Talk Nerdy To Me’s @StaffWriter:
Relationships get complicated. Sometimes taking a break seems like the only way to save the relationship.
Consider this your ultimate beginner’s guide to successfully taking a break.
Does Taking a Break in a Relationship Work?
But does taking a break in a relationship really work?
Yes, taking a break in relationships can work. A break gives you time to think about what you really want in the relationship, develop healthy independence, and give each other space to rekindle a romance.
Why Does Taking a Break Work?
Taking the time apart allows you to clear your mind and gain perspective. This is especially beneficial when there are major issues in the relationship. It is not a cure-all for relationship issues, but it can be a healthy option in some situations.
But not everyone can maximize a break in relationships. Some people just keep coming back to each other, until they finally split for good.
Personally, I think taking breaks is beneficial if you’re willing to end your relationship completely after a break. This doesn’t mean that your relationship will definitely end.
It just means that you’re ok if, ultimately, it does or doesn’t end.
Most people aren’t ok with the uncertainty that comes from a break. In these cases, taking breaks can lead to repeated cycles of reuniting and breaking up.
I wouldn’t recommend this pattern if you’re not prepared for it.
When Does Taking a Break Work?
The timing of a break matters. A break can help save a relationship that is struggling.
Take a break after an intense emotional event, like an argument or fight. Give yourself time to calm down before trying to assess the situation.
If you wait too long, you may find yourself taking longer than necessary. And that can really hurt your relationship in the long run.
When Does Taking a Break Not Work?
But it may not be the best option if you’re already happy together. It’s also not ideal if you just started dating or just moved in together.
In deciding when to take a break, ask yourself what specific issues are causing tension or anger. Ask yourself how these issues affect your relationship.
Is the problem just one thing that got blown out of proportion?
If so, then you can probably work it out together. But if the problems keep coming up again and again, then it might be time for a break.
Taking a break will force you to deal with these problems later. It’s better to address them directly than to push them aside with space.
Don’t take a break when you are angry or upset with your partner. The negative emotions will color your perspective and make it hard to think clearly.
If there is no specific issue causing tension or anger, then it is probably not the best time for a break.
Who Should Take the Break?
Ideally, both partners will be on board with the break. You won’t be taking time apart if both of you are still attached.
If only one person wants the break, then it’s not ideal.
One person can end up feeling like they’re alone. This is why it’s important for both partners to agree on the need for a break in their relationship.
Unfortunately, most of the time, one person wants the break more than the other person. That’s one reason open and honest communication is so important before a break.
If nothing else, to protect each other’s feelings.
What Should You Do While You’re on a Break?
It’s easy to get stuck in the limbo of a break.
But it’s important that you both do something to occupy your time apart. It is an opportunity for you to grow as a person and gain independence from your partner.
This can be especially beneficial if you don’t see your partner very often.
During your break, learn about yourself, practice self-reflection, pursue your hobbies and interests.
What You Shouldn’t Do While You’re on a Break
Don’t do the same things you used to do together.
This can make accepting the break more difficult. And it will make it harder for you to grow as a person during the break.
Whether you rekindle your old love or discover that you’re meant to be apart, take some time and space before making that decision.
Don’t rush to assumptions.
Give yourself the time and space to decide if the relationship is worth saving. If it is, then make sure you find a way to keep any pre-break problems from coming up again in the future.
How To Take a Break That Saves Your Relationship (The Full Plan)
Here is a complete plan for how to take a break that saves your relationship. It starts with talking to your partner about the break, setting boundaries, and negotiating if and how to continue the relationship.
Let’s go through each phase of a break together.
Bring Up the Break
The first phase is to bring up the break with your partner.
This can be scary to do, but it’s important. If your partner is not interested in a break, then you’re better off finding out now.
You may worry that bringing up the break means that you want to end the relationship. But don’t mistake taking a break as an ultimatum.
Set Boundaries & Expectations
Next, set clear and agreed-upon expectations for the break. This can include what you will do or won’t do, if you will date or not, if you will contact each other, how much you will see each other (if at all), and more.
Setting boundaries now avoids problems later.
Establish a Timeline
Ideally, you should set a timeline before you even start talking about the break.
Doing this makes sure that both of you have an equal chance to plan your future during and after the break.
You can also use a timeline as a guide for when to re-evaluate the relationship. If it’s been X amount of time since the break started, then maybe it’s time to either get back together or move on from each other.
If your partner is resistant about setting up a timeline, remind them of the reasons why taking a break is necessary for your relationship.
Negotiate the End of the Break
Lastly, negotiate the conclusion of the break.
What about the relationship needs to change? What does each of you need in order to continue? Do you want to get back together?
If there are problems that keep coming up again and again (aka dealbreakers), then you both should be open to the possibility of ending the relationship.
If you do want to continue, also think about how you can ensure those problems don’t crop up in your next relationship.