be four years after marriage, and if he’d known this would be my baseline level of physical activity, he would have reconsidered getting married,’ Dolly explains.

Dolly points out that this argument is not about aesthetics and that she is at a healthy weight. She also says that apart from this, their relationship is good.

‘His expectation in a partner is that they be of above-average health and activity, and he’s not willing to reconsider that, but he does want to work on our marriage and relationship,’ Dolly says.

‘I agree that I used to do more when we met, but it doesn’t seem right that there’s no allowance for the fact that, in the four years we’ve been married, it’s been Covid, pregnancy, postpartum, and another surgery for me.

‘I do wish I was more physically active but I don’t know if I’ll meet my husband’s standards even if I tried. Our marriage feels like it’s on the rocks, and my self esteem is really low at this point.’

Naomi Magnus, psychotherapist and clinical director at North London Therapy tells Metro that this is an example of a person being unable to separate any dissatisfaction they have with life, from their partner.

‘The husband is projecting his disappointment onto a single issue (his wife’s lack of physical exercise) but it sounds like there’s probably larger factors at play,’ she says.

Naomi points out that new parenthood can put relationships under pressure, as can sleep deprivation which could be contributing to this issue.

Now, the pair can’t seem to see eye to eye (Picture: Getty Images)

‘She mentions their lack of sex life which is not unusual in the early child rearing years but often causes distance and resentment,’ she adds.

‘It also sounds like the husband is projecting his disappointment in his own activity levels into her, and blaming her inactivity for his lower than ideal levels.’

Naomi adds that her husband’s way of dealing with this problem is obviously hurtful to Dolly.

‘It is definitely damaging for the health of a relationship to tell your partner you “regret” ever marrying them. It undermines any trust or commitment to the growth process required for a healthy relationship,’ adds Naomi.

‘All relationships hit bumps in the road and difficult moments but it’s important to be able to tackle the challenges productively and as a team.’

By saying he regrets their marriage, Naomi says he’s not proactively looking at how they could live their lives differently together.

‘Instead he’s telling his wife that she is fundamentally wrong for him and that’s a dead end attitude that makes moving forward very difficult,’ she says.

Just because Dolly’s partner is being negative doesn’t mean that it’s unhealthy for couples to have different hobbies though.

Naomi explains: ‘Having different hobbies can enrich a relationship by allowing each partner to pursue individual interests and maintain a sense of independence.

‘It can also provide opportunities for personal growth and new experiences.

‘However, conflicting hobbies can result in less time spent together, potential disagreements over priorities, or feelings of disconnect. Communication and compromise are key to balancing individual hobbies in a relationship.’

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