Distant Lover: Stay Together or Say Goodbye?

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Relationships tend to come and go at the most inconvenient of times. We can never control when we fall in and out of love. For some people, that may be a whimsical, beautiful part of life. However, for us trip planners, it’s an inconvenient variable.

What are you supposed to do with a significant other when you are traveling the world?

You basically have three options: Bring them with you, play it long distance, or break up.

Of course, bringing them with you is always the most ideal option. We all follow a few travel blogging couples that we adore (Christy and Scott, Andi and Lucas, etc) and it’s great to see two people making it work and living their dream together.

However, you have to take a minute to consider this: what if traveling isn’t your significant other’s dream?

Or what if they don’t have a flexible work schedule that allows them to go gallivanting around the world with you? That leaves you with the other two options.

Play the long distance game

If you are crazy in love but can’t always be together, that’s okay. You just have to be confident that your relationship can handle the stress and also be ready for the possible realization that it cannot.

Traveling solo while your beau is at home is not the same as just living in different places.

You are going to be experiencing new things every day, making new friends and, like it or not, changing.

Meanwhile, your other half is at home, living their daily life. Yes, they might meet other people too, but not in the same situations or quantities as you. You are exposed to so many potentially life changing experiences every day and it can get really hard for your significant other to watch that from the other end of a video chat. You need to be sensitive to that.

Keep in mind that this person must really love you to understand your need to travel even if it means being away from each other.

You need to keep up on your emails, video chats and any interaction you can. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the awesomeness of your present moment and forget that someone is waiting for you at home.

What you might perceive as needy is just them missing you. So chill out and give them a break! Try to avoid having an argument via Skype.

When I was traveling in South America and my boyfriend was at home, I kept a journal for him. I knew we wouldn’t be able to talk every day, so this journal let me jot down little things that I would normally tell him in person. It’s not as if every entry was a declaration of my undying love for him, sometimes it would be something like “I saw a girl on the plane wearing leggings as pants. I thought of you while I laughed at how stupid and uncomfortable she looked.”

writing in the journal

I gave him the journal when I got home and it really helped ease the gap we felt had been created in our time together.

Saying Goodbye

I know no one wants to think about this, but sometimes you just have to. Maybe you have tried the long distance thing and it’s not working. Sometimes when you are away, your personal growth just takes you too far away from that person or the stress of keeping the relationship together is just too much. If this is the case, I beg you to let them down easy.

Explain that you can’t take being away from them, but that you can’t stay at home either. Don’t you dare plaster your Facebook with photos of you drinking with a bunch of hotties on the beach. That’s just cruel.

Traveling as much as you can for the rest of your life might be your dream, but that doesn’t mean your significant other shares that dream. If you plan to be going on a long term trip pretty much whenever you can and they are not up for it, you have to re-evaluate the relationship.

The whole idea of a serious relationship is that you are moving towards a future together. If your future takes you all over the world and theirs is just hanging out in one place, your future as a couple is going to be a pretty rocky one.

You can love this person with all your heart, but if you know their attitude about traveling isn’t going to change and neither is yours, it’s time to say goodbye. Do it now, before you end up crying on Skype trying to figure out how you guys got so distant from each other.

Traveling is often about sacrifice. It means being away from home and not always being able to be with the people you love. Your friends and family will always be there for you, but when it comes to a romantic relationship, you need to be careful.

Don’t break any hearts and keep yours as safe as you can.

Take it from me, a girl who has been in all 3 of these situations and wished she would’ve thought it through just a little better so getting through the saying goodbye part wouldn’t have been so painful.

What about you? Have you dealt with long distance love?

Share.

About Author

Rease gave up on office life before she turned 22. She believes in hard work, but only if it makes you incredibly happy. Rease is a writing, traveling, kid-loving, Spanish-speaking nerd of a girl who may be the craziest balance of 40-year-old responsible logic and 7-year-old childlike amusement. She is currently living the expat life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, writing for Travelated.com and planning her next trip - in other words- living the dream.

14 Comments

  1. This is a tough one! I feel extremely lucky that I’m finally with a guy who wants to travel with me. It’s hard to do the long distance thing and I think it takes a special kind of relationship to be able to endure one person traveling all over the world while the other stays home. On the other hand, I know what it feels like to put your dreams of travel on hold because of a relationship which is never good either.

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  3. I’ve also been in each situation and have moved to Germany to be with my German fiance after dating for 2 years. Previously I dated guys that didn’t travel and it if they did, it was after hours of convincing them to travel, way too much work! It made me realize that I needed to be with someone who loved to travel as my German fiance does and now we have fun planning amazing trips together.

    • Hear ya loud and clear ladies! This post came at a good time for me– I’m planning on keeping my relationship while I head to Thailand next month. Won’t be easy, but I think we can make it. And if not, well, there’s only one way to find out, right?

  4. Lucas is not as obsessed with traveling as I am, but he does enjoy it very much and we have the best time on the road together. I could never, ever be with someone who didn’t love to travel or whom I wasn’t compatible traveling with. It’s too important to me. I also couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t comfortable allowing me to travel solo or with girlfriends. Thanks for the shout out!!!

  5. We have all heard that opposites attract (which I think is total BS for the most part), but travel is just one of those things that I think one must share with his/her partner. It is such an expanding experience, and I think it would become very apparent, very quickly, if one half is out “expanding” and the other is not sharing in those experiences.

    Of course, there are always couples who’ll surprise you. For me, though, travel is such an integral part of Kent and I’s spiritual relationship that I simply cannot imagine it any other way.

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  7. THANK YOU for this post! I loved how honest you were about the options, because it’s all true: traveling and relationships don’t exactly mix and it’s definitely worth figuring out before you leave. Great advice on a (sometimes) pretty depressing topic!

    • You are very welcome. It can be a depressing topic, but one that effects a lot of us. A lot of times we just choose NOT to think about it, which makes it worse.

  8. I was a stay at home for a few months a couple of years ago while my other half (the mysterious K!) travelled around Africa. It was something she needed to do It was not a good three months for me but I was proud of myself in the end that I had managed to show her that what was important to her was important to me.
    You’re either going to get over this kind of obstacle or you aren’t, but if you do it cements and deepens a relationship – it catapulted us into long term thinking.

  9. I’ve been in the long distance relationship situation… not an easy one, but not impossible either. Of all three scenarios the best one is to have the same passion and availability to roam the world freely. The hard part is finding that certain someone with the same dreams and aspirations.

  10. Long distance relationships are the hardest. It takes a lot of time and commitment. There are days when you just want to snuggle next to your significant other and not pretend to do so over the webcam.

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