A break-up is not planned on the list of 'things to take care of on a vacation' with your special someone. You might have to go into the minutest details of the itinerary. There is months of saving and research involved. Everything is planned well in advance. The air tickets are booked and the hotel rooms are reserved. Most of the time it is non-refundable and noncancellable. But what happens when the relationship itself doesn’t work out? No one buys an insurance for unexpected breakups. So, what now? Well, here are three options:
Don’t go at all
This is the most obvious choice people tend to make if a trip was planned together and a break up happens before it. Breakups can be brutal, heart-rendering and enervating experiences. Regardless of how amiably a relationship comes to an end, it's a mentally taxing process nonetheless. All you might want to do is sulk, cry and take one day at a time.
At the same time the thought of wasting all of that money and the effort that went into planning the trip also seems silly. A small inner voice inside you will compel you to work around with your travel plan irrespective of your relationship status.
Plenty of movies and books talk about how travelling solo will completely transform your heart, give you life’s perspective and help your heart heal after a break-up. More often than not any transformation from this particular trip, if taken solo is less likely to come. If it was a trip intended for short term and for fun, it would not lead to mental growth, as you don't settle into a routine long enough to come face-to-face with your soul for an extended period. It was something that was not planned intentionally solo so there might be haunting thoughts of an empty seat and a lonely hotel room always on the mind.
Go with your ex
It might seem like a bad idea to begin with. But some couples take what's called a "breakup trip" together. When you have a mutual break up right before a previously scheduled travel plan and you genuinely want to, at the very least, maintain a friendship, it is possible to have a good fun holiday together. Moreover, despite the break up, some of us can't stand the thought of someone coming into our lives, experiencing life together for as long or as little as the relationship lasts, and then moving on as though it'd never happened.
A trip together might provide the mental cushion to handle the intense withdrawal symptoms at the time when your soul will be begging to relapse. It will help you to love and detach at the same time.
But there are rules to it
The most important thing you can possibly do in this scenario is to set boundaries and some ground rules:
• The only way this trip could possibly work is if the breakup was mutual and you are both over it. One shouldn’t consider this as an opportunity to get back together while the other is not. You should be on the same page and there shouldn't be a mismatch of expectations.
• You'll have to manage your own finances. You can't rely on each other anymore.
• You'll need to discuss what to do if you meet people who catch your interest on the trip. Get all your concerns out of the way and broach difficult subjects, even if you'd rather not. You cannot be possessive of the other person anymore.
• If you're both prone to start a quarrel, look at ways of keeping yourselves apart until you calm down. Stay away from each other as much as possible.
Look into the time that you can spend apart. Are there day trips or activities that you can go on which will give you a bit of space? You can always enjoy breakfast in the morning, spend the day apart and then meet up again for dinner. Be considerate and kind to each other. You'll both need to put any anger and resentment aside, and if you come across any stressful situations, remember to keep your temper in check.
• Under no circumstances should you be sleeping in the same bed, holding hands, or any other form of affection. This will just prolong the mending process.
• Don't fall back into the roles you had when you were together. An eight-hour plane trip is not the time to start discussing 'where things went wrong'.
• Be careful with alcohol. It can lead you to something you'll regret later. Put a limit to it.
• Don't forget to not impose your choices on your partner. Where to eat to what to do that day, you need to respect each other's decisions in everything.
• Make sure you have enough money to sort yourself out if things should go awry. You might need another hotel room or earlier flight home, or you may decide to continue your holiday solo, but at a different hotel.
Life is not exactly black or white most of the time. It comes in shades of grey. There isn't a right way or wrong way of doing things. What works for you and how much can you handle is what it comes down to. Taking the break up trip might not exactly be the romantic trip that you'd thought it would be but it is sure to give more clarity to your mind and if you can pull this off the rest of the breakup journey might become much easier to handle.
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