Should Married Couples Take Separate Vacations?

The answer to whether married couples should take separate vacations is 100% yes! And it’s not so you can appreciate your significant other more or to experience the absence that makes the heart fonder.

A crucial element of a bond between two people in a relationship is their evolution as a couple, and how they plan on growing as individuals to give their journey together purpose. Travel is one of the best ways to grow and evolve as a person. Of course, travelling and experiencing adventures as a couple can do wonders for relationships, but so can separate vacations.

Throughout 2018, my husband and I spent about four months away from each other. Last year was big for us in terms of travel, but the majority of our trips were not together. Despite having spent this time apart, we’ve never been closer. I would even go as far as saying our separate vacations made us stronger as a couple. Find out how flying solo every now and again can nurture your relationship.

woman walking near mountain covered by snow during daytime
Taking time out for a vacation for yourself can help to make you a better partner | © Paz Arando/Unsplash

Reasons to take separate vacations

Personal growth is essential, but not always easy to manage in a relationship; travel can help you nurture those aspects of yourself, or re-discover them.

  • Travelling solo is empowering.
  • We all need some “me” time.
  • Your travel goals won’t always align with your partner, and that’s okay, it’s normal.
  • To reconnect with family or friends.
  • To experience something new.
  • Just for the heck of it!

What is the purpose behind your separate vacation?

Be mindful of your intentions for taking a solo trip. If you’re taking separate vacations to get away from each other, there might be other things going on that need to be looked into. For your solo travels to be meaningful, you need to think about what the purpose of your trip is and what your goals are as a couple.

For the last two years, my husband and I haven’t spent our wedding anniversary together because as luck would have it, both of us were in different corners of the world on our own adventures. In no way are these personal adventures more meaningful than the other person, but they are meaningful nevertheless.

These personal adventures carried more weight because they brought more value to our relationship in the long run than being together on a specific day for the sake of what is culturally considered a relationship milestone. The truth is we can go out to dinner or celebrate any day of the year. The personal adventures felt like a much more authentic way to celebrate who we were as a couple and as individuals.

Of course, you don’t have to skip anniversaries together in order to go on a separate vacation. Ideally, we’d prefer to be together. But, we both decided not to hold back at the chance to do something worldly and awesome. So if your purpose is well-intentioned — go for it — because separate vacations are not a threat to secure relationships. 

How do separate vacations help couples to evolve instead of growing apart?

What do you want to bring or add to your relationship? Mutual interests are important, but separate vacations based on your different interests can also make for a richer relationship, especially if you share the journey or what you learn with your partner.

Last year while my husband was preparing for his tours to summit Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, we watched some incredible documentaries about various mountain ranges in the world. One day, I picked up one of his books about the Himalayas which details the history and culture of the Sherpa people, allowing me to broaden my horizons without setting foot on a mountain.

Separate travels can add a new dimension to your relationship, allowing you to deepen your connection and understanding of one another. You may not be on the trip, but it’s still an opportunity for you to expand your knowledge, discover more about your spouse’s interests and get outside your comfort zone.

person in red hoodie standing on snowy mountain during daytime
Can separate vacations take your relationship to new heights? | © Joshua Earle /Unsplash

You take charge in areas that you normally don’t

When my husband and I take trips together, I rarely deal with maps and logistics; he would figure out how to get us from point A to B. However, last year in Italy, I had to figure out how to get to a tiny village in Le Marche from Milan by myself. It took no less than one airport shuttle, two trains, two buses and a taxi journey (all without WiFi). When I finally made it to Urbania, set my bags down, and tried to figure out where I could get a bite to eat at midnight in this small town, I felt empowered.

Experiencing these moments without a spouse allows you to grow as individuals and even as a partner, and as an added benefit, make you a better travel companion for when you do take a trip together.

What if I miss them?

Miss them! When you spend time away from loved ones, it’s acceptable to miss them. But you’ll be together once again soon enough, with lots of stories to tell about your travels, and that’s always fun. And while your partner is away, you also have a golden opportunity to spend some time focusing on yourself. What does that look like? And, if you are the partner that’s taking a trip, small gestures go a long way! Send a postcard.

person sitting on chair in front of tree sipping a coconut
Why not take some time out for yourself by going on your own vacation? | © Artem Bali/Unsplash

Does seeing your partner happy make you happy?

The whole point of a separate vacation is not just to make the heart fonder. You do miss each other, but ideally, you feel excited and happy that your partner is living their best life, even if both of you aren’t on the trip.

Finding real joy in what brings your significant other joy is vital for a healthy relationship. Taking separate vacations alongside trips together has paved the way for us to be an interdependent couple. Separate vacations shouldn’t take the place of the trips you take together. Saving time and money for both is important.

We love to travel as much as possible and save as much as possible to make that happen. The time we’ve spent exploring the world both together and apart, and the growth that has come from it, has had such a positive impact on our relationship.