My partner has gone away for a few weeks and it got me thinking about how many people are off enjoying holidays or visiting family this year for the first time in a long time! For a lot of relationships this is the first time they’ve ever been separated from their partners or on a holiday with them. It is exciting but can be tough and so I thought I’d share my tips on being separated or on holidays together whilst staying as connected as possible.
First of all, it is important before you or your partner leave, to have a conversation around how often you want to speak to each other on the phone or via text. This way the expectation is set before the trip and allows you both to be on the same page with what communication looks like during the trip.
If different times zones are in play, it can be tough to find time to talk. My suggestion is to schedule meetings and work around when you can talk and block out a little time in your diary each day that you’ve decided you want to speak. This way you definitely get time to talk and it also feel like you’re prioritizing the relationship.
Another conversation that is important to have before the trip is how you’ll connect sexually and emotionally whilst you can’t be together physically. Are you comfortable with FaceTime or text sexual play, or are you not. Some ideas I share with couples to help keep the intimacy connection alive whilst separated is to set each other some fun things to do sexually on their own and then share with the other. Another suggestion is to send each other gifts to the office, home or the hotel the traveler is staying at. Leave notes or small surprises in their suitcase or at home for them to find. You can even order an Uber eats delivery to your home address from anywhere in the world! Just try to show love in your partners love language however you can.
Now, if you do have a disagreement whilst you’re separate and you cannot reconnect and repair how you usually would, I suggest to use a code word when either of you are starting to feel the conversation is not productive. After this, give each other some space to avoid going into a text battle. Let the code word translate to “let’s take 20 minutes of not talking in anyway and go and regulate our own emotions and then come back again”. I suggest having phone or FaceTime calls if talking about something important as texts leaves too much to the assumptive mind and this is never useful in conflict.
It’s normal to miss each other, express it and let the other feel loved. But just remember “distance makes the heart grow fonder” and try to embrace the independence that can exist within a strong, connected and healthy relationship. Allowing your partner to enjoy travels on their own and truly being happy for them is not only good for them, but also your own mental health while they are gone.
One thing I like to highlight, although I am making suggestions on how to avoid disconnection, if your partner is going on a trip without you, it is normal for you to have times of disconnection. So, one of my biggest tips is accepting the emotion and not placing a deeper, longer term meaning on the feeling. Being physically distant from a partner or feeling you’re missing out on being a part of memories can lead to disconnection. Try not to read into or analyze the overall health of your relationship during these times and allow for a space of reconnection when you or your partner returns.
The same concept goes when you’re both going on a holiday together. Set expectations on what you want to do and how the holiday ideally looks in your mind. Doing this before you go allows for you both to try and meet both your partners and your own needs and also allows for you to not have disappointment from unmet needs that are actually unvocalized needs. Remember, no one is a mind reader so if we feel we had an expectation that wasn’t met but we didn’t voice it then we cannot get upset.
Hopefully following these tips will allow you both to enjoy your holiday either together or separately, and allow your connection to grow from it!