How do I take a roadtrip with a guy who is probably going to break up with me?
August 19, 2008 4:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm leaving shortly on a roadtrip with someone I've been seeing but I think the relationship is cooling off and now I'm feeling ill about the!

I've been dating Joe for a bit longer than a month. When we first got together, we planned a roadtrip together and bought the various necessities (hotel, rental car).

This Friday we leave together to go on the trip, and we won't be back till Wednesday of the following week.

Our relationship was great until last weekend. It's very hard to pinpoint why, but I started to get the feeling that Joe was cooling off in general towards me. Our communication when we're apart has dwindled since then, though I'm certain he's still planning on taking this trip with me.

I'm starting to dread this trip. I have to go, but I know if we go and I continue to get the feeling that things are cooling down it could make for a really unpleasant vacation. We will be together almost 24/7 during the trip, driving in the car.

I'm looking for any ideas or pointers on how to deal with this situation, besides pulling the plug and not going, which is out of the question for now.

Have you ever been in a similar fix, stuck spending time with someone your spidey sense was telling you was thinking of breaking it off?

I like Joe a lot, but if he dumps me I'll be fine eventually I'm sure, but spending five days in a car with him if he's feeling like I think he is is not something I know how to handle. Please help!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Talk to him! Tell him your impression that you're getting "cooling down" vibes from him, and that you're worried about the trip. I can virtually guarantee that he's feeling something similar, and will feel lots of relief that you brought it up. But even if not, it's good practice for you to find your voice and learn how to speak it.

Communication is what relationships are all about. Don't be scared of giving voice to your feelings. You'll have a better trip and become a stronger person.
posted by jasper411 at 4:30 PM on August 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

If you don't talk about it now, you'll sure have plenty of time for it in the car!

I was in a similar situation a couple years back. Driving through the desert, on the way home, carsick and hungover, after five awkward and less-than-fun days. I remember flipping through my phone looking for somebody to talk to, when my boyfriend's name came up in the list, my heart brightened at the thought of commiserating with him. Then it sank when I realized he was sitting right next to me, and was not the same person I was dreaming of.

We broke up two days later. I remember wishing I'd addressed things before we left...the trip would've been a hell of a lot more fun alone or with a different stranger.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2008

I did this once, it was not horrible. mainly I think because both of us felt that things were cooling off but also because he was a fine travelling companion as a non-boyfriend. Ask yourself seriously whether, if this guy broke up with you tomorrow, or the day after your trip if taking the trip still seems like a good idea.

A lot of anxiety around these things comes from feeling that there are NO OPTIONS because of various things that are not quite under your control. You have options here, many. As jasper411 says, just bring it up, no big deal. I've dated one guy who was always less communicative right before we hung out together because he was sort of typing up all his other loose ends. It's possible your spidey sense is wrong. Look at the rental car and hotel costs as possible cash losses to offset a terrible emotional loss, in a worst case scenario. If you'd pay $200, say, to not have to take a road trip with this guy, consider doing just that. The money will fade into the distance faster that a wretched trip.

Then again, consider the trip might not be so bad. If you're going someplace you'd enjoy with someone who is nice even if he's not your SO (thinking out loud here) maybe the trip will be okay. It's easy to get two beds in a hotel room, and easy to look out the window and read your book on a car trip. Think long and hard about what you're really worried about and realize you have many more options than maybe you think you do.
posted by jessamyn at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think that there are two good approaches.

One is to talk to him first — be honest, and upfront, and see what he says. If his response raises too many red flags for you, then you can pull the plug and stay home (possibly losing your half of the rental car and hotel bills, since those have been already booked).

The other is to simply look for the good and have an awesome time, regardless of where the relationship is going next month. He must be a pretty decent person for you to have liked him so far, right? So you can enjoy talking with him, and seeing places with him, and all the rest of it, without having to make your concerns about the future explicit.

I'm not suggesting that you be underhanded or secretive. But I have several times created problems where problems didn't exist by bringing up these kinds of concerns right before or in the middle of a vacation. Travel is stressful, and changing the environment you are in makes the relationship look different, and you will be away from your comfort zone in a literal sense.

So I worry that the talking may be digging for trouble where it may not exist, and if it does exist is not imminent.
posted by Forktine at 5:22 PM on August 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm gonna say: the whole thing will be over in a week. Chill out, it's possible that you're both just tripping on it being your first big trip together. Don't count your chickens, yadda yadda. Not being Spiderperson, your personal Spidey sense is not infallible.
posted by rhizome at 5:38 PM on August 19, 2008

I'll echo the sentiment that travel is stressful. I almost always find something to freak out about as a big trip approaches, even when an SO is not involved. Do you feel secure about the trip in other ways? You have enough money? A way to stay in touch with your friends and family? Do they have a rough idea of your itinerary? If it got really super weird, could you bail out and take a bus or train home? If all those things are true, you probably don't need to panic.

But still, you might want to check in with him before going. You can just open up the topic -- "So I'm going to call and confirm our car rental today. You still on board with the travel plans? Excited?"

But the key part is knowing whether YOU want to go. You're hung up on whether he's about to break up with you. What about you? Is this a trip you want to go on? Do you want to stay with the guy if that's a possibility? Get in touch with your feelings here. You say it's not possible to cancel the trip - I say hogwash. I've seen people call off weddings, let alone five-day car trips. It's not a huge deal if you decide to back out; he'll live and so will you. It's up to you whether or not you want to go.
posted by Miko at 7:19 PM on August 19, 2008

don't go. there's nothing worse than being stuck in a tense dynamic for days that will seem unending. better to cut your losses and call it off.
posted by mooza at 11:53 PM on August 19, 2008

pulling the plug and not going, which is out of the question for now.

Why? Because you have already spent the money for hotel/car/supplies? There´s a nifty rule I´d like to introduce you to called ignore sunk costs. This money is gone if you go on the trip, and gone if you don´t go on the trip. You don´t have it either way. Don´t factor sunk costs into your decision. In other words, don´t throw good money (or your time, etc.) after bad.

Write up two lists -- on one, the pluses and minuses of going, the other, + and - for not going. Decide.
posted by yohko at 5:24 AM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

seconding sunk costs...the money is already spent, so be sure that is not the reason NOT going is not an option. Otherwise you will have spent the money to be miserable, and only a crazy person would pay for that when it's so easy to find for free.

A quick "still want to do this, right?" should help clear things up.

And yes, I went through with a week-long trip to meet an SO's parents once, even though I knew the relationship was on its last legs and regretted every single tense and wasted moment of it.
posted by agentwills at 8:43 AM on August 20, 2008

I don't see why you "have to go"? Why?
posted by Penelope at 1:19 PM on August 20, 2008

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