There’s nothing better to boost your self-esteem than a cheeky little holiday romance.
A blend of sunshine, sea and unfamiliar cocktails can make us flirty and courageous, but they can also lead to heartbreak.
Yet there are upsides to a no-strings attached liaison. So long as you know the rules, you won’t end the holiday feeling burned:
Escape from reality
We all need downtime, and mostly we get that from switching off after work. But a holiday romance allows you to feel alive – which has a positive effect on our wellbeing. We find ourselves feeling desired and desirable, and this in turn makes us feel relaxed, and confident. Also the novelty of a summer fling drives up the pleasure chemical in the brain, called dopamine, which makes you more susceptible to falling in lust with this new person.
A holiday romance is very much for the ‘Now’. Living in ‘The Now’, in the present moment, is a vital skill to acquire because there is no point in worrying about the past or being anxious about the future. Both mental activities drain your energy. Instead, a holiday romance gets you living a different, now-focussed mindset, living more mindfully and spontaneously. You can make last minute plans, plus you don’t have to worry about other responsibilities, which is a brilliant way for making us feel alive.
A holiday romance means we can practice our flirting skills. Even if you’re not on an actual holiday, you’re probably staying out later, relaxing more, wearing fewer clothes, and feeling the warmth on your skin. All of these are very powerful aphrodisiacs. So by brushing up on your eye-contact detection, or reaching out casually to brush their skin when you’re speaking to them, gives you good practice for any future relationship that has more meaning.
Being on the receiving end of chatted up is a massive confidence-booster, so pay attention to how it feels. Pulling such memories out of your memory bank when you’re feeling down is a great way to remind yourself that you’re amazing and that others have thought so too. Over time, you’ll rely less on what other people thing and more on how you view yourself.
Loving your life
A holiday fling is a great way to remind yourself to have fun in life. Because the relationship isn’t meant to last forever, it means you can throw yourself into it simply for the joy of the experience. It’s important to do things just for fun, not because there’s any goal in mind. A holiday romance is the perfect way to leave behind the worries and complications of life. And when we release stress, we find that our health and quality of sleep benefit too.
Know your boundaries
A holiday romance can be fickle, so one skill is trying not to get too attached. In this urgent, busy world, where we regularly set massive goals for ourselves, it’s refreshing to be more care-free. Try not to have any expectations about where things will go with your fling, and don’t set much store on it lasting beyond the holiday. And make sure both you and your new cuddle-partner are both on the same page about what kind of romance this is. That way you can protect yourself from future heartbreak.
Read the cues
Whether your relationship is a holiday fling or the real thing, it’s worth paying attention to the cues you’re given, so you know where you stand – or where you want to put your new love. Do they freak out when you jokingly refer to them as “my other half”? Or do they insist on doing mundane things like supermarket shop with you in tow? Working out where the two of you stand is an important skill to develop at any stage of a relationship, so having this in your armoury is a great way to show yourself respect when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay in a relationship.
Being able to part on good terms with a love is great way to love yourself, because it means you have ended at the right time in a healthy way. Ghosting, or dragging out a relationship because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings are not great ways to end a holiday romance. If the buzz has gone, have the courage to let your love down – gently, yet firmly – leaving you fresh, energised and confident for the next round of fun.
Lucy Beresford is a psychotherapist, TEDx speaker, Agony Aunt for ITV’s This Morning and author of “Happy Relationships: at home work and play” – www.lucyberesford.co.uk