There are as many reasons to take a holiday as there are destinations in the world. For some of us it’s because we need a break from our regular lives, time to relax or space to re-align ourselves mentally and emotionally. For others, where the need for escape is unnecessary, exploring unchartered territories is the main drive and can lead to immense self and worldly discovery.
If you’re in a relationship and travelling as partners, you may be surprised to learn that holidays can also be a useful road test of your compatibility to share a home. They are in fact an invitation and an opportunity to grow together and see just how in sync you are, not only as lovers but as individuals with everyday basic needs.
Holidays vs. short breaks
You may have spent weekends together and been on short mini breaks, but the biggest difference with taking an extended holiday is the sheer amount of uninterrupted time you’re going to have. There will, hopefully, be no work calls, less TV, less texting friends and more time for just the two of you. Whilst it can be comforting only having to think about each other for two weeks, it can also be quite intense without the distractions. The great thing about this trial run is that it’s temporary, but also entirely repeatable should you discover living together is the most fun you’ve ever had.
Sharing physical space
Moving in together is a big step, even when you’re one hundred per cent sure that you’re doing the right thing. Permanently sharing your physical space, especially if it’s your first time, can be an eye opener and one that long holidays go some way toward preparing you for. How you navigate and treat your surroundings will say a lot about you, so be aware of this before you go.
Some people are meticulous in the order they keep and genuinely need this to stay mentally focused, whilst others are always immaculately groomed but could not tidy a house if their life depended upon it. On holiday, more so if you’re sharing an apartment or villa with little intervention from staff, you’ll quickly determine how considerate each of you is to how the other functions. When you walk into mutually virgin territory, be thankful if you can flow together harmoniously, and quickly address any simmering conflict if you don’t.
Dealing with habits
Personal habits and private routines can come under scrutiny when spending extended amounts of time with a person. Most of us realise this from working closely with colleagues or simply growing up in the family home. Be mindful that within the confines of a holiday, previously unnoticed or well-disguised habits could soon be unearthed, along with the reality of who you both are without timely grooming, perfect make up or a consistently upbeat demeanour.
If you find yourself struggling with your partner’s habits, remember one thing and one thing only, that it absolutely goes both ways. You will do things consciously and unconsciously that annoy, disappoint or baffle your partner, in the same way they do to you. The only difference is the exact nature of these habits and the levels of tolerance you both have. Acknowledging this may be your biggest win on holiday.
Seeing how your partner’s personality evolves when they’re completely relaxed in their environment gives you an unobstructed glimpse of who they really are. Be kind and be patient when working out whether you still find the idea of living together appealing.
Sharpening your compromise skills
Being away and having the days and nights totally open to whatever you want to do will be wonderfully freeing, as long as you’ve both mastered the art of fairness. Even if one of you is more laid back than the other, it’s still important that the more determined partner is able to put aside their own wants in favour of their lover’s. This will extend to agreeing the restaurants you decide to visit daily, the excursions you book and the people you choose to mix with. The quieter person should not be assumed to have no preferences, nor the louder one to have more important ones.
Being comfortable with boundaries
Simply because you’re away doesn’t necessarily mean you need spend every waking moment with one another. Wanting to go for a walk alone, read a book on the terrace or catch up with a close friend at home shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of neglect or lack of interest. You are still individuals.
Holidays are also a great test and lesson in how to behave when you have disagreements. Where there is no quick option to jump in a taxi or pack up and leave, staying and dealing with issues will enhance your bond and your communications skills, in exactly the way that you need when living with someone.
Written by Tori Ufondu for Macbeth Matchmaking