What if ... You Have a Terrible Breakup on Vacation?

Jo Piazza
Managing Editor
July 30, 2014

Welcome to Yahoo’s new “What if” series, where we explore real-life calamities that can befall even the most seasoned traveler on the road.

(Photo: Getty)

The Situation: You’re two days into an eight-day vacation with your significant other and things go wrong. After a long talk/epic blowup, you call it quits. But you’re Still. On. Vacation.

You sink into the lush hotel bed or cozy up to the bar downstairs and let your head fall into your hands as you realize, “I’m on vacation with someone who despises me.”

Of course, last-minute tickets home are prohibitively expensive and you can’t exactly ask your boss for this time back. So what do you do?

The Expert: Dr. Jenn Berman, psychotherapist and host of VH1’s Couple’s Therapy

The Solution: Once the dust has settled and tempers have cooled, the most important thing is direct communication.

“You need to find a way to communicate in a respectful way to honor the history you have with this person. You cannot let hurt feelings get in the way of discussing your options,” Berman says. Start with a time out: “One or both of you should go for a walk and clear your head.”

Next, sit down and discuss.

Berman politely informed me that it is a rare human who can pull off D.

“If you’re so angry you break up in Europe or on a tropical island, then you have pretty much reached a critical mass of anger and you are unlikely to be able to handle the rest,” Berman said.

According to the good doctor, after you talk, the two of you should set some ground rules and make some boundaries.

Maybe you order a rollie bed. Maybe you plan separate itineraries. Maybe you agree to just stare at one another with derision for the next six days.

Be upfront and honest about exactly what each of you wants from the rest of this vacation.

“No name-calling, no character assassination, no shouting, no screaming,” Berman advises.  Be willing to ask for what you want. Say, ‘I would like to see the Louvre on my own … but maybe we can have dinner afterwards.’”

This is all well and good if you are a rational person. Sometimes you just don’t want to be in the same damn city as your ex, much less the same hotel room.

You have other options that won’t break the bank. Talk to the concierge about your situation. The right amount of tears could score you a discount on a second room. This goes for dudes too.

Another option is to get as far away from the person as possible without getting on a plane. if you’re on an island and have the budget for another hotel, go to the other side of the island. If you’re in Europe, hop on a train to another city.

At the end of the day, this is your vacation. You won’t get another one. Find a way to make the best of it, together or apart.