Can You Travel Your Way Out Of A Relationship?

May 11, 2017  |  

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During a recent press trip abroad, an interesting conversation/slash debate arose between myself and two other women about whether traveling too much is essentially relationship suicide.

While the idea that traveling often hinders you from being able to connect with someone in your home base and build the type of intimacy that could lead to a relationship isn’t a new concept, this discussion centered around the idea that heterosexual Black men don’t travel often and if you want to be involved with a heterosexual Black man you’re most likely going to need to keep your a– at home more often than not.

That wasn’t an appealing proposition to the woman in our group who was feeling hopeful about her romantic prospects after relocating. As an avid traveler, she let it be known that one of the first questions she asks a man when they engage in conversation is where was your last trip? “And if he says Vegas or Miami, I already know we’re not compatible.” The implication there being that he’s more into wild travels with sexual undertones than actually exploring different cultures and having new experiences. #NotInterested

Let the other woman tell it, that’s Black men’s travel M.O. And when the dating hopeful said she’d be willing to open a potential suitor or partner’s eyes to the wonder of travel abroad, i.e., “I’ll just bring him on my trips with me,” ol’ girl said that’s most likely not going to happen. Paraphrased, she said something along the lines of, “Men like their women to be home; they like stability, and knowing where their woman is.”

Try as I might to quell the independent woman in me, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “That’s what I can’t stand about men; that they need to be taken care of like a child.”

“That’s because they judge us against their moms,” she told me. “Their moms were home. They may not have been stay-at-home moms per say but they were there when they needed them and they knew were to find them.”

I rolled my eyes just as the waves rolled onto the sand and said to myself, “I’m probably never getting married.” I also allowed for the fact that she is from the southern region of the country to account for some of the differences in our relationship ideology.

But just as that thought came to mind, I heard the same woman say, “That’s why I can’t stay gone too long.” Mental waves were literally crashing in my head at this point as I questioned whether I heard right. Again, paraphrased, she stated something along the lines of “I don’t want to be gone too long, ‘cuz if I’m not there…”

When her voice trailed off, I asked how long she’d been in her relationship to mask my disgust at the “What I won’t do another woman will” logic as she talked about men wanting to know the woman they’re with will create a home for them and any children. I was basically word vomiting in my mouth by this point so I had to state my objection to women always having to be the one to sacrifice to make a man feel secure. That’s when she told me “That’s what we do as women.”

Now obviously there are a lot of ways to look at this conversation. ‘Ol girl has found balance in her life, traveling when the opportunity presents itself and maintaining a relationship for a year by adopting a “Latoya Maria Epstein” approach to keeping a man. That means being a sassy, sexy, let-me-cater-to-you type of woman who is still about her business. I, on the other hand, am not interested in sacrificing amazing personal or professional opportunities for a relationship at this stage in my life, which is a long-winded way of saying I’m single. The third woman is sure that a Black man who enjoys luxury travel as much as she does and respects her entrepreneurial hustle is not a unicorn. I concur, though I do think he might be damn hard to find.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what matters to you most. If you absolutely live to travel, you have to be with a man who not only is comfortable with you spreading your wings, but wants to spread his as well. Certainly, you can’t expect a partner to basically operate as if you’re in a long-distance relationship because you enjoy traveling so much, but this idea that a man — particularly a Black man — is going to automatically dismiss you as a potential partner because you don’t “stay home,” well, all I can think of is Chimimanda Adiche’s quote about men who are intimidated by her: That’s exactly the type of man I don’t want.

What do you think? Is it impossible to not just find love, but keep it as a woman who loves to travel?

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