A “Dear Abby” travel-related question caught my eye and think it merits further discussion.
Travel Advice: Don’t Give Into Selfish Boyfriend On Travel
Here’s the letter:
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend is 60 and has an autoimmune disease. He’s dependent on oxygen and suffers a great deal. He can drive, walk and care for himself, although I assist in his care quite a bit.
I was invited to take a trip with my daughter and my sisters to London next month for a week. He doesn’t want me to go and won’t say why, other than he’s frustrated because he can’t travel abroad. (He would never want to go on a girls trip to London.) He actually told me, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t go.” I responded, “If you really loved ME, you would be happy for me to go with my family and enjoy the trip for a week.”
I cook and clean for him every day. I am the breadwinner and pay for everything. I treat him like a king. What should I do? — YEARNING FOR TRAVEL
Before we look at Abby’s answer, let me give you my answer.
Dear YEARNING FOR TRAVEL,
Time to give your boyfriend the ultimatum. His selfishness is exposed by not only by his actions but by his inability to articulate why you should not travel to London. Clearly, he’s jealous of you and jealously is never a good look in a relationship. If he really loved you, he would never said, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t go.”
And let’s be real: even if he wanted to go, he’d probably be a burden on all of you. If you cook and clean for him every day–and pay his bills–just what does he bring to the table? Because it sounds like he is not even all that kind to you when he expresses frustration and places guilt on you when you have the opportunity do something nice.
Don’t sacrifice this opportunity to create priceless family memories by dragging a third rail along. In fact, I’d just dump him. The “king” is acting like a spoiled prince.
Now how did the really Abby answer?
DEAR YEARNING: You do plenty for your boyfriend. He is trying to guilt you into not going. With the load you have been carrying, you deserve a break. Ensure that a friend or family member of his can keep an eye on him in your absence. Then ignore his comments and go on that trip. Please!
Thank you! I agree, though would be harsher in making clear that such feelings are simply unacceptable in the relationship.
I grew up reading the Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer) column in my own newspaper, who actually was the competitive identical twin sister of Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Phillips). I also got a chuckle growing up listening to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a radio host who also dispensed practical relationship advice. Here, I hope we all can agree that the boyfriend is acting selfishly and that while every situation may be context dependent, a controlling partner blocking travel out of jealously is never a good look.