To Rekindle Your Romance, Travel Somewhere New Together
February 7, 2018
Written byAshley Hamer
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It happens to almost every couple: at first, you're madly in love and can't get each other out of your heads. But as time passes, that all-consuming fireball eases into a steady flame. That's normal — but it's also normal to wish that bonfire of new love was still raging. How do you fan the flames? Here's one sure-fire method that's backed by research: travel.
Addicted to You
Scientists have spent a lot of time looking at the brains of people in love, and they've discovered some key characteristics. When you look at your beloved, there's a lot of activity in the dopamine-rich brain regions associated with reward and motivation. Ever heard that love is a drug? It's true: these are the same regions that light up in the presence of cocaine.
But after a while, the reward-seeking dopamine rush gives way to a deeper, but calmer, flow of oxytocin and vasopressin, two chemicals with important roles in bonding. You're attached, but you're not obsessed. It's no wonder that in this stage, compliments and intimacy often take a backseat to more practical matters like child-rearing and household maintenance. As a result, relationship satisfaction tends to decline.
But this isn't the case for everyone. There are some lucky couples that never lose that initial flame — and scientists have studied them. The difference? Beyond elements like "general life happiness" that are generally out of our control, these couples reported thinking about their partner when they were apart, showing affection toward each other, and sharing plenty of intimate moments. But there was one thing they did differently that every couple can learn from: they engaged in "novel and challenging activities" together. Novel and challenging like traveling somewhere new, perhaps?
Come Fly With Me
A first vacation is an important test of any new relationship. Do you plan ahead, or pack the morning of? Do you like to make an itinerary, or see where the day takes you? Are you more of an adventurer or a kick-back-and-relaxer? And importantly, can you spend all that nonstop time together without getting on each other's nerves? When you travel, you learn all sorts of things about your partner that dinner and a movie would never tell you.
A 2013 literature review from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that travel is a great antidote to the time that career and family demands take away from a relationship. It concluded that vacations together can improve communication, strengthen bonds, boost well-being, and, importantly, reduce the risk of divorce. Likewise, several consumer surveys support the idea that travel is great for rekindling that spark: a 2012 survey by the U.S. Travel Association found that couples who travel together report "higher levels of satisfaction with their relationships," and more than half of the respondents to a 2010 survey by UK travel agency sunshine.co.uk reported being intimate with their partner more often during a one-week vacation than they did during two full months at home. When your office is an ocean away and the wind's in your hair, you can connect with your partner in a completely different way.
Why not reignite the spark with a trip to The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel? Whether you soak up the sun on its sandy shores or adventure together on a stand-up paddleboard, this tropical getaway will give you the time to reconnect with the one you love.