Itís time to plan your summer holiday, but make sure thereís not so much pressure to have a perfect time that you end up fighting with your partnerÖ
Because every second counts and emphasis has been placed on making it the Ďidealí romantic holiday, couples often end up bickering over small things.
Youíve worked hard all year and Christmas holidays are just in sight, a time to relax, reflect and regroup. However, if you are going on holiday with a partner for the first time and unless you know exactly what you are getting into, going on holiday with a partner can leave you more stressed than you were when you handed in your leave form.
According to Dr Judy Jaye, executive training specialist at The Voice Clinic, there are sound reasons for couples fighting when they're on holiday.
Because you're out of your familiar, everyday situation, holidays can actually increase stress levels if there has not been sufficient planning and expectations have not been clearly communicated.
"A lot of couples break up on holiday, over things that would not have mattered quite as much had they happened during their normal routine," says Dr Jaye. "Everything is more intense when you're on holiday because it's such a valued time for most of us."
More holiday fights are caused by lack of planning than unrealistic expectations
"You might not be able to do anything about your heightened holiday emotions, but you certainly can plan for physical eventualities."
If you are planning to go away with a partner - especially if it's the first time the two of you will be taking a trip together, follow these invaluable tips from The Voice Clinic to ensure a fight-free and harmonious break away:
1. Make sure you both want go to the same place
It's no use hiking in the Himalayas if your partner would rather be lying on a beach in Thailand. If your idea of a good holiday is vastly different from your partnerís, compromise and choose a place that offers both your types of enjoyment (such as a resort where one of you can go scuba diving while the other lounges next to the pool with a book and a pina colada).
2. Divide the money
Money and map navigation are the two most common causes of holiday tension. Money is perhaps more important because even if you're lost, you're still okay if you can afford a bed for the night.
It doesnít matter how compatible you might be in other spheres, in every couple there is a partner who is the spender
This is increased a hundred-fold when on holiday. Even if one of you is financing the holiday, itís always wise to have access to your own money, or the power imbalance will lead to bitterness. Work out the budget for the entire trip. If accommodation is paid for, work out how much you'll need each day for food, and if one of you wants to exceed that budget on a particular day, economise the next day.
3. Don't combine friends and new lovers
They might like each other but a first time holiday is about romance and you're not going to get that when you're trying to divide your time and attention between a friend and a lover.
You might also discover when on holiday that that one of you is more sociable that the other. Your partner may want to invite those two couples you met on the train to join you for dinner; all you want to do is spend time alone.
These are things you can't predict. All you can do is reasonably explain your desire to socialise - or your objections to talking to strangers and try to reach a compromise.
Respect each otherís boundaries
"The secret is to respect each otherís boundaries," concludes Doctor Jaye. Itís essential that no matter how blissful the relationship, we always need to be aware of one anotherís personal space as well as expectations. The only way to effectively implement this is to communicate kindly and openly at all times. And remember, a holiday is about having fun, so remember to laugh, relax and make memories.