When you’re the world’s reigning Grand Slam champion, you don’t have a lot of time to waste.
“Unlike soccer players, who travel only one day a week and then return home, we tennis players spend almost every week traveling around the planet,” says Nadal, in an interview with Peruvian Magazine Cosas, of his pre-Corona travel schedule and hectic lifestyle.
But even superstar tennis players want a stable relationship, and Rafael Nadal has found his soulmate, who he married a year ago.
Though he’s not technically an expat, he lives the life of one, hopping from country to country to beat other men in short shorts at the game he chose over football.
But how exactly do you choose a Long-Term Partner to match a busy career, particularly when you’re an introvert and you don’t have a lot of time to waste?
Here are 5 tips from the Introvert Tennis Player Rafael Nadal and winner of the 2020 French Open on how to Choose Your Wife:
1. Be honest about being an introvert.
“I was really shy when I was a kid,” Rafael has admitted, in one interview. Plus, he’s a homebody: Nadal still lives on the island of Majorca, where he grew up, only a short drive away from his parents. Neither has stopped him from becoming a tennis champion: “Well, I was not shy playing on court. That’s the most important thing, no? You can (be) shy in life, but obviously when you are going on court, when you are competing, you compete.”
This is the primary misconception introverted men seem to have about women: that their introversion is somehow off-putting for the ladies. Actually, women don’t care about how you recharge, as long as you’re still able to take charge of your life and be an active player in it.
2. Go through a trusted channel.
Though 40% of couples today meet through dating apps, Rafael chose the old-school method of going through friends and family (in his case, the latter).
Nadal was introduced to his now-wife by his sister Maria Isabel, who went to high school with Mery. The two women often sit together in the stands during his tennis matches.
Studies show that the more a woman feels supported in her relationship by her social network (including friends and family), the more it improves the chances of the relationship succeeding. For Rafael and Mery, the fact that she is a close friend of the family and an integral part of running his foundation increases the health and stability of their relationship.
As expats, we’re usually miles (and sometimes continents) away from our nearest and dearest. That doesn’t mean we have diminished nor nonexistent social networks. Reach out to your colleagues, neighbours, even the owner of your local bakery. Ask if they know anyone who’s available, or would be willing to organise a blind date for you and her. Often, there’s a “someone special” already present in our social circle. You simply need to create the chance to sit down together for tapas, some sangria, and a real conversation.
3. Pick an independent woman.
“Mery remembers a time when they were in Paris and he had to go to a dinner hosted by one of his sponsors. “He asked me if I wanted to go, but I chose not to,” she says. “I stayed in our hotel. When Rafael got back he said, ‘Thank God you didn’t come’. The place had been swarming with photographers. For me to have gone would have meant stepping into that celebrity world. It’s not a world I want to be part of, nor do I think Rafa would have chosen to be with a woman who looked for that in life.”
4. Don’t tell anyone.
Though he’s been with his now-wife since 2005, Nadal always maintained he was single. This was merely a PR strategy designed to improve his international profile as an attractive and available tennis superstar.
As an introvert, this might be your modus operandi. You’re probably used to keeping the details of your life private. It’s also one of the best ways to protect a relationship in its early stages. It’s a way to keep away undesirable comments about the long-term suitability of your partner. For Rafael, it has made women all over the world fall in love with him.
5. Find someone with their own career.
You might recognise your pre-Corona life in Nadal’s words:
“The problem is that I have no time to be in the same place, to have a routine and an organized existence. My life is messy because I can be in Shanghai today, tomorrow in Mallorca and the day after tomorrow in Paris…. That makes it much more complicated for us to… keep in touch with the one we already have.”
For some, it can be frustrating to date a man who’s constantly abroad. But many women relish the time and space it gives them. It gives them the chance to invest in their own projects, interests, and hobbies.
The best way to choose a wife, particularly if you’re an introvert with a major international career – is to choose someone who has her own life, career, and interest. Look for ladies who are happy to plan around your schedule, and have a career and life of their own.
Mery used worked at an insurance company, and is now a Project Director at the Rafael Nadal foundation run by Rafael’s mother.
Do you feel that being an Introvert makes it harder to find a Long-Term Partner?
Tell us in the comments below.