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Love on the Road, Hate at Home

Dear Lynda,

Two years ago, I met someone while I was riding across Asia. We fell in love and continued to travel together, and it was like a dream come true! But when we got back to Europe, our relationship started to fall apart.

 On the road, it felt like we were perfect for each other, but now, back in the daily routine of a 9 to 5, we’re almost at each other’s throats. We’re planning another journey soon but it feels like we may not last another month! Why is this happening?

– Karina

Hi Karina,

Most relationships naturally go through a honeymoon phase, a time of discovery where everything is new and exciting, you’re both on your best behavior, and the irritating bits are overlooked or dismissed. Add to this the adventure of travel and exploring new places and this phase can potentially last even longer. In addition, I’m guessing neither one of you are the same when you’re immersed in the daily 9 to 5 as when you were on the road, so it’s not unusual to find that your relationship isn’t the same either. The real question, then, is whether it’s something to do with how you each adjusted to returning home or if there’s a fundamental problem with your partnership that wasn’t apparent earlier.

What worked well for the two of you while travelling? What are you finding particularly difficult now that you are home? How have you each adjusted to being back in the reality of jobs, chores, and outside obligations, and are you supporting each other in this process or finding fault and blame? Have you, or your partner, changed in how you are handling challenges that arise? Are qualities that you ignored or found endearing before now driving you crazy? Or has your partner shown a new personality trait you don’t find attractive or one that wasn’t obvious with all the distractions of the road?

Being able to sit down together to figure out what’s happening is an important quality to have no matter where you are. Sorting out what’s due to perhaps a poor adjustment on one, or both, of your parts to being home, and finding better ways of coping is one possibility. Getting outside help may be needed but worth the time and effort if the relationship has a good foundation. But discovering that despite the fact you had an amazing time travelling together you aren’t a suitable match for living in the day-to-day world of regular life is another possible, and painful, outcome. If that’s the case, recognizing it now may save your throats, and you, a lot of heartache down the road.

– Lynda


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