T Nation

Boyfriend Hates That I Powerlift

Sup to my T fam, hope all is well…

I am just seeking a bit of relationship advice since that has gone so well for me in the past on here :joy:

Basically, my boyfriend hates that I powerlift. He doesn’t come right out and say it, though he might as well.
He hates that I am stronger than he is, and talks about it constantly. He also gets oddly competitive like “Oh I deadlifted 235 x 3 how much can you do again?”

“Uh, last week I did 260 x 4 for my top set…”


“Well how much can you bench though??! AH HA! I can bench more than you!!!”

K, but like I don’t care…
Then he puts down his body and is trying this fasting diet stuff trying to keep up with me or some shit. And I reassure him all the time that the number one thing that attracts me to a man his HUMOUR, and he makes me laugh constantly. I never needed to be with another powerlifter, and I never notice anything negative about his body at all in the first place.

BUT THEN, we went to the gym together which is supposed to my like my dream date, but he kept trying to lift more than me and was like “Oh please babe, don’t add more weight (I was doing block pulls), you’re killing me here.”


Now he sort of hurt his back from deadlifting and is saying he heard all this shit about how deadlifting can make you paralyzed and he wants me to stop doing it so I don’t hurt myself.
And arching in bench is bad for your back
and squatting is going to make my knees bend backwards and other weird shit like that.

I love him to pieces and he treats me like gold, but he can’t seem to get over this and I’d rather just not talk about it at all.
WHICH is kind of hard for me to do since I’ve been in love with powerlifting for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of the only things I can really think about :D, but I don’t want him to feel badly or inferior to me in any way because he really isn’t.
He works a physical job 10hrs a day with maybe 4 days off a month and I don’t blame him for having difficulty getting to the gym on a regular basis.
He’s a good man, but he hates the thing that I love most about myself. He doesn’t have to do it, but I just wish he would love that I do it, ya know?

Anyway, TLDR:
I got impregnated by an alien and we’re off to start a new race on Omicron Persei 8.

If a partner takes issue and gives you grief about an activity you’ve been doing for 10+ years, it’s time for a (probably overdue) sit-down talk. Doesn’t matter if it’s lifting, tattoos, video games, whatever. If it’s a core piece of you, and especially if it’s something you were involved with long-long-long-long before he was around, he has dickall right to complain about it.

It sounds like he’s acting out from a pretty straight-forward place of insecurity and jealousy, so whatever work-around you guys can come to will take some communication and probably compromise… with the understanding that “Spock will workout less” is not compromise. “Spock will talk less about her workouts” could certainly be on the table right along with “BF will talk less about Spock’s workouts.” That, to me, would be one reasonable approach.


I dunno, I think this could just work itself out. Maybe a good, “shut the fuck up about it” to him would be in order. These types phrases can do wonders for relationships.

Seriously though, there are far worse things in the context of a relationship that can be damaging, IMO, than powerlifting… Alcohol / drug abuse, gambling, porn addiction, overspending, lack of care about physical or mental wellness, disagreement in wanting to get married / have kids / swing, mental / physical abuse, etc…

I think / hope this will just work itself out. If not, just try the shut the fuck up approach.

TLDR: Congrats on the preggers.


Maybe its good that he complains about it now. Hell my wife was fine with everything I did while dating. After she got the ring, she complains about EVERYTHING I do. In other words, if you find yourself in a long relationship with him, he may never stop talking about it. I have no advice. Sorry. :smile:


You have a girlfriend, Spock…

Agree with @Chris_Colucci on this one. Just tell him it’s your thing and to leave it alone. I would make the gym your time not couples time if it’s an issue for him.


Thanks for the feedback guys.
This is like my first actual relationship so I’m typically scared to death to do anything that might create conflict or make him upset with me. But talking about it with a perma smile/ welcoming/warming/friendly tone should be safe :innocent:

I gave up trying to involve my wife in my lifting. Now Lifting is my me time. I just plain don’t discuss training or PRs or anything. You don’t have to be involved in everything the other is doing.


Totally agree. Over the course of 10+ years with my wife, I’ve learned having separate activities is pretty important for a successful relationship.


HAhha x2
get him on the 5/3/Onez asap


You’re a good person and it sounds like he is too, regardless of his insecurity here. But, and this is important, it is crucial to be able to talk about these things straight up and honestly (which can still be civil, friendly, and nice of course, but “honestly” means “not beating around the bush” and direct).

In ANY good relationship there will be conflict at some point. That is not negotiable and the idea of a conflict free relationship is fantasy, a fairy tale myth. What matters is not that there is NO conflict (again, this is impossible), but how it is handled and resolved: that both people are actually open and honest about what’s really going on under the surface, insecurities, etc. This can lead to some pretty difficult conversations and awkward moments, but it ultimately leads to a much tighter relationship in the end.

He needs to know that his constant harping on it and his attitude are is really bothering you (not like distraught or anything, but that it really actually bothers you). That it makes you feel bad. And he needs to be told that this powerlifting thing is a part of who you are, and it is important to you, and that you feel like he hates that you do it and that bothers you. He also needs to know that it is non-negotiable that you train less, because again this is part of who you are not just a random interest.

As difficult as it may be, he also needs to hear your statement you made about the gym being your “dream date” environment, in a team sense, and that you want to have fun with him instead of feeling tension there. His back injury is probably is directly related to the fact that he is trying to keep up with you and he wasn’t prepared for the weights he was attempting, but that’s not something you have to say to him lol.

I think those concerns he voiced to you have a strong insecurity as the cause of them. He is undoubtedly sincerely concerned for you, but he is also almost certainly voicing those as a way to subtly stop you from lifting because he is insecure. I doubt he is actually aware of that motive though, so don’t tell him that! lol. It is very likely to be subconscious. He can’t believe that you are better at something or can handle (physically) something he can’t. However, he needs to learn that it’s ok to have somebody be better at something than you.

You can verbally validate his concerns for your health (“I don’t want you to hurt your back while deadlifting”, etc) by telling him you are glad he is concerned and wants you to be healthy, and you can do this while making it clear in no uncertain terms that stopping deadlifting and squatting and arched benching is not negotiable because again the love for powerlifting is a core part of who you are as a person.

Bottom line, all relationships have conflict and any that don’t are hiding it or about to have a blow-up down the road. He needs to know you feel hurt by his words and actions, and that you love the sport.

As an aside, I really recommend the book “Keep Your Love On” by Danny Silk. It talks a lot about the concepts of conflict and emotional validation in relationship and though it has the most obvious carryover to romantic or family relationships the principles are useful in all relationships–business, school, friends, etc. It is definitely a book written from a spiritual perspective (Danny Silk is a Christian pastor), so if you’re uncomfortable with references to those things you may have a little trouble with the book. However, I have found that the book is extraordinarily helpful regardless of whether one is a Christian or even religious at all, as long as one can accept examples from religious life being used. I highly recommend it regardless of your beliefs but wanted to throw it out there so that you didn’t get surprised. It’s short, and not preachy at all, it’s not trying to convert anybody or anything.

Hope something I said helps.


I think that’s reasonable. My personal preference (speaking in my own life) would be to address the insecurity in a loving, nonconfrontational, but point blank way. For myself I’ve found that “talking less about X” usually leads to distance between people however small. I generally don’t favor “workarounds” in place of addressing the root issue…Not everybody is ready to recognize their own insecurity though, and that conversation is delicate. So if that’s the case I think your comments here are definitely a work-able way to go.

1 Like

@Aragorn Definitely a helpful post, much appreciated !!
Like I said, I have very little experience into these types of things and I kinda always figured if I ever finally got into a relationship and I would be just so damned grateful that I’d never get annoyed or bothered by anything, LOL. Obvs. very unrealistic, but it’s certainly good to get advice on how to approach these types of situations so that I don’t come across as confrontational OR doormat-ish ( my norm ).

Probably best to communicate about it rather than just keeping it in and becoming resentful over time.
it’s silly but I always have to be reminded that HEY! Talking about stuff doesn’t equate breaking up.
Like when he admitted he doesn’t really like the Sawmill :sob:
But it turns out the keg is just fine :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thought I’d throw my two cents in. His concern could be very genuine and maybe part of what you could do is educate him on the sport. Take the time to explain how smaller lifts in your routine feed into bigger lifts, your periodization, etc. to show him how you’re actively managing the risks. If in time you want to try a gym date again, go as his coach and walk him through a scaled down version of one of your routines.

I take my wife to the gym around once a month to check on her progress, form, etc. When I go, I don’t train with her but we still have good quality time together. If his job is physically demanding, it might be smarter if he didn’t train heavy, and he may not want to, but it doesn’t mean you guys can’t still have a good time at the gym. Teach him about form and let him help you too with cueing. If he’s actually interested, find some aspect that plays to his interest and integrate him.

Or maybe it just becomes understood that this is your “me” time.


That you are stronger than him is not an issue in itself.

That it bothers him is not surprising. Basic monkey stuff. It would bother me a little.

That he seems to be dealing with the inadequacy that he feels by trying to diminish you is less desirable, since you asked for opinions. Not run for the hills less desirable, but def sit down and chat less desirable.

Aragorn said it much better, but conflict is inevitable. One person cannot exist without conflict so how could two people ever hope to co-exist without conflict. It’s a natural human state. There is little movement without conflict.

This is not a bad thing. Conflict, handled well can be one of the best ways to get to know someone and determine how compatible you really are. Conflict avoided or handled poorly can drive wedges between people.

Lastly, be wary of the mindset of being so grateful to have ANYbody that you are prepared to tolerate anything. It’s a trap. If you don’t value yourself others can’t value you either. Love collapses without respect and respect is impossible without self-respect.


Right. You’re too good of a person to be allowed to be a doormat!

Precisely. The trick to a good relationship is communication–most things end up 15x worse than they would be if you keep it inside. It’s not silly, it’s just that you’ve been in some bad spots. And, honestly, communication is difficult because it takes dedication. It’s so EASY to just shut down and be quiet, or light up and yell…but that ends up doing the opposite of helping. The former by making things build up and the latter by making the OTHER person feel like shutting down due to argument/whatever.

The goal of any conversation is not really “agreement”. Not at all. The goal is “understanding” and communication of your personal needs. So, it helps to focus your speech on what you personally feel when they said something to you, NOT what you see the other person was thinking or 'really" doing. This is because we usually don’t know what they were thinking. Sure, we may know the genesis of their statements in FACT (insecurity, anger, jealousy, whatever is driving a person’s behavior)…but in 99.5% of all cases the other person doesn’t recognize this behavior or even know they’re doing it. And if that’s the case then they CERTAINLY won’t recognize what is leading them to behave or speak in a certain way!! Thus, if you focus on what the other person is doing they will be more likely to put the defenses up. So instead talk about how this makes YOU feel when it happens and how important this thing is to you in your heart, not them.

Make sense? Approaching conflict this way tends to soften the “conflict” part even if it takes guts. Usually arguments don’t happen near as often this way, and any that do happen are much less angry and problematic than the traditional stewing and yelling :).


That’s a good idea as well! …Although I’m not sure if he would be accepting of having a “coach”, but I really like this also

1 Like

I would hate it too, pretty dumb not to do figure women butt training, etc + big 3 instead of it

The correct response to injury/form comments is always “why does that advice/comment only ever come from people who are weaker than me?” but I’m a prick.

I would just say make sure this talk is away from the gym time. A day or more either side of a training day = good. Just before/after training = bad. At the gym = disaster time.

Tell him to knock it the fuck off or you’re going to DTMFA.

Jesus, one of you has to be the man in the relationship, it may as well be you.


Official prioritized list of reasons causing irrational fear of ballz-schrink:

  1. Outlifted by spouse
  2. Lowering training max
  3. Vasectomi
  4. Skinny-dipping in liquid nitrogen
  5. Vegan diet
1 Like