Taking a holiday from your relationship
As September approaches it’s nearly a year since my son left home to go to uni.
In many ways nothing has changed, but sometimes things feel very different. Mostly it’s when we are deciding for two rather than three. This new dynamic was evident when it came to this year’s holiday.
It’s been a hard year: evenings spent occasionally peering at each other from behind respective laptops, half listening while checking work emails. There’s also ever increasing costs associated with my son going to uni. Though expected or ‘dreaded’ these take some adjusting to.
And recently my partner found out his dad has cancer. So a couple of carefree weeks on holiday would be very welcome.
However planning wise we’ve been useless - so caught up with the day to day, heads just too full.
My parents live in Cornwall so every year we make a dutiful visit combined with a holiday - BBQs on the beach watching sun go down, cliff top walks, cream teas, and a general feeling of outdoorsy well-being ....what's not to like!
But this year with his dad being so ill my partner needs to save money to go see him (he lives in South Africa so cost of flying is pretty huge).
So we decide to save what holiday money he would have spent and I will go to Cornwall alone. At first I am torn; it seems unfair to go without him ...I need a break but so does he. I feel disloyal contemplating going alone. I worry whilst I’m 'chillaxing' he’ll be home alone deserted and stressed about his dad.
But he insists saying my parents aren't getting any younger and I need to spend time with them. So I eventually agree.
And surprisingly this time apart doesn’t just do me good, but 'both' of us benefit from taking some space.
We speak regularly and instead of the usual update on domestic chores, we actually speak about 'stuff'. Him opening up about his dad; me about how it feels doing those things we usually do together but without him. We reflect on the past year being two rather than three.
On the phone we give each other our full attention and really listen to each other. We realise it’s been too easy to take stress out on each other and overwhelmed by things we retreat into our own heads.
In taking 'physical' space the unexpected happens – the ‘emotional’ distance seems ‘less’ not ‘more’. Despite physical distance we feel closer ...more connected.
Dare I say it ….we 'miss' each other.
We see how much we support each other. The distance allows us to see the good, the bonds we share rather than just the problems. We focus on what we have rather than what's difficult.
When I return whilst chatting about next break being taken together; a new idea occurs to me ...couples recognise the need to take time out from work but maybe there’s much to be said from taking a short holiday from your relationship.