I just went on a little trip and wound up chatting with a woman by the pool. She was there on family vacation with her husband and kids…and her daughter’s new boyfriend. Even though we’d just met, she unloaded on me about this boyfriend. And it wasn’t pretty. The parents couldn’t believe that their daughter even asked to bring him but they didn’t know how to say know, he wasn’t vibing with the family, and her other daughter felt completely left out for the entire trip. Then, the daughter and her boyfriend fought and seemed to be on the verge of breaking up! Everyone seemed miserable despite the fact we were in paradise. Now, of course this was an extreme case and everyone makes big mistakes when they’re 19, so no hate for the daughter who did this, but it got me thinking about when to bring your new boo on family vacations. Family trips happen throughout your life and you can easily make the same mistake this 19 year old did as a fully grown adult. So, here are a few tips to help guide you before you extend the invitation.
What kind of trip is this?
Not all family travel is created equal. Is this a special family trip? Are you all going somewhere for a celebration or specific reason? Or, is it just a get together? For example, if you all are going to Costa Rica for the fifth time and this is a fun tradition you guys regularly do, that seems like an ok thing to bring a boo too. But, if this is your mom’s 60th birthday celebration and she’s always wanted to go to Mount Rushmore with her three kids and has been planning thing since her 50th birthday, it doesn’t seem like a boo friendly trip. Same thing with visiting a sick relative. Don’t bring someone new to something that intimate. Just because you’re excited to travel with your new man and have him mesh with your family, don’t overlook the context of the travel. It’s really important.
What’s the alone time like?
If there’s one thing that’s going to tank your boo’s experience on your family trip, it’s not being able to be by himself or alone with you. Even the most extreme extroverts need time off when it comes to being with a new family. So, if this is the type of trip where it’s fine to spend time solo or if the family will occasionally break into smaller groups, then it could be a good trip for a new boo. But, if the trip is you two sleeping on a pullout sofa in the living room, all group meals, only organized activities and one bathroom everyone shares, then think again before you plunge your man into that scenario. Anyone would implode under those circumstances.
Is he the one?
I know this is a big question to slap onto the end of this. But, I think family vacations are sacred. The memories and pictures from those trips last a lifetime. They’re just one step down from family wedding pictures. So, I’d only recommend bringing someone on trips that you’re certain of. If there’s any “good for now” vibes in your relationship, then don’t bring him. It’ll be too intimate a situation for you two and something you’ll regret when you have to explain to your mom why she paid for a five night all-inclusive resort stay for someone you ended it with only a few weeks post-trip. Family trips are basically a pre-engagement activity. So, only bring him if you think he’s going to ring you!
Hope that helps you avoid the sticky situation my pool friend found herself in. Here’s to safe travels and lots of fun times in your future!