When The Rationalization Hamster Goes On Vacation

A snippet from a reader email…
“In April she went on a girls weekend to some tropical island. While she was down there she met some guy at a bar, they had sex, the next night they got together again,and did it again. When she got back we, did not talk for a week, when we did I got the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” talk, she said she wanted a divorce.”
I’ve seen this “off for a party” vacation effect in reader emails and on the Talk About Marriage boards a number of times now. If things aren’t right between you, her going off for a party vacation, even with friends is a very bad sign.
Check into what is really going on both with the trip and with what is happening with each other. It’s far easier to put a marriage back onto the right course before cheating happens than after it.
Note: This post has been heavily edited since initial posting, many comments no longer have the original context and have been removed. My apologies to those who contributed and were removed.


  1. m.m says

    Yikes – this is so true. I've been on the receiving end of some vacation loving, but how do you mitigate this other than putting your girl on lockdown?

  2. thequestfor50 says

    Yeah, I've witnessed this firsthand many times, as I'm sure many other men have. There is really no perfect antidote. The best thing you can do is not show any jealousy whatsoever, seem aloof during the week before she leaves (enough that she notices), and give her some reasons to be jealous/worried about you while she's gone… can be playful teasing about the girls you're going to sleep with, or a straight-faced explanation about the ex-girlfriend you're having coffee with.

    Still, if she's going on a girls' trip, assume she has fucked a foreigner and plan accordingly.

  3. Anonymous says

    Does this also apply to men who go on vacation by themselves? My husband goes on a trip every year with "the guys".

  4. Pol Mordreth says

    @ Anonymous:

    That depends. For example, every year I go to deer camp with the other men in my family (Father, brothers, lately nephews and my son). 5 days without running water, running around in the woods, and I usually return with a deer to put in the freezer. If this is your husband's type of trip. you probably have nothing to worry about.

    If your husband is going to Vegas for pleasure with a bunch of other guys, well, it depends on him. If he is a white or asian american, and has the looks to shag something strange, he probably won't be (as perverse as that sounds). He is more likely to get a little something on vacation if he feels unattractive in his regular life and there is a married man he otherwise respects also getting a little vacation sex.

    However, men are less likely (in general) than women to get vacation sex if they aren't already cheating on a daily basis.


  5. Xander says

    There's a big difference between a girlfriend / wife going on a trip to see old family and friends versus going on a vacation. Vacations are about pleasure, newness, the exotic, etc. If your girl wants to go on one without you, i.e., if she wants to experience newness, pleasure, and the exotic without you there, then I agree with BTS: don't be there when she returns home.

    Of course the only way to prevent her from wanting that is to get out in front of the problem. You need to provide her with something new and exotic yourself.

  6. Anonymous says


    Great post, brings up a very important issue, and one I'm sure most men will deal with at one point in their life.

    My question is – how do you address it if the wife / girlfriend expresses interest in going on a trip "with friends" to one of those countries, without inviting you. How would you save face and not come off as too jealous / beta, in turn making it more likely for her to have a fling? Do you put your foot down and not let her go? And if she does end up going against your will, how to deal with that?

    Thanks, much appreciated

  7. Anonymous says

    If she goes against your will, don't be there when she returns. She can have you … or she can have that vacation. But not both. Don't make a big deal of it before she leaves, just withdraw yourself from her life.

    Xander makes an excellent point about providing her with "something new and exotic" yourself.

  8. Athol Kay says

    If there are clear planned activities like "we are going hunting / fishing / camping / hiking / to the nationals" then there is little cause for concern for cheating.

    If it's to visit old girlfriends in faraway cities it's probably pretty safe too.

    If it's just going off to party somewhere without you, that's a horribly bad sign that all is not well.

  9. Deansdale says

    If you're a sane person in a marriage/LTR, the thought of going on a "serious" vacation without your partner never crosses your mind. I'm not talking about family business or a night out with friends. But if you want to go to Jamaica for a week or two without your partner, something's not working properly; either the relationship or your mind.
    The very first thought that comes up in situations like these is if she wouldn't be planning something shady she would have no objections about you traveling with her.

    "how do you address it if the wife / girlfriend expresses interest in going on a trip "with friends" to one of those countries, without inviting you"
    I agree with the majority: tell her to f*ck off. If she goes anyways, you have all the time you need to initiate the divorce.

    The real problem is not the possibility of her cheating, it's the utter lack of respect and consideration.

  10. MWMM says

    with older women (my is 40s) girls trips are more common. I don't have any problem for the most part, but I consider the other women who are going. I may not think this way if she went with single girls. But with a hand full of happily marriage women, I'll take my chances.

    But to the point; they don't have to cheat to get a glimps of greener grass. If things are bad at home then this could kick start a process such as you've described above. It's basically what happened to me. I had to make a choice. I chose game. Worked better than I could possibly imaging. I feel bad for others who are screwing up with their wives. But then I'm getting their wives' attention now. All innocent of course (at least for me).

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