For something that has virtually every positive connotation possible, a vacation can be something of a minefield for a relationship. No matter if we embrace or how we try to deny that we are creatures of habit, we each have a personal routine that we are comfortable with. When that routine is done away with during a vacation, strange things can happen.
The extra time in the company of your partner, regardless of whether you have been with them for weeks or for years, can reveal sides of you both that neither you nor they have seen. And, in a strange city away from everything you might be comfortable with, it might not be easy to take a break from a situation for time alone that would normally work as a pressure release valve. There is a solution and it is called preparation.
- First of all, plan your vacation, not just in terms of your itinerary but also how you will spend the huge gaps between activities and flights. Maybe a vacation to you means clear blue skies and lounging on a beach with a book. Maybe it means parasailing and learning dive for your partner. Neither of you should have to participate in anything that is not your idea of a vacation – that just causes unnecessary stress. Make sure you are both clear on what you will or won’t want to do. Best of all, you can drop the book and parasail (or the other way around!) if the mood strikes.
- Secondly, prepare and plan you transport options. There is nothing like the gnawing pit of unease in your stomach as the clock ticks away and you are stuck in a traffic jam with honking cars all around. The human tendency to lash out and choose a target in stressful situations means that such situations are ripe for conflict. Plan your transport options and always make generous time allowances for possible delays in countries which do not function as well as they do at home.
- Thirdly, all couples fight about money if they are together long enough. If you don’t plan for your expenses realistically before the trip, it could become a point of contention that will start to upset the balance of your relationship while you are supposed to be having fun. Make sure that you account for differing preferences – if you like fine dining and your partner prefers hamburgers, trade off and save money and keep everyone happy at the same time.
Vacations can be very revealing, but they can also over-emphasize negativity because of unusual circumstances. Vacation-proof your relationships and let the positivity flow for a great getaway!