What travelling together teaches you about your partner

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Travelling together is one of the best tests of any couple’s compatibility. On dates, we lock away our grouchy selves, and put on our best front for a few hours – no problem. But travelling together? If your partner has any hidden monsters or nightmarish behaviour, they are bound to rear their heads during the trip. Here’s what you can look forward to learn and unveil about your partner:

1. Actual likes and dislikes

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On your first date, you said you love cycling. Your partner gushed, “Me too!” And now you’re in Tokyo, and you excitedly bring up the idea of renting bicycles to explore the city on wheels. You watch as your partner’s face fall. Turns out they actually hate all forms of exercise, and only said they enjoyed cycling to please you.

It’s not an uncommon thing to do, especially when you really like someone, and want them to like you too. Establishing common interests is an easy way to try to achieve that.

But before you call your partner a dirty liar, why not just take the time to sit down, and talk about what you both actually like and dislike, and then plan accordingly? Or, you could try some new things together that neither of you have experienced before – after all, that’s the point of travelling, isn’t it?

2. Their problem-solving style

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This is important because every relationship goes through challenges at some point. It could be a potential overseas job opportunity for one party, or an unpleasant parent/future-in-law. You want a partner you can depend on, someone who can solve problems in a calm, assured manner.  

And travelling is the perfect opportunity to test this because it pretty much never ends up exactly as planned in your itinerary. Chances are, you’ll miss a train somewhere, or get lost in a remote neighbourhood without road signs. The way your partner reacts to these (usually less severe) challenges is a good indication of how they might handle future, larger challenges. Are they calm under stress? Do they rise up to challenges, and tackle them confidently? Or do they panic, and start to complain like there’s no tomorrow? Which brings us to…

3. How they handle disagreements

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Let’s get this clear: You will definitely disagree with your partner at some point in your relationship. And you will probably disagree with your partner at some point on your trip.

Here’s a simple example. You’re in Paris. Your partner wakes up at 11am because it’s a holiday, which, to them, means taking it easy, lots of rest, and unplugging from the world. You, on the other hand, wake up at 6am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to go exploring because it’s a holiday, which means making the most of each second in a new city. There are 25 things you want to see today. But your partner just wants to go to a cool café, drink coffee, and people watch. You thought you had already emailed your itinerary to your partner, but you realise they didn’t read the attachment. So what do you do?

Your partner knows you’re clearly upset. How do they handle it? If he or she pretends to ignore you, hoping it will blow over, then I suggest you go your own way – literally and figuratively. Ideally, both of you should be able to communicate about this, and come to a compromise that makes the both of you happy. Willingness to compromise is one thing that can never be overrated.

4. Whether he or she is someone you can actually live with and get married to

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Trips are short experiments in living together. Being able to live together amicably is one of the key aspects of a successful, evergreen relationship. A lot of it boils down to simple compatibility in daily habits too. You hear people complain about how their partners never ever shut the cupboard drawers, and always leave dirty socks outside the laundry basket.        

You may think, why is this such a big deal? But incompatibility in daily habits can grate on your relationship, and wear it down over time. Ask yourself this when you return from a trip together: If you think about waking up in the morning, and seeing your partner’s face next to you in bed, what do you feel? And the truth about your relationship will be revealed in your answer. 

Travelling not only reveals more about us, but also creates shared memories, and if it goes well, strengthens the bond between you and your partner. So go ahead, and plan that couple trip sooner rather than later!

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