Should You Ditch Your Relationship After A Disastrous Vacation?

Vacations are meant to be a fun and relaxing escape from everyday life — just picture yourself sipping margs poolside, laying on the beach, or sleeping in as long as you want. But they can also be a recipe for relationship conflict. Between booking flights, choosing which attractions are worth visiting, and dealing with snafus like smelly hotel rooms or getting lost in a foreign city, there's a lot to worry — and argue — about.

That might explain why 40% of pairs argue every day while vacationing together, according to a survey by Holiday Autos (via And for one in ten couples, a disastrous vacation is enough to tear them apart.

If you and your significant other are constantly bickering while traveling, it can ruin your vacation. But does that mean your relationship is ruined too? Here's what it means if you and your partner experience trouble in paradise and how to deal.

Why vacation conflict happens

Chill vacation vibes mean stress-free time with your other half, right? Not exactly, says Dr. David Austern, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry. Dr. Austern explained to the Los Angeles Times that people's expectations are high while on vacation, so when one thing goes wrong, it can set off intense emotional reactions — and next thing you know, you and your boo are yelling at each other across the hotel room. "I don't know a single person who this doesn't happen to at some point. [...] I have 100% had adult tantrums at Disney," Dr. Austern added.

Sometimes, physical and mental health triggers can also lead to vacation fights. According to Medical News Today, stress, anxiety, and phobias (like, say, being afraid of flying), and a lack of sleep (hello, jet lag!) can all cause irritability. So can a hangover after downing too many cocktails at the resort bar. Staying healthy when you're traveling can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings and bickering between you and your partner.

When vacation fights signal relationship trouble

You and your other half may rarely fight, only to quarrel the entire way through your vacation together. You might worry that your couple's trip peeled back the curtain on your relationship, revealing the true — and totally dysfunctional — bond you share. But before you start planning your breakup speech, keep in mind that vacation troubles may not translate to other areas of your life together. "Just because two people are not the best travel companions doesn't mean the relationship is doomed to failure," Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, chair and professor of counseling and counselor education at Northern Illinois University, shared with Cosmopolitan.

However, Dr. Degges-White warns that if you see traits in your partner on vacation that you wouldn't accept otherwise, you may want to reconsider your relationship. Dr. Marisa Perera, a clinical psychologist, agrees. "If your partner is unwilling to compromise and if the frustration and distress you experience from the traveling differences outweigh the enjoyment you get from the relationship, you may want to take a closer look at the future of your relationship," she told PopSugar.

Finally, even if vacay stress can bring out the worst in people, that's never an excuse for toxic relationship behaviors. Love Is Respect notes that arguments are normal, but personal attacks and attempts to control each other aren't.

What to learn from a couple's vacation gone bad

Your vacation with your S.O. is a disaster — now what? If the issues you're facing seem constructive, not destructive, to your relationship, consider what lessons can be learned. For example, you might see the silver lining of your disagreements and learn to appreciate your different approaches to travel and decision-making.

You might also learn a lot about each other's core needs. "In truth, when we're getting our needs met, we're less grumpy with our travel mate. Most of the friction comes from not getting our 'must-do' and then feeling resentment and anger," Susan Winter, a relationship expert and love coach, revealed to Elite Daily. She suggests couples talk about their vacation needs as soon as possible, ideally before the trip even starts.

If you're struggling to make amends during a heated argument, take a time-out. There's nothing wrong with spending some time separately while traveling – The Gottman Institute, an institute for relationship research, even recommends it. Hit up a museum or cute cafe on your own, using it as a chance to reflect on your relationship. A little time apart can sometimes be all you need to gain perspective and get back to enjoying those romantic walks on the beach and exotic dinners together.