Everyone loves a vacation! Whether it’s skiing down a mountainside or soaking up the sun beachside, a family vacay can be a great time to unwind and reconnect with loved ones. Your family may even have a favorite location to return to every year. So what happens when you’ve got a significant other that you couldn’t possibly bear to spend some time away from?
As a natural progression of your relationship, your significant other may be spending more time with you and your family. This makes a lot of sense, as building a future together often means integrating your special someone into the life you’ve already established. You may be wondering when the time is right for your partner to join the rest of the family on vacation. Here are some tips:
So when can you invite your boyfriend on a family vacation?
1. You’re Serious About One Another:
Part of the fun of a vacation is that you don’t live in that area. Even if you’ve been there more than once, that locale will hold special memories beyond those of your everyday life. Now think, do you want to potentially spoil those memories with someone you aren’t very serious about?
Vacations are investments in time, energy, and money. It would be incredibly awkward to realize that your lover is full of off-putting traits for the first time when you’re 3000 miles away from home and with your entire family. Take a good, hard look at your relationship and be honest with yourself about if your partner’s presence will be significant in your and your family’s memories for years to come.
Vacations are also a practice run for what life together might look like. You can see how your partner navigates unfamiliar locations, how they act when they haven’t slept all night but still have a fully planned day of fun ahead, and how well they interact with your family during downtime. With this in mind, a more serious partner may be a better choice for this kind of investment.
2. Your Partner Has Met Your Family Before and More Than Once!
Vacations are a lot of fun but can be immensely stressful during the buildup to the trip. This pressure cooker of a situation can make even close relatives want to fight one another, which is never a good time. Now imagine this situation with a stranger who doesn’t know the family’s ticks and triggers. It could be a recipe for disaster.
Your partner should have a fair idea about the nuances of behavior in your family and what topics to avoid in conversation. They should also know what is expected of them and their behavior as a guest of the family. This can only come with time and experience interacting with one another.
Ideally, your family should also be able to see the potential of having your partner as a full-time member of the family. If your family still feels uncomfortable or like they have to continually pretend to be people they truly aren’t, in front of your partner, it might not be the best time to bring your significant other on a family vacation.
3. You’ve Talked to Your Family About It:
Every family has its own culture, habits, rituals, and traditions with different rules and behavioral standards. Some families are serious about accounting for every dollar spent and paid on vacation while others are generous hosts who always foot the bill. It all depends, but your family should discuss ahead of time what the plan is for adult children and their guests. This prevents any future drama regarding unpaid debts, which frequently leads to long-term hostilities between family members.
A topic that some families are hesitant to discuss but is better talked about is the conversation regarding sleeping arrangements. Some families are old school and will not let any unmarried couple share a room, no matter who is paying or how long the couple has been together. Others, in a double standard way, will allow a male child and his girlfriend to sleep in the same room, but absolutely forbid their unwed daughter and her boyfriend to do the same… It never hurts to double-check with your family members to see how they would feel about you and your partner rooming together.
However, before you have a conversation about finances or sleeping arrangements, make sure your entire family is okay with your partner coming along on your trip in the first place. Your mom might feel that an additional guest would ruin the family trip you’ve been taking to Disney World since you were 3. Who knows, sharing a home with a male guest might even make Grandma feel unsafe. Take everyone’s feelings into consideration and weigh how much having your partner around would improve the trip or hurt it.
4. You Think Your Partner Will Enjoy This Type of Vacation:
Before inviting your partner on a family vacation, you should know what your partner’s general tastes are, and be open to the fact that they may not be aligned with the plan for vacation.
For example, if your partner gets overstimulated by people talking for prolonged periods of time, they may not want to be in an isolated cabin with 15 of your family members for a week. Consider your partner’s feelings, preferences, love language, and comfort before asking them to tag along on vacation, especially since they may feel obligated to go.
5. Your Partner Can Pay Their Own Way:
Let’s talk about a few worst-case scenarios. Your parents’ cards get stolen. Your boyfriend needs to see a doctor or get bailed out of jail. You decide to break up and kick your partner out of the family’s rental home. All of these situations are not likely to happen during a vacation but are still possible.
Because your partner is a guest, they may not be able to benefit from the same grace or access to resources that your family extends to you. This is all to say that even if your family swears up and down that your partner won’t have to spend a single cent, you should be prepared, just in case. And, your partner should also be smart enough to bring some cash on the side even if you told them they may not need it.
Your partner’s ability to pay their own way also offers them a little bit of wiggle room in what events they’d like to participate in or not. If, say, your family has planned to have dinner at a steakhouse but your partner is a militant vegan, their ability to secure their own dinner frees them from having to sit in discomfort or go hungry. So even if your family says yes to you inviting your partner and even if they’re ready to pay for everything; make sure your partner doesn’t show up on your family vacation penniless.