The great escape: holidaying out of a relationship rut

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Hi! I'm Sarah Long. I arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met my Mr Miner soon after. We're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (or DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. I came out here as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I am writing this column from a decidedly humid internet café in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

I'm not trying to boast, mind, it's more in answer to a lovely comment I received in response to last month's column. The MiningFM reader in question asked whether I could write some suggestions on how to get out of a relationship rut. Although I really do want to answer that query, sticking to the plan is not my forte, so I apologise in advance if this was not quite what you had in mind!

One of the reader's suggestions for getting out of a rut was going on holiday. So here I am, sweat beading down my back, small Thai girl racing around next to me and the beach and coconut cocktails less than 200 metres away, calling my name.

The only thing is that I'm not here watching romantic sunsets with Mr Miner. No, I'm here with my two best friends from the UK. 

We've had the trip planned for over seven months now. It's our first catch-up in well over a year (12 months that have seen career changes, new homes and an engagement). It is a well-earned and well-needed get together.

Of course, when I said I was going on holiday people immediately presumed it was with Mr Miner, or that he was at least coming with us. But not only is he back in Oz; I am actually not seeing him for the whole month of February. Between my work, the mine and this holiday, there just wasn't a chance.

So am I sad to be away from him from a whole month? Yes and no. Yes, because I obviously miss him. And no, because I really do think that holidaying apart can give you a chance to get out of a rut.

I know what you might be thinking. We're apart every week because he does DIDO, so why would we need a holiday to get out of a rut? Mr Miner thought the same. In fact, his exact words were: "I probably won't miss you because I'll be at work so it will seem just like normal." Charmed, I'm sure!

But here's where I think it's different. Usually he's away at work and I'm at home 'waiting for him'. I am used to being the one left behind and he is used to getting texts and phone calls telling him I miss him.

When I'm away the roles are reversed. Not only am I busy catching up on a year of news and gossip with my girlfriends. I have no phone or internet access (apart from this café of course, and the lack of a fan and abundance of mosquitos are definitely not making me want to become a permanent fixture!) Mr Miner is used to getting texts and calls every day, now I'm thinking he'll notice the lack of them and miss me.

Being away with my UK friends also gives me a break - a chance to be with people I know inside and out, and feel so comfortable around. As one of my friends pointed out, when she's away with other people, she can miss her partner and feel homesick. But when the three of us are away together, she feels at home because it's so easy.

Last year Mr Miner went away with his friends to the US for five weeks. Yes I missed him, but I think he came back happier and more relaxed. Plus he missed me too, and most importantly he brought presents!

As much as I would love to go away with Mr Miner and think it would do us good, it's just not always possible. Although he has the time and disposable income to do pretty much as he pleases, I'm still tied to the standard four weeks' annual leave and often save this to visit the UK or spend time with family and friends visiting Australia. In fact, the last time I was in Thailand was my first holiday with Mr Miner. That was nearly two years ago, and we haven't found time to have a holiday together since!

So thank you to the lovely reader who suggested a holiday to get out of a rut. This gives me a great reason to start planning my next trip, with Mr Miner, as soon as this one's over. But for now I'm off to find a sea breeze, of both the cooling and cocktail variety.

More on getting out of a rut next month – I promise!

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