by Dr. Cindy Brown
This article was inspired by my latest vacation and by the complaints my clients have been sharing with me during this traveling season. I coach couples to be sure they get to know each other as a traveling couple and discuss all the details with each other before they leave for their destination. I teach them how to communicate with each other each day, so each listens with an open ear and open heart, avoiding upsetting or hurting each other.
Many couples I see do not know how to communicate their wants and needs, nor listen in an effective way. I help them AND I can help you to master these essential skills and to become a successful traveling couple as well. Here are just a few suggestions to begin that process:
1. Get to know each other s basic needs. You first have to do your own personal inventory to find out what you need to act pleasant and be happy while traveling. Then you can share this with your partner so she/he can understand you better and to avoid later upset.
I know from years of traveling by myself that I need a half hour to an hour nap each afternoon if I am going to last all night. I also know I need to eat every 2 to 3 hours (I experience low blood sugar if I don t eat regularly). My sweetheart knows this about me because I have told him (and he has experienced me when I haven t taken care of myself, and that s not too pretty!). It is also my responsibility to take care of my own needs, so I bring water and snacks with me wherever I go, and communicate lovingly when I am getting close to crashing and need some personal time to take care of myself. I have found when I don t take care of myself I get irritable and less patient (this can be the beginning of a disaster and much upset!).
2. Sit down together each day to plan and discuss the next day, at least the night before- to assure each person knows the activities, itinerary, departure times etc. This is a good opportunity to honestly discuss what you may like to do and not like to do, a time to decide on an earlier or later time depending on how you are both feeling. Planning and discussing the details helps you avoid misunderstandings or disappointments later.
Also make sure each person makes commitments to time schedules so that there are no upsets later. Synchronize your watches. Also, communicate about flexibility and time to have personal space away from each other. Many of us need time away from our partner to gain our own personal energy, miss them and regenerate our love. I found on my latest trip that my sweetheart and I really benefited by exercising separately from each other and then meeting up later for breakfast. We also took naps at different times and did some separate activities. Since we communicated each day about what we needed and wanted to do, we flowed well together and then were excited to share our experiences when we were back together.
3. Continually check-in with each other throughout the day. Be aware of each others body language. If you see your partner avoiding eye contact or not wanting to talk or connect with you, you may want to ask her/him what she/he may be feeling or thinking. Catching upsets early and discussing them, helps avoid big upsets later. I teach my clients specific communication techniques to make this process more successful.
4. Communicate openly and honestly. Be careful to tell each other all the details. On a past trip to Vegas, my sweetheart and I got into a bit of an upset. He underestimated how far it was to walk to The Bellagio hotel from NY NY hotel. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it was daytime and I was in shorts and tennis shoes, but I was in long white pants and 4 inch heals (he said it was a block). It turned out in my estimation to be about 10-15 LONG blocks!
First I was upset because my feet hurt, secondly I was upset because he mistakenly did not tell me the whole truth, thirdly I was upset because he reacted to me like it was not Ok that I was complaining, fourth because he did not immediately apologize for misrepresenting the truth and have sympathy for my feet hurting (he did apologize to my satisfaction later after much discussion of my upset and needs).
5. Learn from your mistakes while traveling and each take responsibility for your part so you can mature and grow. Use each mistake, upset and or discussion as an opportunity to know yourself and your partner better. I coach people each day to become more aware of their own behavior and reactions so they can learn and grow. Traveling brings out the best and sometimes the worst in us due to situations we sometimes cannot control or prepare for. Every time I travel with my partner I learn something new about him and a lot more about myself. Use this opportunity to explore your intimacy and commitment from a different perspective and depth.
During your travels you can follow these simple tips outlined above for instant results.
Dr. Cindy Brown
From Sarah: Dr. Cindy Brown, author of The Cinderella System, helps women to love their bodies, enjoy pleasure, learn how to fulfill their needs and live the amazing, happy life they deserve and desire! If you want to have and keep the relationship you really, really want, check out Cindy’s amazing resources .