Sun-soaked days, moonlit nights and nothing to think about but which cocktail to order and whether to have a snooze now or after you go for a dip.
Is it any wonder holiday romances seem so special?
The most savvy of us lose perspective on relationships on holiday because we’ve switched into vacation mode.
City cynics turn into hopeless romantics, our brains turn off and our libido switches to high. Which is why we take holidays in the first place!
Everyone’s in expansive, generous moods and treating themselves to whatever they want. Fancy chocolate for breakfast? Why not? You’re on holiday!
Sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox reveals how to judge whether a holiday romance is really built to last, pointing out that sun-soaked getaways put us in a time-warp and make people behave differently than they do in ordinary life. Stock image
Wondering what the great-looking girl or guy would look like with the swimsuit peeled off? You’re on holiday! What’s stopping you finding out?
You get chatting which turns into (maybe) sex or maybe a drink then dinner and then sex. And before you know it, you’re acting like boyfriend and girlfriend because the relationship has to play on fast-forward because you’re on limited time.
Unlike your relationships back home, there’s no arguments with your holiday lover. What have you got to argue about?
Against the fairy tale backdrop, the relationship feels so perfect – it seems positively criminal not to continue it.
Just as it now seems perfectly plausible (in fact, you can’t understand why you didn’t think of it before) to suggest to your boss that the new staff uniform be a sarong, it seems ridiculous to break up just because you live in different cities.
Then – thump! – you go back to your real life and the illusion usually fades.
Holidays put us into a time warp: people behave differently and we see them differently.
The guy who buries his toes in the sand in Spain and says, ‘What do we care what time it is?’ is the same guy who goes ballistic when you leave a coffee stain on his side table when you come to visit.
Tracey warns that most holiday flings don’t survive when you pluck two people out of an idyllic surrounding and plonk them into the lives they live day to day. Stock image
The good-looking guy who said you were very possibly the love of his life, stares at you in horror when you turn up, full of hope and optimism, at his front door two weeks later as a surprise.
It hits you that he wouldn’t look twice if you tap-danced naked in front of him in a bar back home. You just happened to be the best on offer at the resort.
I’m being pessimistic?
Yes, I am – for good reason.
Most holiday flings don’t survive when you pluck two people out of an idyllic surrounding and plonk them into the lives they live day to day.
IT WAS JUST A FLING IF…
Sex and relationships expert Tracey Cox, says over-the-top declarations are usually a sign a holiday fling won’t go the distance
You aren’t the only one they slept with at the resort. You’re getting daggers looks from another group of women for no apparent reason? Chances are he’s the reason why.
They weren’t interested in hearing about your life back home or past experiences. Yes, it’s terribly mindful of them to stay living in the moment but if you really like someone and see a future, you’re curious and want to find out about what made them who they are.
They made instant declarations on the second night. They’ve never met anyone like you. They love you. They’ve never felt like this before. Over-the-top declarations usually mean they’re after something – sex, for instance, or for someone to bankroll the holiday.
Your gut instinct screamed ‘Beware!’ when you first met but they talked you around. First impressions are nearly always correct. If they seem too sure of themselves and too good to be true, they generally are.
Things don’t add up. Lots of people reinvent themselves on holidays and become the person they wished they were rather than are.
Everything gets glorified and inflated – and the longer the fling goes on, the more likely they are to slip up and let the truth come out.
(If you think they have, make a joke about how people tend to exaggerate if they know they’re never going to see that person again and let them know you’d understand if they have.)
You both remained on best behaviour. The more ‘normal’ you were, the better. It sounds strange but one or two arguments over the period of two week holiday is actually a good thing: it shows you both care.
The timing’s wrong. If one of you took a holiday to get over a broken heart, be wary. You were what their friends said would help: getting under someone as a way of getting over someone.
They don’t talk about their life at home. If you live in the same city, it’s natural to say, ‘I’d really like to see you when we get home. How’s next week for you?’ If they made excuses, stop checking your phone. If they started talking excitedly about which restaurant to go to and how they can’t wait to introduce you to their friends, they’re as keen as you are.
Tracey also suggests questions you should ask yourself before embarking on a long-distance relationship, warning arguments and communication can soon prove problematic. File image
YOU’RE CONVINCED IT’S THE REAL DEAL?
Here’s some things to keep in mind:
Does their social media match the person they appeared to be? Have as much contact as possible over several different platforms once you’re back home again.
This isn’t just to keep things going, it’s because you’ll find out more about their real lives once you connect on social media.
How quickly do they want to meet up? If they’re as keen as you are, they’ll be as eager as you are to continue the relationship – in person.
Real life is different – there’s more stress for a start – so there will obviously be slight changes. But their core personality traits – kindness, punctuality, sense of humour – should stay constant
How does the first meeting go? When you do meet up again, you’ll either sit across from each other and marvel at how strong the cocktails must have been or feel a little uncomfortable initially, then move into a ‘normal’ relationship.
Are they pretty much the same as they were on holidays? Real life is different – there’s more stress for a start – so there will obviously be slight changes. But their core personality traits – kindness, punctuality, sense of humour – should stay constant.
Stand back and have a good look one month back from your holiday. How’s it going? Are your enthusiasm levels waning a little? Do you get on best when you reminisce about the holiday and conversation falters when you switch to something else?
This generally means it was a holiday fling that should have been left as one.
But if you’ve met each other friends and family and are getting along even better than you did away, it’s around the one month mark that you can relax.
Now, you have as much chance of lasting as other couples who meet at home – except you have a lovely how-we-met story to tell your kids!
WOULD A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP WORK FOR YOU?
If your holiday fling lives in another city or country, take solace in the fact that long-distance relationships are becoming more and more common.
We travel more – both through work and personally – and want more from relationships, so it stands to reason we don’t automatically discount someone just because they live miles away or in another country.
But building and sustaining a relationship is difficult enough when you’re five minutes away – doing it long-distance isn’t easy.
Why? Long-distance love affairs intensify and magnify everything.
Every second together is so precious you’ll spend weeks planning one evening together.
You have no idea how you’ll relate in the real world because you’re rarely with each other long enough to get past the best-behaviour part and live in it.
This is why you should try hard not to spend every second of every visit doing ‘romantic’ things. Try to live as you would if you were living together: use the time to find out if you really would be compatible long term.
If you get on better when you’re apart than when you’re together, you’re in love with the idea of each other rather than who you really are.
Other things to think about if you’re considering loving from a distance:
- Can you afford a long-distance love affair? They’re expensive: flights might be cheap but they’re not that cheap. It’s finding time as well.
- Can you cope with always having to say goodbye? Jealousy can be a problem, loneliness almost always is. When the rest of your friends head home in nicely matched twosomes, you come home to an empty flat, wondering if they’re curled up with someone else.
- If you have an argument over the phone, you can’t kiss and make up. They last twice as long and feel three times more painful.
- Last but definitely not least: what about sex? Skype sex helps but it’s still not the same as having a flesh-and-blood body in your bed.
Still inclined to give it a go?
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? There’s one thing a long-distance relationship must have in order for it to work: a light at the end of the tunnel.
If neither of you can conceive of ever being able to live in the same place, honestly, what’s the point? This means one of you has to sacrifice friends, family, a career to make it possible. Is it really worth it?
Visit Tracey’s all new website at traceycox.com where you’ll also find new products and lots more information about sex and love