Is it okay to take a trip without your significant other? Is it selfish or acceptable for modern independent couples? My feature with Inside Hook examines the pros and cons of solo travel when partnered. #solotravel #couplegoals #relationshipadvice

Lindsay writes, ““AITA for not including my girlfriend on an overseas trip?”

That’s the question user oberlordy posted to the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit two weeks ago. Since then, it’s garnered more than 1,000 comments from other users with very strong opinions on the matter.

“I’m someone who has dreamed of going to Japan for the longest time. I have told this to my girlfriend a couple of times before [and] during our relationship. Between us, I’m more capable of traveling because I’m the one who earns more,” the 24-year old, who’s been with his girlfriend for five years, wrote. “I had this intense urge to travel to Japan this year and I was actually telling her to come with me a few times, but she told me that she couldn’t afford to travel to Japan yet.”

“When I got the chance to buy cheap roundtrip tickets, I informed her briefly but I went ahead and booked for myself. Of course, she was understandably upset. We talked about this, and the main reason she was upset was because it felt to her like I didn’t include her in my decision, and that I was super impulsive,”he continued. “She also told me that it hurts not being able to have the capability of traveling with me. I told her that I understand, and I’m sorry for being selfish, but I wanted to take this urge to travel solo even though she couldn’t come. I also let her know that we can travel to other places in the future when circumstances allow us to.”

“It’s really tough for me because of course, I want to share these experiences with her but I also wanted to really pursue this trip for myself, even though I’m alone.”

The overwhelming majority were quick to condemn oberlordy’s actions, citing his “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach. Some suggested that, if he’s truly as well off as he’d have everyone believe, he should have helped his partner pay her way. Others still questioned why someone in a relationship would want to travel alone at all.

Which begs the question: is it okay to take a trip without your significant other?

According to bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter, the answer is yes. Further, it may actually be good for your relationship (assuming its mutually agreed upon, which is where it would seem that oberlordy went wrong).

“The discussion is how much time together, versus how much time apart. We are accustomed to vacations being taken together as a couple, quality time,” Winter once told me. “Now we are discovering that, in order to reconnect with ourselves and have much more that we can give to our partner, many individuals within a couple are choosing to do a solo trip.”

“It’s to rediscover a part of themselves that they have not been able to experience since they’ve been married or coupled — perhaps they were too busy raising their children to go rock climbing, or they’ve always wanted to do some special journey — but the family was a precedent, so they were unable to fulfill this desire,” Winter added. “Now we are finding that modern individuals, within a couple, are carving out time to fulfill their own needs and goals, their personal goals. The end result, if done properly, can be very beneficial to the relationship.”

Of course, a lot of this boils down to communication. Without it, it would be easy to see how someone might misinterpret their SO’s desire to take a vacation without them as a lack of interest in shared experiences. It also bears mentioning that trips sans SO should not be viewed as an escape. Trust that, in those cases, a solo vacation is never the answer.

I won’t say whether or not I think oberlordy is an asshole. What I will say is this: if you’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and if circumstances allow, you should take the trip to Japan. There are several mental benefits associated with solo travel, and I do believe that it can be equally beneficial to relationships. I also believe that you should absolutely discuss the potential for a solo trip before booking a (presumably non-refundable) flight to East Asia.”

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