If your sweetie is heading off on a big trip alone, kiss your relationship goodbye. That’s the theory, anyway, says Outside:
Barbara Banks, a 19-year employee of Wilderness Travel, said, “We may well have been cited in some divorce cases, though we haven’t been called to the stand.” Peter Grubb, founder of the international rafting company ROW, confessed that, at least once a year, a client divorces a spouse after a raft trip. Robert Whitman, founder of Five Star Counseling Services, in Denver, confirmed my worst fears. In his 20 years as a professional counselor, he said, he’s seen roughly one marriage per month break up soon after a big solo trip.
The problems start early, he said. Two years before the trip, the wife complains that she and her husband don’t really talk or do fun things together anymore. The guy, only half hearing, remains as loutish as usual but goes along with her efforts to spice up the marriage. Frustrated, she gives up six months later. Things return to “normal” until, at the end of a quietly frustrating year, she says she wants to go on a big trip without him. The husband agrees, thinking himself supportive. The wife interprets his encouragement as the final abandonment.
Maybe on the trip she summits a tall peak and gains a loftier perspective on life. From this distance, that little man back in the States—whose range of interests spans everything from his kayak to his PlayStation—starts to seem positively puny. Meanwhile, the brawny mountain guide who got her to the top suddenly seems more responsive, caring, and nurturing than he’ll ever be.
The takeaway, though, at least in Whitman’s example, is that the big trip isn’t the problem; it’s merely the final, too-late alarm bell. Whether she goes to Japan or Djibouti, the relationship is over before she gets on the plane.
“‘I’m gonna take a big trip by myself’—that should hit you like a two-by-four between the eyes,” says Whitman.
I’d agree. If your man doesn’t share your love of adventure, he’s not the guy for you. Two men became clearly lodged in my rear-view mirror after I spent time traveling alone, overseas. It’s not necessarily any other guy tempting you into his arms. It’s the one who didn’t come along and why he chose to stay behind.
Have you been dumped this way? Have you been the one fleeing?