Summer is the season for road trips. But hours spent in close quarters and noshing on fast food has a way in bringing out the worst in all of us. "Couples don't normally spend extended periods of time together with nothing to do but listen to music, look out the window, and of course, talk to each other," says Amy Laurent, relationship expert and matchmaker on the Bravo show Miss Advised. "Deep-seeded resentments that have been hiding under the surface for some time will finally burst into the open in this pressure-cooker environment."
From squabbles over whose turn it is to take the wheel to which tunes to play and who'll hop out to pump gas, road trips can turn from fun to furious, fast. Survive your road trip fight-free with these expert tips.
Avoid becoming overwhelmed.
"Don't be afraid to get out of the car" if the driver's seat become the hot seat, Laurent advises. "A little fresh air does wonders for your mood! Stop at rest stops and scenic overlooks to stretch your legs and get a short break from each other."
Stay in-tune with your spouse.
"If you see your spouse getting upset, frustrated, hurt, or annoyed by something you are talking about or doing, slow down," suggests Alisa Ruby Bash, a licensed marriage therapist in Malibu. "Remember, this is not a time where you want to have a fight. Maybe decide to let it go for now, and readdress the issue — whatever it is — at a later date."
Cater to one another's needs.
As in marriage, your spouse must often come first. "Decide that you will stop to eat, pee, walk around and stretch, take pictures, etc., whenever either one wants to," says Bash. "You will not pout, sigh, or act passive-aggressively."
Talk it out before you hit the road.
Clear the air of any recent arguments before you head to the car. "It's always easier to talk things out over a glass of wine in a comfortable environment versus not saying anything until you are in a small, confined space and annoyed with someone," Laurent notes.
"Touch each other, give massages to the driver, rub each other, and make sure to keep the spark ignited between the two of you," says Bash.
Keep to a schedule.
"Make a driving schedule ahead of time and plan out your major stops as well as where you're staying," says Laurent. "Leaving less up to chance leads to fewer opportunities for problems that can lead to disagreement. Plan ahead and you can expect fewer of these situations to pop up and more time to enjoy yourselves!"