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People go on “breakup holidays” with their exes

People go on breakup holidays with their exes

After talking to a few therapists, it doesn’t even seem like the worst idea.

Picture this: Your long-term partner has just dumped you. You’re picturing your first day alone passed out in bed or faking a fake smile while friends take you out on the town to celebrate your newfound (and unwanted) “freedom” – and then your ex proposes the exact opposite. “Are you in the mood for a breakup vacation?”. Although the concept seems unlikely, Justine Sebbag, a 26-year-old journalist living in Paris, ended up on her own breakup holiday after ending her relationship with her boyfriend of five years the day before planned holiday in the south of France.

It was the summer of 2021, and despite realizing how bad the timing was, she still felt that something about her relationship was “not right”. Normally, she figured this would ruin her vacation plans (which were also a work trip for both of them), but her ex asked her if she wanted to go anyway, hoping that she might change your mind. “It was a bit awkward at first because we didn’t know how to act – Should we kiss? Shall we have sex? I did and it was honestly the coolest,” says Sebbag. “During the vacation, we had many deep discussions about the last five years, about our doubts and what we wanted in a relationship.”

Instead of changing his mind, the vacation actually cemented his idea of ​​a breakup. She looks back fondly on her unplanned “breakup vacation” and is sure it made the breakup a lot easier for her in the long run. “Instead of breaking up after a long talk, we took the time to properly break up over the course of a week, somewhere that wasn’t too personal. We enjoyed delicious meals and enjoyed each other’s company before going our separate ways,” she says. “As time goes on, I realize how healing this longer separation was. I think it’s a great way to end a healthy, long-term relationship.”

Sebbag and her ex aren’t the only couple to say goodbye to their relationship with a vacation. While it’s still somewhat unconventional (let’s be honest, we all know an ex-couple who clearly shouldn’t try this), on TikTok couples are going viral after sharing their breakup vacation experiences, and even the faster, more efficient version in terms of pre-planned “last date” costs. “My boyfriend and I are breaking up in two weeks. We had a wonderful weekend break,” writes one creator as she holds hands with her partner in a clip that has now gone viral. “It was painful and healing at the same time.”

While online “breakup vacation” content is undeniably dramatic — and often feels like both parties are just rubbing salt into their wounds for views — Lexx Brown-James, a sex therapist in Pennsylvania, says it’s common for couples who trying to “consciously uncouple” AKA a relatively amicable separation. “From my observations, these people come out of a situation with mutual agreement and purpose rather than animosity, resentment and abuse,” says Brown-James. “I like to think that this has turned into a movement and that people are deciding to end things with good memories and clear decisions.”

Brown-James suggests that mutual break-up activities, such as vacations or parties, can help reframe our ideas about break-ups when done carefully. “One of my favorite examples of a breakup activity was a couple who threw a divorce party,” she says. “They were able to have close friends for support and decided they wanted to support each other as parents and as people, but they also made it clear that their partnership was no longer working and that they could be happy with other people.”

People go on breakup holidays with their exesHowever, when it comes to planning breakup activities it’s important to make sure both parties are on the same page. “They’re a good idea when it’s clear the relationship isn’t working and everyone feels safe,” says Brown-James. “It’s not the best idea when one person is using it as a last-ditch effort to hang on or to convince someone that the relationship can last, or when it’s coercive.” While she’s a huge supporter of them, Brown-James is skeptical that break-up holidays will become commonplace for many people – many people struggle to take time off from work for fun, let alone mourning a relationship with the person which he tries to forget.

For Grace Green, a 23-year-old woman who lives in Sheffield, the holiday break was with someone she wasn’t even in an “official relationship” with – although she says it took the emotional energy of one. “He’s my older brother’s best friend and after six months of having secret feelings for each other, we finally got together before he went to Australia for six months,” says Green. “A few weeks after he came back, I had a business trip to London and the company was paying for a nice hotel room for me.” Since he was also working in the same city, he joined Green in London and they had their first honest discussion about feelings.

“We were both on the same wavelength and decided not to continue,” says Green. “We didn’t have sex, but we slept in the same bed, ate takeout, drank cocktails and had long conversations about everything from work to creativity and each other’s needs. We realized that we both needed something different than what we could offer each other. I laughed a lot. We felt like we were old friends, which I suppose we were.” Green says the fact that the discussion took place on neutral ground made things easier because it gave them space and time together. But he wouldn’t buckle down for another breakup vacation. “It was a very particular situation that worked, like a spa retreat,” she says. “In the past, I’ve definitely felt the urge to go on a vacation to rekindle a relationship, which doesn’t work.

Rachel Wright, a psychotherapist in New York, says that while “breakup vacations” have taken TikTok’s algorithm by storm in recent months, therapists have been discussing “conscious termination” for a long time. “If the relationship ends on miserable terms or if there are destructive dynamics in between, spending more time alone together isn’t going to be great,” says Wright. “If there’s abuse, clearly don’t do anything like that.” Wright encourages those planning a breakup vacation to ask themselves the following questions: How will you pay for the vacation? What are your goals? Is physical privacy considered? What do you want to do while you’re away? What is the reason for this holiday?

Despite the serene vibe of the viral TikTok clips — where couples look into each other’s eyes with acceptance, hold hands while sad music plays in the background — going on one last vacation together isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. the world. It is most likely a much more difficult emotional process than it appears from the content. “I think some people can get caught up in how exciting it all seems and forget that there will be a grieving period and that they will lose the relationship,” Brown-James says. “There is an end to this love, and just because the breakup is mutual and amicable, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to let go.”

Talking about breakup vacations opens up a larger dialogue about fostering a healthy, mutual, and respectful end to a long-term relationship—that illusory “peace of closure” we tend toward in a breakup. If you are a married couple, this can look like a divorce party with mutual friends to show them that everything will be ok. “Breakups are always seen as a sad or negative thing, but although there is an element of sadness in most cases, it’s usually not just that,” says Wright. “Breakups are complex and it’s important to honor all the different sides.”

For those with horrible cheating partners, there’s the classic “block them on all social media and cry on your friends’ shoulders” method that’s been tried and tested. Because, let’s be honest, not all breakups are amicable, and not every ex has proven worthy of buying a plane ticket to say goodbye to.