Frankly, it sounds like the perfect tonic for many long-suffering couples. Your relationship is in crisis, bogged down by work, kids and wall-to-wall responsibility. Communication has dwindled to the bare minimum. You can’t remember why you married your partner in the first place.
So, what would fix things? A holiday, of course, and a free holiday, to boot, in a luxurious villa in Thailand — with the only stipulation being that the kids must stay at home.
Little wonder that 26-year-old Rachel, the frazzled mum of a two-year-old daughter, readily agreed to sign up to this sort of couples’ counselling project.
‘I sold it to her on the free holiday,’ admits Tom, her partner, with a little laugh. ‘I’m not sure she would have been too ready to agree otherwise.’
Rachel knew from the start that there was a catch: the holiday wouldn’t be all sun loungers and cocktails on the beach. She and Tom would have to commit to intensive counselling aimed at saving their relationship from complete collapse. And their experiences in Thailand would be filmed for a TV documentary.
What Tom didn’t realise when he broke the news, however, was that even he didn’t have the full story.
Just before they were due to fly out, the production company dropped in another little detail: while they would both be going to Thailand, they would not be holidaying together.