In a little over a month, I’m going to Australia for two and a half weeks, and it’s the first trip I’ve ever taken alone. I’ve been looking forward to it for eleven months; I started planning it immediately following a hard breakup after a two-year relationship. I met a man about five weeks ago who’s really great, and things have gotten serious pretty quickly … so serious that he wants to come on my trip with me. He brought it up about a week ago, and I told him that I needed to think about it, which seemed to irk him a little. I was really looking forward to the excitement and challenge of doing a trip alone, but on the flip side, I think it would be really fun to have him with me. Is it a sign that I’m not as into him as I think I am if I don’t want him to go? Am I selfish for wanting to go by myself? I guess I just can’t figure out why I wouldn’t want to share this experience with someone I really like.?KP, Atlanta, Georgia
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
I think it’s best to go it alone, KP; your guy is not thinking straight here. Or as an Aussie might say, “He’s got a few ’roos loose in the top paddock.”
In fact, I’ll give you the top four reasons you shouldn’t go with him:
1. You’ve never traveled alone and you’ve been looking forward to this trip for a year.
2. This guy has only been in your life the past five weeks.
3. He invited himself!
4. See number three.
It’s too fast and too soon with this guy. Don’t overanalyze it. It’s your trip. The fact you even entertained the thought of his joining you should be a compliment to him.
I encourage you to use some time on this trip to think about your relationship and how quickly you got so serious with this man. But also remember to enjoy your time. You earned it and you deserve it … so have fun! Drink beer, soak up the sun, watch dingoes eat babies, and grill shrimp on the barbie. In short, have an Aussie-ome trip … sans the man.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
It seems like you’ve moved beyond the common thought that everyone has to have someone else in their life in order to be happy at all times. Congratulations! I think it’s important to be true to ourselves before we allow someone else in our lives, and that’s exactly what you’re doing. Life is hard enough dealing with our own baggage, let alone bringing someone else along to add to the carry-ons. Can I get a witness?
Here’s my advice: go on your trip—alone. Be selfish and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. If it irks him, so be it. It’s your time and your trip to do with as you wish. Besides, it’s only been five weeks.
But if it seems odd to think that you wouldn’t want to share this experience with someone you really like, here are a few ways to put it in perspective:
1. This is like a really long trip to the spa. Would you want to take someone else with you there? Nope, you’d want to get rubbed down and relax.
2. What if you break up after you get back? He’ll be in all the pictures and will ruin the shots of a lifetime.
3. Where’s your sense of adventure? You had it when you planned the trip eleven months ago. Don’t lose that because someone else wants to come along. Go and be free for a while.
Leave him at home and have fun Down Under.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Australia? Can you sneak me in your suitcase? I think I need to do a little “dating research” trip. I promise I won’t talk to you or bother you once we get there.
All kidding aside, though … is this guy for real? You’ve been dating five weeks and he wants to go on a journey around the world with you? It’s nice that he likes you enough to want to spend that much time with you, but whether or not you should travel with someone is a major consideration. Even good friends who’ve known each other for a long time and are planning a trip together need to think carefully about whether the friendship can withstand the trials and tribulations of traveling, and they should have a very candid conversation about their trip expectations and travel habits. Otherwise, you could end up with one friend who wants to, say, spend all her time eating the local cuisine and another who wants to lounge on the beach and do keg stands.
Also, I have to say, I’m a little irked that he’s a little irked; his irkedness (I think I just made that word up) is a serious red flag. Five weeks is nothing in the scheme of dating; it’s still the getting-to-know you stage of a relationship. I’ve hesitated about asking boyfriends to be my date to a local wedding after four months of dating. That’s roughly a five-hour time commitment; you’re talking about eighteen days or so. Days, KP.
I think you should take your trip alone as planned, but if you like him, get a cozy, out-of-town weekend on the calendar for when you get back; do this before you go so you have a together-trip to look forward to. If he’s a good guy—one worth keeping around—he’ll understand why you need to do this. If not, you’ll have saved yourself the torture of traveling with Mr. Not the One and being subjected to his potential gassiness after consuming vegemite.
The Lesbian Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Selfish is not always a negative thing.
I honor your choice to travel alone. In fact, being alone on this trip may actually bring you closer to this new man or to your next new man. Frankly, I’m not enamored with your guy’s response to your wanting to take this trip solo.
Have you told him why you were looking forward to taking a trip by yourself? The context may help him understand, respect, and possibly even support your decision.
KP, I’m wondering: have you spent a good chunk of time not being in a relationship? Sounds like you usually travel through life with someone. I believe that a solo trip/adventure helps you find out who you are. I’m also wondering if the guys you tend to date are usually the kind who don’t want you to have any time away from them. A solid relationship has together time and apart time.
As for your understanding why you wouldn’t want to share the trip with him, maybe it’s because you want to share the adventure only with yourself. Even if you really do like him, if he can’t understand that, he may not be the right guy—for this trip and for future ones.
Read Part Two of the 4-Way.
Read the previous 4-Way column.
Check out the 4-Way podcasts.
Follow the 4-Way on Twitter at twitter.com/The4way.
The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. To make sure you never miss a 4-Way column again, just click on the author’s name at the top of the story, then select “Be notified when writer publishes” at the top of the page. We’ll send you an email as soon as a new column is published.