Open road, open relationship: Do you love your car more than your boyfriend?

We’re going to start the week with a guest post from our friend Zach in Croatia. Because of conservative attitudes toward homosexuality in his home country, Zach has asked that we not use his last name.


I’ve never understood open relationships. Maybe I’m just an idiot who judges that kind behavior. Maybe I’m just a romantic (a different kind of idiot, perhaps) who believes in monogamy. All I know for sure is that an open relationship isn’t right for me.

Funny thing is, I was in an open relationship recently, and I didn’t even realize it.

Let me explain.

For two years, I had a boyfriend. I thought we were monogamous, but in fact, there was a third party in our relationship: my car.

Just to be clear, we weren’t fetishists. My boyfriend and I didn’t get off on exhaust pipes or gear shifts. But the car was a key player in keeping our relationship alive.

My boyfriend and I lived 280 km (174 miles) apart. He had his own place, so for privacy reasons, I traveled to see him once or twice each week.

Because of our work schedules and the unreliable buses and trains in Croatia, it made the most sense for me to make the trip by car. If I’d taken the highways, it would’ve been roughly a 2.5 hour drive in each direction.

Unfortunately, the highways here are very expensive to use, so I took local roads instead. That turned my 2.5-hour drive into one that took four hours–sometimes more, depending on traffic and weather.

I would time my drive to arrive as he was getting off work. Then, I’d spend a few hours with him and head back. You get the picture? Four hours on the road, about five hours with him, then four more hours driving home.

These are the things we do for love.

If you don’t enjoy driving, I’m sure that sounds like a nightmare, but I could happily spend hours behind the wheel. I also enjoyed making friends along the route; I got to know police officers, hitchhikers, even a girl who works at a gas station where I’d fill up. (She was heartbroken when I told her that I’m gay: “Why can’t I find a guy who’ll drive from another part of the country to see me?”)

Through all of it, my little bundle of joy worked perfectly, without a single problem. As much love as I put into my relationship, I put the same into maintaining my car. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to see my boyfriend, so I always made sure that my car was in great condition, checking the oil, filters, brakes, battery, tires, and everything else. I treated it like it was my second partner.

So, if my car was running perfectly and it was the tool of keeping our relationship alive, why did my boyfriend and I break up?

Because during the last few months we were together, I noticed that I was more excited about the drive and seeing the sights along the way than I was to see him.

As I said, I’m really not the sort of person who can give his attention to more than one partner.

It’s all for the best, though. By the end, my boyfriend and I didn’t share the same vision of our relationship anymore, so we decided to part ways.

I put a lot of miles on my car during those two years, and I will cherish them forever. When I shut the door of my car and turned it on to leave for the last time, I felt great sadness but I knew the open road was waiting for me.