Friday, November 21, 2008

Taking Vacations Together Can Help Rekindle Relationships, Experts Say

November 20, 2008 

[Ottawa, Canada] "Lovers want to get away, talk, get to know each other," says Martin Rovers, an Ottawa psychologist and marriage counsellor. "I suspect those who get away more together have better marriages." Marilyn Belleghem, a fellow marriage and family therapist in Burlington, Ont., agrees. But, she adds, "The problem is that we forget about being each other's lover."

"People are so time-starved they can't afford more," says Judy Hammond, a Toronto-based tourism marketing expert. Other reasons holding couples back, according to Belleghem, include "fear of intimacy, fear of cost, fear of conflict, fear of loss of control at work." Nevertheless, says Hammond, "Those seeking balance in their lives recognize that a change of scene, a change of routine, revitalizes them." The public appears to share that view. In September, an Ipsos Reid poll found nearly three-quarters of Canadians in a committed relationship look on vacations as "an opportunity to rekindle the fire in their relationship;" 82 per cent say vacations remind them of their partner's best qualities. The majority say their relationship improves as a result.

Megan Murtagh faces the problem many self-employed people do. She's the owner of a personal training studio, Bounce. Although she can theoretically take off whenever she wants, she doesn't. "I have to go when business is slower, over Christmas and in the summer," she says. Megan also has to take into account the workplace demands of her partner, Yanie Chauret, a climate-change analyst for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. In the 11/2 years they've been together, the couple has spent a week in Fort Lauderdale and weekends in Toronto and Sudbury. "In Florida, our goal was to rest, be in the sun, have a good dinner with our friends," Yanie says. "We just shopped, walked around, spent a lot of time by the pool." Because the couple is saving for a house, they're not allowing themselves to splurge. "We tend to have a lot of friends because we're very social," Megan says. "We pretty much always have had friends wherever we've gone." In Florida, for instance, they stayed at a condo owned by one of Megan's clients. "For gay people, friends are probably more important than for straight people who have kids," Megan adds. "We've been through a lot with people coming out, so you spend time differently with them than with family."