Vacations are times to kick back and relax, but getaways can also be a source of friction among families, friends or couples, as back-seat driving or paying restaurant bills cause tempers to fray. Here are a few tips from Sonia Prades, a psychologist specializing in family relationships, on how to ensure a stress-free summer break. Today, Relaxnews looks at how to make a couple's first getaway memorable for all the right reasons.
Plan the trip together
When choosing a vacation, it can be all too easy for well-meaning lovers to go out of their way to make their partner happy. But there's no point heading off on a mountain trek or a camping holiday only to become a critical killjoy once you arrive. It's a surefire recipe for disaster. "When thinking about it together beforehand, you should look for common tastes, talk about what each person wants, and discuss the pace you want this vacation to take," recommends psychologist Sonia Prades.
Talk about money before you go
Even if the relationship is still quite new, couples should talk about money before heading on vacay together. "Money is often the cause of arguments in couples, as it can mean different things to different people. Some find it difficult to treat themselves or to treat others. Whether you opt for a shared budget or keep things separate, it's important to agree on the arrangements before you set off," says Sonia Prades.
Fusion is fine, but enjoy some solo time
There's no point getting upset if one partner runs every morning and wants to keep up the habit on holiday, for example. "Everyone has their own idea of what vacation means and it's important not to feel suffocated, especially when it's your first trip away together," explains Sonia Prades. The same goes for intimate time. Couples must read "the implicit signals sent by their partner rather than simply assuming that they're ready and willing all the time, in spite of the heightened desire of a new relationship."
Tolerance and humour, the two key ingredients
A couple's first vacation is often the first time they experience each other full time in day-to-day life, especially if they don't live together the rest of the year. Even if vacation is a time for freedom and abandon, a good dose of tolerance will make it easier to choose activities and plan time. "People who like to be in control will find it the most difficult. Ideally, you should try to remember that your partner is out of their usual environment too, and that you are both on equal footing." Plus, humour can ease tension in all kinds of situations. "You should go home feeling even closer and with a stronger desire to commit, buoyed by shared memories. Successfully tolerating each other, putting aside faults and overcoming disagreements. It's what's often referred to as ‘make or break'."