Whether you’re off to the big city, an island resort, or the great outdoors, use this relationship advice to make sure your trip is restful rather than stressful.
Vacation time looms and you can't wait to get away with your partner. You have a vision of lounging on the beach hand-in-hand, sipping colorful fragrant drinks… until your soul mate says he’d rather go mountain climbing. Before you blow up and suggest separate vacations, take a deep breath.
We tend to have high expectations of vacations, imagining them as magical, restful trips that ignite the romance in our relationship. And sometimes that does happen, say relationship experts Alicia Fortinberry and Bob Murray, authors of Creating Optimism (McGraw-Hill, 2004). The husband-and-wife team live in the United States and Australia, and have traveled a great deal together during their 22 years of marriage.
“Vacations can be a marvelous time to reconnect and a perfect time to conceive, but they can also be stressful,” says Fortinberry. “Being out of your daily routine tends to cause tension.”
Planned well, however, vacations are a welcome respite from the problems of daily life, says Long Beach, California, psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, co-author of How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free (New Page Books, 2002). “Vacations are an opportunity to be pampered or challenged, depending on whether you like cruises or cross-country hikes,” she says. “If all goes well, you fulfill fantasies and get to be the people you’d like to be at all times—expressing your creative, unfettered selves and remembering how much fun you can have together.”
Plan your trip together and keep the following pointers in mind, and you’re sure to have a fabulous time.
Decide whether this will be a vacation from “trying,” or not.
If you and your partner have been attempting to get pregnant, agree in advance whether this trip will be a welcome break from the pressure of trying to conceive, or an ideal and romantic opportunity to plunge full speed ahead. Keep your decision in mind as you make your plans, especially if you want to keep trying and it appears as if you'll be away during your most fertile phase. Make sure you don't find yourself on a group camping trip or staying at a friend's house when the time is right.
Agree ahead of time that no suggestion can be considered silly, and then put your heads together and brainstorm ideas for vacation destinations. Be honest and share freely and you may be surprised to find that your partner has always wanted to do something that you've also yearned to do. “Talk about each of your dream vacations, or the best (and worst) vacations you've ever had,” says Tessina. “This will help you communicate your likes and dislikes without directly arguing about it, and give you ideas that are pleasing to you both.”
Agree on a budget.
“More arguments take place on vacation over money than anything else,” says Murray. “If you talk about the budget beforehand and agree to stick to it, no one will be worried and resentful about how much hotels, restaurants and activities cost, and you'll avoid arguments.”
Okay, so your ideas of a great time are worlds apart. No need to panic. Many vacation spots offer something for everyone. Perhaps your adventurous partner can scuba dive while you listen to the waves and read a book on the beach. Or maybe there are some great hiking trails you can both enjoy in the morning, followed by a relaxing afternoon next to the pool.
“If the two of you like different sorts of vacations, find a way to incorporate some of each,” says Tessina. “For example, if you love luxury and being pampered and your partner likes hiking and roughing it, you could spend a few days in a nice hotel, and then camp for a few days. This way, each of you gets what you want, and you both get credit for considering the other.”
Related Topics: Stress and Fertility; Your Relationship and Trying to Conceive