Forget Honeymoons — This Unconventional Vacation Is All The Rage Right Now

Make sure you establish healthy boundaries before you take your trip, according to Jamie Bichelman, a licensed mental health counselor.

I was taken aback when my cousin called to share her post-breakup plans after separating with her partner of three years. “We’re going on a trip,” she announced, her voice oddly upbeat. “A breakup-moon, actually, to celebrate the end of our relationship.” Puzzled, I mulled over this unconventional approach to a breakup after we ended our call.

As it turns out, my cousin isn’t an anomaly: According to Jamie Bichelman, a licensed mental health counselor, a breakup-moon is new terminology given to a trip taken by a couple who are in the process of ending their romantic relationship or have ended it. And more and more people are taking this atypical type of vacation. Even celebrities and politicians take breakup-moons.

The reasons why former couples do this can vary. Some simply cannot get their money back for a trip they’ve already paid for, so they take it anyway. Others use travel as a way to navigate the complex emotions of their separation.

HuffPost spoke with three people about their experience with breakup-moons and why they did ― or didn’t ― go through with them. Here’s what they had to say:

‘It reminded me why our relationship fell apart in the first place.’

Lilith Foxx, a 32-year-old board-certified sexologist and relationship coach, traveled to Austin, Texas, on a breakup-moon with her partner of one year. The trip had been prepaid, leading to an unexpected post-breakup journey that wasn’t marked by hatred or adverse feelings toward her ex.

“It began as a practical decision, even though we knew our relationship was ending,” Foxx explained. “We went a week and a half after breaking up. For me, it became a healing experience and a way to mourn the end of our relationship.”

Though their split was triggered by the discovery of his infidelity, for Foxx, she found it offered her valuable perspective on their inevitable separation.

“Having him on the trip helped because it reminded me why our relationship fell apart in the first place. We were on the way out, and I noticed mannerisms I didn’t appreciate,” she said.

Unlike her previous breakups, this unique experience provided Foxx with a better emotional coping mechanism because she didn’t harbor the usual negative feelings toward her ex-partner.

“I didn’t ‘hate’ him like I had with other exes. I didn’t villainize him or feel hostility. Our final time together made me realize it wasn’t worth prolonging this relationship further,” Foxx said.

Ivan Pantic via Getty Images

Make sure you establish healthy boundaries before you take your trip, according to Jamie Bichelman, a licensed mental health counselor.

‘It’s important to talk about boundaries ahead of time.’

Should individuals decide they want to pursue this option, it is imperative to analyze how the overall relationship was and then set clear boundaries. For Bichelman, who actually turned down the prospect of a breakup-moon with a former partner, he was wary that the miscommunication issues they faced through their relationship would carry on during the trip.

“If this was a relationship without trauma, abuse or mistreatment, and both parties are able to respect each other’s boundaries while simply enjoying each other’s company on a vacation, then it’s possible to have a healthy breakup moon,” he said. “It’s important to talk about boundaries ahead of time to avoid sabotaging what could be a fun experience.”

According to Bichelman, in relationships where there are difficult patterns of behavior or any form of abuse, a trip like this may exacerbate one party’s control over the other and cause one party to re-enter the relationship against their will. It’s important to not go on these trips if this might be the case or if it’s going to be a threat to your physical or mental health in any way.

‘To keep it platonic instead of romantic, we split all the costs’

Money is always an awkward issue to discuss, especially with an ex or an ex-to-be. In addition to setting boundaries, it’s imperative to consider financial and logistical decisions like how finances will be divided, whether to sleep in the same bed, if intimacy is or isn’t on the table and how to deal with either individual getting hit on.

For instance, Foxx ensured that she drove herself to Austin so that if she wanted to leave early or felt uncomfortable at any point, she was not reliant on her ex.

Christeena Thiruvinkal, the director of marketing at Banyan Tree at Maldives, went on a vacation to Rwanda with a man she’d dated for a year and a half. Though she knew that the relationship was inevitably going to end, since both parties wanted completely different things, she also wanted her experience of this destination to be with him because of their shared interest in traveling and exploring.

“I don’t have any regrets, and it was a wholesome trip. But to keep it platonic instead of romantic, we split all the costs,” she said. “Though he paid in advance, I transferred my share to him because it was only fair.”

This is another example of how healthy communication is an important factor. According to Bichelman, if both parties agree on a set price for the breakup-moon, then this could conceivably work, but without strong boundaries, it can lead to further issues.

“A breakdown will occur for exes who may not have had a stable communication base to begin with and don’t know how to navigate scenarios that require additional spending, such as a rental car breaking down, a flight delay or having to spend an extra night in the destination,” Bichelman said.

Of course, this type of trip isn’t for everyone. In most breakups, it’s better to dissolve the relationship rather than hop on a plane together. But if the circumstance allows it, some people do find them healing.

“Breakups sometimes take a long time to accept, but a trip in a new location is a chance for you to be true to yourself and see the person from a different perspective and really grieve, or celebrate a new beginning,” Thiruvinkal said.

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