vacation romance

If you just met someone on vacation, someone whom you think you might have real and significant feelings for, you’re probably feeling two things among a whole bunch of others: excited and a bit, well, confused. While vacation might seem like an inconvenient place to meet someone you have a strong chemistry with, given the fact that you might not live near each other or be in the most ideal situations for a relationship, it can actually serve as the perfect opportunity. “When we're on vacation, we're much more relaxed because we’re away from the daily stressors of life that compete for our attention,” explains Julie Williamson, licensed professional counselor and owner of Abundant Life Counseling St. Louis in Missouri. “We’re also more present and in tune with the moment, which allows us to be more fully able to connect with people in a way that we're not when we feel ourselves being pulled in a million different directions.”

Whether you think this person might be “the one,” or you’re not totally sure, but want think he or she is worth a shot, here are the steps Williamson recommends taking if you met someone on vacation.

Be mindful of the present moment.

If you met someone on vacation, it’s hard not to think about the inevitable—that the two of you will have to separate and may not see each other for a while after vacation has ended. Williamson urges the importance of living in the present moment as much as possible. “This means enjoying the connection you are building in the present moment, while also being mindful that you're on vacation and this time together will end,” she says. “Pace the level of connection you are building with the time you have to build the connection.”

Take things slow (if you can help it).

Williamson suggests spending a great deal of the short amount of time you have getting to know the other person, however, doing so with the understanding that you can only get to know so much while on vacation. “There are other sides of a person (like how they handle stress in everyday life) that you probably won't see on vacation, but are important to get to know before establishing a long-term commitment,” she says. So if you met someone on vacation, tread carefully and don’t jump to something serious just yet.

Make arrangements to meet post-vacation.

For any long-term relationship to work, Williamson explains that it requires spending time together in various contexts in order to see how each person handles different situations. “How the person you meet on vacation acts during a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach will likely act very differently after a long, stressful day at work or at your family reunion,” she says. “It's important to spend time in different contexts before committing to a lifetime together.” If you’re not yet ready to invite your vacation romance to your home town or city, propose that the two of you meet somewhere in the middle so that you can still start to connect outside of your vacation grounds.

Be open and honest with your intentions and expectations.

No matter how big the spark between you and your vacation romance, don't assume that you’re 100 percent on the same page in terms of expectations and intentions post-vacation unless you’ve had a full and in-depth discussion. “It's better to let them know you'd love to continue and build this relationship beyond vacation and find out that they're not on the same page as you, then to leave your vacation with high expectations and be disappointed later on,” adds Williamson.