Is it ever OK to be selfish in a relationship?

Having looked up the word Selfish in the Collins mini English dictionary, the description is as follows: caring too much about oneself and not enough about others.

I had a good ponder on this and decided that I didn’t quite fit the description. What prompted the question in the first place was; am I being selfish to want to do things sometimes  without the other half?


Us on a weekend trip to Brighton in November

Let me explain. I met my other half on a dating website eleven years ago, after a disastrous marriage to a man I should never married in the first place. On these sites, you are encouraged to state the qualities you prefer in your future partner, which should set you on the straight and narrow right away, if you are honest with your likes and dislikes. In return, you have to be honest also and your profile should reflect this.

I know that on mine, I stated  that I had children but they did not live with me. (I know this was a strong USP, now I know him better). I also said that I liked Red wine. I strongly stated  that my main interest was travelling. I didn’t say by what means but most people would take that to mean by most forms of transport, not just one.

So with most boxes ticked, we agreed to meet and hit it off straight away. I moved in to my new partners house eight months later and we are still together now.

HOWEVER. This new man of mine then tells me that he does not fly. So we take our first holiday to Tuscany by bus. Yes. 33 hours there ( with a stop in Paris for 5 hours) and 28 hours back. Very nice holiday and still in the first throws of love, very romantic.

Our second holiday abroad to the South of France involved first the Eurostar to Paris (again) and then a very frantic rush across the other side  to the Gare de Lyon, narrowly escaping missing said train by 1 minute. Again, a very nice holiday but without a car ( he doesn’t like driving in holiday either) we had to take public transport everywhere, which proved tricky when our campsite was miles from the nearest town.

Now I don’t know if I am being unreasonable, but it think I’ve been had on false pretences! I have recently booked a trip to Paris on the Eurostar for us and now he tells me he doesn’t like going under the tunnel! What part of “I love travelling” didn’t he understand?

So I have taken to “going it alone” because I want to see the big wide world while I am still fit and able, funded by the proceeds of the divorce from my ex- husband. This may sound mercenary but I waited 12 long years for this divorce settlement and it means that I can travel further afield, but in general by plane.

So here is my quandary: Do I sacrifice all the things I have ever wanted to do, travelling wise, because I have a partner with a phobia of flying? Or do I go for it? I decided on the latter because I am a firm believer of “You only have one life.” My partner doesn’t try to stop me, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that sometimes I do feel a tad guilty. Even if he had me on in the first place. He is a lovely man, very kind and caring, which is why I love him but he just doesn’t have the zest for life that I have.

My belief that you have to do these things while you can, has been compounded by the fact that, once you get in your fifties, your friends and peers start to have serious illnesses and one has even died and she was two years younger than me. This has put the wind up me, somewhat. I have another close friend and a sister in law who both have terminal cancer and a dear friend who suffered a stroke and is now disabled. I truly believe that you do not know what is around the corner.

With that in mind, I have decided to live my life to the full, while I can. Of course, it will be Sod’s law that I will live to be ninety and broke, with only my memories to show for it. Then I may regret my actions. So maybe I am a little selfish sometimes but on the whole I think I contribute to the relationship equally, it’s just a shame that we don’t have the same ideas on what constitutes “travelling”.

My next adventure happens next week. I am going to Cuba on a Voyages Jules Verne tour called the “Revolution Road” which I am looking forward to very much. It starts in Havana and goes all the way down to the other end of the island, taking in all the places of interest to do with the Revolution and Castro and Che Guevarra. We will also see the Sierra Mastre mountains and go to a sugar plantation and have lunch at a chocolate farm, plus a couple of river cruises. There’s a lot of walking, so I am taking my hiking boots. I just can’t help thinking that my man would really enjoy it if he would just allow himself to.

Oh yes, and the other  “off the wall thing” I have gone and signed up to is Storm chasing in Tornado  Alley in June! (Oops – selfish cow!)

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5 Responses to Is it ever OK to be selfish in a relationship?

  1. Jacqueline Routledge says:

    Go for it would be my advice. It’s his choice not to go with you. You can tell I have been on my own too long!

    • kaypickard says:

      Thank you Jacqueline. You inferred that when we met and after the stories you told me of some of the experiences you and people you know have had, I should consider myself very lucky!

  2. jennypellett says:

    Hmm. Really interesting, thought provoking post, Kay. Are you selfish? No, I don’t think so. He knew you wanted to travel when he met you. Perhaps he is being selfish, refusing to go with you. And the tunnel – what’s all that about – you hardly know you’re going through it.
    Maybe we’re all a little selfish. Is that a bad thing? If we all gave in to everything the other person wanted, we’d all be driven mad or into the depths of apathy – because we’d never be doing what motivates us – just placating someone else. If he’s happy for you to go off exploring, then that’s fine, don’t feel guilty or selfish. If he makes you feel bad about going, that’s another issue entirely. In which case – you go for it – as you say, it’s your only life, you have the wherewithal to do these things at the moment, so go enjoy. If you two can enjoy travelling together nearer to home, there are some fascinating places in this country to explore. Have fun!

  3. kaypickard says:

    Thank you Jenny, I appreciate your comments. It’s funny, but as I was writing this, I had almost talked myself out of feeling selfish! And you are right; if we didn’t do the things we want to do and just pleased others all the time, it wouldn’t be much of a life. I do put myself out a lot for him and my family, doing things just to please them, when really I have better things to do! We do enjoy the places that we do go to, luckily and we are, in fact, going to Brittany (on the ferry, of course) in September. That’s if I get back in one piece from my Storm chasing adventure!

  4. Mary Clark says:

    Dear Kay,
    Having met you while we were being Rebels on the Revolutionary Road in Cuba, I can categorically state that you are not selfish. We discussed this over many Pina Coladas (and Mojitos and Daquiris) and you know my thing about “You’re a long time dead”. Your Lovely Man knows it’s making you happy. Being selfish is stopping somebody else being fulfilled in whatever form it takes.
    So go for it girl and enjoy, you deserve it. Besos y hasta la vista.

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