For many couples, summer means it’s time for one of the biggest relationship milestones: vacationing. By now your guy has heard all about your annual friends trip to the lake or family vacation to the beach, and you are dying to have him come along. But, as fun as it will be, it’s important to be aware of the fact that vacation can bring out the best—and worst—in any couple.
Vacationing with your S.O. is the ultimate test to see how well your relationship works when you are together round the clock. This adventure will also reveal key characteristics about your partner’s personality that will help you understand him on a whole new level.
As a result, some couples emerge closer than ever, and others are faced with all kinds of red flags. After all, they say you don’t truly know someone until you have traveled with them.
Here are six things you will learn about your man on vacation.
01. How Well He Deals with Stress
Travel is awesome and often fraught with stressful situations. From getting to the airport on time to missed connections, car breakdowns, staying on budget, groups of friends or family members feeling cooped up in a shared Airbnb—the list goes on. Roadblocks are bound to pop up along the way. Take note of how your man responds. Does he yell or snap at you when he’s stressed out, or is he able to stay calm and grounded? Does he roll with unexpected delays, or does he complain when plans go awry? Traveling brings out the best and worst in people, so you’ll quickly see how well he thrives in a stressful environment.
02. If He’s a Planner, or Not
When it comes to travel, how much (or how little) you plan can really shape the experience of your trip. It’s important to communicate to each other what your expectations are early. We know that some people are planners and prefer to adhere to a schedule, while others prefer spontaneity. Neither is better or worse, it’s all about how you work it out together. One of you might prefer to spend most of the time lounging by the pool while the other seeks adventure. Your guy may be totally comfortable signing up for a beach trip with your family with no clue of the itinerary, or he may get stressed when each day never goes as planned. How the two of you navigate this together will be indicative of what it will be like to plan for things together in the future. Communication and compromise are key.
03. How He Budgets, or Doesn’t
There is truly no better time to get an inside peek into how your partner handles his finances than when you're traveling together. You not only see exactly where he allocates the majority of his vacation budget—food, hotels, booze, shopping, etc.—but you also see how careful he is with the money he does have. It’s important to have an understanding of how he handles money and also how you handle it together.
04. How He Handles Conflict
Vacationing with your S.O. is not always just smiles and sunshine. Things such as tiredness, boredom, family drama, friend drama, or a sabotaged Instagram shot are common conflict points that can arise. It’s OK! Conflict is normal, even on vacation. Take note of if is he able to diffuse conflict, or if his reactions escalate it. Does he hold a grudge after an argument, or is he able to move on? Does he side with you while remaining respectful of your family or friends? The more emotionally intelligent he is, the more adept he will be at navigating those hard, crunchy moments all couples have.
05. How He Feels About Asking for Help
Asking for help can be surprisingly hard for a lot of people, even when it's only for a minor difficulty. Doing so is an admission that you aren't perfect, which can lead to feelings of weakness or inadequacy. Yet, it's a vital life skill. We need to be able to ask for help when we need it. There will be many moments during your trip when this will come up—asking for directions, translation, or even a little space. Pay attention to how comfortable your guy feels asserting himself. Being able to ask for help shows a sense of confidence and agency, which are both important qualities to have in a partner.
06. The Way He Treats Others
Traveling is a true test of character. Going on a trip together will give you a deeper understanding of your partner’s view toward others and how he adapts in new environments. Does he treat hotel and restaurant staff with respect? Does he help out and contribute to group efforts? Is he demanding or entitled? Being in a new environment will help you see how accepting your partner is when faced with new experiences. If you want to be sure you are coupled with someone who is tolerant, generous, and kind, this is your time to figure it out. Your partner's true self is most likely to come out when he is out of his comfort zone.
Photo Credit: Shannon Lee Miller