The Running Partner Break-Up

Sometimes it doesn't matter if it's you or if it's him.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s you or if it’s him.

Life is full of ups and downs, but I did not see this one coming. Or maybe I ignored the signs. I have heard that there are always signs…I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention? I didn’t think I had to; I mean, we were just running together. He wasnโ€™t my lover, he was my running partner.

I asked him if we would still run together when he got a steady girlfriend. He looked at me funny and said of course.

I honestly cannot tell you what happened, because I have no clue. One day we were on our way to an out of town run and when we got back I never heard from him again. Yes, I reached out to him numerous times trying to confirm our runs. I tried for a week straight to no avail. Finally I accepted the fact that we were no longer running partners.

Yes, it hurt my feelings in the beginning. I mean how dare he walk away without saying a word? And no, he was not dead, in fact he was alive and very active on Facebook. I quickly skimmed his posts to see if I could figure out what happened. And then I just did not care.

I continued to run. I just ran alone. It was easier to focus on my surroundings than when I had been running with him. I noticed more birds, trees, squirrels, and so on. I could run longer, later, slower, or faster without consulting anyone. I could think about whatever I wanted to think about.

And there were the lonely times as well, the times when I needed a little motivation to get out of the door. The times when I needed the push to run faster. Or when I did not have to think about my safety when running before the sun came up.

Three weeks later he called. He asked if I wanted to go for a run. That was it, plain and simple. I hesitated for a moment…and then said yes. I was still angry. He never said what happened or who happened. I asked, and he did not want to discuss it. So we just ran and talked about everything else. I figured if he wanted me to know eventually he would tell me. I was just happy to be running.

I now realize that a running partnership is a relationship. It is not only about me and what I need to get from it, there has to be give and take. I need to pay attention to what the other person is saying…or not saying.ย  How he’s acting, or not acting. Sometimes words have to be spoken and expectations discussed.

I know, I know, it sounds so much like work.

I have other running relationships, but they are with women, and it seems as if running with women is so much easier. I wonder if it because we simply focus on the running. But I thought that was what I was doing with him.

Have you ever been on the outs with your running partner?ย  Do you ever feel like your running partnership is more than just…well…running together?

I eat miles for breakfast, or occasionally for a snack later in the day. Self proclaimed 50+ and fabulous poster child, US Army vet, college professor, avid runner, yoga enthusiast, guest columnist, and I've used Olay since I was 17 so they should use me in at least one of their ads!

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  1. I had this happen to me – and it was both our running relationship and our non-running relationship. He is (was) one of my husband’s best friends and we joked he was my running husband. There was absolutely no attraction whatsoever, we were like bro and sis. We had many great times together training and racing and then he met a new lady friend. He not only pulled back from our friendship (both mine and my husband’s) but also from our running relationship. It was really hurtful. I am not sure exactly what happened (we tried talking about it a few times and all that happened was he apologized… but nothing changed). My husband and I knew that ,of course, he would have less time (he was single for much of our friendship) once he got into a serious relationship (they are engaged now) but it was such dramatic change. We have accepted this is just the way it is, but it still stings and I still miss running with him.

    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. You are right it is hard to understand. Accepting it is the best thing to do but it does not always provide closure.

  2. Male-Female relationships are complicated even when they’re platonic.Thankfully my bf and I are not jealous people. He used to have a female running partner and I was grateful that he had someone who could run at his speed because it meant that he wasn’t pushing me to run harder and faster when we went running together. He’s happy that I have a male friend who like to go to art museums and foreign films with me, otherwise my bf would be tortured as he accompanied me to events that he has no interest in. We both trust each other and hence, we’re all happier.

  3. Yea, this is tough. I run every day with 2 other women (one is single, one is married) and 1 man (he’s married with three daughters). We joke he is surrounded by estrogen all day long with 3 female training partners and 4 women in his house. Ha! There has never been an issue between all of us, but I do know his wife (one of my very best friends), has felt threatened at times by one of the ladies in our group, and she prefers them not run together alone. He is very respectful of her, and abides by this wish, but in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing between them, and no reason to worry. BUT, in defense of his wife who is nervous, she is not there every day. She can only assume. The girl she feels threatened by is cute, fit, yada yada. Despite her assumption and request being completely inaccurate, I do respect him for being understanding of his wife, and keeping their relationship in priority over his running relationships. Just a different perspective.

    1. I agree, he is doing the right thing for the sake of his marriage. Running does create a special bond and some people who do not participate have difficulty understanding.

  4. I’ve just started running with a new group that’s mostly made up of guys. They are awesome and FAST running partners! I love it! I’m married (most of them are, too…) and while I know my husband trusts me fully and I trust myself/them, I’m not sure I would ever feel comfortable running regularly/exclusively with only one of my new guy friends. Not because I think anything other than a running friendship would EVER come out of it, but simply because I prefer not to spend that much one-on-one time with a guy who’s not my husband. Every once in a while is totally fine–I would never NOT run with one of them–but I don’t think I’d choose to train with one guy all the time. I like the group dynamic better. It probably sounds old-fashioned to some folks, but that’s just me. And I think it helps me to avoid running relationship misunderstandings and training drama, which no one should have to deal with anyways. Who has time for that?? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. When I was single, my running buddy became my serious girlfriend. If weโ€™re in a long term committed relationship with someone who isnโ€™t our running partner, we have to be vigilant that our running buddies stay just running buddies. Case in point – General David Petraeus.

    1. Great point! There is an intimacy that comes from physically exerting yourself with others that can be easily misinterpreted or lead down a path you might not otherwise want to take!