Asking For Your Mate’s Permission

My girl LM had a very interesting conversation with two male co-workers yesterday.

The highlights:

  • They can’t go on vacation without their girlfriends (whaaaaaa?).
  • Their girlfriend’s can’t go on vacation without them, because apparently women are guaranteed to cheat when they are unchaperoned.
  • Said cheating is especially prevalent on cruises and in international destinations (I don’t understand the logic behind this one).
  • Girlfriends must ask permission to go on vacation without these men, and they would not allow their girlfriends to go.

I had to take a moment after LM relayed all this information to me, because I think my head exploded. So much chauvinism and sexism all in one place! I know the men who made these comments, and I guarantee that one actually believes all this crap, and the other was probably just following along for the first guy’s benefit. That still makes him wack by default tho; being a follower is never cute. Anyway, beyond the complete #fails at logic (women are guaranteed to cheat on vacation? who comes up with this stuff?), the concept of asking permission really struck me.

Do you ask your significant other for permission when you want to do something? Does it depend on what it is? Or do you just keep them informed, consider their opinion if they are affected, and then do whatever the hell you want anyway?

I haven’t had to ask another person’s permission to do something since I was a teenager. But even then, I didn’t have to ask my parents permission for much. I didn’t even have a curfew #winning. I earned the right to not have a curfew tho – I was responsible, got good grades, and always came home when I told my parents I would be home. They didn’t sweat me, and I could do what I wanted, for the most part.

So you can see my hesitation with this whole “ask your S/O for permission” thing. Asking another adult for permission to do something is just…foreign to me. To be clear, I’m not talking about the idea of keeping your mate informed, and considering them in your decision. Those are two things that absolutely should be done, at a minimum. But permission? That implies that my mate has the power to prevent me from doing something that I want to do, simply because they say so. Ummmm….yeah. I like being in charge of my life & I’m not gonna give that up simply because I choose to spend my life with someone. Being in a relationship or married does not give my mate veto power in my life.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t want my S/O to seek my permission either. He’s grown, I’m grown, we’re all grown & he can do whatever the hell he wants to do. I may not like something he wants to do, and at that point he has to decide whether it’s worth doing. And I would do the same if the shoe was on the other foot. But I’m uncomfy telling a grown person what they can & cannot do. Especially a man. Is it just me?

On Twitter a follower told me I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship since I’m uncomfy with this whole permission thing. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I’m just ready for a relationship with a man who knows I’m his partner, not a child, and perfectly capable of making rational, logical, intelligent decisions.


  • VeeWoo

    A man who believes that his partner is guaranteed to cheat while on a vacation has pretty much just told on himself….

    BTW my daddy lives at 797 Mag and I ain’t asked him permission for jack
    in years. I wish a homie would form his lips to tell me I needed to ask
    permission for XY or Z. #dealbreaker

  • Samirah

    I don’t know about “asking permission” but it’s out of respect for my bf that I let him know what’s going on. I’m not ASKING to go, but more like, do you want to go with me or did you have other plans for us. About the vacations… I can’t see going on vacation w/o him, so that part isn’t applicable to me. I’ve been with him 3 years now, and I still miss him when he just goes to WORK, a full vacation without him would suck.

    I do think that it’s smart not to exclude your SO in your vacations, though, too much temptation… you can’t predict what could happen, so why risk it? I think having a good relationship is more important than a stupid vacation.

    • Anonymous

      So once you’re in a relationship, you are no longer allowed to have a trip with your girls, or heck, just get away for a few days by yourself? Everyone needs a break, including folks in relationships.

      Folks who wanna cheat are gonna do whether they are on vacation or walking down the street in their hometown. Vacation isn’t any extra temptation – its simply that ppl allow themselves to believe that. Temptation is always around, and its the person’s choice to remain faithful to their mate.

  • I think what’s important in a relationship is communication. We can DISCUSS his concerns about a vacation (or mine), but ultimately if we trust and respect each other the words allow and permission don’t ever need to be spoken. Just my 2 cents.

    Oh, and I think vacations without my SO are totally fine and vice versa. If I didn’t trust him I wouldn’t be with him (hypothetical HIM, that is).

  • Monique

     Permission? Nah, but I as Samirah said it, I would definitely let my SO know that I am planning a trip and where I’m going. Not that I need his permission to go but I do like the keep the lines of communication open.

    I would certainly not discourage him from taking a vacation with friends. As a matter of fact, I encourage him to go. Everyone needs a little break and a chance to miss each other.

  • Res

    Great post. I struggle with this issue. Had a heated discussion with an ex about this.

    I let the current BF know where I’m going and expect him to do the same, but as far as I’m concerned “permission” is something I stopped asking my parents for a loooooong time ago and I have decided that it’s a deal-breaker for me. Some people need alone time and/or still value quality time with other loved ones (friends, family), and their partner should respect that. I don’t believe couples should be joined at the hip or cut their single friends off. It’s silly.

    In my experience, I’ve definitely noticed married friends who vanish once they take their vows.  However, I’ve also noticed that, in most cases, a few years into marriage, they are ready for that alone time or time with friends. The question is, do they have anyone left by then.

    I completely disagree with whomever implied you are not ready for a relationship b/c you are uncomfortable with asking for permission and enjoy some level of independence. People who don’t “allow” their SO to do anything without what essentially amounts to their supervision are controlling and the need to control is one step away from abuse.  Further, if you can’t trust your SO to do anything w/o you, then either you’re the problem or you shouldn’t be in a relationship to begin with.

    People who forbid their partner to do anything without them are either:
    – insecure as hell
    – guilty of cheating themselves (and thus fear their partner will do the same)
    – suffering from abandonment issues (seek counseling people!)
    – or controlling

  • Permission and consideration are two totally different things. 

  • FS

    Permission is not necessary, now the respectful thing to do is inform…