3 Ways To Tell If You Are Ready To Take Your Relationship To The Next Level

3 Ways To Tell If You Are Ready To Take Your Relationship To The Next Level

So, you are in a relationship, and things seem to be going well. You enjoy each other’s company and feel like shiny happy people when the two of you are together. Then one day, one of you gets the itch. I’m not referring to the seven year itch, that’s another topic altogether. Here, I’m talking about the itch that comes when one of you starts considering taking your relationship to the next level.

Surely, you’ve noticed that relationships happen in stages. You meet, you date, you become “a thing,” you stop seeing other people, and, if all goes well, you eventually move in together, marry, and maybe have a family, a dog, and a white-picket-fence. 

When you’re in a relationship with someone you love, each of these stages bring exciting new adventures and plenty of joy. Still, it can be tricky to know if and when you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level.

Are you wrestling with how to know if you’re ready to move in together or get married (or some other big life change)? Here are 3 ways to test your readiness for romantic growth.

3 Things to Consider Before Taking Your Relationship To the Next Level

Determine if You Love Your Partner or Love The Idea of Your Partner

Do you remember that scene in “Say Anything” where Diane finally comes back to Lloyd after being apart? Even though he is completely in love with her, he hesitates and asks, “Are you here because you need someone or because you need me?”

If you’re thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, you need to ask yourself the same question.

Ask yourself truthfully if you just like the idea of being in a relationship, or if you are really smitten with your partner. Is this the kind of person you envisioned yourself moving to the next level with? Why or why not? 

Not answering these questions honestly will lead to problems once the excitement of being at “the next step” wears off, so they’re important to consider before any big step.

A couple embraces in front of a car door after discussing taking your relationship to the next level

Own Your Place In Life

Ask yourself if you want a more serious commitment right now or if you are taking your relationship to the next level because you feel like it’s what is expected of you at this stage in your life. 

Remember that timing is a big factor to determine whether a relationship is right for you. If it isn’t the right time, it’s possible that it wasn’t meant to be – even if you truly care about your partner.

Don’t give up on your dreams and goals to force a partnership to work or to meet societal expectations. Doing so will only end up hurting you in the long run.

Read Between The Lines

In art, there is a concept called “white space,” which basically refers to the part of the image that the artist didn’t intentionally draw. White space occurs in relationships too. It’s what happens when you aren’t with your partner. 

When you’re thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, take some time to consider your white space. 

Do you think of him? Do you miss him, or, does he fail to cross your mind? How you feel when you aren’t together can be just as informative as how you feel when you are cuddling cozily.

Get Help with Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level

However you answered these questions, know that some anxiety is to be expected whenever you are considering making a big change in your life. 

Whether it be moving in with someone, getting married, or simply declaring that you are in a relationship, these events represent major milestones in your life. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit jittery before you meet his parents, for example. However, if your gut is telling you that something is wrong, listen to that feeling! Your intuition will never steer you astray.

A man and woman hold their hands up to make the shape of a heart - a representation of taking your relationship to the next level

Having trouble distinguishing between normal anxiety and a gut feeling that taking your relationship to the next level isn’t the right choice for you? Try this exercise:

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and breathe into your belly. Keep breathing until your belly feels full and settled. 

Now, think of a time in your life when you challenged yourself to do something new and scary, but also rewarding. Notice how that feels in your belly. That’s what a little bit of anxiety about something new feels like. 

Next, imagine a time in your life when you needed to get out of a situation because it was no longer good for you. Remember how it felt when you figured that out. That’s how it feels when your gut talks to you. 

Finally, think of your current relationship. Which feeling do you have in your stomach now?

Use this exercise to help you make decisions about taking your relationship to the next level. But if you’re still struggling to make a decision confidently, you may also want to consider talking about the situation with a couples therapist or individual therapist.

If you’re ready to get some professional advice, contact Couples Learn to book a free consultation and connect with an experienced therapist today.

Your 5 Most Common Questions Answered About How to Help a Friend Who is Grieving a Loss and What NOT to Say to Them

Your 5 Most Common Questions Answered About How to Help a Friend Who is Grieving a Loss and What NOT to Say to Them

There are few things in life harder to face than the loss of a close friend or family member. And even when you are not the one facing a loss, it can be challenging to know how to help a friend in grief.

As an individual and couples therapist team, we get a lot of questions about what to say to a grieving friend. Just as often, we get questions about what not to say to someone who is grieving.

We all want to help our loved ones and provide the support they need during hard times. But if we’ve never faced a similar loss – or we just don’t feel comfortable with such heart wrenching emotions – it can be easier said than done.

To help you determine the best way to comfort a grieving friend, we’re answering the most common questions our team at Couples Learn gets about supporting someone through grief.

How to Help a Friend in Grief

What are things you should say to a friend who is grieving the death of a friend or family member?

One important thing to keep in mind when figuring out how to help a friend in grief is that everyone grieves differently. There is no “normal” reaction to grief, so the most helpful thing you can do is normalize their feelings and let them know you are there for them. 

If you’re wondering what to say to a grieving friend, things like “I am so sorry you are going through this.” or “I know this is really hard” or “I wish I could make this all go away so that you wouldn’t be feeling this pain” are often helpful.

Many people find it uncomfortable to just sit with someone who is in pain, so they try to make the sad feelings go away by saying things like “cheer up” or “think of the bright side.” But these are great examples of what not to say to a grieving friend. 

What they really need is for you to just be with them in sadness and allow them to feel what they are feeling.

Two men wondering how to help a friend in grief, sitting in front of a graffiti wall and holding beers.

Is there such a thing as saying something too soon?

No. People always appreciate knowing that they have your support even if they don’t want it in the moment. Don’t be pushy about being there if they seem to need space, but let them know you are there if they want to talk.

Oftentimes, the best way to comfort a grieving friend is to simply let them know you are there for them – whenever and however they need you.

What are some activities you can do with a friend grieving a death that could be a helpful distraction?

Wondering how to help a friend in grief by doing something with them? Any normal activity they might enjoy is probably a good choice. Go for a walk, see a movie, watch your favorite TV shows together, do an arts and crafts project, go to a workout class…anything where you spend quality time together is great. 

Just being present is enough most of the time. If your friend has unfinished business with the deceased, you can recommend he/she write a letter to that person saying everything they would want to say if that person were still alive. Offer to listen to the letter and respond in a loving way.

But remember – don’t push activities and outings if what your friend really needs is more time to simply sit in their sadness.

Are there comments that should be avoided?

We all want to be careful about what not to say to someone who is grieving. While some of this is personal to the person you’re hoping to comfort, there are some common things to avoid.

For example, try to avoid religious comments if you know the person grieving does not believe in God or religion. People don’t want to feel like you are pushing your beliefs on them, especially in times of grief.

Also avoid saying “everything happens for a reason.” This is NOT a comforting thought after losing a loved one even if it is something you know that person believes to be true in other situations. 

Lastly, avoid telling the person to cheer up or feel better. Let them be sad and just sit with them in their sadness.

How to Help a Friend in Grief? Understand The Stages of Grief

Grief is like a roller coaster. It comes and goes, often at the most unexpected and inopportune times. Many times when someone is alone in the shower or in the car, grief will hit them hard and they will start crying uncontrollably. 

Everyone is different and everyone goes through the process in their own unique way. That being said, there are 5 stages of grief that most people experience. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

When you’re trying to figure out what to say to a grieving friend – or what not to say – it’s important to understand these stages.

Two women hug, trying to figure out how to help a friend in grief.

Denial:

When first informed of a loved one’s death, most people go through a phase where they deny that it has actually happened. They may say things like “this can’t be happening. It just doesn’t feel real.” This is a defense mechanism that helps them get through the initial shock of the loss. It’s often at this stage that people feel particularly lost when it comes to how to help a friend in grief.

Anger:

This can manifest as anger towards God, towards those responsible for the death, towards oneself for not acting differently, or even towards the lost loved one for causing them pain. Anger is an easier emotion to handle than sadness thus it can help your loved one ease the pain of the loss and feel less vulnerable for a time.

Bargaining:

During the bargaining stage your friend might say things like “I would give anything to get him back” or “I wish it were me instead” or “if only we got him medical attention sooner.” He or she might even try to make deals with God or a higher power in order to ease the pain or reverse what has been done.

Depression:

When your friend is ready, he/she will start to feel the pain of the loss. Depression can vary in intensity and often manifests itself through crying, sadness, loss of interest in things he/she used to enjoy, lack of energy, and changes in appetite (eating more or less than usual).

Acceptance:

In this stage, your friend will start to return to a more normal state. They will be able to talk about the loss or memories of their loved one without experiencing extreme anguish and they will begin to move on with their life. As mentioned above, everyone grieves differently so there is no right or wrong amount of time that it takes someone to reach this stage.

Though it used to be thought that these stages are experienced in a specific order, it is now known that people go in and out of each stage with little to no rhyme or reason. This is important to remember when figuring out how to help a friend in grief. 

Your friend may experience depression one day, anger the next, and be bargaining with God just minutes later. The best thing you can do is normalize their feelings throughout the process and provide a loving, non-judgmental space for them to express what they are going through.

How to Help a Friend in Grief When Your Comfort Is Not Enough 

When we see a friend who is grieving, we all wish there were ways we could help. But even with the advice outlined in this post, there may be times when our love, our words and our comfort are just not enough.

One of the best ways to comfort a grieving friend is to help them get the help they need. If your friend expresses interest in finding a therapist, offer them encouragement to find a professional who can help them.

And if you or someone you love is looking for virtual therapy, be sure to contact Couples Learn to book a free consultation and discover how our individual therapy services could help.

A woman puts her head in her hands and looks sad while a friend, who is trying to find out how to help a friend in grief, puts her hands on her shoulders.
Resolutions For Two: How To Improve Your Relationship In The New Year

Resolutions For Two: How To Improve Your Relationship In The New Year

If you’re the New Years Resolution type, you might be busy getting your resolution ducks in a row. Maybe you’re hoping to read more in 2022 or finally write that novel you’ve been dreaming about. Perhaps you want to get to the gym five days a week or start meditating consistently. But have you considered any New Year’s resolutions for couples?

In 2022, in addition to making promises to yourself, you may also want to consider making them to your partner and your relationship.

The New Year is a great time to review your personal accomplishments and goals. But it’s also the perfect time to take stock of how the past year went for you and your significant other and to see what, if anything, you’d like to change. (And don’t forget to celebrate everything that went right in your relationship, too!)

So what makes for good New Year’s resolutions for couples? You want something that will help you make a shift or improvement in your partnership, but one that is also manageable and realistic.

The best way to make relationship resolutions is to sit down together as a couple and discuss your goals. Use the couple resolutions below for inspiration.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Couples 

1. Power Down, Together

Between work, managing kids or other family obligations and also staying in touch with family and friends, it can be hard to give your partner your undivided attention. Throw your favorite TV series, social media app or smartphone game into the mix and you have even less time to spend with your special someone.

In 2022, commit to taking some time each day to focus only on your partner. Put away all electronic devices and pretend you are back in the 80’s. (Leg warmers optional). This is one of the most impactful (and simple!) New Year’s resolutions for couples that you can make.

Instead of staring at your phones together, practice empathic listening when you talk to each other. Focus on hearing and understanding your partner without being distracted. Avoid formulating your response while they are talking and instead focus on reflecting back what he/she is saying to you to make sure you fully understand their point of view. 

Need something to talk about? Download our free guide below for more than 80 conversation starters you can use right now.


Click Here to Download 82 Fun Questions That Will Help Deepen Your Connection

A smiling couple sitting on a couch and embracing after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples

2. Employ An Attitude Of Gratitude

All kinds of research shows that being grateful for your partner helps to improve your relationship. But of course, this is sometimes easier said than done. After all, it may be difficult to feel grateful to your husband for taking out the trash if he walked in dirty shoes across your freshly cleaned floor to get it done.

But if you think about it, having an attitude of gratitude is one of the best New Year’s resolutions for couples. Of course you will feel better about your spouse if you focus on what you appreciate about them. In turn, it will also make them happier with you, and it will make it easier for them to accept constructive criticism if you’ve already showered them with the good stuff. It’s a win-win!

This year, find ways to not just feel more gratitude for your partnership, but to express that gratitude, too. Maybe you make it part of your nightly routine to express gratitude for something that happened during the day. Maybe you keep a gratitude journal together to read and reflect on what your partner shares.

No matter how you use this couples resolution, it’s sure to help you bring a little more contentment into your life.

3. Paint The Town

You didn’t get into a relationship to stare at a TV set together, did you? Try bursting past your comfort zones, at least once a month. 

Maybe you want to get out and move with each other by trying a new hiking trail or playing some ping pong? Or, maybe you want to cross some things off your bucket list like zip-lining or white-water rafting? Doing active and adventurous things as a couple will strengthen your bond, and definitely give you something to talk about over dinner!

Doing new things together is one of the best New Year’s resolutions for couples because it not only helps you have fun together (remember fun?!)It also gives you a chance to develop new interests and hobbies that you can enjoy together for years to come.

To make this relationship resolution sustainable, keep things realistic. Don’t commit to a full weekend away every month if you know a date night is much more likely to happen. Don’t stress about trying something overly adventurous if your partner is terrified of heights or gets terrible motion sickness. 

Want this resolution to have an even bigger impact? Take turns choosing an activity and planning the date. This will ensure no one is taking on more of the burden of planning outings and helps ensure each person gets to try things they truly enjoy.

Need more ideas? Download our best date night ideas below.

A young man and woman dance together in a white kitchen, happy after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples

4. In-To-Me-See

One area that often needs help in relationships is the way in which each partner expresses intimacy. What is intimacy? Basically, it’s our feeling of connection and willingness to be vulnerable with our partners.

This type of connection can be sexual, romantic, or purely platonic. The key is finding out which type of intimacy your partner enjoys and being willing to offer more of that. It also means understanding what your own needs are, and expressing those needs clearly. 

Improving your intimate connection with your partner takes time, and requires trust, but doing it will give you all the warm fuzzies! That’s why improving intimacy is one of our favorite New Year’s resolutions for couples.

So, which one of these ideas sound doable to you? Could you commit to writing little notes of appreciation for your partner? Or, perhaps take Tai Chi classes with your love? Maybe you want to try some new techniques to spice things up in the bedroom.

Whatever intimacy means to you (both of you!), try to incorporate more of that into your regular lives. This is one example of couple resolutions that you definitely won’t regret!

How to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

If you’ve ever had a gym membership, you’ve probably noticed how most “New Year’s Resolutioners,” give up by March. Don’t let that be you with your New Year’s resolutions for couples! Make small, manageable goals for the best results.

If you need help finding ways to incorporate these new habits into your relationship – or you want to make a big investment toward improving your partnership – then you might want to add couples therapy to your list of 2022 relationship resolutions.

A couples therapist can help you set – and stick to – relationship goals for the new year, and help you turn your couple resolutions into actual change.

Ready to make your 2022 resolutions? Contact us if you’d like some help getting back on track. We’d love to help you brainstorm new ideas for refreshing your relationship in the New Year!

A happy couple is laughing together on a beach after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples
The #1 Issue That Ruins Relationships: Ineffective Communication

The #1 Issue That Ruins Relationships: Ineffective Communication

People always ask me, “what is the #1 reason couples seek out your help?” Without a doubt, the answer is problems with communication. So how much of an impact does being bad at communication actually have on a relationship? As it turns out, quite a lot.

We’ve all heard that the key to a healthy relationship is good, honest communication, right? That sounds simple enough…until you actually try it. 

The truth is that when two people come together to form a bond, they aren’t just bringing themselves to the table. They are also bringing all of their past hurts, traumas, and negative experiences as well. 

It’s these latent explosives that can wreak havoc on an otherwise easy conversation and cause communication issues in a relationship. When it comes to things that ruin relationships, bad communication is definitely at the top of the list.

That’s why one of the first things I work on with all couples in session is communication. Because if you’re bad at communication, then we need to tackle that first before we can start to examine other relationship challenges.

Bad At Communication? Here’s A Way Out

So, how can you improve communication issues in a relationship? There are many different techniques that can be used in couples therapy, but at Couples Learn we use a communication technique called the Imago Dialogue.

The Imago Dialogue is from Dr. Harville Hendrix’s best-selling book “Getting The Love You Want.” Much of our work with couples is based on techniques from Dr. Hendrix’s therapeutic framework called Imago Therapy

Imago therapy really helps us to get to the core of communication issues right away, so that couples who feel they are bad at communication can start making real progress in healing their relationship. By now, you’re probably saying, “Imago…what the heck is that?”

Two women who are bad at communication talk to each other after an argument

What Is Imago Therapy for Couples?

The term “Imago,” refers to an internalized, yet, unconscious image of your ideal mate. Your “Imago” is a conglomeration of traits (good and bad) from individuals that played important roles in your childhood (i.e. parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, etc.).

The idea behind Imago Therapy for couples is that we have all been deeply affected by our upbringing, and that most of us have internalized this “perfect” vision of who we want for our partner without even realizing it. You go through life unconsciously searching for your Imago…the person that feels like home.

When you meet that special someone, you are ecstatic. Your conscious and unconscious minds are singing with joy at having found someone that truly makes you feel safe and complete. But after a while, you start to project your own unconscious wishes and past hurts from childhood onto your lover and that’s where your communication troubles begin. 

So, to prevent your unconscious needs from becoming one of the things that ruin relationships, you have to practice talking to your partner on a conscious level, where you can keep your intentions clear and differentiate between your past and present needs.

If you feel like you’re already bad at communication, then the practices of Imago Therapy probably sound complicated. And the truth is, this is deep work. 

That’s why it’s great to have a skilled couples therapist guide you through this process and help you really tease out what unconscious hurts and needs are affecting your relationship. 

How The Imago Dialogue Can Help if You’re Bad at Communication

While the best step toward learning how to communicate effectively in relationships is to work with a couples therapist, you can start this work at home. 

If you feel like you and your partner are bad at communication, then the best place to start is with a specific three-step communication technique called the “Imago Dialogue Process.”

Click here to watch a video of a real couple using the Imago Dialogue to talk about an issue.
A couple who thinks they are bad at communication talks using an imago therapy script

Here’s how it works.

The Imago Dialogue

Before you start, decide who will be the sender and who will be the receiver. After completing all three steps in this imago dialogue script, you will switch roles and take the opposite stance.

It’s best to choose an issue that is not very emotional to practice with at first so you can focus more on learning the process than what you are talking about. It’s easy to get off track fast if you begin with a heated debate. 

The steps proceed as follows:

Imago Dialogue Step One: Mirroring

The sender tells the receiver how she feels about something using “I statements,” which focus on how she feels, without shaming or blaming anyone. Try to keep your communication short – 30 seconds to a minute at the most. 

The receiver then paraphrases the sender’s statements by saying something like, “Let me see if I understand what you are saying. You said that you feel hurt when I interrupt your sentences. Is that right?” 

The sender can then correct the receiver if necessary, and the receiver can ask, “Is there more to that?” until the entire message is understood. 

Do not move onto step 2 until the receiver has correctly paraphrased and understood everything the sender said.

Imago Dialogue Step Two: Validation

In this part of the process, the receiver lets the sender know that she is making sense to him. He can use phrases like, “What you said makes sense,” or “I can understand what you are saying, given that you were interrupted so often as a child.” 

In this way, the receiver is conveying his comprehension of the sender’s message and validating that what she says makes sense and is valid. 

Note: It’s not necessary for the receiver to agree with the sender here! All that is required is a sense of understanding and validation. 

You can agree that a point makes sense without sharing the same point of view (many times when a couple feels they are bad at communication, this is actually one of the core issues at play!).

Imago Dialogue Step Three: Empathy

This is where the receiver gets the opportunity to show the sender that he gets what she is feeling. He might say something like, “I imagine that you must be feeling hurt. Is that right?” And the sender can agree or correct the feeling offered.

Click here to watch a video of a real couple using the Imago Dialogue to talk about an issue.
A couple who thought they were bad at communication sips coffee together and has a good conversation

Why Imago Therapy Helps When You’re Bad at Communication

While these imago dialogue exercises might feel a little formal, especially for people who have likely seen each other pee, they are incredibly helpful. 

In the beginning it’s helpful to have the imago dialogue script and a structure to follow because these skills are not in most couples normal repertoire. If you’re feeling like you’re bad at communication, then chances are this kind of conversation is going to feel a little challenging at first.

The goal, through practice, is to make validation and empathy a natural part of your everyday dialogue to the point where you don’t need the script anymore.

Remember, when talking to your partner, you are dealing with a host of unseen forces that can affect your behavior. Putting structure and direction around sticky topics can be just the buffer you and your loved one need in order to hear each other more effectively and fix ineffective communication in your relationship.

Once you’ve figured out how to communicate effectively in relationships, then you can focus on the really important things, like who gets to use the bathroom first!

If you try this exercise at home and decide you would like more information on how to improve you and your partner’s communication skills, contact Couples Learn to set up a free consultation today!

Our Imago therapists would love to help you overcome ineffective communication through couples therapy so you can stop feeling like you’re bad at communication and start feeling confident when managing conflict with your partner.

Click here to watch a video of a real couple using the Imago Dialogue to talk about an issue.
6 Tips For Stress Free Travel With Your Significant Other

6 Tips For Stress Free Travel With Your Significant Other

Going on a trip with your partner is a big deal. Stress and anxiety can run high while traveling and that may result in you having a shorter fuse with each other than usual. If you’re looking for stress free travel tips for couples, then you’ve come to the right place.

After a long couple of years when most of us were stuck at home more and not able to travel as much as we might like, many couples are eager to get back to hitting the road or the air and seeing the world.

You may be feeling like traveling is exactly what you and your partner need to rekindle your spark or have some fun. So why then, do so many couples fight on vacation? There are many reasons.

Why Do Couples Fight on Vacation?

When you’re at home, everything is comfortable and you have your routine that you are used to. While the beauty of vacation is that you get to experience something different than your typical day to day, being out of your comfort zone can also raise the anxiety levels to the point where you find yourself snapping at your partner for things that wouldn’t usually upset you.

Another thing that can cause you both to get a little testy is the sheer amount of time you spend together on vacation. Whether you live together or not, you both likely have jobs, friends, hobbies, and day to day errands that keep you busy and away from each other for at least part of the day. 

When you are traveling, you are together 24/7 or pretty close to it. This can be stressful even with the best relationships (more on that later).

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to set yourselves up for a successful trip. To make your life easier, I’ve compiled a list of 6 stress free travel tips for couples that will help make your time together more enjoyable.

Simple, Stress Free Travel Tips for Couples

Whether you’re heading to a tropical destination for a romantic week alone or visiting your partner’s family for the holidays, you can use these stress free travel tips for couples to figure out how to avoid fighting on vacation (or at least reduce your stress along the way)!

a couple enjoys a European vacation after following stress free travel tips for couples

Never Go Hungry

Food. It’s a very important part of any vacation, and if you are a foodie, it is your destination. However, even if food isn’t the main attraction for you and your main squeeze, don’t let yourselves get too hungry during the trip. This is one of the simplest stress free travel tips for couples.

There’s a reason we talk about people being “hangry.” If you’re hungry and tired, you’re not going to be in the best place to manage stress or conflict. 

Packing snacks is a great way to avoid those low-blood-sugar fueled fights, and keep the two of you, and your nutrition levels, on the up and up. 

When choosing a restaurant, try to be flexible and remind yourself that almost every menu has something for everyone. Sure, it may not be exactly what you are craving but would you rather have a decent meal with spectacular company and conversation or would you rather have a spectacular meal with an upset partner glaring at you across the table? 

Bottom line? Choose your battles wisely. Relationships trump food every time.

Try A Little Role-Play

Not that kind! What I mean here is to be conscious of which one of you takes on the role of planner, and which one takes on the role of passenger. If one person is naturally good at mapping things out and making reservations, let him bask in his proactive glory while you sit back and trust that it will all turn out great. 

Instead of ending up with too many cooks in the kitchen, designate who will be the Director of Activities, and praise his or her efforts. So what if she takes you on the dolphin tour when you want to do the waterfall hike? It’s the thought that counts and good company makes any activity fun. 

That being said, while this is one of the best stress free travel tips for couples who want a more peaceful vacation, make sure your partner doesn’t feel burdened by having to plan. Ask if or how you can support in a way that would be helpful. Most of all, try to remember that the journey is the destination.

Thinking this way can help you avoid all kinds of negativity and anxiety based on the idea that you should be somewhere or doing something other than where you are. By dividing up roles this way – and showing appreciation for the role your partner takes on – you can significantly reduce fighting on vacation.

Share Your Expectations

Some people feel a need to see everything they possibly can when on vacation. They want to plan each day in advance, get up early, go on every tour, and make the most of every day. They figure if they are paying good money for this trip, they may as well get their money’s worth. 

Meanwhile, others prefer to take it easy, wake up whenever they wake up, and make decisions about the day after they’ve had their morning coffee. 

If you are the go-getter type you may feel like your partner is wasting precious time. If you are the relaxation type, you may end up feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation! 

To avoid feeling frustrated with one another, talk about your expectations before you leave for the trip. This is one of the most important stress free travel tips for couples. 

If one of you is a go-getter and the other is a relaxer, make sure you plan (or don’t plan) days that will please both personalities. After all, travel as a couple should be for both of you! And if you want to avoid fighting on vacation, making both people’s interests a priority is key.

two women hold hands on the beach after following stress free travel tips for couples

Money Matters

One of the most common reasons couples fight on vacation? Money! Do you splurge on a five-star restaurant, or settle for fast-food? Is a luxury hotel on the itinerary, or would you rather save your cash for outings and excursions? 

There really is no right or wrong answer to these questions. It’s all about preference, your vacation budget, and what kind of trip the two of you are looking for. 

One of the best stress free travel tips for couples is to talk about these options before you are faced with making money decisions. It’s possible that you will need to compromise with your partner on some things here, but, hey, that’s what love is all about.

Space It Out

As much as this trip is about the two of you getting away from the world, even when you travel with your partner it’s also about each of you, separately, taking a break from life. That’s why it is so important that you schedule some alone time for yourselves. 

What this alone time looks like will vary from person to person. While one person might enjoy a yoga session or a refreshing swim, someone else may prefer reading time, or a latte for one. Whatever you need to recharge your batteries, do it! Your time together will be better for it.

Talk Sex

Earlier, I joked about role-play, but now I am serious. Sexual expectations differ widely among people when it comes to vacations. Talk openly with your partner about what you expect. 

If you see going away as a time to catch up on all the sex you miss due to your busy lives, tell him so! A little preparation can go a long way toward getting what you want.

Fighting about sex doesn’t make for a relaxing vacation, making this one of the most important stress free travel tips for couples.

A couple takes a photo of foggy mountains after following stress free travel tips for couples

The Bottom Line on Stress Free Travel Tips for Couples

Vacations weren’t meant to be stressful! Using these 6 stress free travel tips for couples before you leave will help tremendously to ensure a fun and connected vacation you will remember for years to come.

There’s nothing quite like seeing the world with your significant other. Visiting a new place together – or bringing your partner to one of your favorite places – can help you feel more connected and keep the romance alive.

Still, it’s just a fact that many couples fight on vacation. If you struggle with these stress free travel tips or want some personalized support for your relationship challenges, Couples Learn can help.

Contact Couples Learn to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and learn more about our online couples therapy and individual therapy.

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