helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears
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Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 10/12/2013 09:17:56 MDT Print View

Another option.

Ditch the broad and go solo. Too needy. Meet one that hikes already. Save time and anguish.




kidding. slightly.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 10/14/2013 21:21:42 MDT Print View

Yes, sounds like both of you need to work on your communication skills. Root cause issue.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 10/14/2013 21:34:02 MDT Print View

A 14 mile day on her first backpacking trip? Lol....I hope I read that wrong.

You have to break others in gently....and never, ever tell them that they can't bring something. No one likes being around a "I told you so" ;-) Even if you don't say it out loud...hehheh! She will find her way....

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Be patient on 10/14/2013 23:09:26 MDT Print View

Which is easier for you to find: a UL BPer to backpack with or a woman to spend your life with?

I and a dozen other whackos went on Eugene's crazy rim-to-rim-to-rim trip last year and many are going on Mike's Zion trip in April. So it seems to me that UL BPer types are easy to hook up with (at least if you stay in your own quilt). Whereas, many of us looked for years for the right person to settle down with (although my wife did more extreme BPing, climbing, travel and expeditions than I had before we hooked up).

There is always a "price of admission" to be in relationship since no two people are ever perfectly compatible, interested in exactly the same things, have the same sexual tastes, or like exactly the same diet. Is her carrying lots of weight while backpacking a price you're willing to pay to in a BF-GF relationship with her? Turning it around, is being in a harmonious relationship worth enough to you to be patient with her as she adjusts to a BPing mindset?

I'm pretty UL now. I wasn't during the first years I camped and backpacked. You seem to be insisting on a very steep learning curve by the GF. If she was after you to change your bad habits (house keeping, dress, table manners, whatever) so quickly, would she be as much fun to hang out with?

If the water thing really is a paranoia (an irrational fear) AND she wants to rein it in, she could slowly, slowly, desensitize herself with calm exposures to ever so slightly less controlled settings. Trying to convince someone to not have a paranoia doesn't work.

Thomas Rayl
(trayl) - MLife

Locale: SE Tx
Feeling safe and secure on 10/23/2013 12:00:38 MDT Print View

+1 on most of the thoughts above.

I suspect one of her "core values" is a strong desire to feel safe and secure, both physically and emotionally. No doubt she didn't want you to show up early because she didn't feel safe about possible criticism of her equipment load. She carries extra water because she wants to feel safe and secure about her drinking water source and is not secure with the idea of treating "wild" water. And so on...

I would suggest that you first reinforce her need for security by telling her that if she feels she needs to carry an extra gallon so she can feel safe, that's ok at least for now and you'll even help carry part of the extra burden. Knowing she'll be within her "safety zone" may go a long way toward relieving some of her anxieties and insecurities.

Next, you can address some simple issues by, say, reviewing with her various water treatment options (filtering? chlorine? iodine? boiling?) and letting HER review some articles and asking her which SHE would feel best about. If she reviews credible information directly herself (NOT relayed through you), she may become more comfortable with "stretching" into new areas, such as drinking treated "wild" water. I would suggest a simple weekend outing where you agree you (plural) will take whatever water she feels necessary to feel "safe", but plan to treat and use "wild" water found on the trail. She may be more agreeable if she's (A) personally validated the water treatment methodology on her own and (B) has her readily-available "safety net" close at hand. If all goes well, you will end with the "safety net" water still intact.

Similarly, with other gear, if she's assured that whatever she has is perfectly ok and you'll help with the weight ("...It's not "extra" weight; you're just dividing the combined load more appropriately..."), she may be amenable to considering trying an "upgrade" or two. Gifts may work fine, but so might borrowing if someone has some lighter weight gear they might be willing to loan and let her "try out over the weekend".

She wanted to "become an avid backpacker", so she does have something of an adventurous spirit. Keeping her "emotionally safe" may go a long way toward helping her expand her horizons. Good luck!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Feeling safe and secure on 11/20/2013 17:52:33 MST Print View

Wanting to become an avid backpacker is not the same thing as being one. Wanting to want something isn't the same thing as actually wanting it.

I suggest that if you go with her again you attempt to bring more shared gear. A two-person tent, a two-person cooking system and share the water treatment. Carry all this stuff if you have to.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Feeling safe and secure on 01/08/2014 09:33:05 MST Print View

Piper S. wrote:

"Wanting to become an avid backpacker is not the same thing as being one. Wanting to want something isn't the same thing as actually wanting it.

I suggest that if you go with her again you attempt to bring more shared gear. A two-person tent, a two-person cooking system and share the water treatment. Carry all this stuff if you have to."

in the end, the things we want from a backpacking adventure are different enough to be problematic. she would rather hike in a little distance, setup camp, and then spend the rest of the time exploring the area around that camp. i'd rather explore a wide area and setup camp after a day of trekking. as much as i say i don't mind the former, it's nothing like the latter. i'm not a car camping kind of person, did plenty of that in the Boy Scouts years ago - i want to be away from the crowds, alone(ish) in nature.

i tried a compromise, but that simply didn't work.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Feeling safe and secure on 01/08/2014 09:57:58 MST Print View

Often relationships require compromises. If my wife enjoyed exactly the same things as me, the marriage might get boring. She will never, ever be willing to sleep on the ground. She is thrilled to stay in a camper and do long day hikes. She has no problem with me going backpacking whenever I want, only she isn't going with me. End result is we go camping together often and I backpack a lot too.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Feeling safe and secure on 01/08/2014 10:32:42 MST Print View

"in the end, the things we want from a backpacking adventure are different enough to be problematic."

"i tried a compromise, but that simply didn't work."

I'll echo Nick's comments. My wife's spine was redecorated 17 or so years ago thanks to a drunk driver whose speed was roughly 60mph at the time of impact when he hit the stopped car she was in. Even without occasional back pain, I very much doubt that she'd enjoy backpacking as much as I do. We have a small travel trailer and really enjoy car camping together. I'm very happy that we have enough in common to enjoy spending time together but we also have individual hobbies that we can pursue separately. I find time alone on the trail is a great time to think about our relationship and things I can do to improve it.

All relationships are unique and every individual brings with them their own baggage and a list of things that they will and will not tolerate from their mate. That's for you two to figure out but from my experience with my exes and my wife, trying to change my partner rarely ends well for me.

Car camping can be as fun or as tedious as you make it. Armed with a tent, there’s no reason for you to stay in a KOAesqe campground unless you want to. It’s a little trickier with an RV but there are still options. Nick’s blog is well worth reading for ideas.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/08/2014 10:59:08 MST Print View

it doesn't matter, even if that person is your ideal activity partner today, THEY WILL CHANGE on you after the ring. Sometimes, often times, it's bait and switch. Most of the time people grow in different directions. Not particularly a bad direction, just different. BPL people might be more trail minimalists, and gear hoarders at home. The other person might be an RV gear hoarder but not interested in going anywhere if its cold, hot, far, crowded or buggy.

Other times, could simply be that the outdoors for you grew into a fascination with epic trips, while the other person's hobbies and interest shifted to eating icecream, updating Facebook on the couch while passed out watching TV every night.

People change. A LOT. All the Time.
So what you see today, great or mediocre is no guarantee of future behavior.

The punchline in life is that at some point you realize that all those marriage cartoons and jokes are very real to many people.

Think about this, Les Stroud and his soul mate wife at the time, were living the dream primitive outdoors life for years, something changed, they divorced. He still does his thing, she is not there.

Can say the same thing about Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. So much in common, ideal situation, then something happens, and she's not there.

As my wife likes to say: That's what your friends are for, plan something with THEM.

Many trails and mountains that I wish to share with her, but I only bring back photos and 1 min video clip, that's not the same as watching a sunrise together.

I was interested in her initially because she was an outdoorsy person, but I married her because we laugh together. As my bones ache and cartilage disintegrates, my trail range is shorter and my pace is slower, but we still laugh when I get home.

Edited by RogerDodger on 01/08/2014 11:01:37 MST.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
My buddy Les... on 01/08/2014 12:31:15 MST Print View

"Les Stroud and his soul mate wife at the time, were living the dream primitive outdoors life for years, something changed, they divorced. He still does his thing, she is not there."

Survivorman happened. He got popular and was gone from home all the time. Also, "they" built an off the grid home and I don't think his wife and daughter liked it very much. That is my theory anyway.

BTW, they only lived that dream primitive outdoor life for a year, before the kids. After the kids they had a much more normal life style.

I do not actually know Les or his family. This is all based on public interviews he has given.

Life changes, but for TV personalities, even "down to earth" ones, life is much different than it is for the rest of us. ;^)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/08/2014 16:32:12 MST Print View

Because I'm such a *sensitive* guy I recognized right away that the problem was she didn't want to drink the water at all, not that she was worried about running out. All this is inextricably tied up with the romantic issues, so our advice on here is a bit like the Car Talk guys on NPR giving romantic advice.

But since that doesn't stop them either ... I'd say buy her a sawyer mini, and include as much technical info that they put out as you can to convince her it is safe. That way at least the rational part is taken care of - that should get you about %10 of the way there :-)

Like craping in the woods, doing it the first few times with nothing untoward happening is probably enough to get her to relax about it. One of the benefits of backpacking is to spend some time pealing away our artificial layers of socialized anal retentiveness regarding comforts of home. Some people have very hard time doing this - I want to say for some it is impossible, but I have no evidence that is the case. One interesting thing I notice is that after a week or so craping in the woods, I am very repelled by going into most bathrooms for a while, especially if it is a port-o-potty in a regular campground. So that is an interesting inversion that can happen. When this type of thing finally hits here the "problem" will take care of itself. But as others have been saying, hitting her over the head with it yourself is usually counter productive.

I'd say that the good news is that she apparently likes you enough to put up with the the backpacking (and the extra weight). If it were me I'd let her be if you are smart, and just go on GF trips and "regular trips" sans GF - each with a separate mindset.

Some might say I should talk, as I think I mentioned some weeks back somewhere on here that I once knew a particular woman was not for me when she was freezing and wouldn't put on the long underwear bottoms I offered her because there were men's style. This was just a subtle feeling, but after that in retrospect I knew that was the crucial moment.:-(

Edited by millonas on 01/08/2014 16:37:14 MST.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/08/2014 17:18:25 MST Print View

"All this is inextricably tied up with the romantic issues, so our advice on here is a bit like the Car Talk guys on NPR giving romantic advice."

Well it just so happens I'm the Dr. Ruth of hiking.

Because I'm such a literate guy, when the OP mentioned "in the end, the things we want from a backpacking adventure are different enough to be problematic" I was able to use deductive reasoning to see that there's a hiking compatibility problem between the two :) Stands to reason that many of us have already been down this road with our SOs but I do realize advice is free for a reason so if this doesn't apply to the OP, he can have his money back.

I thought about suggesting that he buy her cuben everything, badger her whenever she violates UL dogma, and lecture her as she walks down the trail but as the OP seems like a decent chap, I didn't want to read about him getting pushed to his death on a trail somewhere.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/08/2014 20:18:14 MST Print View

It is truly amazing that two such sensitive and perceptive guys do not have people beating a path to our doors for council.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Re: Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/09/2014 08:36:33 MST Print View

It may be that she is just a car camping kind of gal and that's it. Nothing wrong with that, either. It may be better for you both to do just day hikes so she can feel more at ease with being outdoors. You may also ask her if anything happened to you on the trail, does she know what to do??

It took me quite awhile to go solo backpacking. I discovered I was feeding off of the fears of others..you know, that there are ax murderes out there, lurking around every freaking tree. I too, was afraid of the water issue until I began to understand the possibilities of water treatment. I took first aid classes. And then I went on solo day hikes. I forced myself out there, even if it was at a local park and then up into the Shenandoahs. When I did this, I found how self-sustaining and confident I could really be and not the puddle of fear I used to be. More and more, I did day hikes. And then I did my first solo backpacking trip...scared whittless. I only hiked 4 miles. And then the biggest moment was when I left all water at home on purpose, grabbed my water tablets and went out backpacking.
I still get the heebie jeebies on my first night of the season, but it quickly fades because I begin to feel so at home in the environment. When I saw my first bear I froze. But then I just remained steadfast, calming down and just decided to make noise and the thing turned tail and ran.
It's a big confidence factor in lots of women. Many have no faith in themselves. The outdoors just brings it right to our faces. Some choose to work thru it and others not.
Just my experiences... : )

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Re: Re: Feeling safe and secure on 01/09/2014 10:51:19 MST Print View

>> in the end, the things we want from a backpacking adventure are different enough to be problematic.

OK, so let me ask you this, how long did it take *you* to evolve from the Boy Scout car camping days to where you are now? Did you go on your first car-camping trip and think, "I'm not a car camping kind of person"?

I've taken a few first-time backpackers out and, imo, whether they have a car-camping background or not makes a big difference in their initial comfort level. The "camping" part is often a bigger leap than the "hiking" part. Those of us who car-camped as kids often take that part for granted.

FWIW, base-camping certainly doesn't have to mean car-camping with the masses in frontcountry campgrounds. Maybe consider some national or state forest areas where off-road vehicle access is possible to dispersed camp sites.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 01/09/2014 10:52:31 MST.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: helping girlfriend reduce weight - personal fears on 01/09/2014 10:57:11 MST Print View

Great post Donna.

It both sucks that women have some reason to be afraid in some areas, and that they as a consequence often have this fear imbedded so deep it extends out in much wider circles, both "geographically" and "categorically". My neighbor K is tougher than I am, and could probably fight off a mountain lion, but she still has a fear of being new places, however nominally safe, by herself. She sometimes borrows my company for this, in spite of the fact she could probably beat me up. The burden on women is not just the real risk that is unfortunately there in some place, but for lots of people the psychological one as well.

In respect to the OPs GF, sometimes it is hard for men to understand this kind fear, and its extended circles, but if you push too hard against it you then become the thing that is threatening this shield, so a natural defense mechanisms sets in. Better to take an evolutionary than a revolutionary approach to shrinking these circles of discomfort.

Personally I have never, ever had a GF that was even willing go backpacking with me, so I'm actually jealous of the OP's GF's willingness to take the first step. For me, every time I have tried, the same question (always literally voiced as if the answer was unclear) has away put the kaibash on that - "Will I have to use the bathroom in the woods?" To be fair most of the guys I have tried to get to come with me also refuse upon the answer to that question.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Car camping on 01/12/2014 18:25:38 MST Print View

Sometimes car camping is really fun. This summer I went on a car camp at a state beach campground. We had a nightly campfires and barbecues and this one old lady told stories around the fire. There were about a dozen families and many single people who came just for the day. We made s'mores. We had professional and extremely talented amateur musicians and each night we'd play songs and sing, complete with mandolin or fiddle solos. During the day we had old-time jam sessions and went for hikes on the beach. It was awesome.

I remember once, after having done half the PCT all alone, that my boyfriend and I did a car camp at a motorcycle place called Hungry Valley. It was actually really delightful. Just the two of us with our wine and dinner, a nice fire and 4 inches of foam to sleep on in the back of the SUV. No work, no effort, just relaxing and reading and talking and enjoying the smell of the pinyon pines and juniper.

I like to backpack. I often go without my boyfriend. I feel like I'm going to have to become one of those wives that has to kick their man out of the house now and then. He really needs to get out more. I suppose some people might think perhaps I'm a catch, but the catch with me is I'm fairly anti-social, probably don't put out as much as I should and I'm sorta fat and ugly. If you want a gal that likes the outdoors as much or more than you, you don't have to necessarily compromise and end up with someone as bad as me, but you might have to cast a wider net.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Car camping on 01/12/2014 23:34:48 MST Print View

Diane!??? This is not pity, but straightforward direct talk from someone whose been there before too, don't sell yourself so short.

Not everyone is or can be a looker, but speaking as a guy, i would much rather be with someone with a good, deep, and/or interesting personality who is around average looking than with someone who is very physically attractive, but with a negative attitude, who is shallow, mean, immature, etc.

And it doesn't sound like you are as anti social as you make yourself out to be, you just described rather enjoying the company of various people. You're also on a forum. Truly antisocial people don't really like or enjoy people's company period. So, you're a bit introverted, nothing wrong with that.

Course i don't know you at all and vice versa, but being fairly intuitive for a guy i can pick up vibes from people, even over the i-net, and the former is telling me you're selling yourself short!

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Car Camping on 01/13/2014 07:42:45 MST Print View

PiperS wrote:

>> I suppose some people might think perhaps I'm a catch, but the catch with me is I'm fairly anti-social, probably don't put out as much as I should and I'm sorta fat and ugly.

Uhhhhhhh -- I'm pretty sure I'm reading some humor here, folks! And some darned witty word-play, too! Piper's photo is evidence of the lack of factual basis for her statement quoted above, so I think she's just bringing some levity to the party...