Bridging time: negotiating serious leisure in intimate couple relationships



Punch S & Snellgrove M (2023) Bridging time: negotiating serious leisure in intimate couple relationships. Annals of Leisure Research.

Engaging in competitive leisure and sporting practices can cause relationship tension and stress. This paper explores negotiations of gendered time and serious leisure participation. Using the card game bridge, as a case study, it discusses the ways elite tournament players combine intimate relationships with a competitive mindsport. By having an intimate partner who also plays bridge, participants are able to manage playing competitively and the desire for a life-partner. Whilst offsetting some of the challenges of combining serious leisure with familial responsibilities, our data shows that intimate bridge partnerships move between fun, fights and failures at the table. Given that elite-level mindsport is dominated by men, women are consistently constructed as the weaker player in couple-dyads, despite this not always being the case. Based on qualitative interviews with elite bridge players, the paper speaks to the tensions of negotiating intimate relationships and serious leisure in a time-pressured and gendered world.

Bridge; gender; partnerships; serious leisure; mindsports; time

Annals of Leisure Research

StatusIn Press
Publication date online30/04/2023
Date accepted by journal07/04/2023
PublisherInforma UK Limited

People (1)


Professor Samantha Punch

Professor Samantha Punch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Projects (1)

Bridge: A MindSport for All