Heading into the busiest travel season of the year, many couples are going to be put to the test as they experience their first time traveling together.
Whether it be a domestic weekend getaway or a lengthy trip to a far away destination, traveling as a couple for the first time can be just as stressful as it is exciting. When taking a first trip together, for the first time most couples experience truly uninterrupted time together. Side by side at every moment, many people will learn things about their significant other that they may not have previously known – and that they might not want to know.
Dating.com, part of the Dating Group – the company behind over 30 online dating sites, with offices and dating experts in seven countries – today shared the top reasons for breakups following a couple’s first vacation.
“Our most recent survey has revealed the top reasons why couples trips can strain relationships, many of which some people might not consider before taking their first trip with their partners,” said Alex Kudos, Chief Marketing Officer of the Dating Group. “The below findings offer insight to what you may unexpectedly experience while traveling with your partner for the first time, as well as some tips and tricks to avoid turmoil in paradise as a result.”
A recent survey of Dating.com members revealed the following insights on what commonly causes a couple to break up after their first trip together:
- Weird habits: With travel may come the revelation of certain habits that our partner has that we simply cannot stand. 47% of survey respondents reported that they had a previous relationship end due to a quirk that emerged during a trip, one that they just couldn’t accept in a long-term significant other. Many respondents cited habits including:
- Leaving cold or raw food on the counter until it became lukewarm
- Placing dirty laundry on clean sheets instead of in the hamper
- Wearing “outside” clothes on the bed
- Chewing loudly with their mouth open
- Waking up oddly early for no particular reason
- Strange obsessions: Spending an extended period of time together can bring some obsessive compulsive traits to light. The top reported strange habits to cause conflict between couples included:
- Annoyance with their partner over the way they organize their suitcase
- Not budging on seat preference on the flight
- Not compromising on their preferred side of the hotel bed
- Punctuality: Having an idea of activities and sights to see is important to keep the trip exciting, but it should also still be relaxing for the two of you. Putting too much pressure on your schedule can take the fun out of your time together. 31% of couples have ended their relationships after being woken up too early every morning and 38% called it quits over showing up late to dinner reservations. Some respondents also noted that they stopped seeing their partner after arriving late to the airport, resulting in a missed flight.
- Sharing a bathroom: Sharing close personal quarters like a bathroom can be a real test for couples if they are not yet fully comfortable with one another. 40% of respondents reported their partner leaving toothpaste smeared in the sink and forgetting to replace the toilet paper while on vacation was too disgusting to forgive after they returned home.
- Seeing your partner’s true colors: On vacation there are bound to be moments of disruption and inconvenience, from flight delays to language barriers, foreign stomach bugs, food poisoning, seasickness as well as lost luggage and travel documents. A person’s true colors come out in moments of frustration, and 31% of respondents reported that watching their partner snap at a flight attendant, tour guide, waiter, or even at themselves was a big enough turnoff to break up shortly after.
- Incompatibility: Many people have had the unpleasant surprise of discovering big differences in their seemingly compatible partners while on vacation together for the first time. 44% of respondents reported learning about such differences on their first couple trip.
“A couple’s first trip together is a major relationship milestone, whether it happens in your first six months of dating or on your honeymoon,” says Maria Sullivan, Vice President and Dating Expert of Dating.com. “Spending several hours with someone isn’t the same as spending several days with them, and even spending weekends together isn’t the same as spending several weeks together.”
“Upon your return, it’s possible that you decide to split up,” continues Sullivan. “But it’s also possible that you are still a couple and love each other even more than before. Plan your itinerary thoroughly and prepare yourself emotionally for either outcome. A couples trip is a journey worth taking: in order to get to know your partner better, and to learn if you might want to take on life and the world with someone new.”
Maria’s tips to ace “the first trip test” as a couple include:
- Don’t plan activities without your significant other: This is a definite ‘don’t’ on your first trip as a couple. It’s okay to have some alone time every once in a while, but make sure to give your partner a heads up. Disappearing can cause panic and a feeling of isolation for your partner during what’s supposed to be an enjoyable trip. The purpose of the trip is to spend time together, so creating plans to enjoy without them – or without keeping them in the loop – is sure to cause some issues.
- Make sure that the vacation is within both of your budgets: Giving a nice vacation as a gift to yourselves is romantic, but going into debt over it? Not so much. Financial friction can oftentimes cause problems in relationships, so it’s never a bad idea to consult your partner on what they’re comfortable spending (even if only one partner is paying).
- Book in your own name: Dating.com found that 25% of people broke up right before a couples trip. If your former significant other broke up with you right before a trip and caused disruptions and cancellations of your travel plans, it’s easy to understand why you might want to avoid a similar scenario the next time around. Any vacation, big or small, is a financial investment, and you should consider booking flights, accommodations and experiences in your own name. If your partner joins you, then you can enjoy the vacation together and arrange reimbursements with each other later. If you break up, you can still go it alone – and if you do, then you should be open to new discoveries and even new relationships on your journey.