When you are searching for the best airline prices, finding an Airbnb, and planning a rough itinerary with your special someone, one thing you leave out is plans for a breakup. When they cancel your relationship, does that cancel your plans? You’ve already got tickets. You can’t get a refund. You didn’t buy the insurance to cover unexpected breakups. So, what now?
Option One: Go alone!
Countless books have been written about solo travel after a breakup. “Eat, Pray, Love,” anyone? I moved to Ireland after mine, and it completely transformed my heart. While long-term trips are a very different story than short-term, they will both lead to growth. Even merely deciding to go and planning out what you will do will bring some much-needed hope and excitement.
On short-term trips, you don’t settle into a routine long enough to come face-to-face with your soul for an extended period of time, as you would on a long-term trip. Rather, short-term trips get your mind off of all the heavy stuff. Short-term trips are a vacation, a distraction. They’re supposed to be fun! Have fun on your solo short-term trip, and get to know the culture that surrounds you, and get to know yourself while you’re at it. Spending time with yourself doesn’t always have to be a deep, brooding soul search. It can be more like a date. Engage in the local activities, go to those beautiful markets, dance as often as you possibly can, and leave your heart wide open to take in this experience. Read these 10 reasons why you should travel after a breakup!
Option Two: Go with your ex?
Yikes. Bad idea. This will be a very complicated and messy state of affairs that puts you into a state of limbo. Chances are, the breakup was not mutual. So going on a trip together will probably mean one person is trying to get back together while the other is emotionally unavailable. This might lead to using each other, one for pleasure, the other for emotional validation. No one really gets what they want in this situation, unless what you want is to get hurt and leave with more questions than answers.
While I advise against going together at all, the only way this trip could possibly work is if the breakup was mutual and you are both over it. The most important thing you can possibly do in this scenario is to set boundaries. Under no circumstances should you be sleeping in the same bed, holding hands, or any other form of affection. This will just prolong the mending process. If one partner used to always pay for dates, make sure you’re not doing that on this trip. Make it clear that these are not dates. It can even help to discuss the breakup in this sort of situation but only do it if you’re sure you’ve detached emotionally.
If you both go on this trip together mutually wanting to get back together, that might happen, but it should be a red flag that the only way to get back together is by traveling. Traveling ignites emotions, passions, and behaviors that deviate from your day to day routine and this can present a false sense of closeness. If getting back together was really a good idea, you’d be going on this trip as a couple, not as two people who still have feelings for each other and don’t know what to expect or what boundaries to set.
Option Three: Have your ex sell and transfer the tickets to a friend or vice versa.
This is a bold move. It really says “forget you” in a unique and powerful way. It tells your ex that you couldn’t care less about them going on this trip, and that’s really incredibly liberating. You’re going to have so much fun with your friend! Or if you’re the one who decides to stay, take a coinciding trip to go explore a nearby town or be a tourist in your own city. Just make sure you are doing something stimulating so that you don’t get tempted to watch your ex’s IG stories. Maybe even leave your phone at home, and just use your friend’s if you need navigation.
Whatever you decide, remember that you’ll grow with who you go with, and if it’s an unhealthy dynamic, it may be an unhealthy growth. Yourself? Yes! Your friend? Yes! Your ex? Absolutely not.