The Case of Separate Vacations

Posted by Mackenzie T.
Featured image by Takemeomeo

Imagine yourself married to a person perfect for you. What would you do if you needed some alone time? Go have fun with friends? Sit alone at home? I know what you’re thinking, if you have a problem your spouse is there to help you. But sometimes that isn’t enough. Even though you love your spouse deeply, everyone needs some time to themselves ever so often. But how much space is too much space when it comes to this? Not many think that long distances can actually be good! Infact, going on small or large vacations with your friends, without your spouse, can be very healthy for your relationship. There is a point where you can be spending too much time with the person you love, so consider planning a trip away.

What is love?

To start off, I’d like to talk about love itself. More specifically what goes on in the brain. No one really knows how to describe love, or why it happens. Most people just say ‘you’ll know it when you feel it’ and leave it at that. But anthropologist Helen Fisher wanted more than that.

For something that no one knows how to describe the feeling or cause, many people want to experience it. Unlike the common person, Helen refers to a person in love as having a “special meaning” towards another. She says the 3 main signs you’re in love are:

  • Becoming extremely sexually possessive
  • Focusing all your attention on them
  • The person becomes an obsession

Now, not all of these can be considered love. For example, becoming sexually possessive over someone can also be considered lust as you want the person to love you back physically not emotionally. The main point of the signs of love listed above is to show three different brain systems that are associated with love.Which can be summed up as: a sex drive, the romantic love (obsession), and attachment. Love can easily be summed up as being really affectionate for someone, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can lead to being around the person you love too much, which is where the separate vacations come in handy.

Helen Fisher did a study on how the brain reacts when a picture of the person the test subject loved was shown to them. For more information about her study and research you can find her TED talk’s online or go to her website on the study.

Who can love?

The answer to this is anyone. Love has no boundaries to who can and cannot experience it. Studies show a rise in love, specifically a rise in romantic love. About 91% of American women and 86% of American men said they would rather marry someone they love than someone who has every quality they were looking for in a future partner. This is not only limited to America, all around the world! A study of 37 societies show that people want to be in love with the person they marry.

Despite that so many people want to marry for love, the divorce rate is still very high. On average the divorce rate for  first marriages is 41-50%. These were most likely caused by the people who don’t marry for love. If the couple married for love or not, there are ways that can help prevent divorce such as getting space from another when tension is high or just wanting to get away for a while.


Image by Mariamichelle

Separate vacationing

Many couples think that separate vacations are for escaping your spouse, but in reality it can benefit your relationship.  A segment shown on NBC news talks about the many aspects of the relationship that can improve through separate vacations. The clip of this segment talks about the benefits, which includes:

  • Communication skills
  • Trust in the other person
  • Help balance the relationship

Some partners do not agree with the idea of vacationing separately. This can be for many reasons, but all can be worked through by communicating one’s true feelings about the situation. Some common reasons are:

  • Trust issues
  • Financial issues
  • If you have children
  • The location of the trip

Talking is the only way to solve these issues, which is why communication skills become so strong from going on separate vacations. Doctor Ruth A. Peters talks of specific ways to solve these problems in her article “Should Couples Take Separate Vacations.”

Studies have shown that couples who take vacations without their spouses are happier and more trusting in their relationship. Also, that the time apart makes them cherish the time they spend together a lot more. So I guess it is true, distance does make the heart grow fonder.


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