Yes, You Can Be in a Relationship, Travel Solo, and Not Cheat on Your Partner
Jordan Axani, made famous for offering a free round-the-world plane ticket to a woman who shared his ex-girlfriend’s name, has finally found his Elizabeth Gallagher. His solicitation was controversial from the start — couldn’t he just transfer the ticket to a friend? How would the ‘winner’ be decided? Were sexual favors involved?
The Elizabeth Gallagher he chose happens to be involved in a long-term relationship. This has sparked a flood of hate commentary centering around Gallagher’s choice to embark on this journey, sans boyfriend:
“If her boyfriend has half a brain, he’ll ditch her immediately!”
“What a slap in the face to her boyfriend. Soon to be ex.”
“‘He says the pair will be sleeping in separate rooms as they globetrot’ Riiiiight. Hopefully her current boyfriend is just as delusional.”
I think people have such an issue with the situation, because it’s really quite simple: Elizabeth Gallagher’s boyfriend trusts her enough to know that nothing will happen between her and this dude. And she trusts her boyfriend enough to know he won’t cheat on her back home.
It’s not a guarantee, but it’s something every couple desires — a trust level so high that issues like infidelity never even cross their mind.
People need to get over it. Not everyone who travels without their partner is going to cheat on them. I know this because I am engaged, and travel on my own more than I travel with my fiancée. I’ve never cheated on the road, and I’ve never been cheated on while away either.
Tom doesn’t get as much time off as I do, and he also has other priorities. It’s okay, because I don’t need him to be with me everywhere I go. I have just as much fun on vacation with him as I do when traveling with friends, family, or on my own.
But this really bothers people for some reason. “I don’t understand — you’re going to Iceland, but with your friend? What is Tom doing while you’re gone? Why would you want to go somewhere without him? How is he okay with you going by yourself? Are you traveling to avoid him?”
This is usually followed by, “My boyfriend/girlfriend would never let me do that. They are too jealous/controlling/would miss me too much/would die of starvation because they don’t know how to cook/would think I was cheating on them/*insert bullshit excuse here*”
Well, that sucks. Because my relationship doesn’t have any of that, and it’s awesome as a result.
In March, I took what I thought would be a solo-female-traveler trip to Oslo. I was super pumped because I hadn’t traveled on my own in while. Three days in, Tom showed up and surprised me at my apartment with a proposal. It was awesome, and although I didn’t get to spend the entire trip by myself, it felt great to experience a new city with the man I love.
Upon returning and relaying the story to friends and family, two very distinct reactions occurred:
Every woman I told the story to: “Oh my GOD! That’s soooooo romantic!”
Every man I told the story to: “Wow, what would have happened if he caught you in bed with another guy?!”
Why does everyone assume that when a person in a relationship decides to travel without their partner, the end result is infidelity?
Usually it has to do with jealousy, control, low self-esteem, or FOMO. It can be hard to watch the person you love enjoy the world without you. But it doesn’t mean you should hold them back from doing it.
I feel sorry for those people who can’t handle letting their partners going off without them. Part of being in a relationship is the ability to respect your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s independence. You don’t always have to do everything together. In fact, it’s kind of weird if you do. It’s just as important to maintain separate interests as it is to also do things as a couple.
I’m super lucky that Tom respects my desire to travel. He never gives me any issues when I have to leave suddenly for a speaking engagement in Portugal, or that I got to experience a luxurious press trip to Thailand without him. He loves listening to my travel stories, and he doesn’t get jealous when I bring up the guy friends I meet along the way.
Tom usually spends his time working, playing video games, reading comic books, watching hockey with friends, or babysitting our nephew. I trust him enough to know that he’s not ushering in hoebags to our home the minute my flight takes off. He in turn trusts me not to have foreign dalliances.
Do this for me next time you freak out upon hearing about someone in a relationship who is okay traveling without his or her partner: ask yourself why you haven’t done the same thing.
Are you being held back because of your own insecurities, or because of theirs? If you really enjoy traveling with your partner, does it matter if there are people in this world who are able to survive not doing so? In the long run, does it really matter who you travel with as long as you’re traveling?
If Elizabeth Gallagher wants to travel around the world with some guy she barely knows, instead of with her boyfriend, just let her. Because assuming she’s going to cheat, or be cheated on, makes you sound like an asshole.