Vacations are meant to be relaxing, and while there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on a white sand beach with a frosty pink adult beverage crammed with paper umbrellas – you know, the kind of drink you wouldn’t be caught dead ordering in a bar – an added “relaxation” option some trips offer is the chance for a micro-relationship right there in the hotel. Before everyone jumps in with the hate mail, think about it: short relationships with minimal commitment and shallow emotional involvement can be good for you. As long as both parties understand the rules going into the game, there should be no hurt feelings or bruised egos. Sometimes it can be therapeutic to spend time with someone you’re not attached to.
The issue here, which I cannot stress enough, is that everyone involved in this fling-in-the-sun must be fully aware that it’s going to last exactly as long as your holiday does. Don’t lead people on and certainly don’t put anyone (including yourself) in a position where the vacation becomes an epic love poem cut miserably short by the end of your time in the Bahamas. A vacation romance is not dissimilar to a one-night stand – which are also okay as long as both parties know that it’s a one-night stand.
If you live in Chicago and she lives in Albuquerque, and you’re both consenting adults with sufficient intelligence to realize that a long-term relationship begun in Waikiki will be difficult to maintain, and if you’re both cognizant of all this and still want to get together, go for it. There is no harm in a vacation fling. Depending on the sort of person you are, it might be an opportunity to get together with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily consider dating. Or a chance to just laugh and play in the surf and retreat to your palmy bungalow well before the sun goes down. Who knows? Maybe you just feel the urge to do something wild and without regrets – I Am Jack’s Meaningless Relationship.
Do not automatically assume… that such relationships are bad, or mean, or harmful, or dangerous, or that they can’t work. None of this is true. The reason “meaningless relationships” have such a bad rap is that they’re almost never actually meaningless. People tacitly agree to something they don’t want, or they harbor feelings that aren’t shared. Sometimes it’s a matter of simple miscommunication. But when you’re on your trip and you see that beautiful woman in a bikini top and wraparound sari standing ankle deep in crystal blue water, only go for it if two things are true:
1) that you have no intention of harboring long-term angst once the fun is over and you’ve gone home, and
2) that you’re willing to live with the potential consequences associated with really missing her. Hopefully she, in turn, will only get involved if the same is true for her.