I don’t know why but I was thinking today about a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago, about some of the romantic assumptions one makes in some relationships. And in just about every area of my life, I find that when I make assumptions (often based on too little information, and too few facts—and too much guesswork on my part), I am usually wrong. You really can’t project yourself into someone else’s head. Even if you think you know them well, their reasoning may be completely different from your own. The conversation I was referring to somehow came up on the subject of taking a trip with someone you’re in love with, at their invitation. The friend I was talking to and I had both made the same mistake in years past—when a man invited me on a vacation with him (and it hasn’t happened to me too often, but a couple of times), I immediately thought it was a Big Deal, and they were very serious about the relationship. My friend had made the same assumption in her life, and I’ve heard it from others too. And guess what? In my case anyway, and hers, and some others, we were dead wrong. It wasn’t a sign of major things to come, or that marriage was in the offing—the guys just didn’t want to go on vacation alone. Oh. And it came as a surprise to me when that became clear later on. Sometimes we assume that an act, a gesture or an invitation is loaded with all kinds of meaning it just doesn’t have to someone else. It was a major life lesson to me to discover that was the case. In fact, in one instance, the husband I was separated from suggested a very romantic vacation, in Venice, which I interpreted as his wanting to get back together with me. Wrong again. We had a fabulous vacation in Italy for 3 weeks, only to have him tell me at the end of it that he wanted a divorce, and had invited me on the vacation because I was such good company, and he knew we’d have fun. (Apparently not good company enough, or enough fun, to stay married to). I was crushed to learn that he just thought I’d be fun to vacation with, but not resume our marriage. And I’ve known other women who thought a vacation invitation meant a proposal was in the offing and that just wasn’t the case. It’s not fun to vacation alone, and sometimes men (or women) invite you just as companionship on a holiday, and for no other reason. It would be nice if they made that clear from the beginning, but some people just don’t. So don’t assume anything too quickly if someone you’re dating asks you on vacation. It may be just that, and nothing more, and that person thinks you’re good company for a trip. Personally, I like to know the score before I take off on a trip with anyone. And actually, that trip to Venice cured me, from making assumptions that can be disappointing later, and travelling with men I’m not deeply involved in a relationship with, or married to. I learned my lesson on that the hard way.
Even more weirdly, in my experience, the most ‘effect’ I ever got from a trip, romantically, were the trips I didn’t go on. The man I was dating and later married invited me on a trip that sounded dangerous to me, in Panama, another one in Alaska that sounded boring or not so much my cup of tea (Paris or Venice, yes, but I’m probably not outdoorsy enough to really enjoy Alaska), and another trip to Antarctica over Christmas, when I wanted to be home with my kids, and not looking at penguins and icebergs from a sailboat. We had some really romantic trips to wonderful places in our day, in the Caribbean, to St. Barth’s, in France and Italy. And he never proposed to me after any of the wonderful trips. But when I turned down the trips that didn’t seem as appealing to me—-after the 3rd one I turned down (Antarctica), he came home and proposed to me. Maybe he missed me. So sometimes not going on a trip, may be more effective than going on the trip and convincing him of your charms!!! Go figure!! It’s all a mystery to me.
But what I was remembering today, as summer rolls around, is that an invitation to go on vacation with the man you’re dating may not be a major romantic statement, maybe he just doesn’t want to go on vacation alone. So if you go, go for the trip and the fun, and his company, and don’t assume it means more than an invitation to travel together. But if you’re clear on that, bon voyage, and have a great time!!!