15:27 15 July 2005
A holiday romance can sweep you off your feet and also leave you feeling deserted and heartbroken.
You're more likely to have a romance on holiday than at home. It's a fact. You feel physically relaxed and emotionally renewed, you're away from your daily routine and the stresses and strains of home and work - basically, you're ready to fall in love. And why not?
Follow these tips to ensure your summer fling goes with a swing:
The ups and downs of holiday flings
A holiday fling can make you feel like a queen and boost your confidence sky-high. However, on the down side, if he's keener than you, you could be left feeling under pressure, pestered and even stalked.
The solution: If you know that you're only up for a fling, make your intentions clear from the start to any potential beau. Your honesty may mean your never clinching the romance, but you'll avoid any over-involvement.
Sizzling sex - or total disaster?
Holiday sex can be brilliant. The excitement of being on holiday, combined with sun, bare flesh and a few drinks can put even the most demure person in the mood for sex.
The problem is that holiday sex can get out of control. Women often report getting carried away with the moment and having sex with a stranger. Once the sun comes up, all they're left with is guilt and regrets
The solution: Holiday romances are often intense - you can feel that if you don't have sex tonight, he won't be around in the morning. But, however tempted, try not to jump into bed without thinking your decision through.
If you begin making love and it isn't going well, doesn't feel right, or you feel pressured to continue, stop. Offer cuddles and kisses, and insist on returning to a public place, out of temptation's way
Don't forget to use condoms, or you may end up with more holiday souvenirs than you bargained for. Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise and, if you're having sex, it's vital to take precautions.
Keep your emotions in check
Emotions run high on holiday and, if you're embroiled in a romance, you may quickly feel very close to your partner. Passion can over-heat and intense intimacy may suddenly turn to conflict.
The solution: Don't spend all your time with him - make time to be alone or to be with friends or fellow holidaymakers. If you feel irritated by him, it's not the end of the world - this relationship will probably not last for life, but for only a few days. So while you need respect and consideration, you don't need the same level of compatibility that you would at home. If he bugs you, chill out.
How to avoid heartbreak
The holiday environment can be the perfect place to meet a potential new partner. However, you can get involved far too quickly and pin your hopes on the impossible. If he's not as keen, you may quickly end up with a broken heart.
The solution: Watch out for signs that he's not as keen as you. Be a bit suspicious. If he sneaks off to regularly call home or is cagey about his home life, he might well have a significant other back home.
If he doesn't offer to swap numbers when you part, then face facts - you're history. If he does swap numbers, but doesn't call, don't panic - he may genuinely have mislaid your details. Make one try. Call him and, if he's out, leave a message on his voicemail, send an email or letter before giving up.
Will it be forever?
Many flourishing and happy relationships, particularly in the thirty-plus age groups, start on holiday. If you think you've met your perfect partner, your holiday romance could well be the start of a lifelong commitment.
The solution: Once you're back from holiday, start your relationship from scratch. Make your first dates friendly, with no expectation to have sex or make a commitment. Start dating and do what you'd normally do on a date - go to the pub, for a meal or an activity.
Cross cultural romance
If you pair off with a local, you can get to see the country you're visiting from an insider's point of view - and often have the holiday of a lifetime.
But be warned - dating a local comes with hazards. Firstly, you may be just one of a series of summer flings for him. And, on the other hand, if you are both serious, be prepared for potential clashes of culture. You and your holiday beau might have deep-rooted attitudes that you don't share.
The solution: If the romance gets serious, don't lose sight of reality. Take a good, honest look at your beau and ask if you would fall for him if you met him at home. If the answer is no, then don't expect the relationship to develop.
If you continue the romance after the holiday ends, arrange another holiday, but this time with him coming to visit. See him on your territory. This way you can swap notes about what your different cultures expect of couples. If you commit to him, make sure you are committing to a lifestyle that you feel comfortable with. Talk to his mother, sisters and female friends about what life is like for a married woman in their culture.
Above all, enjoy your holidays.
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