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Vacation Dates Can Be Misinterpreted

Dear Dating Doctor:

I have been seeing a very handsome and nice guy for the past four months. Recently,he has made two offers for me to travel with him on "vacation." He won an all-expense paid trip to theCaribbean for being a top salesman and has a huge trade show in San Francisco in September. He would likefor me to attend both and stay with him as his guest. I am concerned that it might mess up a good thing.What do you think?

Able but not quite ready to travel

Dear Not Quite Ready:

I'll bet that you have had to occasionally pinch yourself. How exciting --howtempting! The Caribbean and San Francisco. Two of the most beautiful and romantic places to visit in theworld, plus, you'd be going free. I'm sure that every person you have told has undoubtedly said, "you areso lucky --Go!"

My suggestion is not to go. By the fact that you have written me, you have indicated that deep down youare not comfortable with the idea of staying with someone you really don't know for an extended period oftime. And why should you be? You have only known this man for four months. Yes, these "vacations" couldgo well and propel you directly into a long-term relationship full of such meaningful trips. Conversely,it could turn out to be disastrous and lead to the swift and painful termination of a buddingrelationship. Is visiting these two places worth finding out? That is a question only you can answer.

You never quite know another person until you spend a great deal of concentrated time with them. Youlearn their daily routines, mannerisms and what they value. Certain people totally relax while onvacation. They follow no set schedule and move "whichever way the wind takes them." Others, follow apre-determined agenda of places to visit, activities to undertake and restaurants to enjoy. To miss anywould be unacceptable. Hopefully your personality types would mesh and either the wind or an agenda wouldguide you.

Staying together for several days will drive to the forefront important and potentially awkward issuesthat you both need to discuss. Are you prepared to be indebted to another person for what amounts tothousands of dollars worth of free travel? Will it change how you feel about him? In your mind, willyou owe him anything to repay his kindness? If he proposes physical intimacy, what will your decision be?If your answer is no, are you prepared for his reaction?

Too often, people misread an invitation to a vacation as a prelude to an engagement, marriage or a"serious commitment." Be careful not to mistake his intentions or provide him with an opportunity tomisread yours.

If you decide to go, please adhere to a few suggestions. Let your family and friends know your detailedschedule. Communicate with them daily. Have him checked out. There are several top agencies in townwho, within 48 hours and for under $100, can tell you his freckle count. Absorb some of the costs. Takesome ownership so that you are not totally in his debt. And finally, stay in your own room. The respectyou gain from him for this move might just have you re-visiting either location on your honeymoon.

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