Is a long-term relationship compatible with a long-term trip?

Taking a long-term trip takes commitment – the same kind of commitment, one could argue, that a long-term relationship with another human being takes. So, if you’ve got one, can you have the other at the same time? Or does one of them have to suffer?

BootsnAll member benleb is in a tough situation. He’s in a relationship with a woman he really likes, and she’s starting to look at buying a house – which she wants him to be a part of. The trouble is that he’s had the dream of doing a RTW trip on hold for awhile, and doesn’t feel like he can devote himself to the relationship until he’s checked that trip off his “to-do” list. To complicate things even further, he’s currently unemployed and doesn’t want to get a job just to sink any earnings into a house payment when he’d rather live like a monk for a couple years and save for his big trip.

While benleb talked this over with his girlfriend and she understands it’s his dream to take this trip, she’s also not going to put her life on hold – “she is going to buy a house,” says benleb, “and won’t pursue the relationship if I’m not buying it with her.”

I feel like I’m in a dead-end regarding the relationship. I just can’t give up my dream and I know myself enough that I need to engage myself full-time to make it happen otherwise I’ll end up never doing it.

Any stories to help me make the right decision? Thanks.

P.S.: I’d just like to add that I plan on traveling alone and this is how I intend to do my RTW trip.

It’s definitely a difficult question that benleb’s dealing with, and there may not be an easy answer – but if you’ve got thoughts on the subject please pop on over to the BootsnAll message boards and contribute to the growing thread.

Posted by | Comments (7)  | September 19, 2009
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

7 Responses to “Is a long-term relationship compatible with a long-term trip?”

  1. Christine Gilbert Says:

    This isn’t really about travel, it’s about relationships in general. If you’re not building a life together with the two of you as the main priority, then where is the relationship? It sounds like your paths crossed for a bit, but I’m not seeing this as “The One”. If it was, there would be no question about whether you’d stay together. My husband and I have traveled together, traveled apart, moved cross country, moved overseas, but it’s never been negotiable that we’d NOT be together.

    I say, move on, thank your stars that the house-buying served as a tool add some clarity about whether this would work (before you wasted too much time) and travel your heart out.

    PS I wonder why you specify that you’d be traveling solo? Are you against traveling with a partner if they were willing?

  2. Chris Says:

    I’d like to know what benleb decided to do, and if it’s working out for him so far. I’m in the same situation. I’ve graduated college and I’m ready to take off on an open-ended trip. The problem is, my girlfriend will be staying behind. I am so in love with her it hurts to think about – but at the same time I’m learning from other’s mistakes about choosing a woman over adventure and youthful life experience and regretting it later. If I come back I need it to be my choice, not because I promised someone I’d return. Additionally, I want to travel alone because I would (and have) felt like it was my responsibility to protect the woman I loved. This would result(and has resulted) in added stress and less spontaneity and freedom. (This could be the reason benleb preferred to travel alone, in addition to it being easier to meet people when you aren’t tied to someone the whole time).

    Also, my girlfriend claims to never want to get married and never have kids (I admit it’s a very new age mindset, but I respect her outlook). I, however, want to eventually get married and have a kid (in 6+ years of course). I fear that bringing this up as a reason (in addition to travel) would make her “change her mind” in an effort to keep me around. This means I could be married to the woman I love and potentially have the life I seek – but put a gimp in my travel plans.

    What do you guys think – travel the world or stay in my loving, healthy relationship of 2.5 years years? (I’m 24 years old)