As we all know, dating nowadays is exhausting. Technology has opened the doors to ever greater options of courtship while dually diminishing our standards of thoughtfulness and respect through the process. So yeah, dating is tough, but what’s even more difficult is trying to date as a traveler. Motives are misconstrued, insecurities are amplified, and a general understanding of how to date a traveler is like asking a drunk person to walk a straight line, they know how to, they’re just suddenly incapable under the circumstances.
First off, I’m surprised there isn’t already a hip portmanteau or blend word for a travel dater (Any suggestions?). For the past 3 years I’ve had a serious case of wanderlust. Coupled with my natural inclination to be in a relationship, these two ideas that make me happy struggle to coexist for an extended period of time. For one reason or another I get to the next place alone, every time. My time spent in one place seems to dictate how long the relationship will last, never the other way around, and I have yet to travel with a significant other. The easiest thing to do on both sides is to be grateful for the short lived romance and get when the gettin’s good. Why haven’t I been able to maintain something long lasting? Why doesn’t it ever work out? Ever?
When I type in ‘travel dater’ on Google the first result that pops up is an article entitled, ‘Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels’ by Adi Zaradias. Ok, I’m going to go cry now. Among a handful of cliché, over romanticized travel fluff jargon, in bold letters the author writes, ‘She will never need you.’ Yes, obviously women who travel are pretty capable, badass bitches, however, what is also implied is that if you’re not in the travel game, you won’t get it and you’re not good enough. Ouch. Additionally, I feel she’s trying to say travelers don’t have a soul when it comes to relationships. What the hell?!
I’ve met many different kinds of travelers with all sorts of ideas about love and relationships. To be honest, the spectrum isn’t much different than if you put a bunch of random people with roughly the same age in one room. Everyone would still have their own unique outlook on how they want or don’t want to experience a relationship. The only problem is that when you put the idea of frequent travel into the mix, it gets complicated. Duh.
I’ve had to tackle tough conversations with partners explaining why I can’t stay. My goals and intentions for possible travel plans are always explained in the beginning. The thought of having a particular corner of the world that I need to visit hanging over my head is not an option I’m willing to compromise. Resentment in the conquest of love is not a risk I’m willing to take. So you might be wondering if I don’t stay, why wouldn’t your partner go, right?
There are two main reasons I have not traveled with a partner. The first is simple: time. I have never stayed in one place long enough to allow a relationship to get serious enough for that option or to even consider how to go about it. The other reason, which gives me the most grief, is that (in my personal experience) men don’t take dating a traveler seriously. It’s a bit of a catch 22 at times. Because I am leaving eventually, they don’t care to put in the effort, and because they did not show me their best selves, I don’t care to ask them to join me in my life changing adventures. It’s like an inevitable relationship trap I willingly go into. Every. Time.
My understanding is that people view a traveler as someone who doesn’t really care about who they’re with in the first place, the real catch is the next stop, the new experience, the plans after them. Then there’s self preservation. Why get caught up and treat it seriously when the other person will leave? When you try to date someone who embodies both these notions, it can be dangerous. Yes, I’ve been cheated on. The only thing I can say is, I do care, and I’m as every bit of human as the next person. I put love, respect, and value into all my relationships and I deserve to receive that back as does everyone in a relationship, no matter the circumstances.
Perhaps this is a bit of a commentary on the types of people I choose to date. I can hear that one friend on my shoulder telling me, ‘stop dating losers!’ Truly though, I hope I have shed some light and widened the perspective on dating someone who travels. It could be, if you’ve ever dated a traveler, that you end up being a whirlwind of a story in their own epic adventure or even become the other half of the journey entirely. But isn’t that the possibility we hold to all relationships we enter?