I recently went on my first vacation as a married woman. It was a girls’ trip to Barbados, and I went with two friends: one single and the other newly engaged. I noticed that my newly engaged friend seemed to be preoccupied, most likely because she missed her fiancé. At one point she even asked me if I had moments where I thought, “I wish Anslem were here.” Truth is I did, but since being married, there have been quite a few periods of separation due to one of us having to travel. There’s always separation anxiety when you’re away from your spouse, but you get used to it after a while.
The other thing about a group of women traveling is that we attract attention from local men, or even other tourists looking to hook up. I noticed that my newly engaged friend was uncomfortable with it because she wasn’t too keen on even engaging men in conversation. I get that, but it’s okay to travel without your spouse and still have fun. I don’t believe the whole “whatever happens in [blank], stays in [blank]” philosophy, because that’s a sad excuse for a lot of people to behave recklessly. But it’s okay to say “thank you” to a compliment or to give one as well.
Eventually, we met an English couple who’d been married 32 years, and after chatting with them, we discovered that they had each been taking respective girls’ and guys’ trips every so often since they wed. They inspired me to come up with a few tips for enjoying a trip with your friends, away from the spouse.
1. Leave Your Spouse at Home, Literally and Figuratively
It’s understandable that you would want to call or email your significant other to let them know that you’ve arrived safely, but after that, leave them alone. If you’re somewhere your phone doesn’t work, then you can’t call them, but for those who still have reception, do not—I repeat, do not—call your significant other every five minutes and disappear so that you can talk to them about nothing. It will annoy your friends and also make you seem clingy. And again, it keeps you from enjoying your time away. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s important to allow that space so that the impact of your time away takes full effect when you get back home.
2. Enjoy Your Friends
It’s important to be actively involved with having fun and bonding with your friends. Don’t mope in the corner because your lover isn’t there. Dance, drink and be merry. If someone steps to you and tries to kick it, decline their advances. It’s simple. If some of your single girlfriends go looking for mischief, don’t be the prude trying to block them from their shenanigans because you’re afraid to be guilty by association. They’re grown, and as long as they’re smart and safe, then they’re free to do whatever, so reserve judgment for your inner thoughts.
3. Define Flirting
Being married doesn’t mean you’re dead and blind. You might see someone attractive and they will certainly see you. But don’t freak out and start name-dropping your spouse every 10 seconds if they give you a compliment. There is a fine line between flirting and come ons, but don’t assume that everyone who is being friendly wants to hook up with you. It’s okay to smile at someone or laugh at a joke; the world won’t explode. Just make sure you know your boundaries in terms of what you and your spouse consider foul. It’s different for everyone. Some people are okay with their spouse dancing with other people, while others might be ready to fight behind that. Make sure you’re clear so that there’s no confusion.
Do you set ground rules when you take a trip away from your spouse? Are you that married person that travels with your friends but constantly brings up your significant other? Sound off!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, Chicago-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.