When Less is More


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!!!

Love, Danielle

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5 Comments so far
  1. Joey Fay Hoe August 6, 2012 4:55 pm

    Hi Ms Steel,

    I’m a BIG fan! I’ve grown up in the little red dot: Singapore. I’ve enjoyed reading all your wonderful & inspiring books for the past 2 years. Most of your good works had helped me pull through some of the most difficult moments of my life. I really want to Thank U for being such a wonderful writer! This is the 1st time I’m reading your blog & not surprisingly, I’ve enjoyed your writing. Really appreciate your sharing your valuable experience. Happy writing!

    Best regards,
    Ms Joey Fay Hoe

  2. Huong August 7, 2012 6:52 pm

    I’m mostly wrong when I assume things too and sometimes I realize I’m wrong but I like to hold on to the fact that I’m right. ^^

  3. Mary August 8, 2012 6:44 pm

    Hi Danielle,
    Communication is free but difficult because more that half of what we say to people they don’t really hear. Sometimes the slightest gesture we make to someone may be a huge deal in their life and just a bit of a passing thought to us. I think when we humans truly connect together its rare and makes for wonderful moments and memories. I like how you said “you really can’t project yourself into someone else’s head” Just think of all the books you wrote and the thousands of different versions of those books that exist in so many different peoples heads. You are one of the best story tellers but to all your readers we interpert the story based on our own experiences and feelings…that makes reading them a different experience for every one of us….neat!
    When we fall for someone we all tend to hope we are connecting with that person in a special way but live and learn. If we try to be honest, upfront,and direct the fear of being rejected gets in the way so the assumption works till our bubble gets burst. C’est la vie.

  4. Mike Reid August 9, 2012 2:13 pm

    Hi Danielle- you’ve done your research into this subject – I can tell – this vacation journey was quite an experience – on the topic Antarctica – you’d have to be devoted to the Cold – which I prefer the warm climates like you mentioned.- The penguins & the icebergs our fine on TV or at the movies. I’d never go Antarctica – hahaha. I remember one time a lady asked me if I wanted to go to Germany & I didn’t go – I think it was just for company because of wanting someone to travel with – but I’m not sure because nobody had asked me before about going overseas – she caught me off guard with her invitation. But like you say don’t assume it means anything more than traveling together or it is real. Keep your Spirit up & Relax. Seeyasoon mikel

  5. June August 10, 2012 8:56 pm

    Dear Danielle, I empathise with the problem of not knowing what is going on in others’ minds, especially when romantically engaged with them. The trouble is, when I begin to ask somewhat probing questions about the status quo they get defensive! A couple of times the result haas still not been comfortble for me. I am learning not to place my happiness in other people’s hands.
    On another note, I do love beautiful clothing and admire your taste.
    With kind regards, June