Less is more.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Travel as one and double your appeal.
Okay I made that last one up but it still has merit.
The people, stuff and activities that we really like can have less appeal over time if we have easy and frequent access to them.
As Dan Ariely, one of the leading behavioural economists studying our irrational lives, suggests, “to really enjoy what we like we need to take a break from it.” Which brings me to our topic of today, separate vacations. They can be good for a relationship.
Take a Break and Reignite
Apply this thinking to relationships. People and things increase in appeal if they are not always available – that includes your spouse or partner.
Taking breaks from the person you love by taking separate vacations sends you both off to expand yourselves beyond each other. Whether you spend the time in an archive and s/he spends it fishing, or you go to Burning Man and s/he goes to the Metropolitan Opera and a dozen other high-brow activities in New York City, both of you return as more interesting people.
You both come home from traveling solo with new stories to tell, new perspectives to share and new learning. Having traveled solo, you each see the world with fresh eyes and see each other that way as well.
Solo travel has the potential to reignite a relationship.
Tips for Planning Separate Vacations
Many couples who plan separate vacations come to the idea simply because they have different interests. Others struggle with whether separate vacations are a good idea for them.
Here are a few tips to consider when planning solo travel for two.
- Go on solid ground. Don’t travel solo if the relationship is stumbling and you want it stronger. There are better ways of caring for your relationship.
- Go for enrichment. Do travel solo to enrich your life personally and with the intent of returning and enriching your relationship as well.
- Make it a joint decision. Don’t spring the idea of traveling solo on an unsuspecting partner. Let the notion grow naturally based on caring for both of your needs and interests.
- Decide on the timing together. You may want to go at the same time or different times. Make the choice together and be very clear about departure and return dates.
- Stay in touch – or not. Plan together how much you'll stay in touch. Some couples want a daily connection others don't want to hear a word until you're back together again. This may be a negotiation but hopefully you can come to a decision that suits both of you.
- Don't drop off the map. Share your itinerary, including hotels, dates and any changes, with your partner.
- Share when you return. Be interested in each other's vacations upon your returns. Even if what they did holds little interest for you, because it's your partner and you love them, listen carefully. You'll want the same from them.