It’s a sad fact marriages and relationships have ended due to disc golf, but they needn’t have. Today Vortica provides some ‘Dear Abby’ advice for obsessed disc golfers, and their partners.
I am a very lucky man. I married a woman who knows and understands me intimately, and who has taught me more about myself than everyone else in my life, combined. So, it’s thanks to my lovely wife Jai, that we are happy together, while I remain obsessed by disc golf.
It wasn’t always this way, however, and it took a while us to arrive at the process which allows us to stay together, even while I am far away, playing disc golf. Mostly it’s her work, as I have what I call a low EQ – Emotional Quotient.
The road to hell
There’s no doubt everyone has good intentions in their relationships. No one sets out to annoy or upset the other person. Such actions are the literal kiss of death to any affair of the heart.
But despite their best intentions, it’s easy for the obsessed disc golfer to forget what’s important, and it’s easy for the non-disc golfer to stop encouraging their partner in their passion, and for resentment to take hold.
Why is this? Mostly complacency, and laziness, in my own case. I can’t speak for others, but perhaps I am a stereotypical male in this regard.
Disc Golf can easily kill a relationship – even a strong one
The first thing to recognise is that over time the non-golfing partner is liable to start thinking disc golf is more important than they are. This is because the golf-obsessed person does almost nothing except eat, sleep, play disc golf, and think about disc golf. When a golfer does that, it is easy to become complacent, and believe their partner’s love is rock solid, while not demonstrating their own love strongly enough.
A downward spiral develops, and the relationship can fall apart quickly.
But it’s not about the golf – it’s about love. The lack of love the golfer offers to the non-golfer, while offering what appears to be all their love to a sport, is what does the damage.
Let’s get sexist!
For the purposes of this article, I am going be sexist, and assume that the golfer is a male, and the non-golfer is a female. But of course, what follows applies to all loving relationships between disc golfers and non-disc-golfers. Straight or otherwise.
Men tend to get a bit lazy over time and fail to properly demonstrate their love for their partners. Often this failure coincides with golfing activities, which is another nail in the disc golf relationship coffin.
Women need to know they are number one. Because of course, they are!
Your partner IS more important than disc golf
This is the basic assumption of this article. You would rather give up a round of disc golf, or a tournament, for your partner, than vice versa. Once you understand and mentally accept this basic fact, everything else follows from it.
Partners need to understand the disc golf addiction
Often it’s quite hard for a partner to understand the compelling and addicting nature of disc golf. They also probably easily tire of hearing “amazing” disc golf stories after each and every round.
So, it’s up to the golfer to explain to their partner the joy disc golf gives them, and how much they love the sport/activity/recreation. It is also very important to explain that their love of disc golf is the lesser of their two great loves.
In the disc golfer’s favour, disc golf offers plenty of gentle exercise, keeps a person active, gets them out into nature, gets them socialising outside of work, expands their network of friends, improves their community standing, and most importantly, makes them happy!
Happy wife – Good life. Sad wife – Bad Life.
Oh, how I wish I could communicate this to all men – not just disc golfers. In a relationship, your own happiness stems from the happiness of your partner. If your partner is deliriously happy, it is almost impossible for your relationship to fail.
A good relationship brings happiness from outside, as well as inside the relationship. Any time the happiness comes from only one side, problems will arise.
What do I mean by this? It means that each person in a relationship needs to be made happy by their partner, but they also need external things which make them happy. Whether that be their own hobbies, friends, activities, work – whatever.
The instant a person loses an external source of joy and happiness, a great weight descends onto a relationship. The great pressure of being a person’s only source of happiness is an unenviable position to be in.
It’s helpful for the non-golfer to keep firmly in mind, that the joy and happiness disc golf brings to the golfer is directly reflected in more joy and happiness in the relationship.
So, it is absolutely vital that your partner is happy with you, and happy for you to be obsessed by disc golf. And it’s vital you’re happy with your partner, and for your partner to be doing what they love doing, too.
Hate the player, not the game
Any time you upset a partner due to disc golf, they will often mentally blame the game, and not you. As a result, partners can rapidly come to hate the game. It’s their way of not hating their partner, even though it’s their partner who has upset them.
Looking at it rationally, how can a sport upset a person? It’s an activity. Imagine being upset at tennis. Or angry at lawn bowls.
And yet, partners will grow to hate the sport, if you participating upsets them in any way. It is therefore, your job to ensure you do NOT upset your partner by playing disc golf.
Get your partner to play with you – and only you
It may be that your partner has no interest in disc golf, but it may also be that you can persuade them to play the game with you as Bonding Time. But only if you treat it like a date and it’s only going to be you and your partner playing together.
Disc Golf then allows the golfer to demonstrate their prowess, and to show off their skills to their partners. And a good partner will be impressed by the skills demonstrated, even if only a little bit.
When my wife and I play, sometime she only throws from my driving lie, whether that’s an upshot or a putt. There’s no pressure for disc golf to be a sport when out on a date with your sweetheart. It is only a way to bond, and to express their passion for their two great loves, at the same time.
If your partner is able to appreciate your passion, and your (developing) skill level, and the fact disc golf is a healthy activity in nature, then you are half way towards establishing the basis of a solid disc golf-obsessed relationship.
Show the love
You need to pay great attention to your partner’s well-being at all times. This is good general advice for relationships, but especially true for golfers. Part of this attention entails expressing and demonstrating love.
It is vitally important to demonstrate your love for your partner, not just express it (something men are excellent at). If you are a man, this is dead easy, because men Do Stuff to show their love.
I always try to do something small for my "lovely baggage" (her words - not mine!) before I leave for disc golf; make her an espresso, empty rubbish bins, tidy something, or do something she’s specifically asked me to do...
When I get home from disc golf, I express my love for her, hug her and kiss her, and thank her for letting me play. She asks me how I did, and I give her a quick run-down – and that’s it. She is not a fan of disc golf.
Seeking and granting permission to play
I have found over the decades, the best agreement a couple can have, is that the golfer will always ask for permission to play, or travel for disc golf – and the other side always agrees, provided it does not clash with anything which has been pre-arranged.
It is not generally a good idea to place limits on the amount of disc golf which can be played, or practiced, unless those limits are self-imposed. A partner who does not accept a disc golfer’s desire to play, and prevents them doing so, risks alienation.
Disc golf has the very great advantage of not taking an entire day to play – but it can sometimes feel a bit like it to a partner. It is necessary to be honest with partners about what time you will be home from a game. It’s much (much!) better to get home 15 minutes early than 15 minutes late.
It’s also extremely important that disc golf purchases are not hidden from a partner. This is especially important where a couple is on a tight budget. You mustn’t hide purchases, as this is liable to create bad feelings, not just against yourself, but the entire sport – so lying is extremely counterproductive, and is the ultimate insult to any partner.
$20 on a disc usually isn’t a big issue. But lying about it most certainly is. And let's make no mistake here: there is no childish hiding behind secrecy and calling it honesty.
If time is a severe restraint, it may be that a basket in the back yard can be the outlet for a lot of disc golf love, without the player having to spend hours away from home. Plus it improves a player’s game no end, to have one at home. But make sure you practice the right way, by reading our How to Putt More Proficiently By Practicing Properly article.
Partners are usually very open to the idea, if it means more time at home.
But remember the truism that no one ever regretted buying quality, and that the joy of cheap price is long forgotten while the bitterness of low-quality persists. So get a good one. Vortica offers the excellent RPM Helix baskets, in lightweight and heavy duty versions, by the way.
Up There for Thinking, Down There for Dancing
Keep thinking all the time. Don’t be lazy in your husbandly duties, which include always texting or calling your beloved if you are going to be late for any reason.
Keep checking with your partner that you are making them happy, rather than unhappy.
Create good habits
Get agreement from your partner about your own process for deciding when and how much disc golf can be played. Make sure the compromises come with rewards. Back rubs, shoulder and head massages go a long way in the reward stakes. Bonus points if you give good massage!
Make time for other activities
Partners see you spending time organising disc golf, and so you need to spend time arranging other activities the two of you can enjoy. Even if it is as simple as walking to a café, or around the block. Walking, talking, and holding hands is a very soothing experience, pretty much anywhere.
Men often fail to notice changes in their partners, and this applies equally to mental state as well as physical appearance. If you don’t notice when she gets a haircut, or loses 4 kilos, or is wearing a new dress, or has different makeup – how will you notice the more subtle changes in behaviour of a partner who is upset with you, but doesn’t say anything?
It’s also worth noting that many times people ARE aware of some unspoken upset, and yet they too will ignore it, hoping it will simply pass without having to make an effort at reconciliation or apology.
This is a delusional belief – and woes betide any partner who recognises anger or upset in their partner, and does nothing about it. This is death by a thousand cuts to any relationship, and does not reflect the basic premise that partners are more important than anyone, or anything, else.
For the non-golfer
If your golfing partner is making efforts to demonstrate the correct order of his loves, you should be appreciating the attempts, and encouraging them, by thanking them for being on time, or for doing small things for you to show their love and appreciation of your permission to play.
Don’t hold back about your feelings. Communicate properly your emotional state if you possibly can, because as I have said above, some men are notoriously inept at interpreting non-verbal signals – even very obvious ones.
You need to be very direct with your golfer, and very honest, too. Bouquets are more important than brickbats. But both are important, in any successful and happy long-term relationship. Be generous with praise, and kind with criticism. Remember that every crisis is an opportunity to improve.
There’s No Cheese There
Many times, partners can fight and/or argue ineffectively, so that things are not satisfactorily resolved when problems arise. Like mice in a maze, they keep going where the cheese isn’t, instead of where it is!
So, if you are having trouble resolving issues in your love life, then you need to do something different to what you’re currently doing.
If the cheese is a resolution to a problem which both partners can somewhat happily agree on, then partners simple HAVE to keep working on it, until they find the cheese. This instead of going to where the cheese isn’t, and staying there, hoping some cheese will somehow magically arrive.
Also, as mice we need to be aware the location of cheese in our emotional maze can shift unexpectedly. When this happens, following the same old path to the cheese results in failure. You need to search for, and find where the cheese is now.
If you are in love, don’t ever give up
Because that’s what we all want – right? To be loved, and in love. Even better if it's with the same person at the same time. ;)
Now get out there, and love it up!