Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

January 25, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

I read an article in Time magazine online, called "Is it Healthy for Couples to Travel Apart?", and it got me thinking. Does the fact that we vacation apart mean that Norm and I have a bad relationship?

Norm and I travel apart often. I remember when we first became a couple, he sent an e-mail to few of his friends around the globe, sort of "introducing" our relationship. One of the ways he described me was "she travels well." At the time, I thought it sounded like "she eats her vegetables" or "she is hardy" or "she is of good cheer". Now I understand his message to his friends. It was a compliment in the truest sense.

Work plays a big role in whether or not we can do stuff together. As a Flight Attendant, I can move days around so I work a bunch of days in a row, and have a bunch of days off, too. As a Grand Poobah at the Pentagon, Norm has world peace on his "To Do" list, and isn't able to vary his days off too much. He's a Monday through Friday man, and I'm a workin' on the weekends kinda gal.

When we do travel together, we definitely have our differences. He likes to be the first one on the plane, and as a non-rev/standby sorta person, I am used to being the last one on the plane. So, when we have actual assigned seats, he likes to board and get settled, where as I am likely perusing a magazine, or yakking with a Gate Agent, waiting for everyone else to board. We live with our differences when we travel--he boards first and I board whenever....but, it took a couple of discussions to get to that!

When flying, Norm likes the window seat--unusual for most men--they tend to want the aisle, like me. He wants to get on the plane, and go to sleep. Being an Air Force fighter pilot (retired), he learned to fall asleep whenever and wherever he could...and he does. Aggravates the crap outta me, too! I like to yak, and chat and have cocktails--especially on an international flight. Not Norm. He is all rested and ready to hit the ground running when we land at our destination. Me? I'm usually whining for the hotel room. That's one of the reasons I like traveling with Shelby...we take full advantage of our First and Business class benefits that we have earned from our jobs (well, the Company calls 'em privileges, we call 'em benefits...toe-MAY-toe, toe-MAH-toe). The style of ride to our destination, to us, is pretty important. Shelby and I have been known to wait at the gate for a few hours to get our First Class seats. There may be a gazillion seats in Coach, but we have waited for the next flight to London to get our upgrades. We pick our movies, taste the wines, chat with the Flight Attendants. Norm? He'd have none of that. That's him snoozin' in the corner, in Coach...

The first year we were together, Norm and I went to London, Paris and Rome. I had never been to any of them. We were traveling fools! (Now, London and Paris are like my backyard--and it's all his fault!) Then, the unthinkable happened: Norm asked me to go to his high school reunion in California. Ugh! A high school reunion??? I knew how important maintaining these relationships with people he grew up with was to him. And, it would have been one thing if I knew a few of the people who would be attending, but I knew none of them. So, I asked him to give me a pass on going, and he graciously did. He was able to have a great time with his friends, and I wasn't bored to tears with people I didn't know. Then, I decided I wanted to go to London, and he had work obligations, so he gave his blessings. Thus, a pattern was born.

We do at least one big trip a year together. This summer, it will be a cruise. Even our cruise styles differ. The first time we cruised, he drove me nuts. Having done the bulk of my cruising with my sister Donna, I was used to getting up fairly early, having breakfast in the dining room, going ashore to shop, back in time for Team Trivia (and winning!) Oh, wait! What time is it? sing-a-long in the Schooner Bar (you can ALWAYS find me in the Schooner Bar!) time for dinner and a show, c'mon, don't be late, let's go! Norm likes to sleep in, order room service, read the paper on the balcony, watch the world go by and contemplate his belly button. (Okay, I made up that last part.) He'll mosey to lunch, then want a nap, then dress for dinner--if putting on khakis and a polo shirt is called dressing--and start his evening. He truly relaxes on a cruise. Thankfully, this sort of vacation can accommodate both of us!

In the first week of February, his dear friend Danny has a birthday party. Danny lives in London. Norm asked me to go, and I would have loved to, but having little say-so on my schedule means I did not get the days off I wanted.

From the Time magazine article:

Ian Kerner, a sex and relationships counselor...wishes more couples would take them. "I certainly think [separate vacations] would be an excellent trend because absence does make the heart grow fonder".....Far from being a symptom of a troubled relationship, Kerner says solo vacationing is often quite the opposite: "I think it's cool to be able to travel separately — it's an indication that you're in trusting, safe, secure relationship," he says.

So, we'll find a weekend here and there to do things together, and in the meantime, we'll travel on our own. And my heart will grow even more fonder!

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January 25, 2009 at 5:25 PM delete

It's great that you all can handle your differences so well!

I'm going on my first cruise at the end of April and can't wait. I just have to get though the 55 hour minimum weeks that I have to work between now and then!

January 26, 2009 at 6:19 PM delete

Speaking of.....

When are WE leaving for Paris???
I'm packed, Ready to go!!


January 29, 2009 at 11:33 AM delete

I'm with you and Shelby. Who cares where you're going, as long as you get there in style!

I have my own 'Norm' .... sometimes the partners just don't 'get it' .....