Should Spouses Take Separate Vacations?

Her dream vacation is to sit Oceanside with a good book in her hand, while listening to the waves rush into the shore, margarita in hand – enjoying the solace of life without conversation. His, is a trip to Vegas staying up all night taking his chance at the Black Jack table and spending the days cruising the strip on his Harley. Should spouses take separate vacations such as these? Or does doing so open a can of worms that can cause a disconnect in the marriage?

According to marriage experts, taking separate vacations can actually have a beneficial affect on a marriage as long as the vacations are taken equally in duration and quantity. Obviously, if one spouse is constantly taking time off to sow wild oats or pursue personal interests without his or her spouse, while the other is stuck at home ‘–then problems will probably occur. Additionally, experts believe that taking separate but equal vacations is a good way for couples to rejuvenate and renew their admiration for one another as in the old saying, ‘absence makes the heart go stronger!’”

Obviously, each and every marriage is different. Some things may work for some couples and not for others. The important aspect of making separate vacations in a marriage work has a lot to do with trust, mutual respect, and communication. As long as the spouses aren’t trying to get away from one another for the sheer sake of getting away from one another (as in needing a break) separate vacations can be a great idea. It is also important that the two of you can come to a mutually respected place and find vacation options that are amicable for the two of you to enjoy together.

One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage, is that after the vows two people immediately become one. The reality is that when two people get married, two lives collide. This means that two sets of interests and two different passions and two different ideas of rest and relaxation are merged into one. And as you may realize, this doesn’t always work out as planned. This is where the idea of separate but equal vacations can empower couples to remain independent and autonomous without constantly disagreeing on how to best spend their free time. If couples would realize that separate vacation gives each half of the greater whole valuable time to invest in themselves, they would quickly see how these vacations can be an empowering part of marriage. Plus, by allowing one another to pursue personal passions it proves that while you may not necessarily agree on the best way to spend downtime, but you do respect one another’s needs in life.

Separate vacations in no way, need to be seen as a threat to a happy and healthy marriage. The key is communication. If you or your partner expresses an interest in flying solo on a vacation and you are set back by the idea then you should be able to orate your feelings and ask any questions that you may have. You also need to be honest with your spouse about why you are upset about the idea. Is it because you will feel stuck with the kids, or are afraid of being alone? Is it because you don’t feel like your spouse is including you in something important to you? Your fear may be that he or she is trying to get away from you, when the reality may be that your spouse recognizes your disdain for camping in the wild outdoors, and is in truth trying to be thoughtful.

It is also important that a spouse doesn’t automatically make an assumption that their spouse doesn’t want to embark on a new adventure and go along. At least ask. You may be surprised what your spouse is willing to do to spend some alone time with you.

If a marriage is in trouble or is experiencing a time of disconnect or strife, or one spouse feels that their husband/wife is taking too many separate vacations or business trips it can definitely become a point of friction in a marriage. Often times, this is exactly when a spouse will begin to suspect that his or her partner is cheating. At this point, the separate vacations will only cause more problems. And, a private and romantic getaway with just the two of you may be a nice cure all to bring the two of you back together.

Every marriage is different. The most important thing when it comes to separate vacations is that a couple agrees on the concept and is okay with it. Individual vacations coupled with joint vacations may be a valuable and insightful way to keep the passion alive and ensure that both halves of the whole are feeling satisfied in pursuing their own, private interests.

In your opinion, are separate vacations a recipe for disaster? Or do you think that given appropriate communication and mutual respect, they can in actuality be a way to strengthen a marriage?



14 Responses

  1. I take separate vacations from my husband because, we have separate interests. I will not go with him on a 7 day fishing trip on a boat; sleep on a bunk bed and listen to a desiel engine droning all night, euw! I WILL backpack into the high Sierras, lake fish and poop in a “cat hole” (…ok, another euw but just sayin). I love the desert and the mountains because I grew up by the ocean and I need a change. To each it’s own! Separate vacations do not help my marriage. These trips show me we should not be married. I look at videos of the few times we had road trips and one family vacation. He is face was constantly tense and upset looking. He would would run off fishing, surfing or doing anything to not be with me and our daughter. I felt so tired after our vacations. I wanted a vacation from my vacation. Our sex life was suffering terribly as well… : / He never wanted to have sex during vacations. I felt ugly, naggy, fat and undesirable. whatever ….Golf, surfing, gambling, his band, his old friends, his family, his daughter from a previous marriage, his ex-wife, his boss, his job ETC…..ALWAYS CAME FIRST. Narcissist.

    1. I have put off doing things that I have wanted or been invited to enjoy, missed out on taking time to see family just BECAUSE my husband is afraid to ask for time off or thinks he can’t take time off… I get 3 weeks vacation each year and every year I spend my days at home doing nothing! Why should I have to suffer or miss out on seeing my sister and nephews in Florida, for example, because he can’t take a week off for vacation? To me this really isn’t a vacation but a time to visit family and enjoy some Florida sunshine. I live in Illinois and winter sucks! I get really depressed and hate life during this time… To me, I think a loving husband would be supportive to this. I wouldn’t object if he wanted to visit some relatives. I feel like he has controlled my entire life since we got married 13 years ago. I’m so afraid to even ask to do anything without him because he throws such a fit… So, today I scheduled a round trip flight to Florida (staying a week) that cost me less than staying in a hotel for 3 days in Lexington, KY. When I asked or basically told him what I had in mind he went off in a rage! Telling me I better get a part time job to afford all these vacations. I work 40 hours a week and have a pretty good job but he makes more so I guess he things I’ll be taking his money… SERIOUSLY! One time I do what I want and get that crap! Reason #1, why I’m always afraid to confront him or ask for something, because of how he reacts. Well, I’m not giving in this time and letting him take control. I am my own person also and I work hard for my money and deserve to do something I enjoy instead of being a coward, afraid to upset my spouse!!

  2. Separate vacations do not necessarily help a marriage grow. Especially when there are limited funds, maybe one spouse works and can’t go, the money is then used for the one spouse who can go to go have a good time while the other works. Or one wants to escape the other. Or the lack of funds then restricts the working spouse when they do have vacation time. And to be left alone because of work while your spouse is off having fun isn’t fair either, especially if it’s a long trip, out of state or costs a lot of money. Sharing each others’ interests is a better policy. Learning to explore new things together. Maybe the trips of the past while single don’t work for a couple and therefore the couple should explore new options together they can both enjoy. Spending their time and money making each other feel good and enjoying each other’s company. Marriage is just that, doing things together — having new experiences, enjoying life, working together for goals and supporting each other. Courtesy and understanding is paramount in a marriage. If you do things apart and don’t have similar interests you can share and use each other for self-satisfaction perhaps you should have not be in a marriage of mere convenience functioning apart.

  3. It depends! If he want to go fishing, hiking sure go for it. But he want to go on a cruise, the beach, Vegas HELL F***ing NO!!! He would come back to divorce papers and an empty house! Without thinking twice about it.

    And yeah right that guys just want to go to vegas to play “black jack” and ride “Harley’s” unless someone’s name is Harley ?

  4. A marriage is supposed to be between two best friends. The reason you get married is because you can’t imagine living without your spouse. They are the oxygen in a smothering world; the person who soothes your wounds, makes you whole, and completes your personality. When you marry, you become as one. If this is not the case before marriage, then don’t marry; they’re not the right one for you. If you marry, and realize later that this is not the case, then seek counseling, and dedicate your whole life to fixing it.
    As some in your article have related, maybe your hobbies are divergent, but that’s all part of getting married. In every-day life, you get so busy as a couple, that you sometimes can’t bond regularly with your spouse, which leads to frustration and stress and growth in separating directions. To recreate and enhance that healthy connection and state of oneness, shared vacations are the answer. That’s what vacations for married people are supposed to be about; bonding through shared recreational experience.
    When a couple has set aside time in their busy, obligation-filled lives to wind down and recharge, it should be with their spouse so that the best experiences that they have are together. Ignoring this opportunity for re-connection allows for couples to start living separate lives; and that’s not what marriage is.
    Marriage is not two people living together in a partnership; marriage is two people who are joined as one, in the same way that the One who designed the institution of marriage is one with Him-Selves. In the beginning, we were created to be married to one spouse forever. This type of marriage is as close to finding heaven on Earth as there is. When we do anything in a truly healthy relationship, we do it for our partner first, and ourselves second. If this person is your best friend, surely you have enough common interests that will keep you together and growing forever.
    Separate vacations, IMHO, are an acknowledgement that you have to work on your marriage; and what better way to do so, than in the carefree environment of playtime together?

  5. I agree with Jay. We get married to share together. If someone needs time off, it goes to show that they should have opted for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship instead.
    But a rare weekend apart can let couples enjoy some of their individual interests.
    Here too, couples are to try to take on the other’s interests. Another interesting thought… happy couples, just naturally, without second thought, hang together.
    If you have been wondering, “Why I am with him/her”, the automatic “I want to be with him/her” has been turned off…..
    Time to turn the love light back on.

  6. Comments here are few and far between. Which is a pity because this is an important topic. And although I agree with Stef, it seems most correspondents don’t. Perhaps our circumstances are different. I am much older than my wife, and we have two small children. School holidays drive her mad at home, so a holiday is a great idea. And if she goes, then 10 days to 2 weeks makes sense. I run my own business so a week away is a long time, so she’s often away when I’m not, and I sometimes add a couple of relaxing days with boring old friends to a solo business trip. Also we both have family that bore the other. We are fortunately not overly concerned about the financial aspects – my wife takes a perverse pride in seeing how cheap she can be, although I can see how it could burden others less fortunate. All of this argues that some time away – not every holiday – can be beneficial.

    But then we didn’t get married to be always together. There is no fusion of personalities, just two alpha types who adore our children.

  7. I have recently went through an emotional roller coaster and awakening in trying to find who I am. I’ve never been on my own. Went right from parents to roommate to grandparents to living with my now husband of 20 years. I have been contemplating taking a vacation alone. Not because I want to get away from my spouse or kids but simply because I want the time to reflect, unwind, and try and find some balance within myself. I’ve been through counseling for childhood trauma. Now I’m just trying to figure out what makes me happy for me. I love my husband and kids dearly. I just feel like I need to love myself just as much and taking some time away for myself will give me the opportunity to figure out how to do that.

  8. My husband goes away skiing every january…right after new year, for two weeks at a time. I’ve only ever been once and it wasnt that good for him because I had never skied and based on that one and only trip he now refuses to entertain the idea of me going along. This really hurts me as I really want to be a part of this part of his life..i want to learn so we can enjoy this experience together. He says to his mates that it’s the best two weeks of his year and obviously this hurts me deeply that the best two weeks of his year are spent with others. January just gone i found out after he had left that a woman was staying in the accommodation with him and two skiing friends. I was very unhappy about this and he just said that i was being stupid. I have since found out that he is planning a 20 day trip next year…he hasnt even told me yet. He knows that I am really sad and miserable when he leaves me behind with my son but he refuses to let me be a part of it full stop. What do others think about this? My friends dont have this in their marriages and have said they simply wouldn’t allow it. What can I do? Its making me feel unloved and that maybe we should part.

  9. My wife is an RN. She says going away with her friends is a good idea. They can bond and talk. At work they don’t have this leisure. So whats wrong with going out to dinner? I am against this! I love my wife, but don’t know what to do. This is an on going thing.

  10. Wow. Everyone is so against time apart! I personally feel that spouses need to have separate interests, friends, and time.
    A solid, healthy relationship allows for BOTH partners to have some freedom. Now, I read one person’s description of her husband leaving her behind while he goes on a skiing trip every year. And she doesn’t like it. I think that should be addressed. She wants to be included. My husband has more free time than I. So he visits friends and family. I think it’s great. I like my alone time and I’m happy to see him when He gets home. We also vacation together. We’re going to Costa Rica for 2 weeks! Yay.

  11. I went to Paris pre-Covid with my daughter who could only go for about 5 days.This meant that I was on my own for 4
    This was totally liberating as I discovered more about myself, grew as a person spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
    In the past, I would have only gone with my husband to whom I have been married for 34 years.I enjoy going to antique shops, going on tours…all which he just tolerates.
    He is more of a strolling along the beach type of guy!!
    So-o-o a separate vacation seemed to be a good solution for my needs to be met.

  12. Marriage is not a “ball and chain” sentence.
    Both parties should be secure enough to encourage the other to explore their dreams and desires with regards to vacations.

  13. I’ve never understood the attraction of separate vacations. If you have a few dissimilar interests, enjoy those during the week or on an occasional weekend, but vacations are different. Find something you both can enjoy doing, together, during your vacation time. (Likewise, if at-home children were involved, I would never consider a vacation without them, either.) If you can’t find a vacation that you would both enjoy, I have to wonder what you have in common enough to have gotten married.

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