Psst: It's Okay To Not Love Your Partner's Hobbies (You've Suffered Through Enough Pickleball)

It's not hard to see why having shared interests with a partner comes with perks. For starters, life gets busy. Enjoying the same things allows couples to spend more of their downtime together. Plus, being supportive is an important part of any relationship — and getting involved in a partner's passions does just that. But luckily for those whose interest in their partner's favorite pastimes is exactly zero, there is hope. Nope — you don't have to jump on every one of your partner's leisure pursuits!

It's important to keep in mind, there's a chance of friction between partners if one party really doesn't have any interest in the activity in question. But fun pastimes are in the eye of the beholder, and what one might find exciting could be exhausting for another. That can easily pave the way for conflict — and, in some cases, resentment on both sides. In other words, not great for a relationship. So, in a world where so much relationship advice emphasizes the importance of mutual pastimes, what's the alternative? 

Prioritize the pastimes you're interested in

All relationships require a little sacrifice, but if you're giving up your own interests in the interest of your partners', it may be time to take a new approach. Speaking to Refinery29, several people in relationships pointed out how having separate hobbies actually enhanced their relationship. One shared that, by having hobbies her boyfriend wasn't into, she had more opportunities to pursue them with the people who enjoyed the same activities — her friends. This is a great way to get fulfillment, outside of a romantic relationship (bye, codependency), while actually getting to enjoy the pastime at hand. A passionate runner also spoke to the outlet and said that she also opted not to share her pastime with her partner. Her reasoning? She didn't want to feel as though they were needlessly competing — or that he was taking over her thing. 

It's worth noting that having separate hobbies isn't just an act of self-care, but a healthy practice for relationships, too. If you can find other ways to have fun with your partner, there's no reason you have to do every activity together. As marriage therapist Sheila Tucker explained to Bustle, "Relationships often work best when [you] have the ability to do things apart, as well as together." 

And there are always ways to bridge the gap

There are also couples who might not actually dislike their partner's chosen pastime but aren't exactly interested in getting fully involved themselves. Well + Good fitness writer, Rachel Kraus explained developing an interest in golf after being exposed to it by her husband. There are ways she enjoys it with him, and times she opts out, too. While she's open to watching tournaments together or playing 9-holes, she's not down for the full 18-hole course. 

It's also possible for each partner to pursue their personal hobbies while being in the same space. As one participant in the Refinery29 article explained, "My ex and I did a thing called 'alone time together.' I would read my book, and she would practice on her DJ decks. It felt like we were together, but we also got our essential alone time with our favorite hobbies." 

Being in a relationship entails a lot of give and take, but at the end of the day, each couple needs to figure out what works best for them. If watching your partner play pickleball is doable, do it. If need be, take a separate hobby of your own along, to keep busy. But, if you simply can't stomach the idea, it's also totally okay to forego it altogether and do your own thing. No, you don't need to love your partner's hobbies — you just need to love your partner.