5 travel relationship killers: Have any ruined your vacation?
At home, the two of you get along like IKEA and Allen wrenches. How could things fail to be even better when it’s just you and your one and only sipping margaritas in a cabana?
Vacation travel may be all about seduction, but before you hit “confirm purchase” on those tickets, beware the pitfalls that come with leaving your home base as a couple.
5. Too much together time
When the two of you go out at home, do you find yourselves struggling to fill the time between placing your order and the app platter arriving?
If you can’t manage small talk for 30 minutes, how do you think the conversation will go when you’re stuck next to each other on a flight for nine hours?
Or, say your lousy night in a strange town ends in a petty argument. At home, you can always go back to your place -- even if you live together, you can pretend to get a phone call, say, “I’m needed back at the office or you’ll fire me immediately? I’ll be right there!” and a make a graceful escape.
Stuck in a hotel room with someone you suddenly realize you can’t stand, however, you may consider making the separation a more permanent one.
4. Eating disorders
There are two extremes in approaches to eating on the road.
The first is to insist on eating precisely what the locals eat, inconvenience -- and potential food poisoning -- be damned!
The other is to locate the McDonald’s nearest your hotel and go there so frequently they start roping off a booth for you.
If you find yourself falling on one side of the culinary spectrum while your sweetheart resides at the other, every meal has the potential to leave one of you either bitterly disappointed at the wasted opportunity for an exciting cultural experience, or just plain hungry.
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3. Bullying, or being bullied, by the help
Some travelers take the attitude: “I have gone to the trouble of traveling to your country and gracing you simple people with my presence; all I ask in return is you pander to my every whim. Now dance for me, prime minister!”
Others take the approach: “I am so delighted just to be here that when the cab driver takes a ‘scenic route’ from the airport at four times the length and eight times the cost expected, I will not only pay, but tip generously! And, yes, you can have my watch.”
Travel offers an abundance of opportunities to come across as either an insensitive buffoon or a clueless wimp.
If either term applies to you, it may be best to cancel the trip and keep your little secret to yourself.
2. Dependency issues
One of you may know an area pretty well -- in the sense that you mastered the local language when you spent your junior year there.
The other may have never even heard of the place before booking the tickets, and can’t ask where the bathroom is without the help of a guidebook and explicit miming.
The result? One half of the couple forms an unseemly dependence on the other.
The inevitable outcome is a relationship that starts to feel less like a pairing of equals than a parent escorting an unusually slow child.
Ah, sweet neediness, the mother of bitter resentment.
1. Pressure fail
How we handle tough times reveals a lot more about our character than how we handle good times.
There’s nothing quite like travel to turn molehills into mountains and shine a spotlight on one’s grace (or lack thereof) under pressure.
Does she become a blubbering, paranoid mess after getting lost for five minutes in a strange town? Does he reach for the Cipro every time you want to eat at a street cart? Is your easygoing travel buddy reduced to tears just trying to find a parking spot in Rome?
Well, that last one is actually understandable.
In the face of most disappointment or disorientation, however, anything less than a rugged acceptance that the world is not a perfect place and that getting there is part of the adventure can turn a lover into a loser faster than a night in a third-class sleeper car after a curry feed at that very suspect street cart.
Damnit, you knew you should have just eaten in the hotel! Next time, if you can't get it your way, just stay home.