You love your boo.
Of course you’re thrilled he suggested you go on a vacay with his best friend and his girlfriend! And, from the two boozy dinners you’ve had with them: you think they’re great. Your boyf and his best friend have years of history—which sometimes takes them off into their own little world. But the best friend’s girlfriend is luckily also a nice person that you enjoy talking to. A little more serious than you, but hey. You’re both into yoga. You’ve invited her to hang with your own friends and it went well. She fitted in easily.
You can interact in a foursome, and with the friend or his girlfriend on your own. Something about her keeps you on your toes (perhaps it’s her responsible two glasses of wine, compared to your four, plus the shot you tend to insist on having with the boys at the end).
Anyway: you think a couples holiday sounds great. You feel a bit smug about it actually. Going on a couples holiday is one of those beacons of mature, adult, life that, you oddly covet, rather than cringe over. Also, with the advent of air bnb, it makes sense. Two couples can get a killer pad for the same price you’d pay for two hotel rooms.
Not. So. Fast.
Couples holidays must be approached with caution. At least once you’ll give your partner that look that means “I’m biting my tongue!” or “I want you to bite yours!” Here are five ways to ensure you’re an excellent spousal-vacationer, and all round incredible catch:
1. Don’t play the comparison game.
When you are around another couple a lot it gets you thinking, ‘Is my baby voice that annoying? Why don’t we go for morning jogs like them? Are they really having sex, again, for the third time today?’
Comparing yourself to others is depressing and unproductive. Comparing your relationship to others is twice as useless. You’ll never know what goes on behind closed doors, and people can be good pretenders. Being in close quarters with another couple can make you more susceptible to get out the measuring stick, but just don’t. It never ends well.
2. Be a good sport. No bitching.
When you get up close and personal with your boyfriend’s best friend + partner you’ll see their not-so-great sides, that were well hidden during those first few introductory boozy dinners. You might clash. There could be a vague, bristling sense of competition: best friend vs. girlfriend.
Whatever you do: sleep on any qualms you have before raising them with your beau. If you’re truly having an issue with the bf’s best friend you can discuss it. He’s known him longer than you, so will most likely understand. But, don’t bitch about him immediately after he rustles your feathers. Choose your words carefully.
3. You do you.
This applies to traveling with anyone. Assess what you really want to see and do and let your partner, and the other couple know. You can explain that while the others are welcome to join, if they don’t want to come along, that’s fine and you can all team up later.
Otherwise: go with the flow. Don’t make difficult demands, or be unreasonable to requests made by others. If someone’s feet are sore and they want the group to take a cab rather than walk: don’t complain. You’d hope they’d do the same for you.
4. Be mindful of everyone’s financial situation. Don’t let pea-pickers get you down.
Now that we’re no longer poor students, there is more likely to be a discrepancy in income between couples. Not only that, between themselves they might handle money differently to you and your boyfriend.
Suggestions to split the bill are met with sidelong glances and grumbles over someone having one more drink than the others. An expensive main. You get the picture. This can be frustrating for both parties: it feels awkward when two people analyse the bill like accountants and give you their $39.42 share.
But it’s also annoying when you and your boyfriend are creatives, and your investment-banking pals always order foie-gras and champagne, before telling the waitress with a smile, “just split it four-ways, thanks.” Be sensitive to the way others approach money and conduct the holiday within everyone’s means. If they’re the you get this, I’ll get the next one type, embrace it: it all comes out in the wash. If they cross off what they ate on the menu, get out your pen and do the same.
5. Enjoy getting to know one another intimately.
Being on holiday with another couple is being with friends that understand. You can make dorky jokes about what your partner does that annoys you and they’re met with understanding chuckles rather than the bemused silence of your single friends with people that get it. You can sneak off for couples time without being wolf whistled and heckled. You and the other girlfriend can talk in hushed tones about whether he’s The One. Getting chummy with the best friend/girlfriend will always involve a little friction.
You’re getting to know each other, and we’re only human. But, let’s face it, if things go well this is just the first of many more couples holidays. Don’t get me started on kids.