Why Do I Only Fight With My Boyfriend At Airports? He’s A “Plane-Splainer”


I’m already practicing patience leading up to March Break. I need patience, not because I’ll be travelling with kids. I need patience because I will be travelling with my boyfriend, on a kid-free vacation, which we have done a handful of times. I especially have to practice patience, when travelling with my boyfriend, even more so than when I travel with kids. Why?

The one and only time my boyfriend annoys the fuck out of me, and also the only time we bicker, is when we are in airports.

I’m not talking about fighting while on vacation. We get along famously on vacations. But, from the time a driver picks us up, to lugging our baggage, to checking in, to going through security, to going through customs, right up to the very minute we board the plane and find our seats, let’s just say, my boyfriend should really be thanking me…for having the patience not to kill him. Turns out, we’re not the only couple who has this issue, whether you are travelling with kids or not.

We’ve travelled a number of times together, yet whenever we travel together, he acts like I’ve never travelled before, which I find so annoying. The bickering begins practically the moment we step inside the airport. First, usually, he grates on me when watching me check-in automatically, placing my passport in the machine.

I’m not kidding when I share the last time we travelled together, and the automatic machine asked me to type the first three letters of my first name, My Guy actually said to me, “Type the letter ‘R,” which lead me to shoot back with daggers, “I know what letter my name starts with! I’ve only had my name for…my entire life!”

I’m not exaggerating when I say, from arriving at the airport to getting to the actual gate, I probably tell my boyfriend, approximately 168 times, that, “I have travelled before! Stop acting like I don’t know what I’m doing!” The last time we travelled together, as we were boarding the plane, my boyfriend actually said to me,  “These are our seats! Row One, Seats A and C. It’s the first row.”

I took a deep breath, and, irritatedly reminded him that, yes, I can read a boarding ticket, and that, “Of course Row One is the first row,” all the while also thinking, “I hate you,” and, “I’m never travelling with you again.” In fact, I have told him that, “We can vacation together, but no way am I travelling on the same plane or the same day as you. We will just meet up at the vacation spot,” after he reminded me that I needed to take my computer out at security.

This isn’t mansplaining. It’s more “planesplaining,” a word that I just made up, but is entirely accurate. So I get irritated at him, for “planesplaining” and lose my patience, and then he gets irritated at my irritation and he loses his patience because I’ve lost mine. We both want to pull our hair out, and we both know that we can’t exactly scream at each other, although we want to, because, again, there are so many witnesses. He thinks he’s being helpful. I think he’s infantilizing me. Wouldn’t you, if your partner basically talked to you like a two-year-old?

Not that it always matters that there are witnesses. It seems to me that a lot of couples, whether travelling with children or not, lose their patience with their spouses, in public, at airports. I picked up my daughter, for example, the other day from the airport, when suddenly I heard a man scream, “You fucking idiot!” Of course, I turned my head, like dozens of others, because whenever someone yells, “You’re a fucking idiot,” I just assume they are talking about me.

But, no, this man was screaming at his wife, because apparently, she “forgot a piece of goddamn luggage!” To which his wife, or whatever woman he was with, screamed back, “You’re the fucking idiot. You said you had everything.” I know it sounds harsh, but I really don’t think this fell under the category of verbal abuse. It was was two people who were tired, irritable, cranky, had two small kids, a double stroller, 12 pieces of luggage (one missing) and like me and my guy, didn’t get the memo that patience is not about how long you can wait, but on how you behave while waiting.

Last time my boyfriend and I travelled, waiting for our luggage when we returned home, we both looked at each other and burst out into laughter after witnessing a couple, with kids, bickering, as they were walking out of the airport ahead of us. “Can you just hold these passports? I can’t do everything!” And, “You’re not going the right way. We need to go this way!” To, “Stop telling me what to do,” to, “No, this is the way to get a taxi!” Hearing their bickering made us laugh, only because my boyfriend and I both realized how people could hear us when we bicker.

I’m giving it one more try, travelling with my guy, especially since I started to pay attention to all the other couples who also argue and bicker at airports. I’m not irritated about traveling with children. I get irritated when my boyfriend I travel, and he treats me like a child, which makes me act like a child, rolling my eyes at him, practically stomping my feet, saying, “I know how to do this on my own!”

So, forget mansplaining. What about “planesplaining,” which is just as bad, if not worse. Do you find yourself arguing with your partner when you travel because you’re tired, frustrated, annoyed?

For now, I’m repeating the wise words of Buddha, that “Patience is when you’re supposed to be mad, but you choose to understand.” So I’m going to try to be more patient…even if I don’t understand why he feels the need to remind me to “not forget your passport!”

Honestly, I have more patience travelling with my kids!




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