Heading off on our Mother-daughter trip to Paris and London tomorrow (exciting exciting!) I’ve been struck by the many people who ‘wonder’ that our family is taking separate vacations this spring break. Why would we do this? Is there a ‘problem’? The unspoken question being: are my husband and I having marital difficulties? Just to keep everyone from worrying: No, there are no marital difficulties other than the usual (toilet seat up or down kind of things).
There are family vacations and then there are vacations from family. We have been married for 18+ years, going on a separate vacation does not mean the marriage is doomed. It means we have teenagers who want to go to different places and we are happy to accommodate and are very lucky to be able to do so.
I must admit I am really looking forward to travelling with just our younger daughter. My psychic ‘umbrella” as I like to call it, has shrunk from 3 to 1. One is a much more manageable number. 1 to worry about, 1 to make sure isn’t too tired, hungry, bored etc etc. 1 to make decisions about where/what we do for the day. Just one.
There I am sure will be downsides the ‘1’ — unlike when we travel as a family there is no trading off when we tire of each other’s attitudes or when we (the adult) really doesn’t want to do something the other adult might be willing to do. There will little or no alone time for either of us and if one of us gets sick the other will have to stay in.
Taking separate vacations seems to be a volatile issue for people. Some feel it is a sign of trouble and I would have to agree if you are taking the vacation to get away from your spouse because you can’t stand being in the same room with her or him. On the other hand I think it is quite healthy to promote new experiences that you get to come home and share with your family. Also, if a spouse has a hobby not shared by the partner why not let that person go golfing or antique hunting on their own? Girls weekend? Guys weekend? What is the big deal?
As I asked myself this question it occured to me that there is a level of trust that must be reached before couples do this. And I also think that couples with less time under their ‘belt’ so to speak would perhaps feel less comfortable than a couple married for say 18 years. When we were first married I think I would have been horrified by the idea of separate vacations, but as we have grown up and older our own confidence in each other has also grown thus allowing us to explore the world separately while looking forward to coming home and sharing our adventures with each other.
I like this quote from a quick web search I did:
“It’s about space, about partners having their own interests they want to pursue,” said Laurie, 42. “Being a couple does not mean being ‘one.’ ”
The results of my very unscientific web search revealed approximately a 50/50 opinion split on the separate vacation issue. What are your thoughts? Would you take a separate vacation from your partner? Do kids play a role? Are couples with children more likely to take separate vacations than couples without? Because, honestly, sometimes a person just needs a break!
I am really looking forward to the ‘1’. I am also looking forward to the next trip which will be sans children completely but include my husband, I am hoping for the Seychelles..we shall see.