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Guess what? It’s totally ok to travel without your spouse.

February 3, 2016

Being somewhat of a public figure, I find people are a little more interested in my private life than I’m accustomed to. Which of course, goes with the territory, and is totally fine.

However, there is one aspect of my private life that some folks have a little trouble getting a handle on. Plus, the more I’ve talked to friends in similar relationships, I find the questions I get aren’t just relegated to z-list celebs like me.

The matter at hand is this:

People who choose to travel without their significant other. This even further delves into those who choose to travel with their children – without their significant other.

Yes, this happens – and guess what? It’s totally okay. There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case and contrary to some of the negative things I’ve heard, it is not an indicator of trouble in the relationship and it’s not a red flag for bad parenting.

Before I go further, let me make it clear – there are some families who take every vacation together. When I was growing up, mine was one of them, and I completely respect and love that. It just doesn’t work for my particular situation now.

In our case, I own a travel business, (www.strange-escapes.com), make appearances and occasionally, film for TV. This means I typically travel at least once or twice a month. Since my daughter isn’t in school yet, any chance I get to bring her along, I take. My spouse, (Jimmy is his name), who happens to work two jobs, can’t just jaunt off on every little trip I take and I would never expect him to.

The other reason he doesn’t come with us? Sometimes, he doesn’t want to. Those who know Jimmy would know that a trip to Disney, or a week on a cruise ship would most likely be torture for him. It’s just not his bag. Now when we go to the Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire? Or I have an event at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO? He is much more likely to come to something like that. He’s more of a mountain man than a touristy resort type person. Well, really, he’s like a normal person who can only take a vacation once or twice a year. But when you see photos of me bouncing all over the country with or without my daughter, no man in sight, it’s easy to imagine there is trouble brewing.

I could force the issue. I could tell him he is missing out on making memories with his daughter. But I wouldn’t do that to him either. I just have no desire to and it’s not so important to me that I would create an issue in our relationship over it. He makes plenty of memories with her, he’s an amazing Dad to her and partner to me. Him being miserable at Disney with us for a week is not going to be the deciding factor as to whether Charlotte turns into a decent human being as she gets older. If anything, that time apart is teaching her that as a woman, you can have a solid relationship while maintaining your independence.

But don’t take it from me. I wanted an expert opinion on this, so I turned to my friend Damona Hoffman, an online dating coach and relationship expert. She has some super helpful suggestions on how to make it work when couples travel apart, either by choice or by necessity.

Damona Hoffman, dating expert and host of FYI's #BlackLove

Damona Hoffman, dating expert and host of FYI’s #BlackLove

“As a TV host and speaker, I spend many weeks out of the year away from my family and my husband works as a TV writer and is often on set. With two young children, many times it’s not practical for us to travel together.

There are many tools that make it easier for people to stay connected while their love is away. My husband and I like to use the app Glide which allows you to send video text messages and see your sweetheart even when you’re in different time zones and on different schedules. Apps like What’s App allow you to text for free even if you’re out of the country. Then with Skype you can have a video date when you need to make a more meaningful connection.

Rather than focus on the time spent away, it’s important to make your partner a priority when you’re together. From Twitter, to Buzzfeed and blogs we now have so many things vying for our attention that the real crisis is not how much time you’re spending apart but rather how much time you are actually connecting when you’re together.

In my work I see that the couples who give technology a rest when they’re spending time together and make regular date nights a priority are more successful, even if they must spend time apart for work.”

I love her advice on making your time together really count. I think that’s why our family has been so adaptable given our different occupations and interests. And technology has made being apart so much easier, hasn’t it? We often utilize FaceTime or Skype while I’m away.

You can find my talented friend Damona hosting #BlackLove on the FYI network, and please, check out her web site. She has a trove of relationship advice and a successful radio show as well, www.damonahoffman.com

So, what about you all? What are some things you and your spouse tend to do apart and does it work for you?

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36 Comments

  • Reply Eileen Kiziukiewicz February 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    As long as you are both comfortably with your arrangement I think its fine. No one ever said you have to always travel together, and bringing your daughter along is great, because once she starts school she wont be able to do that, for her to see two loving parents and seeing the world is the greatest gift parents could give their child. Keep doing what you are doing!

    • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Thankfully, the school we’ve chosen for her is pretty flexible when they miss school for travel. It will clearly be a lot more manageable when she is younger. It will really depend on her pace and ability to keep up. I think missing a few days a year to travel, especially to the historic type places I do, is well worth it. 🙂

      • Reply Leigh Allen-Chen March 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm

        We chose to homeschool our kids so that we could travel on our own own schedule and they could learn at their own pace and according to their interests. Combine homeschooling with an awesome co-operative learning group that meets one full day per week and they’ve pretty much got the best of both worlds.

        I do suggest that folks with non-traditional lifestyles consider homeschooling. It’s such an advantage to the child and, in many cases, so much better for the family dynamic. Also, then you can do Disney in October and February and not have to stand in so many lines…~wink~

    • Reply Reggie Bradshaw February 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      I think it’s great that you travel for your job, and the hubby doesn’t like to travel, so he doesn’t. I have found that those who sit in judgment of others, have way too many problems of their own, and theirs never get solved. As long as both of you are happy, that’s all that matters. Your daughter seems happy, and secure, and getting to travel with Mom, now, will mean lots of stories to tell her friends when she goes to school. I really miss you on Ghost Hunters, but, i’m so glad you are doing what you love to do!

  • Reply Marji February 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I could not agree more! My husband and myself frequently take trips with out the other and it is awesome for us! He is usually taking in a heavy metal festival or a race; I would be bored half to death. I would rather be at a Jazz festival or soaking up the sun on a beach; he would be bored to tears with me. We make a point of taking at least 2 major trips a year together to a destination we would enjoy together…it makes for some really romantic reunions and for a really healthy loving relationship – where we are both fullfilled and deliriously happy 🙂

    • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      I love this!

  • Reply Lynne February 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    One of the things that I learned about my husband, early on, is that he really doesn’t love family functions. My parents, on the other hand, would love it if everyone came over every weekend. In the beginning, I would fight and fight with him about coming with me, and then, one day, I realized that it just wasn’t worth the strain it put on our relationship. He isn’t stopping me from going and doing what I want, he just doesn’t want to come with me. So now, I let him know the offer is out there, and sometimes he comes along, but most of the time he doesn’t. I know it confuses my parents, but they aren’t the ones married to him, and it is important that I respect his feelings.

    • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Oh yes, we have this in common as well. I even go to HIS family functions without him. ha!

  • Reply Jenny February 3, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Amy, I have been married for 20 years and love to travel but my husband doesn’t. I have taken my kids to Disney World (multiple times), Ireland and North Carolina to name a few places. He is content home with the dog and loves hearing about our adventures. Once a year he and my son go see a hockey game in another state and that is their thing. People always have to comment on things that are different to them but we are quite happy together in our lives and it’s probably in part because we live our lives for us not anyone else.

  • Reply Annmarie February 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    My husband and I travel together and separately. We were in Guam for 4 years and our families missed the birth of our first child because of distance. So as soon as we had the opportunity once stateside to visit more often since he is only 3 and we are able to spend that time I don’t see the problem. Other people however find us traveling alone so much odd and question things that are none of their business but it has helped me question others less so it’s something I can deal with. My son is happy and learning and uses manners most of the time. We are doing what makes us as a family happy. Its what works ☺

    • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      You sound so much like us. One friend brought up trust. It never even dawned on me not to trust him, and he certainly trusts me. I think that’s why some people find it odd, maybe their own insecurity? Either way, keep up the good work Mama!

      • Reply Lynne February 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        I get the question about trust because my husband is a tattoo artist, and sometimes his clients are women (even attractive ones!), and sometimes they want to be tattooed in areas that are normally covered. One guy asked me how I felt about my husband touching another woman. I stated that it is his job–he can’t tattoo without touching someone! I have never considered not trusting him. I think you’re right–it’s their own insecurities.

        • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm

          ha! Mine has been a local bouncer for years, even at a strip club for awhile, and people said the same thing. Plus, you wouldn’t believe the rumors that flew around about us, even before we were dating. All insecurity. 🙂 You two rock on.

      • Reply Pamela Uribe February 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        I wouldnt have a trust issue either with my husband. I’m glad I’m not in a relationship filled with doubt.

  • Reply Helen February 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    My guy and I don’t have children. But as far as travel goes, he traveled so much as part of his job that travel isn’t something he likes to do a lot in retirement. Yet, travel is one of my loves. Since we have been together, I often travel without him. I go with my sister and/or other friends. He doesn’t mind. It gives him time to relax at home and take care of our cat. LOL Some people find it odd, but I don’t worry too much about that and never have. We do take some trips together. But, he is not into tropical types of vacations as a regular diet. He has decided that he likes cruises, which is awesome…though not to the extent that he wants to go on them as often as I do. That is no problem. What works, works. Not everyone has to understand why, either as long as the people involved do.

  • Reply Stephanie Hurt February 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Since our family love to be at home, we usually just travel only once, maybe twice a year. Most of the time as a family, but my hubby and son go on fishing and hunting trips, without me and that’s perfectly fine. In my opinion, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the relationship, it just means it’s strong enough to handle separate outings. So, enjoy yourself and the time with your precious little girl because those days are so short.

  • Reply Michelle kovacs February 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    You know I never even thought about this. Most of my friends travel without their spouse. They either travel for work or us living overseas, we go home by ourselves all the time. We take our kids on trips without the spouse, a lot of times they are working. We also take girl holidays which includes no husbands / boyfriends, big slumber parties. I know in December I was in the states two weeks on my own after my husband went home to Dubai. It was so nice just to get in the car and drive, me time. So I think whatever floats your boat.

  • Reply Dean Hiatt February 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Wait, you have a friend that specializing in dating? And you’ve never offered her a charity case?(MINE!?) What do I need to cook you and family to get this connection!? HA-J/K 😉 Keep up the posts, love’em.

  • Reply Megan K. February 3, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    As a maintenance mechanic at a local plant, my hubby only gets off one weekend a month. So, that makes it really hard for us to take trips as family. As a result of that, I’m at point where I’m comfortable in going on small weekend getaways with our two children. Especially because I’m a stay at home mom for the time being. We miss eachother, but the time apart also is good for us, in the long run.

  • Reply Rashada February 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    At first I thought it was strange, but then I had to laugh at myself. My husband often travels without me and I don’t think anything about it.
    He has things he likes like going to music shows, or sporting things that I’m not the least bit interested in.
    I encourage him to go and do what he enjoys as long as he clears things with me (the calendar actually) to make sure there’s no conflict.
    So far I have only traveled without him a handful of times in our almost 12 year marriage, but most of that has been due to being pregnant (and ill from it) or nursing and not wanting to drag the nursling along.
    That said, my youngest is now going on 3 and I’m looking forward to some girls trips.
    I love that you have been able to create and do what you love, and so many of us do as well, with Strange Escapes. Having a spouse who is supportive of solo travel is a wonderful thing

  • Reply Cindy February 3, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    My husband and I have been together for 17 and we have taken exactly three vacations together. Guess what? We still live each other. He doesn’t like to travel and I do. It’s OK to be independent of each other.

  • Reply Sue Ziolkowski February 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Yep, we are that family too! I have a spouse who works nights and sleeps days and works during the middle of the week. I have a child graduating. I have another teen. Our schedules are like day and night. And yes, a few years ago I took my then 10 year old to Disney World for 10 days while my older daughter who did not want to miss school stayed behind with her father, my husband. Boy did I get a lot of questions and comments! I was told I am selfish and this is just wrong. In one ear and out the other. It works for us. I had to chuckle when I read the part about Disney! My husband and Disney are not best friends. It’s just not my husbands cup of tea! It worked out for us to go our separate ways for 10 days, and yes, we are still a happily ever after! Do what works best for you and your family. There will always be comments and opinions no matter what you do!

  • Reply sylviane February 3, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Nice to hear that I’m not that weird after all. I nearly got crucified at my temp job when I told someone, that for us the summer-holidays (6 weeks here in Holland) would mean that I would spent 2 weeks with our daughter alone, then we’d have an overlapping week with the three of us and then my daughter would be 2 weeks with her dad. (the hubby likes the stay in a fixed place like camping, while I love to travel/drive/go places/see things) Apparently it was the worst I could do or something. The mere idea that I would leave my daughter in the care of her father! The horror! As a mother I should be there for my child 24/7! … Too ridiculous of course. My hubby is a good father. I’m a good mother. We trust each other with our child. My daughter is now a very independent 15 year old, who’s not afraid to travel by herself if necesssary and I don’t believe she ‘suffered’ from our holiday-planning. We’ve made quite some beautiful memories over the years.

  • Reply Tanya kopkey February 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I think it’s really ok for a spouse to go without the other on vacation. I really enjoy your photos and your insight on your life.

  • Reply LeeAnn February 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    We’ve always considered vacation trips something we plan and do together. But that doesn’t mean all travel is a vacation or that we always do it together. He travels home to Ireland to see family more often than I do. I travel to New England to see family more often than he does. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, we get to accompany each other on those trips too. In thirty years of marriage, we’ve never had a single guilt or trust issue about traveling independently. If anything, it keeps us healthy and on track as individuals within the marriage.

  • Reply Liz February 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    My husband and I don’t have a day off together. I have weekends off and he has two days during the week. This is because we can’t afford daycare and it’s how we make it work. Because we don’t have days off together, he often misses out on fun weekend events, and I’ve missed things they’ve done together. I’d love to have at least one day together, but it’s the sacrifice we made to have our son. I look at it like our son gets so much one on one time with daddy and mommy. He has such a sweet relationship with my husband; I’m not sure if he’d have that same relationship if I was always around. Also, I get much more vacation time than him, so he’s missed out on little getaways. It’s just how life is. People will always talk, and it’s really unfortunate that it’s often hateful statements. It’s ashame you have to even explain your situation…but I love to hear about it simply because it reminds us that you’re just a normal momma and wifey 🙂

  • Reply Mindy February 3, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    It works beautifully for my family. I’ve traveled to Cape Cod, St. Louis, and Chicago alone and had a great time. When I return, I feel I’m better for the whole family by having spent a little time alone. I think it fosters independence and curiosity.

  • Reply Louise Rheiner February 3, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I love to travel and my husband doesn’t so I usually go with a friend or the kids. We do sometimes take summer vacations to the beach because my husband loves to fish but I need to explore new places! The only time he was uncomfortable that we were going without him was when I drove to Florida from Pennsylvania with my two boys who were 10 and 5 at the time. We had the best time and I think it was one of our best trips!!!!

    • Reply amybruni February 3, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Kids love to adventure and it’s great that we get to live vicariously through them 🙂

  • Reply Laura February 3, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    My husband is not a traveler, I would be more miserable than him if he traveled with me – and it’s perfectly ok, we’re both happy with the arrangement. Kids are grown so that’s not an issue, yay! Thanks for the article, another good one

  • Reply Sarah Quicquaro February 4, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I think the bonding time you get with your daughter by traveling together is something you both will treasure for life. A true gift . The truth is most of us would give anything to do the same. Childhood goes SO quickly! Charlotte is a very fortunate little girl to have two parents that love her and she is having experiences that really will shape who she becomes. Soon enough she will be restricted by a school schedule , but for now- enjoy your adventures together ! And when Jimmy does join you , I’m sure it’s that much more special for you all.
    Love your blog !!!!!

  • Reply Sherida February 4, 2016 at 8:28 am

    We are a military family and as such have had to spend quite a bit of time apart. Over the years I have had to learn how to go places by myself with my kids. Our families live in two different parts of the country and I don’t want them to miss out on my kids growing up so several times a year I either fly or drive wherever we need to go. We have also done more fun things like 6 Flags and most recently I took my then 16 month old to visit my sister in Korea. My husband gets a little jealous sometimes but he really wants our kids to have fun experiences as children that if we had to wait I’ll until he could come with us, they may never have.

  • Reply Stephanie February 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

    The spouse and I have frequently split vacations. Before kids I went to DC to visit a friend and he went to KC to visit his brother. No problem. Now we try to do one every other year just us (kids with grandma!) and always do one family vacation to the beach but last Christmas break I took the kids with my Mom to New York to visit family. Kids had a blast and Daddy enjoyed having the house to himself post-holiday. And now they are older hubby has started taking the boys on his football away games (once a year). Its good for a relationship to not spend every second of free time together.

  • Reply Ashley February 5, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    My husband and I travel together a lot and we do most things together but we always make time to do separate things whether it’s a boys trip or a girls trip…or just a night out with friends. It is important to have your own separate time from each other. As long as you are both on the same page. Sometimes people judge or think there is trouble because they are dealing with a troubling situation themselves. I am really enjoying your blog! 🙂

  • Reply Paula Franklin February 17, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I will be traveling to Port Townsend to Manresa Castle on my own, as I usually do for my ghost hunting forays. My husband takes the boys on the scout hikes and campouts, and I stay home. I usually pick places to go alone that he would not want to go, and we go as a family to places we all want to visit. That way no one feels like they have been left out. Family vacations are tough with 2 teenage boys! Win Win!

  • Reply Sarah December 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I can totally relate to traveling alone with a child. My daughter is 2 and my husband is a cross country truck driver. He is gone a lot..which honestly is difficult. But what would make it even harder is if there wasn’t anything like Skype or texting. Thank goodness for technology!

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