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I suppose my issue is minor compared with what other guys have talked about, but here goes: My wife is a slow walker. I mean very slow. Turtle speed. Here's what usually happens:

My wife says she wants to go for a walk. I agree because I enjoy walks myself. We're both in our 50s. Besides, our city has a nice selection of trails where people can walk, jog, bike, walk the dog, and so on. We arrive at the parking lot, exit the car, and .... well, I exit the car. She spends at least another five minutes inside digging through her purse, checking her pockets, and whatnot. I wait.

We finally make it from the car to the trail and start walking. After about ten steps, I see she is no longer next to me, turn around, and find her standing where we started, looking at something. So I either wait for her to catch up, or I walk back to find out what's up. We finally begin walking. About 10 seconds in, I notice she is missing, turn around, and she is walking about 20 feet behind me. I stop, wait for her to catch up, start walking again, and another 10 seconds later....well, you get the idea. The entire walk goes like that.

Now you may think that I am simply an inconsiderate jerk who walks too fast, but that's really not it. I myself am not a particularly fast walker. I have tried to match her walking speed, but to me it feels like I am moving in slow motion like a cartoon character. Besides, if I slow down, she slows down even more. I have offered her to meet in the middle--she speeds up a little, I slow down a little, but it seems that she is unable to speed up. There are no health reasons that would compel my wife to walk at the pace that she does; she walks as slowly as this all the time. When we go grocery shopping, I can deal with this issue because either we go separately or I go look for various items all over the store while she slowly makes her way down each aisle. The speed difference becomes glaring only when we go for walks.

Two more things happen during walks, too:

1. Apparently my wife has trouble walking and speaking at the same time. We can never carry on a conversation because in order to say something, she has to stop, say what she wants to, then walk a few more steps, say the next sentence, etc. Should I ask her a question, she has to stop to think, then walk a few steps, stop to answer, walk a more few steps, answer some more, and so on. All this in addition to her extremely slow walking.

2. She also has to use the restroom all the time (at least once every 30-45 minutes). I know this, and we try to plan our outings around the availability of facilities. But when we go for a walk, there often are no facilities nearby. Having been burned many times before, I ask if she will be okay because the trail takes an hour to finish, and she says she will be. Invariably 15 minutes later, she tells me she has to pee NOW! We are 15 minutes into the woods!! Well, I have to pee now. What do you want to do then? Go back to the car. Can you hold it? I think so. So we slowly return to the car, drive to the next gas station, and then usually end up going home because what's the point of hiking if the same thing will happen again? She refuses to see a doctor to explore any underlying medical conditions, much less wear protective undergarments.

I know that I am dealing with a mild annoyance at best and that the obvious answer is to not go on walks together. However, she always acts terribly hurt if I refuse to go, but there is simply no way I can walk as slowly as she does. In addition, she refuses to go for walks by herself. I do not want to hurt her feelings, but these walks cause me nothing but stress rather than be relaxing for both of us. Neither one of us is having fun anymore. She knows that I think she is a slow walker, so do I just set a boundary here and let her be upset for a while that I will no longer walk with her?
 

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She may want to have a medical checkup. I've read that people who cannot maintain at least a 3 mph walking pace are very likely to die earlier, and there may be an underlying health reason for this problem.
 

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So does your wife get out of breath easily or when walking at all? Does it happen if she walks up/down stairs? Does she have back issues or leg/feet issues that make her want to walk slowly?

If none the above, when you want to walk with HER, like arms so YOU won't outpace her, grab a nice cigar or something you like to relax, and just enjoy the walk with her. DON'T make it an exercise thing. I walk MUCH faster than my wife (she calls it city speed), but when we go out on trails together, she takes my arm and we walk together that way.
 

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So does your wife get out of breath easily or when walking at all? Does it happen if she walks up/down stairs? Does she have back issues or leg/feet issues that make her want to walk slowly?

If none the above, when you want to walk with HER, like arms so YOU won't outpace her, grab a nice cigar or something you like to relax, and just enjoy the walk with her. DON'T make it an exercise thing. I walk MUCH faster than my wife (she calls it city speed), but when we go out on trails together, she takes my arm and we walk together that way.
Not out of breath. No prob;ems walking up and down stairs. No back or foot issues. No medical issues at all that I am aware of. I figure if she had these issues, she would not be the one suggesting walks in the first place.
 

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Well, no idea why she walks so slowly -- what does SHE say about it? Tell her it is frustrating you to walk with her if she is slow.
Other than that, just link arms and be ready to walk slowly when you go out with her. You can do your exercise stuff separately.
 

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Wow, there really are people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

Look, your wife doesn't want to walk - she wants to amble which is something she needs to do on her own dime. If you insist on putting yourself through this torment, inform her when you hit the trail that you will walk for the next x amount of minutes then you will turn around and walk back to the car and leave. That puts the onus on her to keep track of your whereabouts if she wants a ride home.
 

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I'm in your age range. I walk. I walked today. My average pace was 24 minutes 11 seconds per mile. 3 miles per hour would be 20 minutes flat. So @Married but Happy will assure you that I will be dropping dead any minute.
But enough of the math. On to your issue. You want your wife to walk with you, but you both can't seem to match pace. This seems familiar to me. When my wife and I had emotional connection, we had no trouble matching pace. And If I walked too fast she held my hand. And that would correct the pace issue. But her hand is not now available, it is holding her kindle. And quite frankly she isn't much bothered that we aren't walking together.
Because the emotional connection is gone. So based on my experience, and possibly with no connection to your situation, How is your emotional connection with your partner?
 

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We each move to our own speed and our own capabilities... if you cannot change your scenery, change your eyes.

When she wants to go for a walk, walk under her model of comfort for what is best for her... without knowing exactly why she wants time and possibly protection (whatever this may be in her mind) with you, she asks for you to come or else she would just go herself, see things herself, experience things herself. Take the time to be with her, these are the moments you will look back on, not how fast or far you walked.

When those shared times are done, let her know you are going out to get your heart rate up and exercise the way you need to benefit from and go do it without finding yourself annoyed.

You can choose to "walk" as she walks, let go of this need to control the situation with lose-lose boundaries and enjoy the time you have left together... give her the gift of a relaxing walk and then go knock yourself out on a heavy walk with her blessing without creating the relationship distance you may "obviously" end up with.

Love truly is patient and kind in these kinds of "problems".
 

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Benjamin Sisko,

You might want to look at these 'walks' differently. They are not really walks, they are an opportunity for the two of you to spend some time together while outdoors. It's an opportunity for the two of you to connect.

As someone else said, hold hands with her or take her arm and go at her pace. If she just wanted to stand there, then just stand there and talk.

You also need to get your wife to go see a doctor about her bladder problems.

How old are the two of you?
 

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Your wife may have a health problem.
She moves very slowly, can't carry on a conversation while she's walking, and has bladder control issues. I think she should see a doctor.

Your idea of going for a walk and your wife's idea of going for a walk are not the same. If her pace bothers you, stop doing this. Find something else to do with your wife that you can do together, because walking isn't it.
 

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My FIL was always like this. :) I have never met another person who does this since he passed, so I smiled when I read your post describing your wife.

It was always incredibly difficult to go anywhere with him that involved any kind of walking to get around. He didn't have any mobility issues or anything. He was just excruciatingly slow, and just like your wife, would stop randomly to admire something or seemingly "get lost" in thought. We had to plan carefully for things like going to a restaurant that he liked in the mall... planning enough time to get him from the car in the parking lot to the door of the restaurant while making it in time for our reservation. I remember one time we took him to a botanical garden. He loved it. We were there for FIVE hours because of how slowly he moves lol. It is normally something that can be seen in around an hour at a normal pace. We enjoyed spending time with him but there were definitely times where we all got frustrated by his pace.

Anyway - it turned out that he had dementia. We didn't recognize it at the time, but looking back this was one of the earliest signs.

It could be nothing for your wife, but a checkup is always a good idea. It's also a good idea for you to talk to her doctor or go with her, if she will let you. We always struggled with my FIL because he'd go to the doctor but would only selectively tell the doctor information... so there was a lot going on that never got communicated to the doctor.

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My dad is like this also and my mom refuses to walk with him. He is just a really relaxed, stop and smell the roses type of guy. It drives me nuts too but if I want to spend time with him I do it.
 

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Enjoy your quality time with your wife. If walking is not suited for that try other ways of time spending with her. Why not trying to adapt yourself to her pace of walking sometimes?
 

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Be more concerned about your Ws health that the fact she doesn't walk at the same speed you do.

You two may never be good partners to walk together, and that's ok.

It's very common that two people, married or not, or just friends, aren't good walking partners.

Two speeds, reasons for walking, desire to walk or stop according to one's own desire is in no way uncommon.

Even if two are walking together for exercise there's the conversation thing. Don't try to incorporate a conversation with anyone who's walking with you.

For example my W and I aren't the best walking partners. I'd go with her when she walked, for her safety, and knowing I'd be way slower than my stride, even uncomfortable. But I went, because I didn't want her to be on a two mile walk alone, unsafe.

When i walk for exercise she doesn't go with me, that's for my speed.

I'm tall, she's short. It happens.

If you decide to go together then go in good cheer. When you want to, walk alone, additional time.

It's perfectly ok to not walk together. No need for either to be upset with the other.

But if you do go, and behave badly, that's on you.
 

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@Benjamin Sisko,

I would like to speak to you from the point of view of the slow-walking wife. My Beloved Hubby is @Emerging Buddhist, and he and I walk together almost every day...sometimes a 5K, sometimes a big stroll (like 3 miles), and often our typical 1 3/4 mile walk.

From my point of view, I am a little shorty (under 5 ft. tall) and my Beloved Hubby is almost a foot taller. In addition, he is a lithe, graceful tiger and strides effortlessly like Legolas. I am more like Gimli... solidly built and I won't blow over in a wind...but when it comes to running "just keep breathing." LOL When we walk together, my heart rate is a solid 140 bpm for most of the walk and I break a bit of a sweat, and he barely breaks his resting heart rate and never, ever sweats! Most of the time we are walking, I feel like I am almost running to keep up with him, and he feels like it is a pleasant stroll.

I don't know if I am quite as slow as your wife (for example, I can walk and talk at the same time), but I do have ADD and I frequently COULD stop and look at a flower, or a bird, or a smell...anything really. But to me, I almost always feel like if I do stop and enjoy a new blossom, I am holding him back. I know for a fact I hold him back from a walk that would quicken his pulse as much as mine is. I know for a fact he could go a LOT farther and a LOT faster if it weren't for me holding him back. And yep...at times I feel kind of bad and discouraged, like I'm the reason he's not able to hit his potential. That doesn't feel great.

BUT...here's the difference I think. I do make the effort to set a pace and keep that pace. It feels sorta fast to me and sorta slow to him, but we are together. I do make the effort to keep going even if I get distracted. I do make the effort to focus on the walk itself and the opportunity for exercise, rather than thinking of it like a stroll.

Likewise, my Beloved Hubby makes the effort to talk to me while we walk so that it's interactive. He makes the effort to hold my hand and also keep a steady pace that works for both of us. He makes the effort to enjoy the "spending time together" rather than thinking of it like exercise. In other words we both make the effort to meet in the middle. In addition, he doesn't constantly remind me of how I'm letting him down or making him walk slow or make me feel bad by harping on holding him back. Our arrangement is one walk that is our together walk, every day. If he wants an exercise walk, he goes and walks at his fast pace on his own and knocks it out. It is right and reasonable for him to want a heart rate of 140 bpm too, but it is not right and reasonable for him to expect me to go his pace because I bet my heart rate would be nearing 200!

I recommend you consider that there are two different kinds of walks: one is "spending time together" walking, and the other is "raise the heart rate and break a sweat" walking. It sounds like she is inviting you to spend time...not raise your heart rate. And if you want to raise your heart rate, knock yourself out! Just stop nagging her and instead be encouraging and be a pace-keeper...what feels like a slower but steady pace to you may be about right for her (to keep her going instead of starting and stopping).
 
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