You love to travel. You love spending time with your new sweetheart. Time to pack your bags and hit the road! Before you start imagining your dream weekend getaway, take a few minutes to prepare yourself for the inevitable awkwardness and relationship-changing potential (both good and bad) of that first trip together.
How soon is too soon?
Obviously, every relationship is different. However, at a bare minimum you probably should have spent the night together at least a few times before you venture out of town together. Go ahead and get those awkward first-night jitters over with when you’re not 200 miles away from home with a virtual stranger.
What kind of trip is it?
You might like the 20-mile bike rides you’ve done on Saturday mornings together just fine, but maybe your idea of a vacation is relaxing by the pool and only expending enough energy to lift your margarita from the table next to you. Does the other person know that?
“It’s important to plan a trip with activities you’ll both enjoy,” says It’s Just Lunch spokesperson Irene LaCota. “That might mean making some compromises. Maybe you spend one day by the pool decompressing and one day hiking on a scenic trail.”
It might seem romantic to plan the weekend and surprise the other person, but if it’s early on in your relationship, you should probably get their input and ensure it’s a getaway you’ll both enjoy. The romantic surprises can be smaller gestures, like having her favorite champagne waiting in the room for your arrival.
A few habits you’ll learn about fast
You’ve had the maid come by before each of your previous overnight dates, but she won’t be there to clean up after you on your getaway. Is your neat-freak girlfriend going to discover you’re kind of a slob when you’re shut up in close quarters together for several nights?
Maybe you absolutely must eat breakfast before you can tackle any part of your day. Or you really prefer to fall asleep with the television still on. Even if you’ve spent the night together a few times already, you’re bound to discover some new routines (and maybe even flaws) that were previously kept under wraps.
Cleanliness and personal hygiene are some obvious habits that might first reveal themselves over a weekend getaway. What about the less obvious ones though – like the fact that you never listen to music in the car, only NPR? How’s that going to go over on a five-hour drive?
The only thing you can really do to prepare on this front is to have an open mind. After all, it’s people’s quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them unique and interesting.
It can make or break you
When you’re with someone 24 hours a day, you start to get a glimpse of the real person. String two or three of those days together, and you’ll have a pretty good idea if this is someone you can see yourself with long-term.
It’s easy to always be polite, smile and act like life is grand when you’re on a three-hour date, but a three-date getaway complete with a mountain road you’re GPS has never heard of and a lumpy bed that hurts your back might show you a new side of Mr. or Ms. Wonderful.
One fight does not a bad weekend getaway make, however.
“Every couple has a fight now and then,” says LaCota. “Ask yourself if what you fought about is a deal breaker or if how the other person fought was unacceptable.”
Were you just tired from a long drive that got you into town at 2 a.m. after that incident with the GPS? Or is a more fundamental issue with the way you communicate with one another? There’s a big difference. Remember that travel adds another layer of stress and take that into account as you assess the situation.
Compromise and patience are the key to any successful weekend getaway – and likewise to any successful relationship. Survive that first trip together and you know you’re ready for bigger and better things ahead!
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