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He's scared of flying: AIBU to want my DP to fly before we get married

159 replies

Wawawaa · 10/07/2017 13:32

Sorry, long post... My DP developed a fear of flying about 10 years ago and hasn't flown for that amount of time. We've been together for about three years and he's always portrayed this as something quite mild and that he's not opposed to flying but that he just prefers to travel by train/boat etc.

I like to think of myself as quite an adventurous person who has lived in other places and although I don't go on many holidays I like to explore new places.

To date in our relationship, we've only been on holiday to places that we could go to by train which has limited our choice and made trips a bit more draining and also shorter than they could have been (like 12 hour train journeys to places in France, effectively cutting two days off the holiday).

We are planning on getting married in September and I feel as though he owes me a flight before we get married. AIBU?

I've suggested a holiday flying to Nice in France and although at first he said yes, he then said no because "it's too expensive" (I managed plan it down to £250 for five days including flights and airbnb). He is now suggesting somewhere in the UK but is insisting on hotels which will cost a lot more... and has since admitted that he just doesn't want to fly and that "now is just not a good time" for him to fly.

I'm worried we'll have an odd kind of marriage like a couple I know where one is scared to fly and the other does lots of interesting things all by himself. It's almost a kind of non-relationship imo.

My DP has never painted his fear of flying as such a major thing so AIBU to feel that he now owes me a flight (so to speak) on our next break? (If I'd had known at the start of the relationship that he would potentially never ever fly anywhere, I might have considered not dating him, although that's now not an option).

On another note, he tells people casually at work and in job interviews where flying is required, that he doesn't like flying and so is of course discounted from getting these roles. He seems to think it's quite a normal thing, not to like flying - I don't love it myself but I still fly. Is this an odd thing to admit to and to actually be so afraid that your fear of flying outweighs your curiosity about the world, interest in other cultures, opportunity for interesting new jobs etc? Or am I just being very non-understanding?

He has told me that his ex was very annoyed about him not flying, so was probably one things that contributed to their break up... He has been on a course about it before but didn't get on the flight at the end. He's not keen on doing another course or hypnosis as "it'll be another thing on his to do list".

In my mind I'd like us to be the type of people to trek through the mountains in some far flung place with a baby in a sling (yes, probably unrealistic anyway but I like the thought). AIBU to feel that he sort of owes me a bit of effort and to step out of his comfort zone (as I have done, using up half my annual leave on cramped train journeys) before we say "I do"?

OP posts:

TeenAndTween · 10/07/2017 13:37

If his not flying bothers you now, think how much more it might bother you in 8 years time when you haven't been able to visit any of the places you want to.


wrenika · 10/07/2017 13:38

I guess you could try discussing it and making it clear that this is important - the give and take. But honestly, I'm not a good example because I'm also scared of flying...and I'm not at all keen on trains. I've never flown, and the last time I travelled outside of the city I live in was 6 months ago! My OH doesn't mind. It's not a deal breaker for us. But maybe it is for you.


Wawawaa · 10/07/2017 13:39

I know. But I'm hopeful that he'll sort it out and jump on a plane soon as he's always sounded open to doing a short "test flight", which will apparently solve everything.

OP posts:

SorrelSoup · 10/07/2017 13:41

I wouldn't like the thought of no far flung adventures for the rest of my life, and I'm terrified of flying. I only do it with drugs and alcohol and it's honestly fine. He's obviously got a massive fear if he did a course and couldn't get on the flight at the end. He's not being honest about it. I would expect him to seek help to cure this fear as I wouldn't want fear dictating our lives. It's his refusal to deal with it that would piss me off. YANBU.


Lunar1 · 10/07/2017 13:42

I don't think he owes you anything. Decide if you love and can have a happy life with the man he is now, fears included.

If he conquers those fears later great, but he may not. Can you live with it if he doesn't.

I think he is owed a partner who accepts him for who he is, right now that doesn't sound like you.


Wawawaa · 10/07/2017 13:42

But now that it's coming down to it and I'm suggesting an actual flight, he's getting cold feet. Yes, I suppose it depends whether it's a deal breaker for me. At the moment it's not as he'd always said he will fly (but in reality doesn't). I've offered to be supportive and hold his hand throughout. I'm not sure he thinks it's such a big deal though.

OP posts:

TeenAndTween · 10/07/2017 13:43

How about a holiday to Jersey? Nice short flight from Southampton, and if push comes to shove he can get the ferry home. Smile

However, as he went on a fear of flying course and didn't fly at the end this is not going to be an easy thing to solve. His first step though is to admit that he is scared of it though!


user1471531877 · 10/07/2017 13:43

If he didn't get on the plane at the end of the course - the whole point of it- I doubt he will.
Maybe if he can go on another course and actually do the flight?
I don't think wild horses are going to get him on a plane otherwise !


youhavetobekidding · 10/07/2017 13:43

I think you both need to be very honest with each other about this & how important it is


MaidOfStars · 10/07/2017 13:44

He's clearly terrified. I used to be. It's not a rational fear - no phobia is. Everybody knows in their head that flying is safe, but that doesn't stop the continual panic in their hearts and stomachs at noises/bounces/bing bongs.

Lots of people avoid flying altogether. It doesn't mean they aren't curious about the world or other cultures, it just means they can't visualise getting over their fear right now so they can address that curiosity.

I'm not scared of snakes or balloons or spiders or holes in lotus flowers. I've learned to tolerate those fears in others, and not make demands of them to suit my own particular preferences.

I get that you don't get it. But I think there could be a more empathetic approach to getting him on a flight, rather than demanding/belittling?

I found an amazing website that helped me overcome my fear. Let me see if I can find it again...


user1471531877 · 10/07/2017 13:45

Ps I hate flying but make myself do it for the sake of the family holiday - every time we touch down it feels like I've had a near death experience so I feel his pain!
I find sitting at the front / having a meal/ half a Valium before take off helps 👍


peachgreen · 10/07/2017 13:46

I'm absolutely terrified of flying. I certainly wouldn't take a job where I had to fly and am very happy to be discounted from roles where it's necessary (tbh I wouldn't want to have to travel away from home for work anyway). However my DH loves to travel, so I went to the GP and got given Diazepam. I can now fly providing DH is there to steer me onto the plane! I absolutely HATE it though and wouldn't do it through choice. But I can manage when I need to.

Having said that, if DH had made me getting over my phobia a CONDITION of us being married and talked about it in the way you have, I would have been pretty angry. I understand that you feel restricted but for me, your desire to be married to your partner should override your desire for foreign holidays and if it doesn't, I wonder if he's the right person for you.


PickettBowtruckles · 10/07/2017 13:47

I really feel for him. As someone who has a horrendous fear of flying, I don't think the 'non-scared' really understand it.

My husband LOVES flying, and I do fly, however it is a serious mission. Often tears, medication, and a very antsy me for at least a month before when we fly. I get it annoys him because he just doesn't 'get' it, but I don't think he'd say I owe him to fly or force me into it.

Flying isn't an easy fear to get over (in my experience) and I think it's something you need to decide now either is or isn't a deal breaker, as there's no guarantee he'll ever want to fly.


Brittbugs80 · 10/07/2017 13:47

(If I'd had known at the start of the relationship that he would potentially never ever fly anywhere, I might have considered not dating him, although that's now not an option

Why isn't it an option now? If flying to travel is an important aspect to you, and one that if you had known, you wouldn't have dated him, then would it not be better, long term, for you to end it rather than resenting him or growing apart because you holiday apart?


PuppyMonkey · 10/07/2017 13:51

I have a terrible fear of flying too, although TBF I did quite a lot of travelling before it kicked in and have seen lots of far flung places with and without DP. Haven't been able to fly since 1998 now.

TBF it wouldn't matter how much my DP/anyone else nagged me and told me I "owed them a flight", there's no way I'm getting on a plane now mate, end of. That's the beauty of a crippling irrational phobia. Wink

Fear of flying course ha ha ha not when I know you have to fly at the end. Hmm


Aquamarine1029 · 10/07/2017 13:52

I truly believe you need to think very long and hard about marrying this man. You being upset over his refusal to fly isn't just about flying. It's about how this is going to build resentment into your relationship because you want different things than he does. There's nothing wrong with you wanting a different kind of life, but you need to decide if you two are really compatible in the long run.


OwlOfBrown · 10/07/2017 13:58

Yes, YABVU. He clearly has a very real and serious phobia of flying, but doesn't want to come right out and admit it (for fear of losing you too?) From what you've said (he's done a course but not got on the plane at the end, keeps finding excuses not to fly), he isn't going to get over his phobia any time soon, if at all.

You need to decide whether you want to be with him enough to overlook the limitations his phobia will bring (i.e. not being able to fly with him), or whether flying is more important to you than your relationship.

What isn't fair is to keep badgering him to do something he is really uncomfortable with just because you want to do it. Your post suggests that you are letting your ideal of what holidays as a married couple should be take precedence over his well-being. If so, there are far more problems in your relationship than simply your fear of not going on holiday together.


PenCreed · 10/07/2017 14:00

A friend of mine is scared of flying, but does it anyway - then cries in fear in the airport. She did EasyJet's two day course on fearless flying and it's helped reduce her anxiety about it. If it's a mild fear then perhaps he could look into that? If he refuses then you'll know for sure if he wants to try and tackle it or not.


PenCreed · 10/07/2017 14:01

Damn, skipped over the bit where he's done the course but not the flight. Sorry, ignore me!


cowbag1 · 10/07/2017 14:08

I think it's time to open your eyes; he's not just going to nip onto a flight, he's got a serious phobia.

He shouldn't have down played it to you though as you haven't been able to make an informed decision when agreeing to marry him.

You quickly need to have a very honest conversation and decide if it's a deal breaker or not. When he realises how serious you are, he can either try again with various forms of therapy, try medication as other pp have or tell you straight that he can't do it so you can decide if you want to stay with him.

It's fine if you don't btw, it would be a deal breaker for me (but I recognise how hard it would be to walk away from an otherwise good LTR).


ImAFurchester · 10/07/2017 14:09

I'm scared of flying. I've always been bad but have generally been able to get on a plane in the end. Since I've had my DS I would genuinely happily never got on a plane again, ever. I'm not massive on travelling anyway and love the countryside and beaches in the UK.

I've done the fear of flying course and hypnotherapy and neither have unfortunately worked. I know it's totally irrational.

I'd think very carefully before entering into marriage with this person as to whether you'd be prepared to accept never travelling with him somewhere you have to fly to.

My DH knew about this when we married.


mirime · 10/07/2017 14:13

I'm scared of flying and I'm quite open about it - and yes there are places I would love to go. I have been on a plane and if anything it increased my fear rather than reduced it, plus I spent the first two days of the holiday getting over the panic and the last two days with the panic building up again. That's quite a lot of stress for one week away.


alltouchedout · 10/07/2017 14:13

I'm scared of flying but will do it if I have to, although it is a horrible experience for me, and not much fun for anyone with me. That said I haven't been on a plane since 2005, as by "have to" I mean a reason much, much more compelling than just fancying a holiday somewhere you can only really fly to.


puglife15 · 10/07/2017 14:13

I wouldn't get married tbh. If a fear of flying is enough to make you doubt your relationship then I can't see it going very far. Sorry to be blunt.


Orlandointhewilderness · 10/07/2017 14:15

I think YABU. Poor guy is clearly terrified. you need to work out if travel means more to you than you soon to be husband.

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