You’ve just gotten done freediving for the day and you’re at a bar with your dive buddies. You’re having a couple of beers, talking about the awesome catch or the amazing conditions. One of your buddies brought his/her significant other, who is a self-described non-diver. No big deal, you and your buddy just keep going on about the day.
Buddy A: Do you remember when I did that one dive and that [insert awesome thing] happened?!
Buddy B: Yeah! I was purging and getting ready for my dive but then [insert another awesome thing] happened too!
Significant other: What’s purging?
Buddy A: Oh I saw that! Did you feel the surge when you were diving?
Significant other: What’s surge?
Buddy B: Yea, it was gnarly! But then I saw that lingcod and forgot all about it.
Significant other: What’s a ling…nevermind.
At this point your buddy’s significant other is:
A. Kind of confused
B. Happily listening to your conversation
C. Pissed. Real pissed.
90% of the time I’m going to say…probably C. Is it just because he/she is lame? No! Well…not necessarily.
Let me ask you this- how much fun is it to listen to a conversation in another language you don’t understand? Not great, right? Well that’s what your loved one is going through when hanging out with your dive crew. Not everyone knows (or cares) what “viz” is and may not understand what you mean when you say you “hit a PB.” You can help them out by having them read this Guide to Understanding Apneaish, but if that’s not enough, you may need to consider making a few changes.
Dump this one and ONLY date divers
This can work out well for some of us (usually unintentionally), but freediving is a VERY small community and the odds that you’re going to meet that special someone who is engaging, attractive, intellectually stimulating, perfect for you in every way AND freedives??? Not bloody likely. It does happen. And it’s great. But I wouldn’t put all of your eggs in that basket.
Keep in mind that you love this person and that the whole world does not revolve around diving (It doesn’t…No, I’m serious.)
Believe it or not, your dive buddies are probably cool talking about other stuff too. So after a day of diving, review the day as needed, be stoked about that badass fish you shot, then feel free to talk about other stuff and include your lady/guy. OR…craziest of crazy thoughts…include them and explain all these things that you’re so excited about.
“Yes, honey? Oh, purging is this kind of breathing I do to get ready for a dive. And lingcod is that fish I brought home last week…the one you made into awesome ceviche.”
Explain to them why diving is so important to you, but also promise (and keep your promise) to make just as much time for them
Maybe Saturday is your dive day and you take Sundays off to spend with them. Or maybe you go to Mexico for a beach vacation, but you only spend three of your seven days spearfishing and the rest of the time doing a non-diving activity. You’ll be surprised how agreements like this actually make more time for diving, since you spend less time fighting.
Offer to include them in the diving, but only as much as they want to be included
I have lots of friends who have turned their girlfriends into freedivers (and some who now regret it because they’re getting their butts kicked), but this is only possible/advisable if your significant other is genuinely into it. One way to guarantee they’ll resent the entire sport is to push them into something they’re not ready for or interested in. If they want to try it, great. If they’re just into sunbathing on the boat, also great. If they are cool with staying home while you dive…guess what? That’s great too. Frankly, if they’re down with you diving at all, that’s great.
And an occasional, “You are the best husband/wife in the world for being so cool with my passion for freediving,” doesn’t hurt either. Especially if you mean it.
Feel free to share your input and/or personal experience below!