When I say, "It's not you, it's me," I mean it. The traveler's resistance to relationships rears its ugly head in many forms. Some call it self-sabotage, and others just say you're not allowing yourself to get close to anyone because you know how it feels in the end.
Maybe you pick out the tiny quirks of an otherwise perfect person, convincing yourself it will never work because you're simply being afraid of commitment. Who could blame you? You'll be in a new city next week with a fresh batch of new adventures ready to delve into and no time to be caught up in someone else.
When I say traveler, I'm not talking about the one who takes vacations for a couple of weeks at a time. I'm talking the kind of person who yearns for full-time travel, finding jobs in new countries and packing up to take every opportunity to explore somewhere new. Here's the thing, having a nomadic lifestyle doesn't allow you to sustain relationships.
Yeah, we've all heard the long-distance success stories, but how long can you really keep that up? How can you do that when you're spending a year backpacking through Asia, staying at different hostels and meeting new people every night rather than Skyping bae? Chances are, your bae back home doesn't get this weird innate need to see the world, or he or she would be out there with you.
It's important to remember there's nothing wrong with that. Just because someone doesn't have the need to explore every nook and cranny of this vast world doesn't make that person any less than you. The beauty of humanity is about how different we all are with our wide array of personalities and values.
But, you need to explore on your own. If you're a person with restless feet and the desire to see the world, you need to go ahead and set your priorities. It's painful to wait around for someone, and it's your responsibility if you truly care about that person to make sure you don't put him or her through any unnecessary pain.
Before people get their panties in a bunch and yell at me about their perfect long-distance relationships and how they make it work, I get it. Every relationship is different. But, as a realist with a logical perspective, it doesn't make sense to leave someone waiting.
If someone is smart and not blinded by love, he or she is not going to wait for you anyway. Yes, it would be nice to have it all. But if you want the magic of being a free spirit and drifting between countries, then it would be wrong to tie someone else down.
This explains why I have pushed away every guy who has come into my life. I know myself; I will find a reason to stop caring about someone I don't see a future with. To those of you who I've done that to, I'm sorry. Honestly, you're better off without me at this point.
I'll put my vulnerability on the line and say yes, I do miss you. It still hurts like hell. But despite the pain, I know I'm doing what's right.
I understand why you want to settle down and why you're content and happy with staying where you are. I know you don't believe me and probably never will, but I didn't want to hurt you. I just knew I couldn't make it work. We don't want the same things in life, at least not at this point.
In the end, a lot of hurtful things were said and done, and I think it all stemmed from this deep-seated difference in our inner wiring. I genuinely hope you find someone similar to you. I hope you find someone with your same goals and needs and someone who makes you happy. I only say that because I know it can't be me.
That's why I've stopped getting involved altogether. I know this isn't the right time for that. While it's nice to have someone to talk to all the time and be assured that someone cares, in my own heart, I know that what I ache for isn't the warm embrace of my boyfriend. Rather, I want the butterfly-inducing awe of ancient temples and the thrill of meeting new friends every day. The only kind of person I would be compatible with would be someone like myself, one who doesn't know what the next step is. The problem with that is one of us will inevitably leave.
I'm not saying this is forever, or that anyone who has a nomadic lifestyle won't find love one day. Who knows? Maybe there will be someone who will change my mind about all of this. But, traveling the world and settling down are two opposite realms of reality. If you're fully committed to one, there's no time for the other.
On one hand, it's good to learn the extent of your independence and relish in your freedom while you have it. On the other, who am I to tell you to give up a good thing? Leave it up to your intuition. Neither option is wrong.
There's no way to pick a right age or time for either because it varies from person to person. For now, put yourself in the other person's shoes. If you can't be the best partner you could possibly be or can't fully commit, don't mess around with someone's heart. Even the most solid ones can become terribly fragile.
This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.