Listen, Laugh, and Love Your Way Out of a Post-Vacation Fight

Vacation was amazing but peaceful isnt how you describe things when you return...Welcome Home! How to bring vacation connection back with you

From you RAFT Counseling Team in Parker, Colorado

You just got back from the most amazing vacation with your partner. The sunsets were beautiful, the cocktails were strong, and the laughter was plentiful. But now, just a few days later, you find yourselves in a full-blown fight about nothing in particular. Welcome to life after vacation! It's totally normal for couples to fight post-vacation—in fact, it happens to the best of us. Here's why it happens and how you can avoid it next time.

The Meanings We Make

When we're on vacation, we're in what psychologist and relationship expert John Gottman calls the "positive perspective." This is when we see our partner in the best possible light and are more likely to forgive their shortcomings. After all, we're on vacation! We're supposed to be having fun!

But when we get home from vacation, all of those little things that we were able to overlook while we were away come rushing back to the forefront of our minds. That's because we're no longer in the positive perspective; we're back in what Gottman calls the "negative sentiment override." In other words, we're more likely to dwell on the negative aspects of our relationship and ignore the positive things.

You might not want to hear it, but reality is that you both might also be exhausted. Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax, but let's be honest - they're usually anything but. Between trying to pack everything in and dealing with jet lag, it's no wonder you're both cranky. With this added layer, we can be even quicker to jump to conclusions and find even small things irritating.

How To Avoid It Next Time

So how can you avoid this post-vacation fighting trap? Gottman says there are three key things you can do: listen, laugh, and love. First, try to really listen to your partner when they're talking—even if you don't agree with what they're saying. Second, find ways to laugh together—even if it's just about the ridiculous fight you're currently having! Finally, remember to express your love for one another—physical touch can be especially helpful here. If you can do these three things, you'll be well on your way to enjoying post-vacation bliss with your spouse.

Post-vacation fights are totally normal—but that doesn't mean they're any fun. If you find yourself in a tiff with your spouse after returning from a trip away, try using the three steps outlined above to work your way out of it. And next time you go on vacation, see if you can extend that positive perspective just a little bit longer after coming home. Pull some of your favorite parts of connecting during vacation time back to home and set you and your partner up for peace upon your return!
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