Separate Vacations For Married Folks? Why Not, I Guess

Mountains or the beach? Vegas or Disney? Manhattan Island or Manhattan Kansas? Where to go this year, and who got their way last year, and how do we resolve the vacation destination riddle? Is there a married couple who hasn’t had this discussion? Likely there isn’t, and the answer, though somewhat puzzling, and perhaps a bit controversial, maybe separate vacations altogether. It’s happening with increasing frequency, particularly with two career families, and so-called working vacations.
The practice is gaining in popularity, and for several reasons. Some of them have to do with time, of course, some with money, some revolve around kid care and some with a combination of all the above. Let’s explore a few of the reasons, advantages, disadvantages, and considerations for taking a vacation alone, leaving your mate behind, or on their own separate trip.
You’ve been dying to see wine country, and the offerings of Napa Valley, the B& Bs, the lush, verdant landscapes in and around fabled northern California towns. Your mate? Forget it. No interest. If there’s not a baseball game or an outlet mall nearby, they’re really not interested in going. Besides, wine gives them a headache–not good for a vacation with your spouse, and cheese gives them gas, ahem, not good either.
They, on the other hand, have been itching to get to the new Camden Yards to see the Orioles play, hopefully, the Yankees, then to catch a harborside dinner of crabs and all the seafood fixings, then take in Fort McHenry and revel in all the history there. Your mate? Baseball gives them a headache, history is boring, and crabs give them gas, but well, there’s hope for both of you. These are just a few of the dilemmas we face when it comes time to select a vacation spot. Here are a few more, including some legitimate reasons to vacation by yourself.
It’s been thirty years since High School graduation, and you’d really like to reconnect with the old crowd. You want to see if BT really started that bowling alley, or if JS really did marry that goofball PD and they had seven kids! Your mate never even knew BT, only from scurrilous rumors of what he did as a pinspotter, and she’d been nuts about JS, and couldn’t believe he ran off with that goofball PD and they had all those kids! So no, thank you very much, she’s not going to the reunion. Separate vacations? Why not?
This is the year all your sisters are getting together on the Oregon coast, and your mate isn’t even invited–girls only. Separate trips are in order.
Your daughter has an audition at Juilliard, and only one of you can go because the other has a critical business deal. Take your daughter to New York and enjoy the place for three or four days? Why not?
You have vacation time that you’ll lose if you don’t take it, and your spouse can’t go? Why not take off, catch some of the sights he or she doesn’t care to, and bring them back a nice gift?
Maybe your job title is changing, and the boss requires some updated training that can only be found in Monterey, or New Orleans, or Martha’s Vineyard. Hey, we can all dream of things like this, can’t we? The training is two weeks of intense, eight to five indoor, hands-on work, and your mate has their own work, so–separate vacations? Why not?
Finally, perhaps you just want some time alone. Maybe the kids have worn you down, a life change has left you questioning a lot of things, or a certain birthday looms and you’d like to meditate on it, free of the need to interact, even with your mate. We all need this from time to time, and they’ll understand. Go ahead; getaway; you’ll feel better, and that may be a welcome relief for both of you.
It’s happening a lot more, for a lot more reasons. Separate vacations for married folks are less rare all the time. Even certain resorts are beginning to cater to the single-married set. The practice can be more restful and refreshing than any trip together just because it’s the norm, the way you’ve always done it. As Tara Fass, a therapist in Los Angeles says: “Going away on your own gives you and your partner the experience of autonomy, and also allows you to reflect on your marriage.”
One thing to consider, though, as the experts all agree, separate vacations should not take the place of shared vacations with one another. It’s important that you save time and money for both at some point. It’s also very important to understand why you want to travel separately. If there’s a challenge in your marriage, it may not be the best time to go it alone.