Divorce by triathlon

By | July 9, 2022

As a psychologist, I’m not just a health/fitness coach, I tend to always analyze human behavior and find out what motivates people to do what they do. After all, everything we do has a direct or indirect benefit for us. Skinner has always been one of my favorites and I tend to shy away from the behaviorist models/theories of human behavior.

Through my years of training and experience working with suicidal thoughts, I have always been aware of the Suicide By Cop phenomenon. If you are unfamiliar with “Suicide by Cop”, it is the term used for people who commit suicide and decide to break a law that requires police intervention. When the intervention takes the form of an officer upholding the law, the suicidal person either pulls a gun or threatens the police with some sort of threat that ends in that person’s death. This is obviously a no-win situation, as a person who needs help doesn’t get it and the officer trying to do his job is left with the guilt of taking a life.

How does triathlon fit into this equation? By blogging, knowing, coaching, and being a triathlete myself, and combining all of this with my background in psychology and behaviorism, I couldn’t help but draw some comparisons in this type of human behavior. It is a common and well known fact that triathlons over the Ironman distance or any ultra distance race (running/cycling) require a lot of time, dedication and dedication to training. Anyone who takes on this challenge knows only too well what they are getting themselves into. For some, this challenge and level of commitment may be an opportunity to build their self-esteem, sense of purpose, sense of accomplishment, or a combination of all three. For me, it was mostly the sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. I’m sure there were other factors at play that I’m not yet aware of that caused me to wake up at 4am and ride with my trainer and then run an hour at noon just to cycle outside for another 2 hours after work. However, this type of behavior definitely warrants a psychological explanation. I think it was mostly a way for me to get away from some things I was dealing with at work and also a way to feel like I was moving forward in my life. After all, Americans are achievement junkies and I’m no different.

Anyway, going back to the high divorce rate in triathlon/endurance. I was beginning to think that maybe some exercise for a variety of reasons. One of those that came to mind is the idea of ​​what I call “divorce by triathlon.” Similar to “Suicide by Cop”, the individual begins to cause a situation in their relationship with their significant other that will force the desired outcome. In this case, the result is divorce. If you have an athlete who trains specifically for Ironman distances, it’s not uncommon for them to train 15-20 hours a week for months. This puts a lot of strain on that person’s spouse, especially if they have children and a job on top of everything else. Usually the spouse tolerates this for the race, the triathlete finishes the race, calls himself “Ironman”, and everyone goes back to life as usual. However, some don’t stop there. They find this lifestyle very beautiful and decide to continue racing and training for future Ironman events. No, I believe we are entering a new realm. This is no longer a one-off event, but a lifestyle change. Enter “divorce by triathlon”.

Now there’s no end in sight to the training, racing and time away from their “old” lives. Most spouses tolerate this based on their ability, but in the end there is “divorce by triathlon.” The non-competitive spouse becomes frustrated and the problems begin. In my opinion, it is not fair or reasonable to expect this of your spouse. I know because I did it and realized it wasn’t worth it.

I feel like some are able to compete in the Ironman distance and live a reasonably normal life. However, I have the feeling that these people are in the minority. I often wonder how many lonely wives, husbands and children of triathletes are out there wondering when the madness will end. I know this won’t go down very well with most Ironman distance competitors, but I’m also here to say that if YOU choose it, there is a life of excellent and stellar fitness out there. There is no shame in sprint distance or Olympic distance competitions. The belief that longer is better is obsolete at this point IF your goal is to be a healthy person, I think. You’ll also find that a great many retired professional triathletes have come to the same conclusions. There is more to life. Being exceptionally fit doesn’t mean you are exceptionally healthy. The two concepts are not identical.

Thanks to Pete Simon | #Divorce #triathlon

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