After exchanging vows promising ’til death do us part’, spending time alone may seem like the last thing newlyweds would want to do straight after tying the knot.
But an increasing number of brides and grooms are choosing to spend their first few weeks of wedded bliss apart, by going on honeymoon separately.
The growing trend for ‘unimoons’ or ‘solomoons’ can be a pragmatic solution for couples unwilling to compromise on their honeymoon plans after saying their vows.
‘Neither of us wanted to be where the other one was,’ 37-year-old Irene O’Brien of Dublin, Ireland recently told the New York Times of the solomoon she took in 2016 after marrying her husband, Mel Maclaine.
Irene O’Brien (left) and her husband Mel Maclaine (right) chose to take separate honeymoons after getting married in 2016
Maclaine (left) traveled to France with his friends to watch Northern Island’s soccer team compete in the European Championship while his new bride O’Brien (right) visted a friend in Toronto, Canada
O’Brien, a stylist and writer, wanted to visit a friend and go sightseeing in Toronto. Her soccer-loving new spouse wanted to go to France with his friends to watch Northern Ireland’s soccer team compete in the European Championship.
‘We each came back to Dublin full of stories, buzzing of our trips and truly delighted to see each other again to share the memories,’ O’Brien continued. ‘It was the perfect imperfect honeymoon.’
It may seem counter intuitive. The whole purpose of a honeymoon is to build the romantic bond between partners after all.
But the solomoon concept may be partly derived from the increased popularity of vacationing alone.
Coordinating travel schedules and budgeting with friends and family can be stressful. And stress is something most vacationers try to avoid.
A recent Travelex poll found nearly one in four Americans prefers traveling alone and 22 percent of Americans say they exclusively travel alone, the New York Post reported.
On Instagram, the solomoon hashtag alone has nearly 1,500 posts of globetrotters showcasing the exotic locales they’ve visited.
Some recently-married couples with demanding careers choose solomoons because of scheduling conflicts.
‘It’s a very individualistic, modern practice of efficiency over everything else,’ international development consultant William Powers recently told the Times. ‘I think that it’s tied with workaholism and being on the work-and-spend treadmill when you can’t even coordinate one of the most important times of your life together.’
They may be convenient, but at least one relationship expert says solomooning right after getting married is a bad idea.
Kinsey Institute Senior Research Fellow Helen Fisher note that getting married is a period of great change in two people’s lives and honeymoons help people make that transition by triggering the parts of the human brain that develop romantic love, emotional attachment, and sex drive.
‘Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I think it should be marked,’ Fisher told the Times. ‘You are at a new stage in your life when you marry, and you are missing out on triggering the three most valuable brain systems for a lasting relationship.’