I love my girl­friend but we’re hor­ri­ble travel com­pan­ions

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Eq -

Q. My girl­friend and I took our long-an­tic­i­pated, big­gest va­ca­tion to­gether yet this sum­mer. It went hor­ri­bly, and this has hap­pened be­fore. I’ve re­alised we just do not do trips well to­gether, with to­tally dif­fer­ent styles of travel. I love her and am very happy in my life with her, and we are think­ing about long-term com­mit­ments. But this is a big part of our lives that is in­com­pat­i­ble. Hon­estly, I would be hap­pier trav­el­ling alone.

A. If this is some­one you are quite happy with day to day, then you should be able to break down the “hor­ri­ble” into smaller is­sues and de­vise ways to trou­bleshoot them. Is it plan­ning ver­sus non-plan­ning, spon­tane­ity ver­sus struc­ture, risk-aver­sion ver­sus ad­ven­ture? An all-out war over the mer­its of Ne­wark air­port? The more specif­i­cally you can track how the con­flicts be­gan, the bet­ter you can plan to avert them. And you can strate­gise and choose set-in-stone roles be­fore­hand: Any given meal’s restau­rant-de­cider makes their pick with­out in­ter­fer­ence; the nav­i­ga­tor fixes a wrong turn with­out crit­i­cism or sec­ond-guess­ing; or the fly-bythe-seat-of-their-pantser gets to choose one sur­prise out­ing, no ques­tions asked. If need be, build some alone-travel into the trip, too. No re­la­tion­ship rule says you must spend ev­ery day to­gether, even (or espe- cially!) in a for­eign land.

Q. My long-time friend and I were close from el­e­men­tary school through col­lege. Although we have grown apart some­what, she was one of my brides­maids only two years ago and I can’t get over not be­ing cho­sen as one of hers. As her wed­ding ap­proaches, I just can’t stop be­ing hurt by the fact that I al­ways as­sumed I’d be in her wed­ding and I’m not. One of her brides­maids is one of her co-work­ers that she is close too but has barely known for long. I don’t want to be petty but I al­most don’t want to go to the wed­ding.

A. Your hurt makes sense and there’s no magic wand for its dis­ap­pear­ance, though these sit­u­a­tions are quite com­mon. It may help to take a less black-and-white view. It’s not Brides­maids Ver­sus Ev­ery­one Else - it’s a spec­trum, with each per­son mat­ter­ing to the bride in their own unique way.

You’re not some drop in an anony­mous ocean of in­con­se­quen­tials. You’re some­one whose role in her life is spe­cial in its own right. Be­ing a guest at the wed­ding of some­one you love is an ex­pe­ri­ence with mean­ing in and of it­self and, to be hon­est, some­times the wed­ding party se­lec­tion is a time cap­sule that does not age well - who knows what things will look like in two, five or 10 years? So, the here and now. Choose this sting­ing sen­sa­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess whether your grow­ing apart is a nat­u­ral phase of life, or whether it’s some­thing you want to work on. Ul­ti­mately, it’s the tra­jec­tory of the life­long friend­ship that mat­ters most - whether you’re pos­ing in a match­ing pewter dress or not.–Bo­nior, a Washington, D.C.-area clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, writes a weekly re­la­tion­ships ad­vice col­umn in The Washington Post’s Ex­press daily tabloid and is au­thor of “The Friend­ship Fix.”

No re­la­tion­ship rule says you must spend ev­ery day to­gether, even (or es­pe­cially!) in a for­eign land.

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