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How to handle a holiday romance

August 5th, 2005

Dr Petra

This week we’ve been talking about safer sex; particularly around holiday time when over ½ holidaymakers expect to have sex with one or more people whilst on a break.

At the end of every summer all agony aunts like me receive hundreds of letters from people who’ve had holiday romances and are upset they didn’t go the way they wanted, worried about the consequences of a romance, or unsure what to do once they return home.

So how best to handle a holiday romance?

Don’t put up with peer pressure

If you’re single there’s often a great deal of pressure to be in a relationship. Well meaning friends, colleagues or relatives could put pressure on you before, during or after your break. Holidays can be a great place to meet someone for a fling or something more. But feeling you have to meet someone whilst you’re away can spoil your break and chances of meeting someone. Your holiday allows you the chance to sightsee, relax, learn, have fun, and try new things. It’s fantastic if you also catch the eye of a gorgeous stranger, but don’t feel that you have to find someone to make your holiday – or you – complete.

If you feel under pressure tell friends or family to give you some space. It’s better to enjoy a fantastic and relaxing holiday alone than have a sexual or romantic encounter with someone you’re not really into just to keep other people happy.

Are you single or in a relationship?

If you’re single there’s a number of options open to you (see next section). If you’re in a relationship you can still enjoy a holiday romance with your partner – holidays make it easy to have meals out, romantic walks and long lazy days where there’s time to find out more about each other.

Decide what you want
Before you even go away have a thought about the type of romance you’d like. Are you looking for a short-term fling with one person? A few casual encounters with a number of people? Or finding someone with whom to have a serious relationship with – one that lasts beyond the holiday. As mentioned at the start you may also make the decision not to have a romance, just to have a great holiday where you pamper yourself. And if you’re in a relationship you can also make plans with your partner about what you’d like to get out of your holiday – more time to talk, have sex, or play together.

Find places to meet

If you spend your holiday in your room or by the pool then chances are you may not meet someone to have a romance with. Sightseeing trips, social evenings, or nights out with friends are all ways of increasing your chances of meeting people and talking to them. Thankfully holidays allow this to happen in two ways – there’s always something to talk about like “doesn’t the sea look gorgeous today, have you had a swim yet?” and if the person you chat to isn’t interested you don’t have to see them again and you’ve not lost face – after all you were just making holiday conversation.

Use your holiday spirit to take some risks, smile at strangers – start up conversations, try new activities, visit new places. Even if you don’t meet someone you’ll have had a fun and interesting time.

Be clear with your lover

If you do meet someone then be clear with them what you want, particularly if it’s just a holiday fling. If they seem like they want to get serious then you may want to remind them you’d like to focus on the here and now. If you only want to have one date then thank them at the end and wish them an enjoyable holiday – explain you’re busy for the rest of the break or not interested in anything other than a dinner date. If you only want to see them for the holiday then make it clear before you both go home that you want your time together to be a lovely holiday romance and wish them well. Explain you like them but don’t see a future together back home.

Unless your holiday romance turns to a date from hell and makes you feel at risk, avoid giving fake contact details. It’s better to keep your dates light and don’t reveal too much personal information (e.g. where you live and work) until you’re more sure of your date.

If you decide they are someone you’d like to keep in touch with then feel free to mention it to them. It could lead to a long lasting love.

What do I do after I get home?

Some people find after they get home they miss their romance or want to see them again. If you’ve their contact details and want to get in touch then do so. Be sensitive to their behaviour – if they seem evasive or don’t want much contact then respect that and use the confidence you gained from your holiday romance to help you meet someone new.

Sometimes your holiday romance doesn’t seem the same once you’re back home –either because you have to maintain a long distance relationship, or because outside your exotic holiday location the feelings aren’t the same. In this case you can explain to your lover that you enjoyed your time together but feel it’s not working out now you’re back home.

If your holiday romance didn’t seem keen to keep up contact after the holiday and you liked them, try not to be down about it. You enjoyed a relationship and had a good holiday and you can use the happy memories to remind yourself you can meet people, try new things, and enjoy great dates – meaning if you did it on holiday you can do it again.

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