Ask Brian: Traveling Man

“Dear Brian…My boyfriend is leaving in a month to go backpacking across Europe with his close friends. I know I will miss him tremendously, and I am already having a hard time coping. I know I will be fine, but I am having a hard time listening to him getting excited and planning his trip. I know this is extremely selfish, and to be honest, it is only because I am jealous of the cool experiences he is going to have. I love him so much, but I feel like an awful girlfriend for having these selfish feelings. Any advice?”

Oh Andy. What do you have to be jealous about? All summer, your boyfriend will be stuck lugging his dumb backpack around some dumb continent, eating dumb food and taking dumb pictures (WE GET IT. THEY HAVE OLD CHURCHES) while secretly wondering how he can ditch his dumb friends in some dumb hostel because they are annoying and dumb. But YOU. You get to sit at home (or lounge! You have options!) and take in some good old American air conditioning, eat all the Easy Mac in the world and watch brand new episodes of The Bachelorette. Who will Emily pick to be her husband? Too bad your boyfriend will NEVER get to know. So who’s the big winner here?

people celebrating on boat
You get to spend your summer trying to stomach images like this.

Is that not helping? All right, well I guess your boyfriend’s trip does sound pretty awesome. But let’s get this part out of the way right now: you are definitely not an awful girlfriend. I don’t even know this guy and even I’m jealous of his trip; who wouldn’t be? And what’s your definition of “extremely selfish” anyway? Mine doesn’t involve being there for someone as they plan and get excited for a trip that I don’t get to take. That sounds like the opposite of selfishness to me. The fact that you even feel bad about how you’re handling this is proof enough that you’re not awful and beating yourself up over this isn’t going to help anything at all. So stop.

Okay. Now that you realize that you’re still awesome, what’s next? Well, you’ve still got an entire month until he leaves. Have fun with it! Spend as much time together as you can stand and don’t worry too much about the trip if you can help it. Fretting and feeling bad about yourself won’t keep the trip from happening, so there’s no sense in doing it. In the meantime, you should spend some serious effort in planning your own summer fun. Cool experiences aren’t exclusive to Europe, after all. Think of all the things you want to do while he’s away and make legitimate plans to do them. Round up your friends, mark everyone’s calendars, and give yourself plenty of awesome things to look forward to. Daydreaming and getting excited about these things should help pass the time and actually doing them will provide you with your own stories to tell when your guy gets back.

In the end, it’s all about how you choose to spend these next few months. Do you waste an entire summer moping and feeling like a bad girlfriend? Or do you make sure you have an awesome summer and minimize the self-pity? It’s up to you. The only thing that isn’t under your control is whether or not you break up with your boyfriend when he sends you the inevitable “Look at me! I’m pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower with my bare hands! I’m the first person to ever think of doing this!” photo. I trust that you know exactly what you have to do at that point.

guy holding leaning tower

Top image source. Click on all other images for sources.

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9 years ago

oh brian u r awesome!

9 years ago

So great! Thank you Brian, advice taken [: