A few years ago, my boyfriend and I stumbled across a collection of relationship advice collated from thousands of life-long partners. One point that stuck out to us was the importance of taking separate vacations every year and we’ve taken that advice to heart. Here’s why it’s a good idea.
- Everything changed once we moved in together. We went from seeing each other a few times a week to being around each other almost constantly. Because we both work from home, we’re especially susceptible to the impacts of cohabitation and we wanted to make sure to alleviate some of the potential pressure that can build up in such close proximity. Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt if you put measures in place to guard against it.
- It’s important to maintain individual lives. My partner and I are both very independent people, but even we’ve fallen prey to the vacuum that can be a relationship. We know how important it is to maintain our individuality and we’ve taken care to keep our own hobbies, friends, and projects. Taking separate vacations is an extension of that and helps us to invest in our lives as individuals, not just as a couple.
- Time apart keeps us sane. As much as we adore each other, you can have too much of a good thing. We spend a huge amount of time in each other’s company and taking time apart is important in keeping us both sane. While this is something we also practice in the day-to-day, having longer breaks from each other helps in easing any pressure that might build up from sharing our lives so intimately.
- We appreciate each other more when we get the chance to miss each other. At the moment, my partner and I spend every single day together, so having the opportunity to miss each other is a great way to ward off the habit of taking each other for granted. It’s a wonderful feeling to long for each other again, and being reunited after a significant break is a sure-fire way to get those endorphins flowing. I always have so much more appreciation for my boyfriend after we’ve been apart for a while.
- We each get a break from daily life. As much as I adore domesticity, there’s an adventurous spirit in me that can’t be quenched. My partner is the same and having the opportunity to indulge in adventure is what allows us both to maintain our daily lives. We can go out and get a taste of the unknown and still enjoy our stability at home.
- It’s exciting to plan separate trips. I love traveling, and while it’s wonderful to travel with a partner, there’s something exciting about planning a trip just for myself. I get to call all the shots without having to take anyone else into account and there’s something liberating about that.
- We have new things to share with each other when we come back. Going out into the world and experiencing new things is a wonderful way to ensure that each of us is bringing new things into the relationship. It can be easy to get comfortable, existing only within our relationship bubble. Taking separate vacations guarantees fresh input.
- It’s an opportunity to understand ourselves in a different context. There are certain facets of my personality that come out strongest when I’m with my partner. Then there are facets of my personality that barely see the light of day when he’s around. It’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that if I want to remain in touch with those different parts of myself, I need to create a context in which they can come out. Putting myself in a different place with different people, allows me to understand new parts of myself, without reverting back to the comfort of my “relationship personality.”
- We’re willing to humble ourselves to the advice of those wiser than us. Even if the rest of this list were untrue, the fact that this advice come from hundreds of couples older and wiser than us (and in happy, long-standing relationships) makes me think it might be a good idea. The mark of a successful relationship isn’t necessarily its longevity, but I can’t help but think that if it’s a common theme in long-term marriages, there must be something to it. Besides, it gives us an excuse to take some time out and who are we to argue with that?