There you are, cruising along, getting your runner’s high and it’s been a beautiful day with a wonderful workout partner. It’s only when you get to the end that you realize they’re not exactly with you. Maybe they ran faster, slower, a different trail, training for an event you weren’t aware of… whatever the reason you’re hot, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you’re frustrated. It’s time to have a talk, maybe the talk, as in maybe you’re not the best running partners after all. Full disclosure, if your running partner has been purposefully tripping you, throwing things at you, or hitting you then run, don’t walk away. Otherwise, if you don’t feel you need to draw such firm boundaries, let’s see how we can honor the relationship we’ve had and provide a road to restoration.
You’ve forgotten what it was like to run where you wanted, when you wanted, and how you wanted. Just you, your shoes, and your favorite trail. You want to go solo for a while, maybe some fun runs with acquaintances for a while… that’s fine. May not even be forever, but for right now you need to reconnect with why you began running in the first place. Possibly you were just running for you next “heat”, just a strong visceral event which has not translated into a continuing commitment. Harder to say, could be it is the other person, their constant little habits are driving you nuts and you’re just not having fun on your runs anymore. The paces and places you want to run just aren’t compatible? Whatever the reason, it’s ok to say,” I don’t want you as a running partner any longer”.
Before you have this talk, you should try to take some time to settle down. Make sure you’re not hangry, tired, bothered about something else, sex grumpy, or a plethora of other factors that effect moods. You can try to wait for the perfect moment, but like at the end of Snatch, your partner may still end up like Turkish, flinching at the gunshots as you sadly smirk all Mickey like. Personal experience, don’t draw it out, they deserve better than to become more invested in a relationship that’s not going well. Every break up seems to require a brave face and some inner strength, well yours up and try to be good at it. It can help to have practiced the points you think might come up, verbalize to yourself your reasons and how you want to move forward.
Be Good at it
Even most pick up artists accept the duty to leave someone better than you found them, like Burning Man attendees with arguably better pimp walks. First, own it. Sure, maybe they showed up half an hour late one too many times, but it is you that has decided that’s a deal breaker. Take your agency and shove it, right into a hard but productive set of actions. Probably best to do so in person unless there’s mitigating factors like anxiety or potential for abuse, then use familiar communication mediums like texting. After that, time to not see each other for a while. Similar to how people in NRE show up in MRI’s as drug addicts, those in break ups show up like addicts. Every time they see your face the brain jolts, literally hurting them. They may also fall into unhealthy patterns of attachment. Could be best to be a little cold and give them the space to process without you. Run the high path. You may not believe this, not everyone takes break up well and see it as an attack on their identity. You’re better than that, or you should at least try really hard to be. If you’re heating up, walk away. Finally, and perhaps the hardest part, stick to it.
Who gets the houseplants and the gerbil? Fine, chihuahua, but it is still the size of a gerbil. Mutual friends, servers at restaurants you often frequent, kids, and possibly extended family also have investment in you, them, and your relationship. It’s kind of why breakups are contagious. Take consideration who this might ripple out to, and how to best prepare yourself.
Let’s say you tried to find a good time, you had sensible reasons, picked the best medium you could, and tried to be nice about it all but they’re just going to be as cruel as possible. And can you believe it, the rest of the running community is still talking to them! Yeah, I can believe it. Unless, and often even if, you can demonstrably show they’re literally a monster, they’re still going to have friends. Should the community decide who your friends are? No, that’s a cult and you’re better off saying ‘fuck’ than ‘fair’ because you’re far more likely to get the former than the later. You may have to put your big kid pants on and take steps to redefine your social circle and what events you’re going to do until your new ex does the same. You can’t control others, but you can have an awesome day.
Cody, what if I don’t want a whole breakup?
The relationship escalator is a socially normed set of milestone steps of commitment in “successful” relationships that starts with flirting and ends with grandkids at your funeral. Fortunately, once you flaunt one social convention others soon follow, hence all the bi-pagan-poly fun people you’ve probably started running into in the local community. Like the emergency stop button you hope someone pushes when your chanclas get caught, you can turn the escalator into stairs. Provided you can communicate in a clear, open, and honest way