Dating is not always easy. Sometimes you need to learn how to take a break in a relationship in order to come back to a better place.
When you think about how to take a break in a relationship, you probably think about Ross and Rachel from Friends and their infamous break that led to a nonstop joke on the show. Sure, it was great for some laughs and drama, but in reality, taking a break in a relationship does not have to be that ridiculous, painful, or dramatic.
Learning how to take a break in a relationship is about space, time, and growing. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re single or broken up. The thing is, taking a break in a relationship has this preconceived notion of an end, so people freak out when they hear the word “break.”
With some patience, understanding, and trust you can take a break in a relationship and come back to it stronger than before.
Why to take a break in a relationship
Let’s talk about why you might want to take a break in a relationship. Some reasons that come to mind are a fight, staleness, or doubts. Things like this can lead to a need for space, thinking, experience, or newness. It makes sense that some time apart could help these issues.
If you are angry at each other or can’t come to a decision together, some time apart can help you clear your mind and cool down. If you feel like you are in a rut, a break could remind you of all the little things you love about each other that you may overlook regularly.
And if you have doubts about moving in together, getting married, or just getting more serious, a break can help you see things differently and even experience things apart to see if you are happier without them.
A break can help you come to terms with the truth about your relationship. It can help you regain your independence. A break can give you the time you need to organize your thoughts and sort out your feelings.
But, there are other things that taking a break won’t help. A break is not a cure-all, but a BandAid in many cases. A break can always help you gain perspective, but it will not fix everything if done without intent.
One of my best friends was in an empty relationship. She knew it wouldn’t work out. They were great friends, but the romance and excitement had dimmed. She wanted to end things before it was even harder to do so.
Instead of committing to a breakup, she got him to agree to a break. They took a couple of weeks apart. They remained loyal to each other but didn’t see or text each other. After that, they were so eager to see each other. They missed each other so much during that time apart.
But, after another six months, they broke up for good. Why? Well, their relationship didn’t last for plenty of reasons, but the break didn’t actually help because they didn’t need a break.
A break is not a fix-it for a breakup. Time apart won’t offer you much if your relationship is ending. My friend’s break was more like a temporary breakup than a break precisely for this reason.
They went through the pain of a breakup and missed each other but instead of struggling through that to become friends eventually, they decided to rekindle and had a messier breakup down the line.
Sure, even a proper break could end with a breakup, but the break helps you deal with those feelings and accept the outcome a bit better.
How to take a break in a relationship
Learning how to take a break in a relationship can be complicated. Taking a break doesn’t feel natural in a relationship. If you wanted to be apart you’d just breakup, right? Wrong.
A break isn’t usually what you want to do, but it is often what a relationship needs. If you want to make your relationship work, a break could be a huge step in repairing any damage.
Now, before we get into how to properly take a break in a relationship, let me remind you that a break is not a window for cheating. A break is not the end of a relationship. It is something mutually agreed upon. If you want to go on dates with other people during that time, it needs to be discussed. You should know why you’re taking a break and come back from it with something resolved or at least worked on.
So, how do you take a break in a relationship?
#1 Bring up the idea of a break. This may be one of the harder parts of taking a break in a relationship. Bringing up a break with your partner could be perceived as wanting to break up. Be sure to let them know you aren’t breaking up with them, but that you could just use some time apart.
#2 Discuss why you think it is important. This is vital for entering a successful break in your relationship. Let your partner know why you want this time and what it is you want out of it. Do you need time to get over a fight or come to an agreement? Do you need some time to rebuild your independence and loosen your codependence?
Let your partner know how the break could help you and your relationship. Remember to be realistic though. A break could end in a breakup if that is what is right for your relationship. Also, be sure to ask your partner what they think and what they want.
#3 Come up with ground rules. When you agree to take a break in a relationship, ground rules will help you get the most out of that time apart. Without these previously agreed-upon rules, you could spend this time worrying about what they’re doing instead of focusing on the matter at hand.
Decide if you are seeing other people. Decide if you are talking at all or cutting off all communication. Are you telling friends and family? What can you reach out to each other about? If you live together, who is staying somewhere else? When will you check-in?
Decide how long the break will be. This can help you know when to reach out and talk. Maybe you need more time, but this will give you both a bit more clarity.
#4 Take time to think. Try not to spend all your time doing things your partner hates like ordering smelly food or watching rom-coms. Actually take time to think about the reasons for this break. Consider if you are happier without your partner. Do you miss them? Why?
Do you miss all the nice things they do for you or do you simply miss the company of someone? Is this time calming you and helping you figure out your feelings? Use this time apart as wisely as possible.
#5 Return honestly. When your designated break time is up, meet up with intention. You have had time to think and figure things out. You do want to remain open to what your partner has to say, but don’t let them change your mind.
Do you need more time apart? Do you think it would be best to actually breakup? Or have you had time to think about what you need and want from each other?
Learning how to take a break in a relationship can be hard, but it can also help to give you all the answers you need. Use this guide to understand the steps in a relationship break, and make up your mind on the way forward.