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upintheair


Mar 10, 2009, 5:38 AM
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Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend
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If you climb with your husband or boyfriend, has he ever gotten upset or felt bad because there was a difference in how hard you climbed? How did you resolve the situation?


gblauer
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Mar 10, 2009, 7:35 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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Interesting queston. My husband taught me how to climb (he was not my husband or boyfirend at the time...just a nice guy willing to teach a Noob) and now I onsight higher grades.

Since I attibute my skills to the thousands of training hours that I log, I do not feel badly at all. I do drills, laps, ARCing etc to improve my climbing. My husband simply climbs. He really enjoys his approach to climbing and I enjoy my approach.

I will continue to actively improve my climbing skills and hope to be onsighting even harder stuff as I progress.

No, I don't feel badly, I feel proud. (Mitch is proud of me too.)


blueshrimp


Mar 10, 2009, 9:09 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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Has happened to me! They claim they don't mind and they're proud of you but you can still tell the micro expressions of jealousy/envy/hurt ego on their face and tone of voice!

So what I do is I downplay it a bit, say the climb was really hard, I just got lucky/angry/it was an extraordinary circumstance (like I can't cruise routes this hard every day at all!), then immediately compliment them on something they've done that I couldn't do in a million years (like, your hands are so strong! or "great belay" or, "you're awesome, if you hadn't helped me change that flat tire on my car the other day I would've been so scared!" or summit). The point is to try to keep balance so that they don't feel they've been "outpowered". So later in the day after climbing really hard ask them to kill a spider in your kitchen or something.

Or if you're really clever and climbing outdoors and cruising a hard climb, pause in the middle to scream because "a spider is in the hold I want to use".

Even if it is all pretend, it makes the guys feel a little bit more manly. ;P.

-E.


blueshrimp


Mar 10, 2009, 9:11 AM
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Re: [blueshrimp] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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Sorry in the post above I assumed the girl climbs harder than the guy.

When the guy climbs harder than the girl I've found that never causes any issues.


fresh


Mar 10, 2009, 9:52 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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when my gf climbs harder than me it usually just makes me feel like a slacker. she's been climbing for about a year less than me, and I helped her learn to climb. for me, feelings of "she's my gf, I should be a better climber than her" never really cross my mind. maybe because she never makes me feel like I'm any better of a guy for climbing hard. plus, I've learned a ton of technique by watching her climb, so it's all good for me.

I'd guess that if being a good climber is something that makes him proud, your man is gonna feel like crap when he's outdone. just like if he has a desire to be the provider in the family, and you make more money than him--it'll make him feel emasculated, if that's an important thing to him.

not saying it's a valid emotion for him to have. it's obviously a silly emotion to have, and hopefully he recognizes that. but the best way to solve it is to confront it objectively. don't treat him or his pride as the problem, treat his emotions as the problem. he doesn't like feeling like crap any more than you do. show him his climbing skill doesn't matter to you.

but if he's actually an egotistical ass, it might not be worth the effort.


camhead


Mar 10, 2009, 10:11 AM
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I've always wondered why most pro-climber couples ALWAYS have the husband climbing harder. Wills Young sends most stuff that Lisa Rands has. Caldwell climbs harder than Rodden unless it is a crack that is too thin for him. Potter climbs harder than Davis. Hell, even news blurbs on Josune Bereziartu, who is probably the strongest female in the world, almost always mention that her husband Ricardo Ortegi usually sends the same stuff that she does.

Lynn Hill is the only exception I can think of.


lena_chita
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Mar 10, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Re: [camhead] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
I've always wondered why most pro-climber couples ALWAYS have the husband climbing harder. Wills Young sends most stuff that Lisa Rands has. Caldwell climbs harder than Rodden unless it is a crack that is too thin for him. Potter climbs harder than Davis. Hell, even news blurbs on Josune Bereziartu, who is probably the strongest female in the world, almost always mention that her husband Ricardo Ortegi usually sends the same stuff that she does.

Lynn Hill is the only exception I can think of.

When you look at the top-of-the-pile athletes, there are more males than females climbing hard, so if you take 1% of top-climbing males, and 1% of top-climbing females, even by random pairing, statistically speaking, you would get most couples where a guy climbs stronger than a girl.

But of course, it isn't done by random pairing. Smile


Gmburns2000


Mar 10, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
camhead wrote:
I've always wondered why most pro-climber couples ALWAYS have the husband climbing harder. Wills Young sends most stuff that Lisa Rands has. Caldwell climbs harder than Rodden unless it is a crack that is too thin for him. Potter climbs harder than Davis. Hell, even news blurbs on Josune Bereziartu, who is probably the strongest female in the world, almost always mention that her husband Ricardo Ortegi usually sends the same stuff that she does.

Lynn Hill is the only exception I can think of.

When you look at the top-of-the-pile athletes, there are more males than females climbing hard, so if you take 1% of top-climbing males, and 1% of top-climbing females, even by random pairing, statistically speaking, you would get most couples where a guy climbs stronger than a girl.

But of course, it isn't done by random pairing. Smile

I think when you look at the elite atheletes in most sports the men outperform the women. That may be a function of the sports having been developed by men for men, of course. I'm not sure which sports could be added to change that, but I did read once that women outperform men in ultra-marathons 9100 miles, for instance), and they tend to widen the gap the longer the distance.

As far as pairing goes, I'm sure that is not random, though I doubt it is all about the men choosing weaker women. I sometimes think women choose men stronger than them just as often. For instance, how many 6' tall women do you see dating 5'7" men? I can tell you first hand that it doesn't happen often. Frown

edit: grammar


(This post was edited by Gmburns2000 on Mar 10, 2009, 12:22 PM)


upintheair


Mar 10, 2009, 12:48 PM
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fresh wrote:
but if he's actually an egotistical ass, it might not be worth the effort.

He's not - he's actually a good guy. He's just having a hard time with this.

Just to give a little backstory, he's been climbing for many more years than I have. In fact, he's the person who taught me to climb. But in the past couple of years, he's been sidelined by a series of injuries and can't climb as often or as hard as he used to. In the meantime, thanks to a lot of hard work and the luck not to get injured, I've progressed from being a beginner to the point where I can hold my own while climbing with him. I honestly don't think I'm a better climber than him, but he thinks I am, and it bothers him.

It especially bothers him that he can't lead harder climbs for me, since he knows how nervous I get on lead. (I've noticed this with other male friends, too...my reluctance/fear on lead seems to bring out a protectiveness in them.) So if I'm climbing with my boyfriend and am leading something at my limit that he can't lead for me, and he knows I'm scared, he feels "inadequate" (his words).


clausti


Mar 10, 2009, 2:46 PM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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upintheair wrote:
fresh wrote:
but if he's actually an egotistical ass, it might not be worth the effort.

He's not - he's actually a good guy. He's just having a hard time with this.

Just to give a little backstory, he's been climbing for many more years than I have. In fact, he's the person who taught me to climb. But in the past couple of years, he's been sidelined by a series of injuries and can't climb as often or as hard as he used to. In the meantime, thanks to a lot of hard work and the luck not to get injured, I've progressed from being a beginner to the point where I can hold my own while climbing with him. I honestly don't think I'm a better climber than him, but he thinks I am, and it bothers him.

It especially bothers him that he can't lead harder climbs for me, since he knows how nervous I get on lead. (I've noticed this with other male friends, too...my reluctance/fear on lead seems to bring out a protectiveness in them.) So if I'm climbing with my boyfriend and am leading something at my limit that he can't lead for me, and he knows I'm scared, he feels "inadequate" (his words).

unless there are other mitigating factors that make you want to keep him.....

i would say not worth the effort. i casually dated a few guys in college who i climbed harder than. in my case, it was by a lot, there was no question that i climbed harder. they couldn't deal with it and i couldn't deal with them not dealing with it. it was not so much that any of them ever pitched huge fits, but they made enough comments and stuff that i could tell that it bothered them, and the fact that it bothered *them* bothered ME.

edit to add: it sounds like from your post that this is a rather well-established relationship and that the problem is a recent occurrence. the answer is that he's just going to have to get the fuck over it, or it will poison your relationship. even if you back off of your climbing to make the problem go away, you will probably end up resenting him for it, and that will be poisonous, too. one person (you) can not fix something in the relationship if the other person doesn't care or isn't trying. bottom line, it takes both people to make an effort.

with the one guy who it was a tossup with, i was so nervous about it being a problem that i could never climb well around him. so he never knew that it was close, lol.

and then i met a climber boy who i love dearly, who climbs harder than me, but not so hard that i can't clean stuff he can lead. which doesn't bother either one of us, so it's cool.


(This post was edited by clausti on Mar 10, 2009, 2:49 PM)


grampacharlie


Mar 10, 2009, 4:30 PM
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If it were me, I'd be begging you not to throw your game to protect my ego.

My girlfriend can climb harder on overhanging face climbs than I can. First time we climbed in the gym together, she kicked my ass! (and that was only a few months in to the relationship)

I'm a trad climber, and so I can climb cracks that she doesn't feel comfortable on yet, but she hasn't been climbing nearly as long as I have... meaning that it is only a matter of time (and if it holds her interest) before she will be pulling down cracks that I've only dreamed of.

Would I be embarrassed if she finished a climb for me after I bailed off? Yep. Would I be embarrased if Tomy caldwel Bailed me out? yep. Doesn't matter who it is, it's a shot to the ego, not a personal attack. If your guy is worth your time, he'll figure that out, be bummed in the moment, and then brag to his buddies later at the bar how gnarly his girlfriend is.

My $.02


granite_grrl


Mar 10, 2009, 4:48 PM
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blueshrimp wrote:
When the guy climbs harder than the girl I've found that never causes any issues.
O rily!!!

Well, it's not a big deal if the guy climbs harder. What's a bit more of a problem is when the woman insists on leading just as much as the guy does, and he starts getting bored following her 5.8 trad leads.

Or if the guy wants to project something at an area like the Motherload when the girl can't climb 5.12.

There's a balance that has to be kept, some give, some take. We all just want to climb and improve.


caliclimbergrl


Mar 10, 2009, 5:10 PM
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It sounds to me that you kind of enjoy his over-protectiveness. You seem to want him not to be bothered by the fact that you've gotten up some climbs he can't do, but at the same time, you think it's sweet that he wants to be able to save you if you need rescuing.

I think you're both a getting into unhealthy relationship territory. I think he needs to realize that you don't need saving. That it would be better for you individual personal development, both as a climber, and as a person to do things that scare you knowing that no one but you can get yourself out of the situation. And really, if you can't finish a route and have to bail, the only thing it's really going to cost you if no one finishes it for you is a bail 'biner. Obviously, it's more of a psychological feeling for him that he wants to be able to protect you. A little bit of that, I think is good. But I think it should be somehow reciprocal, rather than macho. I feel like his need to protect you and save you is more about him and him feeling like a man than it is about you and keeping you safe.

I liked what a lot of people said here. The only thing I'll add is that I think you both need to do some re-thinking about what a healthy relationship is. I would want someone who encouraged me and was more focused on my successes rather than someone who wanted to be able to save me. I want to be with someone who is supportive, but who has confidence in my ability to take care of myself. If that means leaving a bail 'biner behind, so be it. That's what he'd do. Who isn't that good enough for you?


clausti


Mar 10, 2009, 5:39 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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granite_grrl wrote:
blueshrimp wrote:
When the guy climbs harder than the girl I've found that never causes any issues.
O rily!!!

Well, it's not a big deal if the guy climbs harder. What's a bit more of a problem is when the woman insists on leading just as much as the guy does, and he starts getting bored following her 5.8 trad leads.

Or if the guy wants to project something at an area like the Motherload when the girl can't climb 5.12.

There's a balance that has to be kept, some give, some take. We all just want to climb and improve.

i would agree with all of this, including that it's usually the guy that climbs harder. but also point out the obvious that no matter what the pronouns are, if one partner climbs a LOT harder, there tends to be friction. and both people have to be willing to be mature about it, or it can be a deal breaker.


clee03m


Mar 10, 2009, 10:47 PM
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I was tempted to say, what an asshole...but...I wonder why he feels inadequate when you climb harder. Is it because you are a woman or a gf? Is it because he has been climbing longer than you? May be because he taught you to climb? If his reasoning is because you are a woman or his woman, that would be enough of a deal breaker for me. Other reasons, well, he really needs to get over it, although probably easier said than done. I don't think I would have the patience to pretend like a problem is harder than it was after an onsight or kiss his ass after he sends some route you can climb with 2 of your limbs tied behind your back, but that's just me.

I climb way harder than my husband, and he has no problems with it. Even in a crowded crag, if I'm struggling, he'll yell something like, "you can do it! Well, you have to, because you know I can't."


timd


Mar 11, 2009, 2:40 AM
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It doesn't bother me, everyone climbs harder than me. Face it I have, I just suck at rock climbing.


lena_chita
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Mar 11, 2009, 7:42 AM
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Re: [clausti] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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clausti wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
blueshrimp wrote:
When the guy climbs harder than the girl I've found that never causes any issues.
O rily!!!

Well, it's not a big deal if the guy climbs harder. What's a bit more of a problem is when the woman insists on leading just as much as the guy does, and he starts getting bored following her 5.8 trad leads.

Or if the guy wants to project something at an area like the Motherload when the girl can't climb 5.12.

There's a balance that has to be kept, some give, some take. We all just want to climb and improve.

i would agree with all of this, including that it's usually the guy that climbs harder. but also point out the obvious that no matter what the pronouns are, if one partner climbs a LOT harder, there tends to be friction. and both people have to be willing to be mature about it, or it can be a deal breaker.

true that!


robbovius


Mar 11, 2009, 10:17 AM
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upintheair wrote:
fresh wrote:
but if he's actually an egotistical ass, it might not be worth the effort.

He's not - he's actually a good guy. He's just having a hard time with this.

Just to give a little backstory, he's been climbing for many more years than I have. In fact, he's the person who taught me to climb. But in the past couple of years, he's been sidelined by a series of injuries and can't climb as often or as hard as he used to. In the meantime, thanks to a lot of hard work and the luck not to get injured, I've progressed from being a beginner to the point where I can hold my own while climbing with him. I honestly don't think I'm a better climber than him, but he thinks I am, and it bothers him.

It especially bothers him that he can't lead harder climbs for me, since he knows how nervous I get on lead. (I've noticed this with other male friends, too...my reluctance/fear on lead seems to bring out a protectiveness in them.) So if I'm climbing with my boyfriend and am leading something at my limit that he can't lead for me, and he knows I'm scared, he feels "inadequate" (his words).

Up, I think the key to what he's feeling is the injuries and subsequent reduced ability that' he's experiencing, rather than it simply being a case of you climbing as hard or harder than he.

speaking from my peronsal experience, I was climbing alot harder round about 2004-2005, confidently leading some .8s and a couple .9s...then I experienced a series of injuries which continue to plague me (I heal a alot slower at 53, than even 43) and have diminished both my confidence and ability. I climb with many female friends, and a couple of them have surpassed my ability even after only a year or two of climbing.

sometimes I am envious of their increased ability, when I am now saddled with a diminished ability. but, it has mor to do with comparitive levels of ability, than whether or not they're female. ulitmately though, I know that comparitive climbing ability is meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. 20 years ago, when I was still in the competitive younger male mindset, that realization would have been much harder to accept.

We (males) are driven by both instinct adn cultural norms to dominnant and protective roles when interacting with females, and it take a long time to mellow out on that and understand that when females do surpass our abilitites, it doesn't mean we are diminished as males, or as people.

when we are young, and in that developmental stage where competition for mating and dominance (with other males) is strongest (from about 12 years old, until - sometimes, depending upon the individual - well into the late 30s, as has been my obseration/experience), it is almost impossible to accept females having increased abilities.


fresh


Mar 11, 2009, 12:34 PM
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upintheair wrote:
fresh wrote:
but if he's actually an egotistical ass, it might not be worth the effort.

He's not - he's actually a good guy. He's just having a hard time with this.

Just to give a little backstory, he's been climbing for many more years than I have. In fact, he's the person who taught me to climb. But in the past couple of years, he's been sidelined by a series of injuries and can't climb as often or as hard as he used to. In the meantime, thanks to a lot of hard work and the luck not to get injured, I've progressed from being a beginner to the point where I can hold my own while climbing with him. I honestly don't think I'm a better climber than him, but he thinks I am, and it bothers him.

It especially bothers him that he can't lead harder climbs for me, since he knows how nervous I get on lead. (I've noticed this with other male friends, too...my reluctance/fear on lead seems to bring out a protectiveness in them.) So if I'm climbing with my boyfriend and am leading something at my limit that he can't lead for me, and he knows I'm scared, he feels "inadequate" (his words).
this sounds odd to me for some reason. his fear seems to be that you could get yourself into a dangerous situation on lead, and he wouldn't be able to help you get out of the situation. which to me really means that your skill is threatening his role as the protector. maybe I'm reading into it too much. but he should be able to realize that when you climb, you will get scared. that's kind of the point. and when you deal with situations despite the fear, that's how you become a stronger climber.

when my gf owns me at climbing, I get frustrated because it's (decreasingly) uncommon, so it usually means I could've done better. kinda silly. seeing her overcome her fears and really push her limits is way more valuable to me than any accomplishment I could have.


climbingam


Mar 12, 2009, 3:33 AM
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IMHO, I think you, cali and others are reading too much into it. Though it's possible that it's being threatened by her skill, I think the simpler explanation is more likely. He's feeling inadequate because it's a natural response to a person he cares about.

When I started my first year in law school and would have a particularly brutal day of grilling from a professor, I'd get home and my wife (gf at the time) would feel bad for not being able to do anything to help. Same way I felt when I found out another gf had flipped three times after getting hit by an 18 wheeler. Same way parents feel when their kid is really sick.

The dynamic of climbing is more immediate and intense and he is right there, feeling helpless to do anything. I can totally see it as instinctual. Some might not have this particular expression of it but given another situation I bet you would.

I think in OP's situation, she should continue to reassure him that her reaction isn't as traumatic as it looks from the ground and the guy will probably get over it as time passes.

This brings up another point, how does he know you're so nervous? I mean, if you're waking up screaming in the middle of the night or yelling during the climb "oh shit, I hate this, this climb sucks, omfg I'm going to die, please oh shit. . ." It might be time to temper it down a bit.

If you're just getting elvis leg and huffing with the occasional stream of curses, than I think my comment about reassuring him should work.


upintheair


Mar 12, 2009, 6:43 AM
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climbingam wrote:
IMHO, I think you, cali and others are reading too much into it. Though it's possible that it's being threatened by her skill, I think the simpler explanation is more likely. He's feeling inadequate because it's a natural response to a person he cares about. .

I think this is an accurate assessment. There may also be an element in there where he feels inadequate compared to some of our friends who are stronger climbers, since they're able to set up TRs on harder climbs or bail me out when I can't finish a lead.

climbingam wrote:
This brings up another point, how does he know you're so nervous?

Hah. Good point. Short answer - I suspect I angst too much while on the ground, trying to decide if I feel like leading something or not. It's probably true that toning it down would help.

As an aside, without getting too much into lead head issues, maybe the reason this problem has cropped up now is because, over the past few months, I've been pushing myself to lead more often, attempt to onsight more climbs, and occasionally try to lead at my limit. The reason I'm doing it is because I want to get over my fears of leading and falling. There are some days where I'll stand at the base of a climb and the thought of leading it makes me sick to my stomach. But on good days, when I can psych myself up for it, actually leading something challenging or scary is a very rewarding feeling. Hopefully, each time I do it, my lead head gets a little bit better - at least, that's the goal. Smile But I think it's hard on my boyfriend and some of my friends to see me stress out about leading something. They don't understand why I'm torturing myself...they say, if it scares you, just don't lead - there are tons of people who love leading; let them set up TRs for you instead. But I've seen other climbers, climbing many more years than I have, who've given in to their fears early on and just TR'd everything. And it seems like they'd be much better climbers by now if they hadn't.


climbingam


Mar 12, 2009, 6:58 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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There are some days where I'll stand at the base of a climb and the thought of leading it makes me sick to my stomach.

Well, I really respect you for dedication in facing your fear. I think if you figure out a way to really get that goal across to your bf then maybe you can convert him into a cheerleader for your progress.

In the book, Self Coached Climber, there is a section on dealing with fear of falling/leading and how to go about it. Basically you practice in baby steps falling, leading easy stuff until you work through it. Like dealing with a phobia. Might want to check it out. Another book about the head game that I haven't read but a lot of people like is the Rock Warrior's Way, it might have something dealing with the subject in more detail.

If you find something in these or another resource that you find helpful, maybe get your bf to read it to and develop a plan together for conquering your fear as a team. It might be a real bonding experience.


obsessed


Mar 12, 2009, 6:59 AM
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Re: [blueshrimp] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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blueshrimp wrote:
Has happened to me! They claim they don't mind and they're proud of you but you can still tell the micro expressions of jealousy/envy/hurt ego on their face and tone of voice!

So what I do is I downplay it a bit, say the climb was really hard, I just got lucky/angry/it was an extraordinary circumstance (like I can't cruise routes this hard every day at all!), then immediately compliment them on something they've done that I couldn't do in a million years (like, your hands are so strong! or "great belay" or, "you're awesome, if you hadn't helped me change that flat tire on my car the other day I would've been so scared!" or summit). The point is to try to keep balance so that they don't feel they've been "outpowered". So later in the day after climbing really hard ask them to kill a spider in your kitchen or something.

Or if you're really clever and climbing outdoors and cruising a hard climb, pause in the middle to scream because "a spider is in the hold I want to use".

Even if it is all pretend, it makes the guys feel a little bit more manly. ;P.

-E.
I'm sorry but thats pathetic. You really don't do that do you?


blueshrimp


Mar 12, 2009, 7:19 AM
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Re: [obsessed] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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Ha ha! Well, what woman hasn't turned on her charm to beguile a man? ;P


clee03m


Mar 12, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Re: [upintheair] Climbing Harder than your Boyfriend [In reply to]
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upintheair wrote:
They don't understand why I'm torturing myself...they say, if it scares you, just don't lead - there are tons of people who love leading; let them set up TRs for you instead.

Huh? Wow, your partners actually say this to you when you are obviously trying to get over your fear of leading? Once again, it's hard to get the dynamics of climbing partnerships off one post, but that strikes me as really odd. May be you need partners who will support you in constructive ways, like, telling you that they are so proud of your attempts to get your lead head under control and help you until you are a confident leader.

Unless you enjoy this kind of coddling, which I am assuming you wouldn't.

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