Advice

I can’t wait to travel outside the country again, but my partner keeps asking to wait another year

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

My partner and I are in a stalemate over how to spend our vacation time this year. We’ve been together for seven years now and travel has always been a foundation of our relationship, specifically international travel. Not leaving the country or going much of anywhere the past couple of years because of COVID had its pros and cons. We caught up on projects around the house for sure, and definitely saved money, but we’ve both missed visiting favorite destinations or exploring new places together.

I’m ready to go. Denmark announced they’re lifting COVID sanctions and restrictions — so did England. Other countries are following along. He and I are both fit and healthy for our late 40s and it’s my opinion that things will never be “normal” perhaps, and we need to seize the moment and get back out there.

He is hesitant. He lost a close family member to COVID and that affected him deeply. He wants to wait until 2023 to leave the U.S. He’s asked that we consider something fun in the states again, like Nashville or New Orleans or Catalina Island. All those spots sound great, I admit. But I miss seeing the world with my best friend, and we’re not getting any younger. In fact we had this same conversation last year and when he asked to “wait until 2022,” I agreed. Here we are a year later and I’m trying to be sensitive, I know COVID has been hard for him. But it’s been hard for me too and I know it would be great for me, and us, to get out there again. Should I drop it, or keep pushing?

Wanda says:

As things open up and states and countries lift restrictions, many people are hearing the message that “COVID is over.” For some, this interpretation brings a sense of elation and relief — and for others, it causes serious anxiety and apprehension. After two years trying to follow an evolving litany of guidance while not going completely insane, the revocation of rules can leave people feeling unsteady, especially when they’ve personally experienced loss — of a loved one, a job, a sense of routine, you name it.

Your stalemate with your partner could be restated as, “I want to travel out of the country and he won’t.” It may not be that cut and dried. Instead of focusing on the positions you’ve taken, step back and examine your interests: You crave exploration and exposure to non-USA exoticism, and he wants to feel safe as he still works his way through the pandemic. But you both want to make each other happy, and take some kind of vacation.

So instead of going to a country where the hands are entirely off the steering wheel, like Denmark or England, seek out a place that still has some rigidity around managing COVID, maybe even a place you’ve been before for an added sense of security. Navigating another country’s rules around quarantine, masking, and occupancy may be challenging, even annoying, but it could provide the structure your partner needs to relax and have fun.

Wayne says:

Alright, pump the brakes on the airplane and focus on your co-pilot. Your partner lost a loved one to COVID. He’s heartbroken and anxious, at the very least. Instead of pushing him anywhere, how about pulling him in for some love and understanding?

Now, start viewing your travel dreams through that lens. Is traveling with him about passport stamps, going places other couples don’t, and banking MVP miles? Or is it about making memories, feeding a shared sense of adventure, and enjoying some really special quality time together?

He clearly misses travel with you, too. In fact, he misses it so much that he’s moved past his stress and mourning to offer you some perfectly reasonable, and seemingly fun and exciting, travel options that he’s comfortable taking right now. If you’re truly his partner in life, travel and leisure, that should work just fine. Stop the stalemate and start packing your bags.

[My partner loves his job on the Slope, but I have doubts about a 2-week-on, 2-week-off relationship]

[We built a healthy savings account during lockdown. Now it seems like my wife just wants to blow it all and have fun.]

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at wanda@alaskadispatch.com.

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