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Unless you go solo, you might have to dump a partner.
CLIFF GRASSMICK
Unless you go solo, you might have to dump a partner.

Sometimes people just grow apart. Like you and your cycling buddy.

You used to have fun riding to Brainard Lake together. Then he joined a team with an all-white kit. Yeah, white shorts. And on long rides, you’ve been known to get caught in the rain.

Oh dear.

You can’t ride out front all the time. If you must, try these five tips for losing your partner (and hope they’re not used on you later, by your new partner):

1. Cheat first

Before you dump the old partner, try the new one. The new one might have hidden habits of the deal-breaker variety. Like texting while spotting you on a highball boulder problem. Or not securing your boat/bike/skis to the roof rack properly, resulting in yard sales on I-70.

Or stalking you. (What, there was no restraining order!)

2. Reverse blame

You’re the one who wants to leave, but turn it around on your partner to assuage your guilt. Besides, you have some gripes. Like:

“Your dog always chews on my backpack. He’s the Cujo of the James Peak Wilderness.”

“Your girlfriend always changes our plans. She’s the Yoko Ono of kayaking.”

“You’re slow. Have you seen my new disc wheel? I’m super fast now. Suck it, tortoise.”

3. Cry

If you want to break up on good terms, nothing shows you care like tears. Tears say, “I’ve thought about this long and hard, and I’m just as heartbroken as you. But I’m doing all the fourteeners, and my new friends have a Jeep. Your Prius wouldn’t make it 10 feet up the road to Little Bear.” Sniff, blow nose. “I’m sorry, but until you get a new car, I can’t believe you’re serious about doing all the fourteeners.” Sob.

4. It’s not you, it’s me

“You’re a wonderful backpacking partner. You’re just not the right partner for me right now. I want to wear pajamas, you want to sleep naked. And hike naked. And you never bathe. But that’s my hang-up, not being cool with your ‘free’ ways. Our time together has been special. You’re going to make some other nekkid backpacker so happy one day.”

5. Be blunt

Sure, so-and-so has belayed you faithfully for years. He was always in good spirits, even during epics, or while obeying the laws of your bizarro quirks. But tell him straight up: “I’m trading you in for a partner who climbs two grades higher than you (or me).”

(Note to so-and-so: Her new partner will be trading her in soon. Don’t take her back.)

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