Married Couples, Separate Vacations? Is That a Sign? - Relationship Advice

Dear Veronica,

I read your article about vacationing couples staying home and I thought it was great. 

My husband and I are married almost 20 years now. I love him, and I am sure he loves me. Our life is a good one. I have no complaints about anything really. But I know you sometimes have a psychic insight into people so I want your opinion about this.

Because of the economy, 2 years ago I was not able to take time off work to take a vacation. My husband works very hard in a union job and really deserved a break when his vacation came around. We had planned to just stay home because I couldn't take off work but I told him he should go do something if he wanted to. He and his brother decided to go on this little golf tour of Virginia. They drove and were gone 6 days and played 6 different golf courses. My husband came home very happy and relaxed.

Well last year came around and I was able to take off for vacation. We really didn't have the money to do a cruise or something like we had hoped so we were looking at smaller vacations. My husband really wanted to go to Cooperstown, which I really have no interest in but I was willing to go, because that's what couples do sometimes. And I figured next year I will pick our vacation spot. Well, the closer it got and the more I was stressing from work, and wondering if I'd even have a vacation the following year, the more I just didn't want to go to the baseball place. i wanted to be with my husband, and I wanted him to be happy and relaxed like he was when he went golfing, but I just didn't want to go to the baseball museum. So after talking about it, we decided to take separate vacations. He went to Cooperstown with his brother and another friend of theirs. I went to the Jersey shore with my parents, who rent a house there every year, so it was a freebee for me pretty much. We both came back relaxed and happy. We missed each other and that first week back we did a lot of hand holding and going to bed early if you know what I mean. Nothing felt off or bad, everything seemed (and still seems) fine.

I do want to add at this point that twice over the winter my husband and I went away together, once with the kids and once without. Just little trips to the Poconos, but they were wonderful.

This brings me to this year. We talked about our vacation time which is coming up and again money is too tight to do something like the trip to Spain we keep dreaming of, but again we each have a week off work and can take some kind of less expensive vacation. This time we both started talking about separate vacations. He was saying how he and his brother were thinking about golfing New Hampshire, and right away I was saying how I think I would like to spend the week at the beach for free with my parents again, and this time our oldest daughter may even go.

Veronica, is it a bad sign that we automatically started planning separate vacations this year? Like any couple married as long as we've been married we have had our ups and downs but I really believe they are mostly ups. I think we have such a nice marriage. I can't imagine being with anyone else and I believe he feels that way too. Even the card he gave me on Valentine's Day this year was so romantic and he wrote it in how I'm not only the best wife he could have hoped for but also his best friend. My mother and a friend of mine have both asked me if something is wrong because we've been taking these separate vacations in summer. Both times I was quick to say no! Nothing is wrong. It just sort of worked out this way. But then I realized this year it didn't just work out, we actually automatically assumed or planned the separate trips. Am I in trouble and I don't even see it? What do you think?

Luann

Dear Luann,

I think you and your husband have totally got it together. I think you sound honest, and careful, and smart. I think you and your husband taking a separate summer vacation isn't a bad thing at all. 

There are many tells in your email. Nothing indicated that you couldn't wait to get away from each other, or that you needed a break. Nothing said you didn't want to spend time with him.

Sometimes if someone is looking forward to that time away from their spouse, it indicates a problem. Sometimes it just indicates that they need a vacation. Some marriages are very passionate, where partners rub up against each other causing a good amount of friction. While they may be great marriages that aren't in trouble, the partners may need to take a break from each other once in a while. That isn't an indication of a problem. It just means some people have remained independent in that way, and I think that's healthy.

So even if you had revealed in your tells that you have an annual need at this point in your 20 year marriage, to take some good high quality "me" time, I still may not think there's an issue. But Luann you didn't even do that. You don't give me any emotional indicators that you needed to break away, or that he did, and that it requires some attention.

Your reasons for having separate trips are all very realistic and logical:  Spending time with his brothers, & spending time with your parents. Going golfing or to the baseball hall of fame, relaxing out on the beach. Plus there have been financial restrictions and even time frame restrictions. This is as realistic and logical as I can imagine any reasoning to be. 

Now let's look at the non-vacation time information you've shared. You went on a couple winter escapades together. I really like that one was with kids and one was sans kids. Romantic time, and family time. Good balance there. And you noted how good it felt to see your husband again after last year's time away from each other. I do know what you mean by going to bed early ;) and I think that's terrific. The handholding is even more terrific. Clearly the two of you share a well balanced life. He still gives Valentine's Day cards with very sweet notions inside. You admit there are ups and downs - it would be a very big red flag for me that something was wrong if you did not. You have time together and you have time apart. I think this sounds very healthy.

My husband and I take separate vacations sometimes too. We do the cruises together, we've been to Alaska together quite a bit. We go on snow mobile vacations together. But then we each have some independent interests too. Usually when I go to Europe, it works out that I've gone with the girls. Meanwhile my husband enjoys motorcycles and races, and things that, like your husband, he shares with brothers and friends. I'd rather pass up those trips. I do know exactly where you're coming from, and there's nothing at all wrong with married people spending a little time apart now and then.

Just because you married him doesn't mean you have to adapt to all of his interests, and vice versa. Additionally, it doesn't mean that either of you should surrender those things. Baseball, golf, racing, stuffy European museums - not for everybody. Of course it is wonderful to give your mate's interests a shot. And if you've got the time and money, by all means going on more than one vacation or planning out longer ones that include both your interests, would be spectacular. But here on Earth it just doesn't always work out that way.

Maybe you only get a week off. Maybe you work hard all year and you deserve a break. You deserve to do something you like. You don't have the time or the resources to do a bunch of different things together. There's nothing wrong with a freebee at the beach with family if that's how you'd truly relax and unwind, and enjoy the short vacation you deserve.

There is a paranoia amongst people regarding maintaining their individuality once they become a partner. I've written Hubs about partners going out with their friends separately, I've shared Hubs about how much time a couple should spend together, I've posted Hubs regarding personal privacy within a relationship, I've given advice on maintaining your mystery and independence, and so on. Questions regarding how to be You while you are also a Partner, comprise the second largest grouping out of all of my relationship advice hubs. (The first are all variations on "how do I get him to marry me.")

It is ongoing. As you can see, even after 20 years of good marriage, you still have to stop and think about how to be independent and OK while still being mindful and careful that your partnership is solid and safe.

Luann I think your situation is very healthy. You obviously care a great deal about your marriage. It's also wonderful to care about yourself. Go enjoy that time you get to spend with your parents, and your daughter, kicking back beachside, and for free no less! And encourage your husband to go off and enjoy golfing with his brother again. Look forward to some of those Pocono weekend getaways this winter as a couple, and as a family if you can. And rest assured that the people that are asking if things are OK, are just looking out for ya. Things are more than OK. OK?

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2 comments

Luann 6 years ago

Thank you so much for answering me!! I feel honored!!

I think you are right V, I guess I just wanted to hear it for sure from an expert.

I feel a ton better and I am looking forward to my beach time with my folks. They are getting older and I know I will cherish these memories.

Thanks again!

You are the best!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

So glad to hear from you Luann!

I'm glad you feel better.

Enjoy this time with your parents. You have nothing to worry about.

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