Avoiding Fighting on Trips
We travel a lot, and fight a lot.
I was telling a friend about the frankly ridiculous summer we had last year. Charles and I had both quit our jobs, rented a house sight unseen a thousand miles away, hopped over to Europe for three weeks, and then showed back with only two days to spare to shove everything into our moving van before we oved everything. Yikes. She laughed and said that if she had done that with her husband, they’d be divorced by now. She couldn’t imagine spending that much time with him and not fighting. I’ll admit, it’s not easy. I have a bad temper. Really bad, and sometimes I pick a fight. But we don’t fight too often on trips!
Here’s my tips for avoiding fighting on your next trip with your partner.
Avoid bringing up touchy subjects.
You know, that beautiful beach or that European bistro is probably not the place to bring up the fact that it’s been four damn years and you’re still not engaged (cough). Or, that maybe it’s a good time to put down their beloved cat of 16 years. Or that you need a prenup. It’s just not a great time. Save those for later! Like when you’re at home.
Be careful about where to direct your aggression.
If the flight is delayed, or traffic is bad, or some of your things got stolen, or you stub your toe, who should take the blame? Certainly not your partner! I know that it’s easy to lash out at whoever is close to you, but it’s better to instead to think about what is actually causing your frustration. Most of the time, it’s not your partner’s fault. Channeling your anger towards them won’t help anyone.
Schedule some time apart.
If you both work full time, you probably don’t actually spend that much time together. Crazy, right? Seriously though. Between hobbies and jobs and social outings, I only see Charles a few waking hours a day. When we’re on vacation, that amps all the way up to 24 hours a day. I don’t always like spending that time with anyone. I love him, don’t get me wrong, but absence can make the heart go fonder. During trips, I like to schedule a little time apart. You go do something you want to do, and I’m going to go do something else. Spending that much time with anyone will cause some friction.
Count to ten before you say something.
I am the first one to lash out in anger, and something that has helped me is to just take a deep breath and count to ten before I say something. It’s reduced the amount of anger that I’ve been outwardly showing, and reduced the number of fights that I start.
Just let it go, sometimes.
Yeah, they’ve said that same phrase ten times today. But they’re your partner! You signed up for this, so some of the little annoying things, you’re just going to have to let go. You chose to spend your life with this person, and that means all of it, the good, the bad, and the irritating.
Be prepared for when your partner lashes out.
I talked a lot about what you can do to avoid getting mad, but sometimes they’re the ones that are getting frustrated. When your partner lashes out, take a minute to think why. Is it because they’re tired, hungry? Common things on a trip, right? Did something go wrong and they just need to take it out somewhere? I find that it helps to talk about. “I know you’re tired, and that’s why you’re angry. We’re ten minutes from the hotel.”
We’re not perfect, and we still fight. That’s normal. Every couple fights. We don’t have door-slamming dragged out fights, but we’ll argue. These things are just a few things that have helped me move towards a happier, easier vacation.