So, you took a holiday with your partner over the summer break.
You’d planned to feed each other sundaes with the waves lapping at your toes, make beautiful shared plans together for the year ahead, and sensually rub coconut oil into each other’s lightly tanned backs before catching up on sexy-times in the soft, dusky light in your beachside bungalow.
Let me guess: This is what you had in mind.
What you probably overlooked is that day after day of of unadulterated time with a single person — no matter how special and adorable he or she is — is always going to be a little, well, underwhelming.
In fact, if your trip went for more than a few days, there’s a good chance you wanted to pour your frozen margarita over your significant other’s head, before embarking on an Eat Pray Love-style adventure sans partner.
Let’s face it: Holidaying with your dude or lady gets pretty old, pretty quickly — no matter how much coconut-scented oil is involved.
So, anyone else experience these reality checks during their couple’s trip this year?
Expectation #1: Relaxing on a pristine beach together.
Reality #1: Fighting one million holidaying bogans for just a teeny bit of sand to lie on.
The problem with secluded couples’ holiday hotspots is that everyone wants to spend time in them — which equals not very much seclusion at all.
Before long, those “private getaways” get built up with skyscraper-style accommodation, expat-themed pubs, and gimmicky, distinctly unromantic restaurant chains.
Which means that while you’re gently holding hands with your man (or woman) as you stroll down the beach, some douche-canoe is probably belting out Peter Andre in a nearby karaoke bar, while dozens of teenagers sporting tourisy cornrows are loudly critiquing your bikini body between cans of Bintang.
Ever been to Kuta beach in Bali, Phi Phi island in Thailand or Sihanoukville in Cambodia? You get the picture.
Expectation #2: Connecting deeply over a candlelit dinner.
Reality #2: Reading book after book after book because you ran out of conversation on day four.
The plan was to while away your evenings with seafood buffet on the beach, where you’d share insightful observations, trade childhood anecdotes, and choose names for your future babies.
Sure, you might get two or three of those conversations in over the course of your getaway — you’re in love, you finally get time together away from the stresses of work and email, et cetera.
But my guess is that after 48 hours, you’ll remember that holidays are the only time you ever get to read a book. And let’s be honest, if you immediately don’t get stuck into that copy of The Rosie Effect you got for Christmas, you’ll never get around to reading it.
So see ya, beachside buffet. I’ll be in the corner of the hotel restaurant where the lighting’s better, trying madly to get WiFi on my iPad to downlod my next beach read.
Expectation #3: Sexy, sexy seduction. And lots of it.
Reality #3: Two words: Food poisoning.
You might have had sex on the beach (both the cocktail and the sweaty, sandy act) on your mind prior to your arrival in paradise.
But post-arrival? Chances are, the old Bali belly/Delhi belly will make an appearance, meaning the only sweating you’ll be doing is rather uncomfortable and fever-related.
Believe me, there’s not much passion to be had when you’re sick in a teeny-tiny thatched bungalow… with nothing more than a reed partition between the four-poster bed and the toilet.
Better bring some earplugs.
Expectation #4: Bonding through shared experiences.
Reality #4: He wants to go windsurfing, you want to laze by the pool, so you compromise by arguing ALL THE TIME instead and never really doing either.
Beach resorts are overflowing with activities for two. Couples’ cooking lessons? You got it. Kitesurfing for two? Right this way.
The only problem is, after the obligatory snorkle and a wander around the surrounding town, it’s not easy to agree on how to spend your waking hours. Maybe he’s annotated an A1-sized map with approximately three dozen “unmissable” temples and walking tours, and you’re more interested in cruising the village markets for souvenirs.
Or perhaps he’s of the view that Happy Hour constitutes a legitimate daily activity, while you had your eye on the couple’s massage-and-facial deal.
One thing is guaranteed: lots and lots of unstructured time together means tiffs will happen.
Expectation #5: You look like a beach goddess and he can’t keep his eyes off you.
Reality #5: The climate is not kind to your hair. Or your skin. Or your self-esteem.
Had Instagram aspirations for your couple’s getaway? Get ready to rely heavily on every filter known to your smartphone, because you’re probably not going to be looking your best once you’re sporting a sunglasses-shaped tanline, mosquito bites the size of volcanos.
As for the variety of casual, wavy beach-hair sported by the likes of Blake Lively and Gisele? Yeah, once the remperature rises above 26 degrees, that’s not going to happen.
Expectation #6: You’ll be so much closer after your holiday.
Reality #6: Actually, you kind of are.
Here’s the thing: Spending every waking moment with your other half is not going to be a picture of seamlessly, effortlessly, coconut-scentedly perfection — because life is not an Instagram account (or one of those C-grade romance movies they played on the plane).
So, you might have bickered over the small things with your man-friend or lady-friend this Summer break, but repeat after me: that is normal.
In fact, if you’ve managed to spend two or three or four weeks with your love, and only your love, by your side, without empyting aforementioned cocktail contents on his or her head? You’re doing alright.
And also this:
The couple that gets food poisoning together, stays together.
How was your couples’ holiday? Ever been underwhelmed by a getaway with your significant other?