How do I handle an ultimatum from my girlfriend?
August 16, 2012 1:36 PM Subscribe
My girlfriend has given me an ultimatum regarding anxiety and travel. Is this a problem or an opportunity?
posted by anonymous to human relations (64 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Due to some pretty serious anxiety/panic attack issues in my 20s, I developed a form of agoraphobia where I am extremely reluctant to travel anywhere that isn’t a fairly short car ride back to my home. I haven’t left my home state since 1997. I also have a very difficult time going anywhere if I am not the one doing the driving. Something about not being in control makes me feel very anxious.
My girlfriend of just under two years knew this about me even before we started dating. She loves to travel, however, and a few months ago she essentially gave me an ultimatum: either I travel with her or we break up. I suggested we start small and maybe drive somewhere in the 5- to 6-hour range of home, but she insisted we fly somewhere. So she booked us a trip to Vegas next weekend. It’s only a two-hour flight, but already I’m feeling extremely anxious about it and I’m envisioning having to cancel, which will of course be a really big deal to her.
This weekend, while driving around town with her (a rare case where she was driving), I started feeling anxious and asked if maybe she could drop me home before she went on with her day. This is the only time I have ever felt really anxious around her, and her reaction was not sympathetic at all. She was very annoyed with me for ruining the plan of the day, and she got really upset that I ordered a meal at a restaurant that I ended up feeling too anxious to eat. She has always been very obsessed with us getting married, and one point she said, “Is this what it will be like when we get married and have kids? I’ll have to tell them Dad can’t come with us to certain things?” Needless to say, this makes me worry even more about how she will react if I do feel anxious while on the trip.
I should note that I have traveled with her a few times, but always to destinations within an hour or two of home. I totally get where she’s coming from, but I can’t help feeling that her needs are superseding mine in this case.
So should I look at her ultimatum as a problem with our relationship, or do I take it as an opportunity to finally try traveling again, albeit in sort of a forced, anxiety-producing way? I do have a big vial of Klonopin and I would hope that would get me through the 3-day trip, but I really worry about freaking out on the plane, or in Vegas, and not having a quick and easy way back to safe, familiar territory.