It never fails to amaze me how often this sort of passive aggressive yet supposedly “well intentioned” behavior goes over looked in our daily lives. More often than not, it´s presented in a light hearted manner meant to show concern. Sadly though, it also gets thrown around in a way that´s nothing short of shaming.
You may catch yourself saying things like:
“Is your (husband/wife) OK with you traveling by yourself?”
“Why aren´t they traveling with you?”
“How does your (husband/wife) feel about this?”
“Is everything ok at home?”
And the list continues, but the bottom line is: None of this is ok.
That being said, a question like this from a close family member or friend is usually not meant to be offensive.
However, the majority of these inquests come from contemporaries or complete strangers. So in an attempt to clarify this for an obviously confused population, I´ll address some of the main reasons why your married friends choose to travel solo.
Partnership. Not ownership.
It´s embarassing that I even have to explain this in 2019, but just because two people are married, they don´t suddenly become property.
People aren´t furniture.
While society thouroughly embraces the idea of “girl´s weekends” and “male retreats” for married couples, the concept of a married person taking a trip to Paris solo is clearly a step too far outside the status quo.
Many married couples have different ideas of the perfect vacation. Some like cozy mountain retreats while others prefer Vegas style action. There´s nothing wrong with either and couples often cope with these differences by taking separate vacations.
That way there´s no future resentment for having your spouse drag you off to some place when you´d rather be somewhere else, like…anywhere else. Even just folding laundry at home.
Couples don´t always have the same amount of time off.
I´m a teacher and, consequently, get a ton of time off. My husband isn´t so lucky, so I use some of my extra time to visit family or explore new destinations on my bucket list. (Just recently came back from a 3 week solo jaunt to Australia)
Why this situation is so perplexing to people when most couples don´t have the exact same work schedules is beyond me.
One person may not be a fan of traveling.
I have several friends who are in relationships and/or are married to people who are total homebodies. Their relationship is perfectly functional in every other way, with this one exception.
So inevitably one person ends up traveling alone.
This maintains a healthy balance in the home. Avoiding resentment and unhealthy compromises is the key to success in any relationship.
They just like solo travel. Period.
It´s a strange concept for a lot of people, being married, yet also wanting to be alone sometimes. A fundamental aspect of human nature is to pair up and cling to each other for survival purposes. While this base instinct has served our species well in generations past, it has also hindered people from developing their independence. I know people who won´t even eat in a restaurant alone, for fear of being judged.
Solo travel is a source of growth and individual expression for many, which is just as essential to your health as vitamins and sunlight.
It´s self care at its finest. Any healthy, balanced relationship would have room for that.
There are numerous other reasons people choose to travel without their spouse, including but not limited to: Medical reasons, work, lack of funding for both to travel or even separation.
What´s important to remember here is, regardless of the reason, at the end of the day it´s none of your business why someone is traveling without their spouse.
And let´s be perfectly honest, most people asking these questions are just fishing for drama and gossip fodder.
A better question for someone who feels compelled to launch these inquiries would be: why are you so disturbed by someone traveling without their significant other? Seriously, if this is something that compels you to ask rude questions, passively defend your own relationship or spout off about how you´d never go anywhere without your SO; then you need to point that inquisition cannon at a mirror and ask yourself some questions.
In the meantime, your married friends will continue their happy solo travels and go home to their loving spouses with new and exciting stories to tell.
Until next time, keep wandering any way you please.
** Wedding photo by Kristina Diaz. Follow her on Instagram @visualstoriesbyk