Vacationing Without Your Spouse
By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement
While I like to think I am on the cutting edge of trends, the truth is, I often am not.
So, I was sort of surprised when I heard in a recent newscast that I was embarking on one of the latest ways to vacation for married, retired couples- separately.
In my case, it was only through the generosity and encouragement of my spouse that I was able to travel to my hometown and rent a house for two months this summer. In this economic climate, even people that have retired have often ended up going back to work and such was the case with my spouse. Just as we were making vacation plans, he was offered a job. And as we watch the value of our 401K’s plummet, we realized that his job offer was a good opportunity at this time.
I will say that there are many emotions that you confront when you do take separate, or in this case, one-sided vacations. The primary feeling for me was guilt. Why should I get to go have fun when leaving someone to not only start a new job, but also to take care of the house and yard? I am still not sure I know the answer to that question, but one recommendation I would make is to make sure your spouse is okay with the idea. No relationship is exactly 50/50, but sometimes by putting the other person first, there is a satisfaction achieved through the other’s enjoyment.
If your spouse is okay with the idea of a separate vacation, you must still decide how you feel about traveling alone. I am not a seasoned traveler, but I must say, I was impressed by how kind and patient people were. Sometimes when you listen to news stories, you forget that people will assist you if given the opportunity. In fact, our friends were so generous that I felt I had a small army supporting my travel plans!
Trust is also key. I had not lived alone in so long I was almost afraid to trust in myself and believe that I could do it. For those who do not trust their spouse, obviously money spent on a vacation might create even more stress on your relationship. But even those with a strong bond will find that people will question why you are traveling alone, or being without your spouse for so long. I found myself reassuring our friends that nothing was wrong, but there is definitely a red flag associated with traveling separately.
So, would I recommend it? Perhaps, but every situation is different. All I know is I came back home having a greater appreciation for the sacrifice my spouse made so I could have fun. I see my surroundings with a new fresh eye and I am happy to get reacquainted with friends. Not only that, but I came home with a renewed spirit and memories that I will have forever. Yes, this was a great vacation in almost every way possible, and I would do it again.
About Alane Cunningham
Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.