Holiday plans with friends?
May 11, 2010 9:49 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I loved to travel, and for a couple of years we had vague plans that we would go to America. Now we're on a break, and I have the opportunity to go with friends. Should I take it?

A couple of months ago, my long-distance girlfriend of four years and I decided that we would take a break from each other. We are both at university, and the relationship was getting in the way of our work, friends etc. It was just too hard to keep up daily contact and make each other happy. So we mutually agreed to split on a temporary basis (as we still love each other and want to be together).The terms were that we should go out, do different things, meet new people (but not date new people!) and then meet up at the end of August (after I've finished university). We specifically said we shouldn't contact each other before then.

We travelled a lot in Europe together, but we'd vaguely said to each other that someday we'd go and do a big tour of America. She's already been when she was about 8, but I've never been. A couple of weeks ago 7 of my guy friends invited me to come on a four-week road trip to America they're planning. The route consists of LA, Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, then down the coast and back to LA. So while this isn't a big, cross-continent tour, it is a big chunk of the sights (some of which my girlfriend has already seen when she was 8).

Would it be wrong of me to go on this trip, knowing that my girlfriend and I planned to do something similar?

(P.S. I know this is anonymous, but I'm planning to email jessamyn with replies, so I will have some chance to answer questions.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I say go, and just keep planning on taking that trip with your girlfriend in the future. Just because you've gone doesn't mean you don't plan to go again, and it'll be a totally different experience with her than it will have been with your friends.
posted by scarykarrey at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2010

Contact your "girlfriend" early and ask her.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2010 [6 favorites]

Would it be wrong of me to go on this trip, knowing that my girlfriend and I planned to do something similar?

No. Every time you take a trip you will have a difference experience. Do this now and if, in the future, you're back together with your girlfriend and both of you have the desire and means to go to America you can.

If you're serious about being available to go with your girlfriend in the future just make sure you're serious about saving enough money.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:53 AM on May 11, 2010

The terms were that we should go out, do different things, meet new people (but not date new people!) and then meet up at the end of August (after I've finished university).

Sounds like you've already got the green light.

Would it be wrong of me to go on this trip, knowing that my girlfriend and I planned to do something similar?

No. That's what she gets for agreeing to go "on a break."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Once you're not together anymore (and you're not, you can call it whatever you want), all previously laid plans are null and void. That's the point of not being together anymore- the freedom to do whatever you want. You are free. Go on your trip.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2010

The US is pretty large. There's plenty to see that's not on your itinerary which you can see with your girlfriend when you get back together.
posted by dfriedman at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

No - take every chance you have to travel while you are young.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

Would it be wrong of me to go on this trip, knowing that my girlfriend and I planned to do something similar?

Absolutely not; the terms of your separation are well-structured, but there's no guarantee that she is going to be interested in pursuing your relationship again in several months. She may meet someone else, find out that she's happier being single, or a bunch of other things that you can't even imagine right now. If the point of the separation was to go out and do different things...this seems completely what the "break" was for.

You can always go to America again; it's a big country and there's enough that two trips don't have to cover the same territory.
posted by Hiker at 9:58 AM on May 11, 2010

I don't know if you're anything like me, but on several occasions I've made "vague plans" to "someday" go on a trip somewhere with a friend or group of friends. These were little more than wishful thinking. We never hammered out details and the trips never happened. Nothing left of those trip ideas but regrets, as my friends and I have moved on in life, relocated, and don't communicate much anymore. I wasn't romantically involved with these friends, so maybe my situation's different. Also, maybe you're better at following through with good intentions.

Anyway, if it turns out you and I aren't so different, you need to grab onto this opportunity and ride it for all it's worth. You have a real-life chance to actually go on this trip. If you let it pass you by, you may never get another one. Don't end up with regrets.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:58 AM on May 11, 2010 [7 favorites]

I vote go. If you have the time to do it, do it now. Soon you will have a job that won't let you off, or kids, or something else to get in the way.

Also, America is huge. What ever you see in 4 weeks is a drop in the bucket. Even if you come back with your girlfriend, there will be more to see, even in the same cities. You could spend a week in Vegas alone and still not see everything. You can always go to a different part of the country and get a totally different experience.
posted by wrnealis at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

You are on break. Therefore, it is totally okay. It might be different if you were still dating, but the fact that you aren't changes all of this. If you still keep in contact with her you should certainly mention this so it won't come as a surprise or anything when you leave for your trip but I think you should certainly take this opportunity!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 10:08 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd let girlfriend know, but as many other people have pointed out, you can go on the same exact route and never have the same experience.

Can't hurt to go twice (or more)!
posted by chatongriffes at 10:17 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I vote ask her. It doesn't sound like you're actually on a break, if you aren't dating other people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2010

This is me shaking you, screaming in your face, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO IT.
posted by MillMan at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I agree that you should go, but I have to say that if I were GF, I'd still be a bit steamed, break or no break. Yes, 100% agree that travel is never the same twice, and the U.S. is huge--but if the U.S. trip were something that you both had planned to do together, she may well be miffed, which could impede getting off break again. But, if you acquiesced and did not go, you might resent her, and thus also be less inclined to get off break.

In any event, I don't tend to think there is much future for relationships on break, so come visit us!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:26 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do it. She's already seen some things. YOu might not even wind up back together!

(and...four weeks? That itinerary looks - - to my hard-core-road-trippin' mind - a little thin. Maybe I'm just jealous.)
posted by notsnot at 10:34 AM on May 11, 2010

Do it. What is she going to be pissed about? That you can show her cool things if and when you guys visit the US together?

Four weeks in the US doesn't anywhere near exhaust the possibilities, but will allow you to do some neat stuff.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2010

Go on the trip and don't contact her about it. You agreed to not be in touch before August, so don't. When you do talk again and you tell her, just make sure she knows you didn't go out there to spite her or anything (in case she might think that) - it just came up and it was an opportunity you didn't want to miss. You two can still go to America together at a later time.

Think of it this way: you said your relationship was getting in the way of your relationships with your friends. This is a perfect time to go on a trip with your friends!
posted by wondermouse at 10:42 AM on May 11, 2010

I say go without hesitation. First, America is a huge place and you are only seeing a lot of the west coast. That leaves a lot to see with her in the future. Second, I agree with the above poster who said that vague plans often amounts to no more than wishful thinking. Go and have a blast!
posted by bigwoopdeedoo at 11:04 AM on May 11, 2010

A "break" is a break up. Maybe you'll beat the odds, but you are probably done for good despite your initial intentions. You may want to start living your life singular rather than a a life together.
posted by spaltavian at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2010

just go. my sister takes vacations with her friends without her husband and ive certainly gone on vacations with friends without bf so it's not like going on this cool sounding trip with your friends is going to be something that's going to come back and bite you in the ass if you want to make the relationship work later. i think this would only be an issue if you were going on the trip with someone you'd be interested in dating or something. since it's 7 of your guyfriends isnt this clearly a guy trip/male bonding trip?
posted by raw sugar at 11:23 AM on May 11, 2010

Absolutely go. These are huge areas you're talking about. The map on this page does a good job helping visualize the scale -- e.g. the very southern part of Utah containing the national parks like Zion, Canyonlands and Arches is larger than Belgium. I've spent 2 weeks hiking, biking and driving around Southern Utah and would need at least another week to have seen most of the sights once. There will be plenty for you and your girlfriend to see together on your next trip.
posted by centerweight at 11:29 AM on May 11, 2010

Go! Go! Go! A trip with your best guy friends will be a completely different experience from the one you (hopefully) take with your girlfriend. It's truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for some serious friend bonding and I worry that you'll seriously regret it if you didn't go.

Now, I can also see your girlfriend being a little torqued about this...especially if she doesn't find out until August. I imagine that you would expect her to contact you if something significant happened in her life before August so I don't see why this is any different. This is a pretty massive and exciting opportunity for you and I'd call to let her know about it. This gives her the opportunity to be selfless and encourage you to go or at least gives you the chance to explain why you want to go and why it's such a big deal. She might be disappointed but I'm not sure I'd want to be with someone that would be okay with me missing out on something so great.
posted by victoriab at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

absolutely 100% do the trip. As for letting the gf know - it depends on what the 'agreement' was, if you have cursory contact over email/im/facebook that kind of thing. but either way, this is easy - let her know. and go.

4 weeks is an eternity to get time off once you start working etc., - it`ll probably be the longest trip you will take. Have fun!
posted by cusecase at 12:03 PM on May 11, 2010

I had a similar plan with a boyfriend in college, we took a break, he had a chance to take a trip and he came to me to announce that he was going to take the trip (as a way to force us back together). I couldn't travel at the time and I told him to go. We never got back together, but I managed to travel plenty as did he. You don't know what's going to happen. Take the trip.
posted by micawber at 12:59 PM on May 11, 2010

Go. Send her a postcard.
No, don't do that.

Go. She might be miffed but she'll get over it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2010

Absolutely go! And seconding victoriab... If you care at all about her, have the courtesy to tell her you are going to do it. If you end up together, you'll be very glad you did.
posted by evilmomlady at 1:49 PM on May 11, 2010

Yes, by all means go! And tell her you'd still like to go with her, too, if the future affords the opportunity. (New England is lovely any time of the year.)
posted by not_on_display at 2:06 PM on May 11, 2010

From the OP:
Hi guys, thanks for all your replies - they've been so helpful! It's great to get an unbiased opinion on this problem.

In summary, you all think I should go, but only half of you think I should contact her!

Here's the situation with contact: she emailed me a couple of weeks ago to let me know her gran died (they weren't close). I messaged back to say I was sorry, and then a week later she messaged me asking if she should send any of my stuff back. No 'Love' at the end, just 'xxxx' (I got the feeling she just wanted to say hi.)

Anyway, about the trip; should I ask her permission, or should I just say I'm going? And if I just say it, then how do I say it nicely? Also, what do I do if she says she doesn't want me to go?
posted by jessamyn at 2:21 PM on May 11, 2010

Go, don't ask permission. You can inform her, but don't ask her if it's ok.

And, sorry to say it, but if she's asking if you want your stuff back... I'd prepare for some bad news.
posted by number9dream at 2:40 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, you should go.
posted by Miko at 3:07 PM on May 11, 2010

should I ask her permission, or should I just say I'm going?

Girlfriend, I'm going on this trip. How do you feel about this?
posted by Think_Long at 3:29 PM on May 11, 2010

Also, if you don't go you will be perceived as weak and clingy. Which is probably fair, since you did both agree to go live your own separate lives while you're apart. Regardless, attractive it most certainly is not.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:46 PM on May 11, 2010

After reading your update, I'd say go ahead and tell her you're going. If anything, four weeks is a long time to be away, and just in case she does try to get in touch with you, she'd at least know you're out of the country.

Don't ask her permission. Of course don't be a jerk about it, but don't over-explain things either. Just tell her your guy friends are planning a guy trip to the US and they invited you, and you're taking them up on it. If she says she doesn't want you to go, be as nice as you can about it - perhaps assuring her you'd still love to go with her later on, and there's still the entire eastern part of the country you haven't seen yet - but don't let that stop you. Taking a break means taking a break, and there are still plenty of places in America to visit once you've seen the ones you mentioned.
posted by wondermouse at 4:35 PM on May 11, 2010

And I don't mean to say you can't go back later on with her to places you've already seen.
posted by wondermouse at 4:41 PM on May 11, 2010

If American will let you in once, we'll probably let you back in a second time. I see no reason why you can't come back with her one day, especially give that that one day maybe very far in the future and is only tentative anyway.
posted by whoaali at 5:20 PM on May 11, 2010

one thing to think about is that if you guys are taking a break because you don't have enough time to see each other, and then you take a bunch of time to go on a trip, she might be left with some hurt feelings. Tact is going to be important here.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:14 PM on May 11, 2010

If you were together and had the chance to go on a trip that you had talked about taking and she couldn't and you went without her, I could understand her being upset. If you're taking a break specifically to do different things, this is going to be one of those things.

Besides, you can always check out New York with her, assuming you don't find yourself a new west-coast girlfriend or something, but that would be against the rules now, wouldn't it?
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:46 PM on May 12, 2010

« Older Poofy hair   |   Personal Bail-Out Plan Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.