Have you ever written about doing separate vacations when you’re married? I think it would be an interesting topic. —Anonymous
Occasionally readers write in, asking me to tackle subjects that may not apply to their current lives, but they’re curious to hear my thoughts about anyway. This question is not as random as it sounds. A little backstory: I’ve been in Brazil for the last nine days with a girlfriend and have been posting pictures of my trip on Instagram.
Initially I wasn’t sold on this topic. My husband and I take separate vacations, and we also take them together. Sometimes I go off solo. My experiences are vastly different depending on who I’m traveling with.
For instance, when I do Vegas with the girls, we might spend most of the day at the spa, shopping, dining at cute restaurants, and maybe we’ll do a poolside day party. With the spouse? He’d rather do the casino or fly over the Grand Canyon and go to a party every night. Solo? Actually, I wouldn’t do Vegas solo. (LOL.) If forced, I’d hang by a quiet pool and check out as many theater performances as possible.
It never crossed my mind that I would marry and be expected to give up traveling unless I was with my spouse. Married means that you’re part of a union, not that you must be attached at the hip at all times and in all places. For those who wonder about a spouse cheating when they’re apart, um, that can happen if you go to the grocery store alone. If you genuinely feel that you have to police your mate to keep him or her from cheating, then I need you to know that you’re wasting your energy.
It’s entirely healthy for spouses to spend time away from each other while traveling and at home, too. Spouses are still individual people with separate identities and different interests. It’s also a great thing to let your partner miss you just a little every now and again, then let him or her appreciate your being around just a little more.
Or, as one married woman put it, “everything in life cannot be about the hubs. Some experiences can be for just you and the girls.” I agree.
But maybe that’s just us, because as it turns out, separate vacations are an issue for some. A woman chimed in during our online chat to say that when her cousin and her husband took separate vacations, there was a lot of concern about their marriage, and “not just from old folks.”
Another lady added that a married woman traveling sans husband is “frowned upon.” She told a story about her grandmother “losing it” when she discovered that her son’s wife had a standing “girls’ night out” each month. “What kind of wife or mother needs a night out away from her family?!” Granny wondered.
Clearly, for some, traveling without a spouse is a “thing.” But in all the stories that I’ve shared, I noticed a common denominator. The problem was always what “they” would say—those family members and random folks who always have something to say. I wondered, “What does your spouse think?” Because if you don’t have a problem with it and the spouse doesn’t have a problem with it, is it really a problem?
It isn’t. Instead of spending your energy worried about what others will say, negotiate some overlooked terms that may cause some unexpected friction while you and your mate are apart. Discuss the length of the trip, expectations for communication and pictures, managing duties of the house while you’re gone, and very important, how to meet each other’s, um, sexual needs while apart.
Also, if your friends and family give you grief about traveling without your spouse and it upsets you, consider telling them that it’s none of their business, and/or stop sharing your trips on social media. Save the photos, especially the racy ones, for your spouse.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “My New Husband Constantly Invites Family to Stay Overnight Without Asking Me and I Hate It”