Whether you’re currently in a relationship or hope for one soon, traveling together with a partner can be one of the best ways to determine if you are, indeed, compatible as long-term partners. In fact, many relationship experts claim it’s essential you travel with your partner to make sure you’re a good fit for the long haul of life.
Traveling with someone exposes all of their different sides. You really experience someone’s true colors when you’re both stranded at an airport in a strange place, you’re lost for the first time, or things simply don’t go your way. Here are the 10 reasons why relationships fail while traveling:
1. The spark fades
We all hear about that famous spark — the butterflies in your stomach — that are a sign of a thriving, passionate relationship. But what happens when those sparks fade and the butterflies no longer flutter?
When you’re traveling, it’s not always easy to connect as a couple with all the to-do’s. If you find you are drifting apart while traveling, it can be a sign that you’re either not a good long-term match, or maybe it’s time to invest “more” in your relationship — and we’re not talking just about physical intimacy here. Travel is a perfect opportunity to find new ways to connect with each other, whether that means trying things the other person enjoys, or going on fun dates (seriously), or finding ways to simply appreciate your partner (and that doesn’t just mean buying them gifts).
2. Too much alike
It sounds crazy, but there is such thing as being too good of a match. Have you ever heard the phrase “opposites attract?” Well, it’s true. While it’s always good to have a like-minded partner you get along with, you also need to challenge each other in new ways, especially while traveling.
When you travel, you want to broaden your mind. If your partner never wants to try anything different, or simply wants to do whatever you want, what’s the point of traveling with them in the first place? You could have just gone alone.
3. Relying on sex
You want to connect with your partner on an intimate level. But if you turn to sex as a way to solve problems, or find it is the only way you can really connect, you might need to recognize you don’t have much of a mature relationship at all. When you travel, things will go wrong. In fact, learning to be patient and flexible when things do not go according to plan is a common aspect of traveling. And if all you have going for the two of you is great sex, that won’t work very well when you are both tired, hungry, and cranky at the end of a long day.
4. Poor communication
We all know that communication problems can spell disaster in relationships. Sometimes, it’s hard to spot when communication lines aren’t open. If you feel like you and your partner “never argue,” that might be a sign your relationship is failing. It’s impossible to avoid arguments or disagreements 100 percent of the time, especially when you’re spending a lot of time together.
When you travel, disagreements are going to happen. If you can’t work through differences of opinion on where to go for breakfast or what tour to take next, and can’t learn to compromise, odds are your relationship isn’t going to survive back home either.
5. You’re too attached
Becoming too attached can be a real problem. One severe type of attachment is known as Anxious-Preoccupation, and it often leads to trouble in relationships. If you or your partner are unable to face the idea of any time apart from each other when you’re on the road, this isn’t as cute as it seems in the movies.
When you’re traveling, you’re together 24/7 which can be a very different experience from life at home where you may spend evenings and mornings together, but go your separate ways for work or other hobbies. When traveling together, you share the same sometimes cramped hotel room, you do the same activities, eat the same meals (usually at the same time), and it can be very hard to find ways to nurture much-needed alone time or carve out time to recharge — individually. If you find you or your partner are unwilling to separate at all during your trip, this isn’t a good sign.
6. Crisis situations
Sometimes things can go really wrong when traveling. You might find yourself the victim of a scam or having to deal with a missed flight. Or worse: You find yourself faced with a scary situation or lost in an unfamiliar place not knowing how to get back to your hotel.
These crisis situations often bring out the worst in people (yes, sometimes also the best). This is when you learn how your partner reacts, and that realization might not be what you expect. If you discover your partner can’t handle minor inconveniences or crises and becomes downright hostile, or is one to immediately play the blame gain instead of offering support, this could be a strong indicator your relationship might not survive similar challenges at home.
7. Lack of responsibilities
One of the perks of traveling is being free of your daily responsibilities — if only for a short time. You don’t have to worry about going to work or making sure your pet is fed on time or cooking dinner or making the bed. Travel can be a great way to relieve the stress of daily living, but it can also bring out the worst in some people.
When traveling together, you might discover your partner suddenly lacks motivation to do anything but wants to stay in bed most of the day. Or perhaps he or she only wants to go out and party all night and not do anything with you during the day. While you might find it inspiring and invigorating to travel for 2 or 3 months while working remotely in an exotic destination, your partner might not be up to that travel challenge and the discipline that also goes with it.
8. Bad habits
When you first start seeing someone, everything they do seems wonderful. But bad habits or behavior that can be ignored or overlooked when you are dating and not living with someone start to make a bigger impact when traveling together.
When you travel together, it’s like you get to experience living with them. You share the same small space and see each other constantly. You might discover the person showers infrequently, never picks up after him- or herself, or snores horribly. Or perhaps he or she is obsessively organized and obsessed with how unclean things are in the hotel. Whatever the quirk or habit, if it grates on you now, it is a good sign you don’t want to live with this person in the future.
9. Closed minded
Travel is all about learning new things, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and perhaps being challenged by a little unknown. For many, this is exciting and eye-opening. For others, not so much. Not everyone will see eye-to-eye on issues of culture. Your partner might not be open to the different foods or language differences experienced through travel. Depending on your own openness to traveling in other countries, this could be viewed as a sign of a lack of maturity or unwillingness to open up the mind to learning.
Last but definitely not least, money can become a big issue when you travel. It’s important to find a partner who is financially compatible. This doesn’t mean you are doomed to marry someone in your same pay grade, but it does mean you should share similar values about money.
If you are more inclined to save money through budget travel you probably aren’t a good match for someone who would prefer to stay at a luxury resort and always fly business class. The same goes for every aspect of travel, from activities to food. When you are traveling together, if you’re constantly butting heads (or wallets!) about how much to spend, or not spend, or who is paying, or not paying, know those money issues won’t magically disappear once you are home.
There are a number of unexpected reasons why couples break up when traveling — we listed only 10. And truthfully, not all relationships are guaranteed to last, even if you travel well together on other occasions. Think of traveling with your partner as taking your relationship for a serious test ride. The stakes are higher and you experience living with them — if only for a short-term adventure.