Often, when we meet someone new, we are excited about the possibility of what it could mean. Are they a fling? Potential lover? Or someone who will become a friend? It is in the initial months of meeting someone that we start to uncover more about them—their past, their present, and their future. And while this period is new and engaging, we are often blinded by our eagerness to be close to someone that we overlook their imperfections. While nobody is perfect, we must start to become aware more early on of the differences or things that may not be in alignment with what we are looking for. By doing this, we can save ourselves from being taken aback by someone’s actions.
It is in trying moments where people’s true nature appears, whether it be taking a road trip, going camping, traveling abroad, or even being quarantined in your house. Traveling with your partner takes you out of your normal routine and thrust you into a new environment, where people expose themselves for better or for worse. And while we all hope for the best, we are sometimes disappointed in the outcome.
An example of this is when I went on a road trip with my first girlfriend to her hometown over a long weekend. Everything had been going great and I was looking forward to seeing where she grew up and was slightly nervous to meet her parents. Would they like me? I thought to myself. As we started our five-hour car ride to her hometown, we were good as any couple could be, listening to music, enjoying the ride, and taking in the scenery. But slowly, after hour three and a half, things started to take a turn.
We found ourselves getting into a petty argument over the choice of music we were listening to. She was a major country music fan, while I, on the other hand, was not. Although I enjoy all types of music and didn’t mind, for the most part, I told her that I wanted some variation in the music we were listening to. She told me she refused to listen to anything else, since we took her truck, which happened to be because she wanted to bring some furniture back to her parents’ house.
While annoyed by the fact that she made the comment and was trying to assert some sort of power over me because she decided to drive, I quickly realized there were other things at play. I wondered to myself if I had ever noticed that she was unwilling to compromise in other areas of our relationship. The stark reality was that there were plenty of other occasions where I went along with it because I figured it was the right thing to do. Looking back at it, the reason why I allowed her to have her way every time was that I was afraid of walking away and being by myself.
Nonetheless, I let her have her way and asked her to play the one country song I knew from playing Grand Theft Auto San Andreas as a kid called “Amos Moses” by Jerry Reed. But rather than asking why I liked the song, she told me she despised it and immediately changed it halfway through. This would be the start of many instances, which revealed how different we both were from one another and how incongruent we were as a couple. Unfortunately, rather than break up, I stayed with her because she was my first girlfriend until she ended up cheating on me a few weeks later.
This experience, while unfortunate in its outcome, was an eye-opener in many ways. It has now become something that I implement early on when I first start hanging out with someone to get a better gauge than one would about a person over drinks or dinner. As many people have experienced over quarantine, traveling can be figuratively as well. And although the best sides of people may not always come out, you should feel 100% confident in your decision to end a relationship in which two people are not actively trying to work through things. Because the minute one person stops making an effort, a relationship is doomed.