People often take up diving for all of the wrong reasons. Convinced that their affection for one another will grow stronger through a shared experience, some couples regard diving as the ideal recreational pursuit; not least because - as a leisure interest that can be enjoyed on an equal footing by almost everybody, regardless of age or gender - it relies on the buddy system.
Considered in that light, learning to dive sounds like the perfect activity. Particularly as most close relationships are based on a trade off in which the eccentricities of one complements the idiosyncratic behaviour of the other and where each becomes either a follower or a leader according to their relevant strength or weakness in any given situation. It’s something that works well on a shopping expedition where one person buys and the other pays, but in diving it’s an attitude that can stretch even the most harmonious relationship to breaking point.
The problem begins when one person convinces a less than enthusiastic partner to join them in learning to dive and – during training – elects to make decisions for the other; behaviour that establishes a pattern for all of their future diving experiences together.
Instead of diving as a buddy team, each of whom has equal knowledge and ability, the less enthusiastic of the two builds up a dependency on the other and becomes a passenger rather than an active and equal participant, a situation that can breed resentment and frustration with potentially disastrous consequences when underwater.
Having respect for a buddy’s abilities and trust in their judgement is a key aspect of every successful dive. Diving with a loved one is no exception. Love may be blind, but common sense shouldn’t be. And preserving that harmonious relationship is made infinitely easier when couples share a common goal and learn to work together as a team.