What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Travel Alone

Mr. FAF shouted out to me in excitement from his study room: “I got invited to a wedding!”

He didn’t even wait for me to come see him. He rushed to the master bedroom where I was with a bright smile on his face.

His Nepalese (male) friend who he went to grad school with is getting married in Dallas, Texas.

I think it is Mr. FAF’s first wedding invite in America.

I responded: “Is it a phone call, email, or Facebook invite?” Mr. FAF said timidly “FB.”

I think he was a bit shy about the seemingly unofficial nature of the invite: through social media.

Questions

And below is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Do you want to go?

Mr. FAF: I do.

Me: Do we have to take any days off or is it on the weekend?

Mr. FAF: It’s on a Saturday. You want to go too?

Me: [Silence with a dead stare]

Mr. FAF: Oh ok we can go together.

Me: You are saying you were planning to go alone?

I think Mr. FAF was planning a solo getaway from me, our son, work, and the minimal housework that he does at home.

A series of thoughts rushed through my mind:

– Is he tired of spending time with me? Am I not fun to travel with anymore?

– Is he planning to go see another woman?

– Do other couples travel separately sometimes as well?

– Should I let him go alone or should I force my way into this trip?

I must have looked visibly upset at that time. Mr. FAF assured me that he would look at the plane tickets for both of us. That made me feel better and less agitated.

The wedding is on Saturday, so we will need to take Friday off to start traveling. Mr. FAF also wanted to take Monday off as well to go sightseeing.

That would mean taking two days off work, something I wasn’t perfectly comfortable with. With a frugal mindset, I want to save not only money but also my vacation and sick leave for emergencies.

Pros & cons

In my head, I started analyzing the pros and cons of me joining the trip.

Pros

1. Attending a Nepalese wedding for the first time

Over the past 12 years of living in America, I’ve been to only one wedding. I want to get exposure to more cultural diversity and want to know what a Nepalese wedding is like.

I don’t think I’ve ever had Nepalese food either. I also want to meet Mr. FAF colleagues and make new friends.

2. Checking out the city/state where we might live in the future

Mr. FAF has been talking about moving our whole family to Texas for a while. The weather is nicer than in DC, and it’s much less expensive.

It would be a perfect opportunity for us to check out the city and get a feel for whether we want to live there long-term or at all.

3. A rare occasion to travel before giving birth

I probably won’t do any traveling before or months after I give birth to Baby FAF 2. This will be our babymoon. I will also be past my first trimester and hopefully won’t have bad morning sickness symptoms anymore.

Cons

1. Baby FAF

If we bring Baby FAF with us, we should be ready for all the tantrums he will throw based on our experience from the last trip.

Mr. FAF mentioned that we can leave Baby FAF at home. He will be in daycare on Friday and Monday, so my MIL will take care of him for the whole day only on the weekends.

I myself feel conflicted. On the one hand, I want to travel with our son. On the other hand, it sounds like such a nice idea to take a break from baby duties to travel alone with Mr. FAF. Plus, we haven’t raised that question with my MIL, so I’m not sure how she feels about it .

2. Guilt

I am guilt ridden just thinking about the trip. If we leave Baby FAF at home with my MIL, I would feel like a bad mother who leaves her child to enjoy herself alone.

If we take him, I would still feel guilty about taking two days off work. What if I need more time off after having our second child? What if there’s an emergency, and my MIL doesn’t know what to do. After all, she doesn’t speak English. Those “what-if” questions drive me crazy sometimes.

Why is it that it’s so easy for Mr. FAF to take off without feeling guilty, but I just can’t do the same? It might be because I am a woman, and women always feel bad for not taking good enough care of their family. Maybe I should loosen up and enjoy life a little. Maybe I’m just my own worst critic.

3. Costs

If I join Mr. FAF on the trip, we will incur the following extra costs:

Direct costs:

– An air plane ticket

– A hotel room for two people : He might be able to share a room with another friend who’s also going to the wedding.

– Food: We will probably eat out most of the time.

– Others: If we bring Baby FAF, we will need to think about logistical issues such as a toddler car seat for our rented car

Indirect costs:

– Two vacation days: It’s technically paid vacation, but if I end up using all of sick and personal leave after giving birth, I will need to take unpaid vacation.

What does it mean for our marriage?

I assessed those pros and cons for days. I also wondered what it all meant for our marriage.

I understand that Mr. FAF wants to take a break from family life every once in a while. If I go to FinCon, I’d definitely prefer to go by myself. Mr. FAF can join me, but I’d like to take the limited time to meet other bloggers instead of going sightseeing with him. We can do that on a different occasion.

But I have never thought about going somewhere without him except for when I’m on a business trip. We have always thought about traveling to different places when we retire. Why not just do it now?

I can go on the trip with him, but I don’t want to force my way into it. I want him to want me to go with him.

After much thinking and debating, I told Mr. FAF that he can go by himself for four reasons.

First, I want him to enjoy the freedom he’d like to have without feeling shacked by family life.

Second, I’m sure that if he wants to travel by himself, that thought will stick with him, and he might resent me for preventing that dream trip from happening.

Third, I want to know what it feels like for him to travel without me. If it’s good, then that’s great. If not, he will realize that traveling alone is not that fun and would appreciate me more when he comes home (or not).

Lastly, I have my own pride. If someone implies that I am not invited, I won’t bother to crash their party.

Conclusion

It is not easy to even think that your spouse doesn’t want or need your company sometimes, especially when they are going to have lots of fun with other people. That thought crossed my mind and stuck with me for days.

But I eventually came to my senses. We all need some alone time whether we are married or not. I might take a trip alone one day when the opportunity arises. It’s nice not to worry about diapers, baby tantrums, and other baby-related issues sometimes.

I will help Mr. FAF realize his dream this time. I hope that it will be my turn in the near future, and that Mr. FAF will step up to the challenge and take care of the family by himself for a few days while feeling happy for me and my break.

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25 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Travel Alone”

  • I can identify with your disappointment at not going because I love going to weddings; but my husband tries to avoid them at all costs so in our situation I’d be forcing him to go with me, haha.
    But seriously, you are a REALLY good and wise wife to let him go alone and to have put yourself in his shoes in considering what his reasons for wanting to go alone might be (even if he couldn’t express that to you himself).
    When my husband goes on business trips or away without me, I actually treat it like a vacation for myself as well. As soon as I put my toddler to bed, I treat myself to takeout or food that I don’t often eat because my husband wouldn’t eat it, and put on a movie that he’d never watch with me. And while most of the time I love being with and spending time with my husband, those are the times I take advantage of the peace and quiet and just do whatever I feel like doing!
    Could you maybe also have the MIL watch baby FAF one night while you have a girls night with friends or coworkers during the time Mr. FAF is at the wedding? You deserve a night off or two as well!

    • Thank you, Gaby! My MIL doesn’t like being left alone at home with or without the baby. It’s great to have her around to help out with the cooking while Mr. FAF is away, but I also look forward to days when it’s just me and Baby FAF. It’ll be much more freedom 😀

    • I know! So much trouble for the food and wedding experience. I just wish we could drop Baby FAF at my parents’ and take off for the week lol.

  • Trust me, going to weddings where you don’t really know the couple isn’t all that fun. At one point, my boyfriend’s five friends kept getting married one after the other! After the third wedding where I spent money and time on people I didn’t know, I was like, “Hey, I’m gonna start sitting these out.”

    • Haha great strategy! I think 5 is a bit too many weddings, especially if it’s one after another. It is def not cheap to attend one either.

  • Aside from the fact that weddings do not excite me I think it is unusual that you would think travelling separately is odd at all. My wife and I have been married nearly forty years and she has been to Italy, Ireland, Mexico, and many tennis and beach trips with various friends of hers. I’ve been to Costa Rica and more domestic trips than I can count to ski, hunt, marathon race, watch baseball and fish with my guy friends. Marriages are improved by each partner having exclusive interests in addition to shared ones in my experience. No one person can provide all the social contact that a person needs to flourish. My wife and I spend a huge amount of time together playing tennis, endurance running, hiking, fishing, skiing and travelling but we still benefit from time away from each other and time spent with our own gender friends.

    • Thank you for your great input, Steveark! It’s a relief to know that other couples also travel separately. I think part of the reason why I thought it was unusual is because we’ve been doing long-distance for 4 years, so I thought he’d want to spend more time with me. But you’re right, we all need some alone time! 😀

  • Wow. I find it interesting that you broke down your scenario (problem) in a logical fashion (pros/cons). I bet this wasn’t an easy decision but one that you won’t regret.

  • I think it’s good that you let him go for a bit. It’s just a few days.
    My episode was a lot more troubling. In 2003, I took a sabbatical and we went to Europe for 7 weeks. I was planning to go see my parents in Thailand for 3 weeks for the rest of my sabbatical. Mrs. RB40 developed a serious health issue in Europe and became a lot worse when she got home. My ticket was already paid for so I wanted to go. It was a tough situation. Luckily, her dad was able to take time off to come up and take care of her so I could go. It worked out okay, but I really should have stayed.

    • Don’t feel bad about it, Joe. It already happened. The nice thing that came out of the story is that you got to see your parents, and Mrs. RB40 recovered with your FIL’s help. As long as she was ok with your decision then, I think it should be fine.

      I’m just a bit sad because I thought Mr. FAF would want to travel with me more after 4 years of long distance. But I have to admit I do need a break from him sometimes. 😉

  • I think you did the right thing. I am a firm believer in giving each other space after marriage, I would go crazy if my husband wanted to tag along with me everywhere I go. It does not mean I don’t love him, it does not mean I want to have fun without him, it does not mean I don’t enjoy our time together. It just means that sometimes I need my own space and freedom to live life. My husband too feels the same. We do a lot of things together but we also have our own circle of friends, our own interests and hobbies. It keeps things interesting. Why not take this as an opportunity to pamper yourself a bit? Your mil probably won’t mind watching your son for a few hours while you go out with your friends or even by yourself to a movie or shopping. And you don’t have to feel guilty about spending money on yourself because after all you are saving loads by not going with Mr.Faf.

  • My fiance and I travel / do various activities separately all the time, including post-cohabitation. I like that we have experiences separate from each other. It helps each of us bring new and interesting influences and stories into the relationship.

  • I am not married, but my initial reaction was one of annoyance on your behalf – because why would Mr FAF assume he’d go alone? I think it’s weird to invite only one half of a married couple to a wedding, or one half of a couple who have dated for the long term even; so assuming you wouldn’t want to go seems odd to me. But, again I am not married, or even dating so my perspective is different. A lot of other comments here echo your final decision, and that is good – I agree with STEVEARK – separate travelling time is good, once everyone enjoys it equally. I think my interpretation is that it isn’t as easy for you to think about picking up and going to someone’s wedding without Mr FAF. But you weighed it out wonderfully, and it’ll be hopefully some time for you to unwind too!

    • I agree with the above comment by JJ. I think when it comes to a wedding invitation, that’s a couples thing, and you would ordinarily go as a couple and be invited as a couple. After all you are celebrating a wedding/marriage so normally both are invited. I have never heard of only one party being invited to an official type of event (especially a family type event like a christening etc) and not the other when you are married. I think that is rude. People should treat you as an entity and official invites should be for both. However, having said that, there is nothing wrong with one member of the couple going off without the other on “singles” type trips – like a girl’s trip or a guys trip. Also obviously on business trips, one would usually go alone. There is also nothing wrong with going off alone cos you need a break or some space. But invites should be issued to both parties, and normally both would go, unless one party really didn’t fancy it. That’s the way I see it anyway.

  • As a married man and a father of 2 young girls, I can relate to this article. This may be his chance to simply let go of steam with all the everyday family shananigans. Maybe a time to hang out with the guys, although a wedding usually may be better to go together.

    Your concerns are valid and many of them I can imagine myself doing too. Nevertheless you arrived at the right decision to let him go alone. More wifes should be more understanding and practical like yourself. Let me know how it turns out when he return.

  • “It might be because I am a woman, and women always feel bad for not taking good enough care of their family.” Yes, this. Women are conditioned from a very early age to be caregivers and to sacrifice for their families, which is why we feel so much more guilt than men when we want a break. But everyone needs and deserves some time to care for themselves!

  • Everyone needs a break from family life one in a while. From time to time, I would take a day to hang out with my buddies and my wife is okay with it. If she want to go out with her girlfriends, all she has to do is tell me when. It sucks to go to events when you may not enjoy it.

    I think that it’s a men thing. We don’t have too many worries once we decide to act or go places without our family.

  • I think it was very gracious, trusting and smart of you to encourage him to go on the trip alone. As you mentioned, there may have been some resentment if you attended but he really wanted to go it alone. And it all does come down to trust. I’ve been with my partner for 20 years, and we’ve taken trips together as well as separately. In fact, last month he went on a guys’ trip to Vegas with 3 of his buddies. Was I nervous? (Well, yeah — I’m no dummy! LOL) But anyway, he survived the week, I survived the week, and I really do think our relationship is better for it. Plus, I got a lot of writing done without him looking over my shoulder. Win-win 🙂

  • I had a coworker who took vacations away from his family regularly. I asked him why he did that and he said “it wouldn’t be a vacation otherwise!” Haha. Though in seriousness I just recently took a girls trip with my baby wihout my husband and it was a lot of work!! That was the first trip wihout my husband with baby.

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