‘Tis the season of romance, with mistletoe hanging, families to visit, midnight kisses and lots of vacation time.  But if, for some reason, you and your significant other are taking separate vacations, here’s how to cope (with my tips for making this time apart strengthen your bond, not weaken it).  Absence can certainly make the heart grow fonder, if you let it.

1. What are his intentions? If he’s going away on a boys’ trip for one of his buddy’s stags, is out of town for work, or is going on a family vacation that was booked before you started dating (or before you got serious) then it’s safe to say that his intentions aren’t to hurt you. If, however, he planned a trip with friends or family because he would rather spend time with them than you, or because he needs “space,” then it’s fair to be upset. Before you approach the situation and decide how you feel about it, take his intentions into considerations.

2. Don’t say you’re cool with it if you’re not. If your other half approaches you about wanting to go away without you by his side, don’t send him well wishes to save face.  Many of us don’t speak up and say how we really feel, out of fear of rocking the boat.  It’s important to be a supportive partner, but it’s equally as important to be an authentic one.  When you start sweeping major issues under the rug, you’re provoking them, because your partner will never learn what bothers you.  If you’re not OK with the idea that he wants to go away with one of his single friends, tell him how you feel, why you feel that way and offer a solution.  You can’t control other people, but you can share your feelings and hopes.

3. Communicate your expectations before you both leave. Does he want to go radio silent while gone?  Does he intend on calling you long distance?  Are you both going to agree to get a phone plan?  Make sure you discuss what your expectations are so you can avoid potential fights and disappointments over the holidays.  Discuss what times during the day would be best to contact each other and find out what he has in mind in regards to communication.  If he’s going away anyways, or if you are, at least you can ensure you’re on the same page with staying in touch.

4. Don’t go back on your word. If you already gave him your blessing about going away, or if you didn’t have much choice in the matter (work, stag, etc.), the worst thing you can do is start up with him while he’s away.  It’s natural to feel lonely over the holidays and to wish that he were around, but using negative tactics such as guilt or manipulation will only make him happy to have some distance from you.  If you think going on a drunk dial rant at 2am will make things better, think again.  If you want to strengthen your bond, show your interest.  Tell him you miss him.  Plan something special with him when you get back.  Ask him to send you a pic (if he doesn’t, don’t freak out and accuse him of cheating). When we become pushy, we push others away.

Separating over the holidays likely isn’t the best situation, but it doesn’t have to be so bad either.  Just be honest with your feelings instead of pushing them away, so they don’t turn into resentment and come up later.

Jen Kirsch is a relationship expert, columnist and blogger. For quick tips and tricks, follow her on Twitter @jen_kirsch. Read her posts every Tuesday on Slice.ca.

 

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