Balancing Love and Roller Derby
First off, I would like to state that all relationships are complex, unique and require different ways of talking conflict. Communication with your partner should always be an ongoing process. If you keep a clear and honest line of communication open then this will better help you understand each other and how to come up with solutions together.
I recently had a league mate who came up to me with an issue. She has been skating for about a year and was looking to up her derby game. This means a change in practice times. She also wanted to increase her training from once a week to twice a week. The issue that she had was working with her partner to make this change in her schedule. Her partner was resistant to the change as they felt like she was already spending a lot of time at practice and at derby events. As many of us have experienced, my league mate felt like skating was a time that made her feel challenged, accomplished, part of a group and generally happy. After talking to the rest of my league members we came up with some great tips to help my league mate and her partner deal with these feelings. I could also tell that many members in my league have gone through something comparable in their derby careers so I wanted to share what we discussed for anyone that is having a similar situation.
Sometimes our partners are resistant to the idea of us spending more time skating because they are feeling ignored or forgotten. It is important to prioritize time with them, especially if you both have busy schedules. Some time management skills are handy in this case. This time together should be all about quality, not quantity. Spending quality time together, even if it is in short amounts, is a key point to keeping things in balance. If the two of you schedule a time to spend together then it should your partner that you are interested and thinking of them. Try to plan a regular date night together. If you plan it ahead of time then the both of you will have something exciting to look forward to. This also helps show that while you enjoy skating, you also enjoy spending time with your partner. It is important to communicate with your partner about thier needs to make sure that they are not being neglected for your passions. Organize a big post-practice dinner, do some cross training together, or schedule a game night. Check in with your partner on a regular basis to see how they are doing.
Try to get your partner involved with your league! Between practices, running training, and traveling to officiate games James used to complain that I was gone every weekend. (Which to be fair, I was gone every weekend). This caused some conflict and in turn I would put a lot of pressure to rush home from away games or practices. Ultimately it meant that I didn't get to enjoy my time with him OR enjoy the time where I was skating. My solution was to get him involved so that my time away became our time away. He learned how to skate on quads and we spent almost every weekend last summer traveling together. It also meant that instead of rushing to and from games that we would often stay the night and do some sight seeing together. It ended up sparking a passion for skating with James! I understand that not all partners are open to the idea of skating. Your can get your partner involved starting small. Invite them along to social events, or to come NSO at practices and games. Get them skating so you can both go outside for those sunny days. It can even be something as simple as inviting them along to cheer at you for away games.
There is a difference between a partner who is asking for more time or priority in your life vs them pressuring you into entirely giving up something that makes you feel happy. It is important to make the distinction because they result in entirely different conversations that you should be having with your partner. The first is a type of conflict that can be worked out with communication and compromise between partners. The second is, in my opinion, cause for concern. If your partner is putting their needs or insecurities above you happiness then there may be a more serious issue happening here. A relationship is all about give and take to find the balance. I would hope that every partner in a relationship would work together to support each other in their passions. If you feel that you have to ask permission t do things for yourself or that your partner gives you ultimatums that you have to stop skating if you love them, I would consider these to be red flags! Giving up something that makes you truly happy for someone in a relationship can cause you to feel resentful and ultimately add to the issues in your relationship.