A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend went on holiday to Mexico. He was gone for two and half weeks, staying in hostels along the coast before finishing off – the jammy shit that he is – by getting put in a 5* hotel by the flight company after they cancelled his plane.
I, on the other hand, stayed in England. I worked 9 til 5, Monday to Friday, and spent time with my friends on the weekend.
And for some reason my decision not to go with him that seems to have a lot of people confused.
“Did you not want to go with him?” I have been asked, every time I mention it to someone new.
Short answer – yes, duh. Why would I purposely pick working over holidaying along the Mexican coast? Long answer – yes, but unfortunately due to only just making it into a job role that wasn’t an internship, housing deposits and a move from the East to the West of England – financially it was a bit of a no go for me.
Tom going to Mexico without me was not a decision that we came to together. He didn’t email me an agenda a week before; we didn’t sit down at an agreed time and discuss the fact that Tom wanted to go to Mexico but that I couldn’t afford it and oh my goodness what were we going to do without each other?
Tom wanted to go, so he’s gone. My circumstances are different. It’s literally that simple. Tbh I don’t think he even asked me to go with him. It’s a trip he’s been wanting to go on for years. But the fact I have been constantly asked why I didn’t go too is something that I think is indicative of a wider societal problem:
Couples are expected to live in each others’ pockets.
At least two people I know have told me on separate occasions that they “couldn’t imagine” going on holiday without their partner and even though the others didn’t say it – I know they were thinking it.
And to this I say: imagine it.
Imagine if the next time you propose a new idea to your partner – whether it’s a holiday destination or not – and they say no; you still do it. Imagine if when they say they don’t want to go to a BBQ on Saturday evening; you go anyway and you have the best fucking burgers you have ever had. Imagine wanting to see that new horror film at the cinema and you go without them because they don’t like scary films, and it ends up being one of your favourite films to date.
I respect that maybe holidaying on your own is difficult when you’re married with children and only have so much disposable income. But when it comes to the little things, I think we need to step away from the idea that being part of a couple means you are joined at the hip.
I love my boyfriend but he isn’t my world.
My world is my family and friends, binge-watching Breaking Bad every night when I get in from work while stuffing my face with Nutella on toast, it’s this blog, vegetarianism, feminism and travel*. And all of those things can be, and generally are, separate from my relationship with Tom.
We don’t have the same friends, he watched Breaking Bad years ago and he loves seafood too much to become a vegetarian. We live separate lives that often intertwine; but we’re not forever doing the same things.
Being a whole person who is complete with their own interests, passions and hobbies is something that I think is vital to my relationship. It gives us things to catch up on at the end of the day, space from each other and, most importantly for me, gives that variety to my life that makes it interesting.
For me, relationships are about fulfillment and supporting one another – something that cannot be achieved if you’re holding the other back, even from doing the littlest of things, because you don’t want to.
*not an exhaustive list FYI.