Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Help! My girlfriend is in love with golf and I can't stand it! To be perfectly clear: I can't stand golf and I can't stand her sudden obsession with it. Two years ago, the only thing she knew about golf was Tiger Woods and Caddyshack. Now her golfing is eating up our summer! She goes golfing a few nights a week either playing a round which lasts all night or going to the driving range with friends for an hour or two. She's, by which I mean we've, had to stay in town twice already on weekends this summer for golf tournaments when in the past we probably would have gone camping or at least spent time together in town or traveling. She even golfs a few times during the workdays to mingle with customers and be part of countless fundraisers.
She usually drinks when she golfs, so there's that. She doesn't get trashed, but she does have a few pretty much every time she goes including those daytime events. We've lived together for years so whenever she comes home after golf she usually showers and goes to bed or falls asleep on the couch trying to spend time with me. And it's so expensive!! Gear, clubs, entry fees, balls, donations at the fundraisers and on and on. It's her money, she earned it, so whatever. But when I started talking fall, winter and spring vacation plans, which we always do in July, she says she might have just pick one trip this winter and I know it's because she's spending so much on golf. And when we started talking Hawaii, she immediately started Googling golf courses. And it's not like she's even getting exercise. Half the time they play they take carts.
Loobok, I've tried to get onard. I golfed years ago and have a set of clubs so I've gone out with her a few times to play or to the driving range, but mostly just to get some outside activity with her. I didn't enjoy it when I was younger and I don't enjoy it now for the same reasons: It takes up so much time, it's really frustrating, it's crazy expensive and if you want to get any good it takes up all of your summer. I want more than golf in my summer, and my girlfriend used to as well. Now she says it's part of her life and her work and she couldn't stop right now if she wanted to, which is a joke. Summer is ending soon and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to see my girlfriend for most of it. I'm mostly just venting here because I don't know what if anything there is to do about this. I'm not going to break up with her or move out. But I'm very unhappy right now and if you do have advice I'll listen.
Sorry, but like a shiny new $3 golf ball that just got shanked into a pond with a sensational splash, she's gone. It's a tragedy, and you're just going to have to accept it. Or at least deal with it until snow falls and covers up the courses.
We all have hobbies and pursuits — sometimes we share them with our partners and it makes us closer, sometimes we do them without our partners and it provides a healthy balance. Sounds like this situation is neither for you, but totally working for her. I wonder why? I bet it's a mix of reasons.
For many professionals, golfing provides quality time with co-workers, clients and potential business connections outside the usual office or coffee shop settings. And there's a lot you can learn about someone during a few hours on the course. There's fresh air, some joking and, yes, occasionally drinks. It can also be competitive, which tends to expose a person's best (calm, confidence, collaboration, restraint) and worst (sore loser, bad temper, no patience, heavy drinker) professional and personal qualities.
(Since we are in Alaska, I must mention that fishing outings with co-workers and clients can provide the same experiences and insights. It's also just as expensive, too, but at least you occasionally come home with some fish for the grill and freezer instead of just a farmer's tan and one or two good golf shots to brag about and a dozen or so terrible shots to whine about.)
Maybe she does feel pressured to be out there golfing with the big shots. And if you have to golf, you should at least try to be good at it by practicing or else it's just three hours of torture, as you know. And sorry, but maybe she's also grown tired of the same old, same old summer outings and vacation planning routine that you guys developed. Doesn't sound like she's missing it much.
So if you're planning on staying together, instead of focusing on her changes you should think about incorporating some changes into your life. Instead of stewing, go biking or hiking. Instead of hating golf, start loving gardening or raising chickens. And when you two are together, don't be a downer: Make the most of it.
Let me get this straight: Your lady has found something she loves, that's advancing her professional profile via some savvy networking, and that has her outside enjoying the great outdoors? This is a bad thing? I get that you miss her when she's off swinging and swigging, but I'm with Wayne: you should be happy for her and trying to find a way to put a positive twist on this new normal.
Here's one idea: Take advantage of her time away golfing to pursue your own hobby. Some interests are best enjoyed with a buddy or partner, but some really are more ideally performed alone. Reading a good book, going for a long walk listening to favorite tunes, learning to play a musical instrument, taking a class, binge-watching Netflix — these are all solo pursuits you could dive into while your gal is off golfing the night away.
But I get it: We don't date someone so we can have completely separate excursions and pursuits. And you do make a case that her golfing has gotten a tad out of hand. She might play the "but it's Alaska and I can only golf part of the year here" card. That's your chance to support her golfing-on-vacation year-round, and counter with the acknowledgment that yes, it is Alaska, and summers are incredibly special, and that's why you want to spend some time with her.
We are often initially drawn to our partners because of similarities, sure, but also because of tantalizing and mysterious differences. In our partner, we have a strong Other, someone to shine a mirror on ourselves but also a person who can show us a new way of thinking and doing and who opens us up to a realm of new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences stick, and turn us on to new pursuits. Sometimes, they don't. There's no rule that says we have to do and love everything in tandem, and spend every second together. So let your golfer gal go forth and go free — at tee time, that is. And let her know you'll be waiting at the 19th hole for a nightcap when it's over.
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