Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Should Couples Consult Each Other When Making Travel Plans?

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I posted and replied to this letter in the forums from a 23-year-old woman who was pissed that her boyfriend planned a trip to Israel over NYE without consulting her or considering her. She said a NYE kiss wasn’t important to her boyfriend but it was to her, and she wrote: “He didn’t take my feelings into consideration when he made his decision to go. Do I have a reason to be upset? Or am I just over-reacting?” Some responders said it depends on how serious their relationship is and how long they’ve been together. I myself remembered when a similar thing happened to me years ago. My boyfriend of about seven months planned a holiday vacation (to Morocco) without consulting me or considering me. I’d invited him to come home for the holidays with me and he declined, and then he made plans to go on a vacation without me. Most of all, I was really hurt. I felt he wasn’t as invested in our relationship as I was. And I was right! (We broke up a couple months later).

So, I’m wondering: Does it matter how long a couple has been dating in terms of making solo vacation plans without consulting the other person? And if so, how long does a couple need to be together before they should consider and consult one another about that kind of thing?

40 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Muffy October 13, 2014, 2:00 pm

    I think what it shows is that the couple is not on the same page and that is often the real relationship killer. A few years ago I had invited a now ex boyfriend whom I’d been dating for 7 months to come visit me and my family for a week in Palm Springs over the winter holidays. He opted instead to go on a two week trip with his family to Florida and bring his friend with him for that (didn’t invite me – you know like “I’d love to but my family is going to Florida and I’d like to go with them – would you like to join for a week )

    We broke up a month after that because I wanted more, he was fine with status quo. The holiday choice was just a symptom of the bigger issue.

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  • avatar

    TheTruth October 13, 2014, 2:01 pm

    “Does it matter how long a couple has been dating in terms of making solo vacation plans without consulting the other person? And if so, how long does a couple need to be together before they should consider and consult one another about that kind of thing?”

    Bottom line: If a guy makes separate holiday plans that don’t involve some sort of specific activity (mountain climbing, scuba diving, visiting family etc…) he is open to hooking up. Length of relationship is in-material.

    Example: my brother has been dating a girl for several months. He is pretty into her. He also made plans to go visit a friend in Nicaragua. He will totally hook up if he gets a chances.

    The good news is just because he is open to it, doesn’t mean he will, and even if he does, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

    Bad news. Since you now know this, even if you try and stop him, you will still come across as a nag and controlling (even if he pretends to understand). Sorry… it’s true.

    I assume its the same for women, but who knows. Broads are confusing creatures.

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    • avatar

      TheTruth October 13, 2014, 2:06 pm

      I forgot to add one more disclaimer. It is possible that he just wants go on vacation by himself because he views you as a party pooper, buzzkill, and generally un-fun. The more I think about it, this is extremely likely.

      I would never want to go on a non-destination type vacation without by girlfriend… but she is the bees knees, and pretty much the coolest person I know in the world.

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    • Miel

      Miel October 13, 2014, 2:08 pm

      You know… there are… people who value monogamy ?
      And those people won’t hook up at home or on vacation, with or without their family, with or without a being on a business trip, with or without being in an exotic country, with or without being with their friends…

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      • avatar

        TheTruth October 13, 2014, 2:15 pm

        Of course there are people who value monogamy.

        I travel for a living (220 days are year including a lot of international travel) and would never cheat… the issue wasn’t about being away it was about CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSING to go on a VACATION without your significant other.

        My statement stands.

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      • othy

        othy October 13, 2014, 2:55 pm

        I vacation regularly without my husband. I enjoy traveling a lot more than he does, so I’ll travel 1-2 times a year without him. You can believe me that hooking up is never on the itinerary.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 13, 2014, 3:00 pm

        Oh, but according to TheTruth, you’re a woman, so of course you’re not going to hook up. Now, if it were your husband doing the traveling without you, well then, it’s fair game…..

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      • avatar

        TheTruth October 13, 2014, 3:53 pm

        1. I never said that about women. I categorically stated I don’t understand women.

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      • avatar

        Lucy October 13, 2014, 3:08 pm

        Srsly folks. Don’t feed the troll.

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      • othy

        othy October 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

        I need to be reminded of this occasionally.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth October 13, 2014, 3:56 pm

        Never really understood why its forbidden to feed trolls but ok to feed echo chambers.

        I however fully admit to trolling on this issue, if trolling is considered to be stating an unpopular opinion which obviously won’t be taken warmly considering the audience of mostly women.

        However, I stick by my answer. If your man is planning vacations without you, there are issues.

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties October 13, 2014, 4:46 pm

        As a man, I disagree with you

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  • avatar

    artsygirl October 13, 2014, 2:14 pm

    My feeling are that no matter how serious the relationship, you should always give an advanced heads up on extended travel plans (more than a weekend). If you are monogamous and committed, you should include your SO in the plans and most likely invite them unless it is something that is inappropriate for them to attend like a bachelor/bachelorette party, same gender friend adventure, family vacation etc . Even if you know your partner cannot make it, the invite should be extended as a courtesy.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray October 13, 2014, 2:16 pm

    I thought about this letter because it reminded me so much of myself when dating. I was terrible at letting a partner know I was going out of town. Early on I did it to my husband all the time. Sometimes he would call me and find out that I was already out of town. Sometimes I would let him know a few days before I was leaving for a few days. He would act annoyed and would point our that it hurt him, but I still was clueless until my therapist told me I need to tell him way in advance and actually make plans together. I took our relationship seriously but for me, it was me being afraid of being attached too much.
    .
    So, I think once you’re exclusive (doesn’t have to be boyfriend/girlfriend stage yet) you should let the other person know of your travel plans. Early on, I think it’s less about “permission” and more about knowing what is going on with each other. But traveling for holidays/special events/birthdays should definitely be discussed in advance as they come up.

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  • avatar

    K October 13, 2014, 2:45 pm

    I don’t know if there’s any set time, but if you’re in a committed relationship and generally spend your weekends together, you should certainly let the other person know/bring it up before saying yes to a weekend or vacation away without him/her. I also feel like if you and your partner are communicating well, why wouldn’t it come up? I’d be like “Best friend invited me to go away for the weekend with her, isn’t that awesome? It’s (x date), we’re not doing anything that weekend right?” Since we share the details of our lives, I’d be sharing that as well.

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    • avatar

      csp October 13, 2014, 4:08 pm

      I totally agree about the sharing the details of your life. Something as exciting as an international trip would be something you would bring up.

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      • Nookie

        Nookie October 14, 2014, 4:36 am

        Yes, I thought of that too. Unless the LW’s just met this guy, why hasn’t he already told her he was going away for NYE? I’d be singing it from the rooftops.

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  • avatar

    Lucy October 13, 2014, 3:12 pm

    If your SO of any length of time (let’s say 1 year, semi-arbitrarily) plans a vacation without consulting you, and without some good reason (e.g. it’s a golf vacation and you loathe golf, or it’s a scuba vacation and you’re terrified of the water, or it’s to see his family of hillbillies and you’re allergic to ticks and fleas), then I think it’s likely he’s just not that into you. If you had high hopes for this relationship, I’d let go of those, and probably go ahead and break up with him. Maybe he’s just an insensitive idiot and he really is into you, but do you really want to have to teach someone how to be considerate and inclusive? Boring.

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    • avatar

      ktfran October 13, 2014, 3:22 pm

      I think it’s totally fine to plan any kind of vacation without a significant other…. as long as you let that significant other know about it. Like, what if once a year, the guys get together for a weekend? Yes, you may also enjoy that activity, but if it’s a guy trip, why not let him go? Annual ski trip with the dudes? Fine. Go. Have fun. Yes, maybe I enjoy skiing, but I get this is a trip with your friend’s. And vice versa.
      .
      As long as you communicate and let the other know in advance what you’re planning, I really don’t see the big deal.

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  • avatar

    Steph October 13, 2014, 3:35 pm

    My boyfriend & I have been together for several months now. Our first day was the beginning of May. Shortly after he planned a trip to go visit is mom in Texas for 4th of July weekend, BEFORE talking to me about it. At this point we hadn’t had the exclusive talk but had discussed that we weren’t dating other people. My thought was that we aren’t even “together” yet and meeting his mom after such a short time was way too soon. We’re going strong and he is actually an excellent communicator.

    I think the seriousness of the relationship is what matters here. If it’s a seriously relationship and you’ve been together for a couple years and/or are saying “I love you” I feel you should talk to your SO about vacations. Even if it’ just a girls trip or a guys trip, it should still be discussed before actually being booked. That’s the courteous thing to do. SO’s who don’t do this seem to be inconsiderate and selfish.

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  • Portia

    Portia October 13, 2014, 3:37 pm

    As for established couples (I’m thinking a few years at least), I can definitely see this as being a symptom of a larger problem, probably their inability or unwillingness to communicate. For someone that you just started seeing, sure it could let you know that you’re not on the same page if one person is asking you to come meet their parents soon into a relationship and the other one does not feel ready.
    .
    My parents once told me that their friend in college would take his somewhat short-term (maybe dating at least 6 months) girlfriends on vacations and like clockwork they would break up almost immediately afterward. I mean, the guy ended up married for 30+ years with 2 kids, so obviously this must have not ended in a breakup at least once. But I can’t imagine the planning vacations together thing was a reflection that their relationship was serious…

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    • Portia

      Portia October 13, 2014, 3:39 pm

      Also, on the opposite end of not coordinating planning doesn’t always equal not serious, I would also like to put in a vote that planning trips (and coordinating travel) doesn’t always mean both people are doing so because they’re serious about the other. As romantic as it might sound to plan these dreamy vacations or be introduced to a SO’s family, it does not always mean these are the intentions. I mean, if you’ve discussed it and they say so, take them at their word, but I’ve known plenty of people who planned big trips with newish significant others (even to meet the parents) and it did not mean they were serious. Even Bassanio has admitted to that, although he didn’t say anything at the time one way or another.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones October 13, 2014, 3:52 pm

    One caveat is that this could be her BF’s “Birthright Trip”. Basically, every Jewish American young person ages (I think) 18-29 gets an all expenses paid trip to Israel. (they did not have this when I was that age – drat!) So if he is Jewish and she is not, there is no way he could even invite her. And if they are in college, winter break is a great time to go since it is warm there and you are off school for a few weeks. The Birthright Trip is a Thing now and it probably did not even dawn on him to include her since it is now an expected part of being Jewish these days.

    My take on basic “relationship vacation etiquette” is that until you have been together for 1 year, many travel plans have probably already been made and are standing and a relationship of less than 1 year is not long enough to allow that sort of consideration. Unless you are at the “meet the parents” stage of the relationship, you cannot expect to be invited home at the holidays to meet them. LW should back off, IMHO and see how it plays out.

    After 1 year of exclusivity, I think it is reasonable to be taken into account over vacation plans.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones October 13, 2014, 3:57 pm

      And yes, from what I have heard, a lot of hookups happen during the Birthright Trip, but some more traditionally Jewish parents are almost OK with that since they know their kid is probably hooking up with another Jew and may then marry another Jew… this may be especially true if the one left behind is a non-Jew. I know that sounds awful, but I think my Jewish parents would have preferred I marry a sociopathic ax-murdering Jew to a nice, decent Non-Jew. ( I chose the nice decent non-Jew)

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    • avatar

      Jennylou October 13, 2014, 3:59 pm

      I absolutely agree. Birthright was the first thing I thought of as well. Also, the trip dates are set in stone – so he probably got to choose Date A or Date B. It would have been nice if he’d given her a heads-up that he would be taking this trip, but not by any means obliged to invite her (and you’re right, you can’t invite non-Jews along on a Birthright trip!).

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      • Portia

        Portia October 13, 2014, 4:20 pm

        In my case, I signed up 3 months ahead of time and got to put in a few preferred dates, but I didn’t find out whether I was actually going on the trip until about a month beforehand. Even then, I still had time to decline it or change my trip. If you have a very specific time frame you can go during, you might have to give up on going that cycle and wait another 6 months to try again. Until you’re 26.

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    • Portia

      Portia October 13, 2014, 4:07 pm

      I didn’t want to touch on the Birthright thing, mostly because that in itself comes with its own presumptions that would only make the LW feel worse about the whole thing. Not only are people expected to go, but some people hooking up is an acknowledged part of the trip. Not that I was aware of this until after I got back and Bassanio was freaking out for absolutely no reason. Because he’d talked to some people who were like, I can’t believe you were OK with Portia going on Birthright! There are men! And I took a train back in the middle of the night with someone of the opposite sex, shocking! The whole thing was absurd and once I talked to him about it he was like, you’re right, what was I thinking?

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  • avatar

    lonemirage14 October 13, 2014, 3:52 pm

    Second time posting – sorry if both posts go through … I think that its common courtesy and respect to let your significant other know what your plans are, or what plans you are making, but I also think its really presumptuous to assume that one will be invited on every trip that their boyfriend/girlfriend is planning. Things become different the more serious the relationship is, and how long the relationship has lasted, but its pretty normal to take solo trips regardless of the relationship status.

    I go on a family vacation every year that includes some aunts, uncles, and cousins, and there’s a sort of unwritten rule that no outside the family is ever invited, unless it is a very serious relationship. A couple of years ago, my cousin’s fiance was the first one to ever be invited, and that’s just the way it is, its a family only trip and I love it that way.

    I travel a fair amount, given that my immediate family live in 3 states, and my ex was always pissed that he wasn’t invited, but I just wanted to see my family alone. Occasionally I took weekend trips with friends, and again, I wanted to hang out with just my friends. He had this expectation that I needed to invite him to every single place I was going and that just does not work for me.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki October 13, 2014, 4:21 pm

    I think it all depends on the seriousness of the relationship. For example – if you are exclusive and would normally spend holidays and things like that together, you should at least check in with the other person.

    And I’m now very interested in this Birthright thing mentioned above. I am not Jewish, but find it fascinating and awesome that there is actually an organization that pays for this. That is a great way to keep in touch with your roots!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie October 13, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Either the LW mistakenly thinks this is a real relationship or he’s going to Kiss-Her-City and doesn’t have the balls to tell her that.

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  • avatar

    captainswife October 13, 2014, 5:04 pm

    I’m with Mylaray, actually. There’s a possibility beyond some of the things listed here already:
    1. He’s got a brain gap between “dating exclusively” and “complete communication.” I call my father-in-law “the great communicator” for almost exactly that reason…he forgets to tell people things through complete absent-mindedness. Is it nice? No. Is it pleasant to deal with? Not always. He’s still married to his college sweetheart, though, so obviously there are some who are willing to overlook it.
    2. He is willing to “date exclusively” but is afraid of giving up his autonomy. For a lot of people, especially those in their early 20s, they have just FINISHED telling mom and dad what they’re doing all the blamed time, and really don’t want to start having to tell the girlfriend/boyfriend or to feel accountable for that. If the parents are controlling, I suspect that problem is worse.
    3. Contrary to 2, if his parents have never really fussed about needing to know where he is/what his plans are, he may not be aware that this is a common need in relationships. Checking in and considering other people is a learned behavior.

    So…I would not call this an automatic dealbreaker/breakup item. But if it’s contrary to gf’s expectations, she needs to ask questions about the motivation, explain how it feels to her, and see what his response says about him.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark October 13, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Ugh. Only women pull this shit. Needy. Desperate. Clingy. Women. Talk about NOT attractive. Yikes. Just…. Yikes.

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    • barleystonks

      barleystonks October 13, 2014, 8:34 pm

      So the three or so boyfriends who tried to pull this on me were actually girls? Good to know my ratio is closer to 50/50 then.

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      • Portia

        Portia October 14, 2014, 9:24 am

        I also was unaware many of the men I’ve dated were actually women and that I was bi. Thanks for the heads up BGM!

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  • avatar

    Prof. Stella October 13, 2014, 5:28 pm

    I may have echoed what others have already said… of course, it depends on the specifics of the relationship (i.e., some move slower or faster than others). But speaking from personal experience, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 6 months and to me that feels right on the border of “Should we or shouldn’t we involve each other in our travel plans?” (For the record, we very recently discussed it and I’ll be going with him to his home – in Germany!!! – over Christmas.)

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant October 13, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Dunno depends. How long have has the couple been together, how serious are things? I mean, if it’s been five years and you live with someone, you’re kind of an asshat if you book big travel plans before you say anything, and generally speaking, they should have an invite to come.

    But together kind of a long time, don’t live together, not sure what the future together is? I think you’re obligated to give your partner a heads up well in advance so they have time to make other plans, but that’s it. I don’t think you need to consult them before you decide to go.

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  • avatar

    snow.angel October 13, 2014, 5:44 pm

    I don’t know, I’m kind of on the fence with this one. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 4 years, and spend all of our holidays together, so I would be kind of disappointed if he planned a trip during the holiday season that I wasn’t invited to without talking to me first. If it was just some random trip with the guys/bachelor party I probably wouldn’t care, but would appreciate a heads up about the dates so that I would know when he will be away. It’s just a common courtesy to communicate something like that with someone you are sharing your life with. However, sometimes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come up, and a dating relationship definitely isn’t worth missing the trip for. For example, I recently studied abroad for school. I told my boyfriend about it before applying for the trip, and he wasn’t thrilled about it (mostly due to political unrest and violent conflicts near the area I was traveling to), but I was going regardless of his feelings about it.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite October 13, 2014, 6:51 pm

    I think I was one that said depends on the commitment level but as I think about it more I think it’s more the communication level too. Even if I didn’t want to include someone newer, year or less, on a trip for some reason I would probably mention it. Like yay got my tickets today for the trip I’m super excited to go sort of speak at least some point during the trip planning process.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite October 13, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Makes me think too… we had some communication around it, but my now husband and I spent our first Christmas split up because he spent Christmas Eve with my family and then drove 5 hours to be with his for Christmas Day. He was crying as he left which made me feel like a jerk for some reason. Not like I could do anything about it, I had to go back to work the day after Christmas and he had the weekend.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra October 14, 2014, 12:19 am

    Super duper late to this, but I agree it depends on the seriousness of the relationship. For example if I was just getting exclusive with a dude at a month or two, I wouldn’t feel the need to consult him at all and would probably tell him I was going somewhere but that’s it. With Navy Guy who I’ve been dating now for 11 (holy crap!!!) months, I WOULD consult him. Not for permission or anything, but basically to compare notes on the dates I would be out of town, keep him in the loop etc. Holidays are a whole different ball game. Of course I live pretty close to the family and friends I want to spend my holidays with so I VERY rarely (read: never) travel over the holidays. When I was dating my ex whose family lived about 5 hours from mine I did a lot of driving over the holidays, but NG’s family lives within an hour of mine. It will certainly make the upcoming holiday season easier!

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