When you and your partner discuss travel, do you ever consider the possibility of taking trips on your own? It may come as a surprise to hear that many happy, loving couples enjoy taking separate vacations – and actually, find that time on their own feeds the health of their relationships.
One important aspect of your relationship is your ability to evolve as a couple. This, in turn, depends on your ability to grow and evolve as individuals. Travel is one of the best ways for each of you to realize your individual goals and dreams – and if you allow room for each of you to follow your unique paths, your relationship can benefit.
Couples who frequently take solo vacations report that they feel closer when they come back together. And it isn’t simply that absence makes the heart grow fonder. They find that they have new passions and insights to share – new stories to tell – and renewed energy that strengthens their union.
REASONS THAT FLYING SOLO MAY BE GOOD FOR YOU BOTH
Why should you consider vacationing on your own now and then?
- Travelling alone is empowering. Making all the arrangements on your own, based only on your own preferences, is an invigorating challenge.
- Partners may have differing desires when it comes to travel – and that is perfectly all right. Your dream ocean cruise may NOT be what your partner wants, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan and enjoy it.
- Solo vacations with family and friends can be mutually beneficial. You can focus on being with your loved ones, while your partner – who may or may not share the same sense of closeness with them – feels relieved that s/he doesn’t have to tag along.
- You want to devote time to an activity that is best pursued alone, such as writing or meditation. Your partner may not dream of sitting alone in a cabin while you scribble in your journal – but this kind of vacation may be perfect for you.
THINK ABOUT YOUR GOALS WHEN PLANNING SEPARATE VACATIONS
Be mindful of your intentions for taking a solo trip. If you’re seeking growth and a healthy dose of time alone, you’re on the right track. However, if separate vacations are merely a means of escaping from each other, you may need to take a closer look at the forces within your relationship. Are there issues you are avoiding?
If you find that your craving for solo time is mostly motivated by your need to get away from your partner, then you may want to have a discussion with a couples’ therapist, who can help you explore what’s happening. But if you sincerely want to give each other the gift of separate adventures, there’s no need to worry about the strength of your union.
In reading about this topic, I came across the story of a couple that had actually been on separate vacations during their anniversary. Although it seemed an unusual choice, they realized they could celebrate their relationship any day of the year. The travel they were enjoying was so meaningful to them that they felt no concern about missing that particular date on the calendar – in fact, it seemed an authentic way to recognize who they were as individuals and as married partners.
THE ENRICHING ASPECTS OF SOLO TRAVEL
When you really think about it, what do you want to bring or add to your marriage? Mutual interests are important, but having separate activities that make you feel alive can also make for a richer relationship.
When you’re planning your trip, you can share what you’re learning with your partner and explain what the experience means to you. You might watch documentaries together, or meet with others who’ve traveled to the same places. This allows you to enjoy the spirit of each other’s adventures without needing to experience them in exactly the same way.
Traveling solo also requires each of you to build new skills. For example, if your partner is usually the one who reads maps and books lodging for the two of you, doing this on your own will require you to stretch new muscles. It may even help you be a more involved companion in planning future travel.
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO SOLO TRAVEL?
If you miss your partner while you’re away, will it ruin your vacation? Of course, there will be moments when you wish you were together. But if you’ve made plans you’re truly excited about, these moments will probably pass quickly. You’ll be together again soon and will have great stories to share.
You may wonder if you’ll feel jealous when your partner leaves for his or her trip, beaming with anticipation. Again, there may be moments like these – but remembering that you are empowering each other to live your best lives will ease any difficult feelings.
CREATING THE CLOSE, LOVING RELATIONSHIP YOU WANT
Do you feel secure in your marriage — or do you find it’s difficult to offer each other the love and support you both need? If the thought of separate vacations is appealing because you can’t bear to be with your spouse, you owe yourselves the chance to take a closer look at what’s happening in your lives right now.
As an experienced therapist working with individuals in the Edmonton area, I can help you gain perspective on the struggles that may be driving you apart. Contact me now to schedule a counselling session at a time that is convenient for you.