Are hobbies important, or distractions to what is ‘really’ important?

Blogging this post as someone who is married and has had hobbies that require years of energy, time and work, it’s impossible for me to say particular interests are healthy for relationships. It has been hard at times and I’ve had to manage my own desires with what is actually important. More importantly, was coming to the conclusion to what was really important to me.

I don’t say that likely, because it was very difficult. Even with my partner, discussing our relationship priorities, at the time I remember thinking our discussion needed to be quick because I had so many other things to do. That was the alarm bell and it made me conclude that I needed to change my lifestyle to include more time with the people I love.

In reality it was that someone loved me very much and missed me.

If I’m not there for someone who loves me, then what’s the point of them being there and feeling hurt? I was so busy giving other things my attention, things that were on top of full-time work which amounted to much the same as my hobby. So I was doing the same things outside of work.

My personality is a creative one, which for obvious reasons leads to lots of research and application learning. As a teenager moving into adulthood, such things are fine because you have hours and hours to learn, test, execute and refine. And by hours, I mean weeks, months and years of self-education full-time.

This learning was great for me, I found full-time work through it, travelled the world, met some amazing professionals and made many friends. It has given me control and freedom to create things from my imagination and that in part is a wonderful accomplishment. But when I got into a relationship, and then married and had children, it did impact my relationship. I didn’t slow down, quite the opposite, I took on more and more jobs, for friends and for myself.

In hindsight, these actions that I repeated many times must have communicated to my wife that I placed these interests more importantly than her. I had a desire to complete/create/interact because there was a feeling of self reward when doing so.

Imagine someone you hold in high esteem: your mother, father, sister, brother or a loved one. Now think about how you would feel if you tried to interact with them and they constantly put more interest in an object or subject, so much so it made you feel invisible.

That would hurt, no?

It would devalue the feeling of self-worth because contact and communication with someone you love and care about is the glue that holds things together. Their opinion matters, and how can it feel like it matters if it’s not shared. If your partner shares your enthusiasm for the interest and takes part then obviously the experience is a different matter entirely. The issue, I found, is when a hobby is solitary and absorbs private time from the relationship itself and becomes an obstacle to your responsibilities.

If you’re single then the responsibility isn’t as high and you have more time, but, when you’re in a relationship that time has to be shared and not just with your partner, but with their family and your family. Add children to the equation and the time you were so used to consuming into a hobby has significantly dwindled and that might feel frustrating or restrictive.

I still have my interests, but I manage them. Some are gone completely. There’s a time and a place I will get involved but I make sure I’m there for the people I know I care about.

The decision to throw yourself into something is fine as long as you understand the consequences. If you keep placing other things above people who care about you, you will eventually lose them. To them it will look like you’re not interested. A balance and distinction between hobby, work and life proves invaluable.

Many factors come into play if a hobby is healthy or not. It could be a business drive or an addiction?

Addiction, a word that conjures up many assumptions, but to know the difference one must be honest and understand what addiction really is. To be able to distinguish it from a pastime.

When the hobby stops being fun and becomes destructive to your personal life you need to ask yourself some questions that you may feel uncomfortable with.

When do you know you’ve crossed the line into addiction?

bh1

The following list has been referenced from netplaces

  • You put the behavior above being with family and friends.
  • A feeling of euphoria drives you to continually seek the desired behavior
  • Mood swings may become apparent in connection with the behavior.
  • You may obsess over the behavior, spending excessive amounts of time planning and engaging in the behavior.
  • Expenditures connected with the behavior may damage your credit or deplete financial reserves, even to the point of bankruptcy.
  • Tolerance is built up around the behavior. In other words, you will feel the need for more and more of the activity to get the same “high” feeling.
  • Your job or schoolwork may suffer because of more time and focus going toward the addictive behaviour.

Should any of the above list feel familiar then what is the harm in talking to someone about clarifying it? Ignored, long-term the person that could suffer is you.

Any hobby can amount to an addiction or a distraction from the things that matter most. Some hold the scars and have survived, whilst others have lost the things that are most important to them.

The message is to realise the consequences of a hobby and know when it’s something much more, to do something about it before irreparable damage sets in. And if the damage is already there, then not to sit on the problem but find the inner strength to get help.

Opinion piece by Ash @RGB_RetroBlog RetroGamingBlog’s Twitch

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5 Comments »

  1. I think this is a cross post tbh, what you are describing is not a hobby.

    Hobby: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.

    Two things, leisure time and pleasure. Leisure time is not all the time, it is a specific and managed period of time you set aside from other things to do for your own and/or others enjoyment. What you described above was obviously far beyond this. The other word, pleasure, again IMO is not what you described. Pleasure does not take over ones life.

    Sp, too answer the actual question. No, hobbies are not bad for relationships. What is bad for relationships is lack of control and not having the ability to manage your life, time, relationships, none of which has anything to do with pastimes.

    The question you should be asking is ‘can addictive personalities ruin relationships?’ to which the answer of course, is yes. Addiction can ruin anything if not managed, of course if you manage it then it is not an addiction.

    A hobby in a normal relationship can be nothing but a plus to said relationship assuming that both partners are not selfish and either give time for the other to pursue the hobby or better yet, share the hobby in some way.

  2. As someone who was a in a long term relationship which ended 3 years ago I can understand. A little background, I was with someone who I loved a tonne and was engaged to for quite some time. Everything was great until the last 6 months of the relationship. A long story cut very short we split up 3 years ago due to her actions, but after a while I couldn’t help but think it was down to my “hobby” at the time that might have pushed her away. I had a hobby which took up a lot of my time and although I loved her very much I’d find myself concentrating alot on this hobby sometimes into the early hours. Although it was hopefully leading towards a career I don’t think it was fair on her that I was constantly at my laptop. Needless to say that the day the relationship ended so did my hobby. I’ve never gone backup it since, one because it was taking over my life a bit, and two because it reminds me of what I lost. I’m not saying it was the main reason, but I can’t help but think it was a big contributing factor. So I can absolutely understand wanting to get away from something to spend time with your loved ones. Never let anything get in the way of that.

  3. I can see this from both places, being someone that was addicted to World Of Warcraft (and i’m not ashamed to admit something like that as its just one of those things) I was in a long term relationship that was failing and I was getting depressed, socializing less with the real world and my partner at the time, this made matters worse, but ultimately it was the failing relationship that drove me to my addiction. It was an escape for me, a way of denying the wrongs and covering them up, and for the longest time I was content with that situation.

    Then she started throwing crazy accusations around and I finally “manned up” so to speak and ended it and actually my addiction to World Of Warcraft just disappeared, completely.

    On the other side of the coin, I know i’m addicted to video games, its a part of who I am and that’s never likely to change, and my current partner accepts this, we have a way of managing it and were doing pretty well with it, she knows I stream because I would eventually like it to be successful, but at the same time we plan stuff together, we do stuff together etc. So addiction itself isn’t the problem, its how you manage that addiction with the important stuff that is.

  4. First off, much respect to Dan and John for their honesty.

    I felt the issue, not mentioned in the article, was the transcendence into an obsession/addiction without realising. A hobby can start as such, but that could snowball into obsession – like Hitch mentioned, an addictive personality would perpetuate that.

    One could say someone is an enthusiast, but then another would say fanatic. An addiction is literally something that someone becomes dependant on, can not function without. Being out of control.

    Then there’s the question. Is being addicted an issue in itself? Some are addicted to caffeine/nicotine, but then that’s part of their lifestyle. When it’s a drug, or obsession that effects mental state or health then that would be a line crossed.

    If you can function, be happy, not let the interests affect your job or finances, then that would be an enthusiast. Relationships on the other hand, I agree with Hitch and JR, it all comes down to time management and a partner who either shares or understands.

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