In any new relationship, we tend to show only our best side by acting cool, calm and collected, showing just how awesome of a person that we *sometimes* are.
But is it really who you are? If you are putting only your best side forward, then what about your partner? We all do things to show off, it’s in our human nature. But when you start dating someone and begin thinking about the future, sooner or later, you’ll both have to show your true colors.
When we start dating someone new, we often tend to look at the big things while overlooking the little things. We internally ask ourselves questions like, “Do they have a job?”, “Are they motivated?”, “Are they educated?”, or “Will they want kids, and if so, how many?” These questions are fine to ask, and a great starting point, but they are usually questions you know pretty early on, and then what? [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility immediately]
How traveling tells you if your relationship will work out
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating for 1 week or 3 months, you should travel together somewhere *and I don’t mean to your grandma’s house* to find out the little things you may be overlooking when you’re in your home city.
Just you two, alone, on your own. Go on a road trip to California, go backpacking across Europe, or go camping in the mountains. When you do that, this is what you’ll learn:
#1 Organization station vs. winging it. When planning a trip somewhere, it’s important to remember the basics – destination, clothes, food, how much money you need, etc. But it’s also important to think about how you would react if your partner isn’t as organized or prepared as you are.
For example, do you always check the weather before you pack for a trip? Do you usually forget to bring toothpaste? Do you have a first-aid kit? Do you usually forget to carry cash around? Do you know how to change a flat tire? What if your partner doesn’t?
The way you feel about these are important to know, and when traveling, sooner or later, you will find out which ones really bother you. [Read: How soon is too soon to travel as a couple for the first time]
#2 Kindness vs. rudeness. On any trip, you’re going to stop somewhere to eat, get gas, ask for directions, or take a break. An easy way to see how your partner treats others is to pay attention to how they interact with people they’ll probably never see again.
Was he rude to your waiter? Did she cuss out a little girl for crying on the airplane? Did he see someone drop money and run up to them really fast to return it? Remember, how they treat others is eventually how they may treat you. [Read: 7 sneaky little signs that reveal a bad relationship in the making]
#3 Following directions vs. getting lost. When traveling, you’ve usually got directions to your destination whether with your GPS, map, or a mental image of the area. But just because you have a map, doesn’t mean it will be right or you’ll be able to read it accurately, especially if you’re in a foreign country and don’t speak the language.
It’s safe to assume you’ll probably get lost at one point or another, and you’ll either find yourself angry, laughing, crying, or all the above. Will you be mad if she gets you two lost? Will he be okay with admitting that he didn’t know the way to the fountain, after all? Again, these are little things that could be big things, and traveling brings them to the surface. [Read: 23 do’s and don’ts you always have to remember in a relationship fight]
#4 Emergency backup vs. oh-no-1-1. If something goes wrong on your trip, like your wallet gets stolen or there’s really bad weather, do you have a game-plan? If not, what would you do? Would you be really annoyed he didn’t have a hidden stash of cash somewhere? Would you be inwardly glad that she has a backup plan for cancelled flights and stolen luggage?
How you two react towards each other during an emergency can tell you a lot about one another. It shows you how well your partner reacts to a dire situation, and it also shows you how well you two can formulate a solution while under pressure.
#5 Behaving vs. driving you crazy. Have you two been in the car together for over 10 hours? Does he keep making you listen to heavy metal? Do you want to listen to the Frozen soundtrack? Does it annoy you she’s been belting out every word? Are you annoyed she doesn’t even know the right words but sings like she does anyway?
These are characteristics you will absolutely find out about each other when traveling, and it’ll either drive you so insane you want to jump out of the car, or you’ll be able to laugh it off and find another reason to fall in love with your partner. [Read: 7 life lessons you will learn on an awesome road trip]
#6 Comfortable vs. anything but. When traveling, you’ll learn pretty quickly if you feel very comfortable around each other or if your partner has done anything that scares you. Has he done anything to make you feel uncomfortable, like punch a wall because he might have had one too many drinks? Did she start having a panic attack when things don’t go according to plan? Does he open all the doors for you, and hold your hand?
When dating someone, it’s very important to feel like you are safe. If you notice any red flags, pay attention to them, and ask yourself if maybe it’s a sign that your partner isn’t as stable as you thought they were. [Read: 22 early warning signs of a really bad boyfriend]
#7 Agree to disagree. You two may be in love, but that doesn’t mean you are always going to agree on everything. Do you love cats, but he hates them? You want pizza for dinner, but she wants Mexican food? You want to go to Venice and then to Rome, but he wants to go to Rome first and then Venice?
It doesn’t matter who wants to do what, but what is important is how you two figure out what you end up doing. You’ll either have a huge fight every time, or respect each other and talk it out as the two enamored adults that you are, so you can figure out a plan that you both are happy with. Just another reason why traveling helps bring out the way you two solve problems in your relationship. [Read: Do couples always have to like the same things?]
#8 Might as well try vs. absolutely not. If she’s really adventurous and wants to go hang-gliding, but you don’t, are you going to be more than happy with just watching? Or will you get upset she’s going to do it without you? Does he want you two to climb the Statue of Liberty, but since you’ve already done it before, you don’t want to, even though you know it’s important to him?
It’s important to support each other, and just because you’ve done something before, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same experience. The saying, “I want you to want to do the dishes” is so true. Dishes are little things, but it’s not about the dishes. It’s about saying, “I’ve got your back, and I want to support you.” [Read: 13 warning signs to look out for in the first few months]
If your partner isn’t positive and supportive about what your interests are, it’s a huge red flag telling you that they’ll probably try to stop you from doing things you want in the future. [Read: 13 small changes in your partner that are big red flags]
#9 Are you laughing? The most important thing when traveling *and even when not traveling* with each other is to have fun! No matter what road bumps you’ve come across, what detours you had to go through, and what arguments you had to endure, you need to ask yourself, “Did you have fun?”
If you answer yes, then your relationship is on the right track. If you get home from traveling, and are laughing, smiling, and maybe even crying thinking about all the ridiculous things you did together, then you two are ready for so much more!
However, if the trip ended up making you question whether or not you can ever endure spending another day with this person, then it may be a sign that you two aren’t as compatible as you thought you were pre-trip.