Five people in one hotel room. That should have been my first sign. A little prudish, you’re thinking? Not when you’re 29 years old, have a decent income and feel as though your days of mattresses on the floor and Raman noodle dinners are far behind you. But I let it slide because it was our first road trip together and being the traveling diva that I am, I just wanted to explore Key West! But even the vivacious traveling spirit that I inherited from my mother could not outshine the giant red flags that popped up among the Jimmy Buffet atmosphere of the Keys.
The first major road trip of a relationship is a big deal. It’s a chance for you to get to know your man – and for him to get to know you – in a whole new light. You’ll be spending hours together in the close, confined spaces of a car, sharing a hotel room, eating every meal together and being in one another’s space…every hour of the day. So kiss your privacy goodbye, ladies, because the road trip won’t give you your private time to pluck just perfectly or spend two hours doing your hair to make it just right.
You’re going to see one another get irritated, tired, and excited about things that may seem strange. But the time for togetherness and experiencing something new with one another can override all the newfound quirks. Spending time on the road with your new man is a very educational experience. So take very good notes. Pay attention, ladies, and more than anything…be honest about the signs you notice.
Here are the most common Red Flags to watch out for when embarking on your first road trip together.
- He insists on bringing friends. You were hoping for alone time, right? A chance to get to know one another outside of your usual routines. To attempt this with 5 other people squished in an Explorer on an 8 hour drive is NOT a good idea.
- He doesn’t want to leave the hotel room. I’m not saying that you two have to be explorers extraordinaire, but you’ve spent time getting to a desired destination and it’s always encouraging if you actually see some of the sights. Doing this will give you a good insight into each other’s personalities and worldviews. See what he has to say about a painting at a museum. Watch his face as he looks at some spectacular scene painted by Mother Nature. If he’s reluctant to leave the hotel room, you’ll never get this chance and it could indicate that he’s not open to seeing new things.
- He avoids paying the check. I know we’re all budgeting, but if Mr. Man keeps on heading for the bathroom when the bill is about to come or he doesn’t even bother to take out his wallet when you’re signing up for the snorkeling cruise, then perhaps you ought to put on the brakes. This is not about the money, it’s about a man being generous and wanting to be a man and take out his lady. This doesn’t have to be anything grandiose…buying you a cheap local trinket can be an extraordinary gesture.
- He makes fun of the locals. Each destination, no matter how exotic or run-of-the-mill has a local flair. Watch out for phrases that want to categorize all the people, such as, “everyone here is lazy,” or “all these people are crazy,” or my favorite, “these people don’t know what real food is!” These seemingly harmless phrases will show you just how open minded and inclusive your man is of those with opposing lifestyles as his.
- He exhibits some routine that drives you crazy. You’re going to be spending more that your allotted time together – that means you’ll be seeing one another’s morning rituals, evening habits and everything in between. Can’t stand it when he takes calls in the middle of a great conversation? Annoyed by his pacing around the bed while he flosses his teeth? Disgusted that you’ve seen him put a dip of tobacco in his mouth late at night? Don’t like that he seems to have a cynical comment about everything? I know these may seem small, but if these things annoy you now, they have the potential to blow up in to major Red Flags. Take notice of his routines and habits and if any of them have any indication of “deal breaker,” beware.