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Woman Refuses To Drive 50 Hours On Vacation To Accommodate Girlfriend’s Flying Phobia

Two women arguing
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Those who have mental health concerns or are close to someone who does understand that struggles with mental health should be taken seriously.

However, a person’s mental health needs should not necessarily come at the expense of someone they love, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

While Redditor TACarTrip understood that her girlfriend had a fear of flying, she could not bring herself to meet the strenuous task of being a solo driver on a long trip.

But when her girlfriend accused her of stopping her from meeting her family, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how to remedy the situation.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for going on my family’s trip alone and not helping my girlfriend go along?”

The OP recognized her girlfriend’s fear of flying.

“I (22 Female) have been dating Emily (20 Female) for two years now. We have lived together for six months.”

“Emily has a phobia of flying and has not been on one for years, giving up international travel because of it. She still hasn’t got her driver’s license either (she didn’t get it by choice), so I’m always the driver.”

The OP was excited about a trip to go see her family.

“A few months ago, my parents asked if I wanted to go on a trip to my grandparents’ house.”

“I was super excited because I haven’t seen them in over seven years because they moved to a state far away (it would be a seven-day trip).”

“They gave me the plane ticket as a gift, so it saved a lot. They extended the invitation to Emily but didn’t pay her fare.”

“They don’t know how to shop online very well, so they transferred the money to me to pay for their tickets and mine.”

When her girlfriend wanted to attend, too, there were complications.

“After a few weeks, my girlfriend said that she would like to go, and since I had the money and would pay almost the same amount by flight as by car, I could pay for the car trip my share and she could pay for hers.”

“I asked if she was serious and she confirmed.”

“But the plane trip is four hours to the airport and two hours of flight, so 12 hours of travel. The journey by car is over 50 hours round-trip.”

The women could not come to an agreement.

“I said I wouldn’t go by car, because I would be the only driver and it’s a big stretch.”

“She said that the bus would not be worth it because there are no direct tickets and it would be impractical.”

“She said that she would really like to go and meet my grandparents, so she thought of us doing this adventure since she can’t catch a plane.”

“I said, ‘I’d really like you to meet them, but it’s not possible for me to take that trip by car, sorry baby, but I won’t.'”

The OP’s girlfriend was inconsolable. 

“She tried to convince me over the weeks, but I stood my ground. She insisted that love is about making concessions and helping each other and that we could have a sweet time doing this adventure.”

“She practically begged me to drive with her, but I didn’t think it was fair to have to drive 50 hours.”

“In the end, I went and she stayed.”

“I came back on Monday, and she is not talking to me because according to her, I abandoned her in something that I know she would have no other option to do and I went alone.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some empathized with what the girlfriend was asking of the OP.

“NTA. Phobias are very real and very serious, but she needs to realize that some phobias mean you have to give something up if you cannot accommodate the phobia. You not being willing to drive for 50 hours as the solo driver is a great example.” – GothPenguin

“OP said this would be a 50-hour round-trip. 25 hours one way is going to require rest at some point. She would end up cutting his visiting time in half.”

“The girlfriend is being incredibly selfish. She needs therapy to help with these phobias.”

“OP, is this what your relationship will always be? She isn’t able to visit your family. She isn’t able to drive. What steps is she taking to help cope with these phobias?”

“She is expecting you to do all the heavy lifting but is not willing to compromise to make it easier for you. If she isn’t actively seeking treatment, then I would reconsider this relationship.” – mybrainhurts

“My ex-husband and I had to drive from almost coast to coast (North Carolina to Vegas) with both of us driving non-stop, only stopping for gas, and that’s when we’d pee and buy snacks, and let the dog out. We’d sleep whenever the other person was driving and didn’t stop for a hotel, and it still took us 2.5 days.”

“Granted, ours was like 34 hours or so (not accounting for lost time for stopping), but still. I would never do that again. It sucked. And that was both of us driving.”

“OP, NTA.”

“Especially because if love is about making concessions, why wasn’t she making any concessions for you? i.e. going to get a permit so she could help you drive or going to a doctor to get help with an upcoming flight she was about to go on with a phobia, or just suggesting herself she stays back this time and meets them later since it wasn’t an ideal situation this time for her to go.”

“She just wants you to do everything for her, rather than have to put forth effort herself. She enjoys having you be her personal chauffeur.” – Investment_Warm

“These estimates don’t account for traffic, roadworks, stopping off for gas/food, or having to take breaks because you’re so tired of staring at brake lights that you’ve gone cross-eyed.”

“Frankly, I’m terrified of flying (to the point I’ve knocked myself out by hyperventilating mid-flight and woke up to an oxygen mask on my face), but asking someone to drive 50 hours round-trip because you can’t be bothered to get a license or get anxiety medication so you can get on a plane requires a unique amount of audacity.”

“OP is definitely NTA.” – pudgesquire

“I’ve driven with my husband between New Jersey and Florida several times, and most of the time, we pick a midpoint to sleep overnight because it’s kind of rough straight through and you end up losing a day to sleep anyway. And that’s just 15 hours when there are two of us to switch off every few hours so we don’t get highway hypnosis.”

“I don’t think Emily understands that her choice to not have a driver’s license means that OP would have had to do all the driving, and would have to make at least 1 ~10 hour-ish sleep stop in the middle.”

“So that’s 2 12+ hour days of driving pushed onto her partner because of her choices. And that’s not counting bathroom or food stops.”

“OP is not a long-haul trucker. She is not used to that grueling of a drive, and even if she was she’d be exhausted and desperately in need of sleep once she got there and would lose another chunk of time with her grandparents.”

“Emily HAS other options and she chooses not to take them. She could get her license and/or therapy. Preferably both. But insisting on driving yet contributing nothing is profoundly selfish and out of touch with reality, and giving OP the silent treatment over it is abusive as h**l.” – mizerychik

Others agreed and were troubled by the logistics of the trip.

“My husband is from Maine, and I’m from Florida. We lived in Savannah, Georgia for seven years. It’s 24 hours, including stops, one-way from where he grew up in Maine to Florida.”

“We’ve done that drive multiple times in one fell swoop without stopping. I don’t recommend doing this. Breaking it up into two 12-hour days is easier to do but it’s still a push.”

“We fly now that we have kids but are hoping to plan a multi-week trip to Florida to see my family (we live in Maine now) and fully plan on ensuring we’ve got enough travel time and actual time in Florida. I would NEVER drive it if we only had a week total.” – Littlelady0410

“50 hours one way is 24 hours in a day, meaning two days and two hours traveling. That’s going 60 miles per hour the whole time, with no pee breaks, no food or gas stops, and no need for sleep, and no weather, accident, or construction issues.”

“And that’s IF they don’t get a flat tire or break down and have to stop somewhere and wait for repairs.” – StrangledInMoonlight

“NTA.”

“That is a LONG road trip and would eat up your entire vacation. In my mind, three or four days of driving to visit for one day, only to drive three or four days back just isn’t feasible. This was a great opportunity for you to visit your grandparents, and I’m glad you took it.”

“Yes, relationships involve compromise, but both parties need to be part of that compromise. And the compromise needs to be reasonable. Her suggestion was not reasonable.”

“You did nothing wrong. I can see why she might feel upset, but that is honestly HER problem. I’m sorry you are dealing with this, but you didn’t do anything wrong.” – MbMinx

“NTA. Her point about making ‘concessions’ is not valid here. You haven’t seen your grandparents in over seven years and she’s asking you to sacrifice over two out of seven days with them to make that horrible drive.”

“And she wouldn’t even be helping with the drive at all. This is not a compromise, this is just doing things 100% her way to accommodate her needs.”

“She needs to get a driver’s license or try to address her phobia with therapy. Even if she can’t necessarily overcome her flight phobia, she’s going to have to come to terms with the fact that not getting on a plane will automatically exclude her from several, if not most, trips.” – MutantsAtTableNine

While the subReddit could understand Emily wanting to go on the trip with the OP, and even her fear of flying, they were not excited about the demands she made exclusively of the OP and not of herself.

Not only was she expecting the OP to do all of the driving on a long trip, which would be exhausting and would cut into family time, but she did not appear to be doing anything to improve her relationship with various methods of travel.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.