Being married means doing everything together, right? Not according to the growing number of married men and women who treasure nothing more than their individual vacations. But what happens to that whole "until death do us part" thing when all it takes to spend some time apart is a great roundtrip fare? Are individual vacations indicative of a larger issue or should we all be flying solo more often? We talked to three pros—Matt Lundquist, LCSW, relationship expert Dr. Kimberly Moffit, and Justin A. D'Arienzo, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist—to get to the bottom of the separate vacation phenomenon. Read on for some fascinating insights.
First and foremost, it's totally normal.
"It is perfectly healthy for a married couple to choose to take a separate vacation," says Moffit. The main reason? They're supposed to be fun. "Different people take pleasure in different sorts of things," adds Lundquist. "It doesn't have to be the case—and how could it be?—that couples always enjoy the same things." So, if your idea of a vacation sounds like a nightmare to your spouse, there's no sense in either party putting a damper on the other's parade just for the camera.
Seeing your partner happy should make you happy.
But there's an even better reason separate vacations might work for you—and no, it's not because absence makes the heart grow fonder. Being able to find personal joy in seeing your partner happy or doing something they enjoy is something Lundquist points to as an important cornerstone of any loving relationship. Think of it as the polar opposite of jealousy: This feeling ultimately allows both partners to find joy in a trip, even if only one of them is taking it.
Moderation is key.
As with any good thing, moderation is key when it comes to flying solo, and it's important to understand the why behind your separate trips, says D'Arienzio. "If you are considering taking a vacation without your spouse because you feel the need to escape them, you may need to take an honest look at yourself and your relationship and possibly consider getting professional assistance," he says. "Your spouse should be your best friend, and who you go to, and who you go with in order to relax and recharge." Moffit echoes the sentiment, adding, "While it's healthy and normal to take vacations apart, I would, however, recommend that couples plan to spend at least one vacation a year together to focus on their relationship," she explains. "Similar to a scheduled 'date night,' a romantic vacation can help a couple stay connected, focus on dreams and goals, and create new memories together."