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Traveling and relationships...

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1. Posted by kir19 (Inactive 55 posts) 9y

I'm in a long-term relationship and my boyfriend and I both love to travel. He will be leaving to go on a RTW for about 6 months. I’m crushed because this is an experience that I would love to have with him, but he has decided to go alone.

I’m trying to be supportive of his decision, but he keeps me in the dark. Even though I’m not going with him, I’m still interested in knowing where he is going, what sights he will be seeing, etc. However, whenever I bring it up he changes the subject. So, it is difficult to be supportive when he is so secretive. Am I overreacting?

How do you all deal with traveling and relationships?

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

Hi Kirsten!

There seems to be 2 parts to your question: your boyfriend leaving for 6 months, and his wanting to travel alone. I'll try to give my input for both, as they're very unique.

First, although 6 months seems like a long time, a relationship can most certainly sustain itself, and even grow stronger, over that time. My boyfriend and I have lived overseas from each other for most of the almost 4 years we've been together and, although it's sometimes difficult, I think the pros far outweigh the cons. It's a matter of mindset, commitment and honesty. Be sure to have your own goals, hobbies, friends, outings, and travel plans. Keep in contact. Be honest and open about how you feel and where you want the relationship to go. Be patient and trust in where you're both going.

Second - well, that's a whole other issue. Does your boyfriend feel he needs to travel alone for his own self improvement? Personally, I love travelling alone - it's a challenge and it brings great rewards. He may simply need this time in his life to be by himself and come back to you happier and more fulfilled. Perhaps he changes the subject because he knows it hurts you, or he feels guilty for making what seems like a selfish decision. If that's the case, try to be supportive and help him achieve his dream. When we enable other people around us to fulfill themselves, we strenghten our realtionships with them. They let us into their most private of dreams and we become fused to them, even if we're not physically there.

If there's something else below the surface, though, try to talk to him to find out what it is. Be open and patient and honest. You'll feel a lot better once you both have all the facts in front of you. Hiding stuff or trying to cover it up to make the other feel better usually backfires.

Good luck! Hope this helps in some small way.

3. Posted by Fun Bobby (Budding Member 115 posts) 9y

I'll just be blunt.

I'm going to Australia in June, nevermind round the world, and I'm excited as hell. I'm bending anyones and everyones ear about it.

That fact he doesn't want to talk about, I find dodgy!

Thats my 2 cents

4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

It might just be he feels guilty talking about it too you as your not going and he simply doesnt want to rub your nose in it? I sympathise with you though its a difficult situation.

5. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 9y

Many, many people have lasting relationships when they're away for much longer than 6 months. That's not what I see as an issue. I kind of find it strange that he's being so secretive. Are you asking him the basic outlines of his itinerary or are you asking him what he'll be doing everyday, etc? Why would he be guilty about talking about the trip and "rubbing it in" if you're openly and willingly asking him about it? Just kind of odd to me. There could be a good reason as well but I'll never know. Hopefully, I didn't increase your worries :)

6. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1384 posts) 9y

I think your boyfriend want wants to make his own decisions, and wants to prove that he is able to do this by himself. See it as a thing of honour. I know it might sounds stupid to you, but if he comes from a background in which he isn't used to make decisions (or doesn't have to), then he might feel that this is something he wants to do on his own, and he just want to do this his way. He doesn't want someone to say, you should go a see these things, and you should stay there for so long, because he is sure that he can do this on his own.

If he reacts to suggestions the way you wrote, it's likely that he doesn't want to put the plan in the open, because he knows, that you/his family would say ... 'no, no, no, don't go there, instead do this'. He would take that as critisism in a bad way. It might make him feel like he made a mistake, and that makes him more insecure, about his capabilities. To me it seems that he is on his own 'mission'. It's male pride.

It's the same stupid pride, that makes a man drive for an hour across town, to look for the store he can't find, but instead of asking someone for directions, he still keeps on driving, because he will find it on his own, because he, doesn't need directions from a stranger to find this bloody store. (you see, I am pre-satnav)

It's a little bit tricky on how to handle it, but try to avoid to give him a suggestions to go to other places, when he brings it up. He has decided that he can do this on his own, so he will. A little positive remarks would do him good, and maybe he will give you more details, but avoid, deadringers like: I wished I could go there with you, or I am counting the days until you come home (tell him that when he's back)

I wouldn't worry too much about it, if a man has in his mind that he has something to prove to himself, it takes a lot to take that out of his head. Maybe he feels guilty about going alone, or maybe he has his doubts, but the urge to make this trip happen is stronger. (esp. when he has informed everybody that he is leaving).

Don't try to be, but be supportive, and positive about his decision. Sometimes it's good to have some time alone, and to do things that need some courage, on your own. In the end it will make him a better person, as he gains life-experience (at least that's what we call it here in Holland).

It would also make a perfect opportunity for you to do somethings on your own. It doesn't have to be a travel, but pick up a challenge yourself. (Climb a mountain, learn to play the guitar, etc etc ...)

P.S. I try to make you look at it through his eyes, (it's doesn't have to make sense for you, but for a guy it does) but I hope it makes you will feel a little better.

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Kir:)

What a situation to be in.
It sounds very hurtful. U are certainly not overreacting. I would feel the same.
What I would do, in your situation is give your boyfriend plenty of space. He may be fearing that your questions about his trip, will lead, to an argument, about why he does not want u to go. I would stop asking the questions, if u can. Then when he is on his trip, now and again, send an email, to him, encouraging him to brag about where he is, and what he is doing. I dont think any of us travellers, can resist an opportunity to rattle on about our trips.

Mel

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 19, 2007, at 2:23 AM by Mel. ]

8. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y

I agree with fun bobby, I can't shut up about my travel plans, even after the 452nd person, i still enjoy talking about it :)

My girlfriend and I have been apart 6 months now, only 2 weeks left till we meet in SA :) yay, we are looking forward to seeing things together, it just isn't the same unless we are.

I can understand the need to do it for yourself though, as we were both travelling solo when we met. It really gives you a confidence boost knowing that your all alone with nobody to rely on, and your still having the time of your life!

The distance can be difficult at times, it's easy to misjudge moods and turn a playful comment into an argument, but it also allows you to open up a lot more to each other. You can write things down that you may never have the courage to speak about..

Maybe write to him now, explaining that you support him, and are just curious about his travels, let him know how you are feeling without the pressures of a face to face confrontation.

9. Posted by kir19 (Inactive 55 posts) 9y

Thank you all for your advice! Not sure if I feel better, but at least I have some unbiased perspectives :)

10. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Hi Kirsten,

I think the most likely reason he's not talking to you about it is because maybe he's afraid that if he tells you his exciting plans, you are going to insist on coming along too.

If it's something he really wants to do alone, maybe he's afraid that he'll hurt you by going on about it. I know that I had a similar situation with a friend who, after hearing me talk in such an animated way about my travel plans, decided she wanted to come. I was so worried that i'd hurt her feelings by telling her I wanted to do it without her. It really had nothing to do with not wanting to be with her exactlt - it was not wanting to be with anyone. I wanted to do it alone. It's probably the same thing with your boyfriend.

The cooler you are about, the more he will appreciate that, and ultimately he'll find that a more attractive quality, I think.

It must be really hard for you though. But in some ways maybe that time apart will bring something equally exciting for you, but you just dont know it yet ;-) Use that time to make your own plans. Do something you wouldn't normally do when you are with your boyfriend.

Hope it works out :)