When a relationship hit the rocks, it’s easy to assume that it’s all over. However, could a relationship break be all you need to get back on track?
“We were on a break!” Who remembers those iconic words? If you have never watched Friends before *what is wrong with you?* then you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about, but the idea of a relationship break and what you can and can’t do within it has been a talking point for years.
Relationships are full of ups and downs. The course of relationships is never static. Let’s be honest, it would be boring, right? If you were simply even and ‘just okay’ every single day, where is the passion? Where is the fun?
Normal relationships have arguments and fights, issues and problems, but it’s how you overcome them that strengthens you, or causes you to part ways.
There are many different reasons why a relationship might have problems. For instance, one partner might be going through a particular difficult patch at work or in their health. One of you might have family problems. Perhaps you’re struggling with anxiety and depression. Maybe you just don’t know what you want in life. There are countless reasons for problems to occur, but it doesn’t always mean the end is nigh.
What is a relationship break?
A relationship break is exactly what it says on the tin. The two of you take a break from the relationship and figure things out. You could have a set timescale for the break or you could just wing it and see how things go. You might come back together, you might decide that it’s just not meant to be. However, a relationship break is designed to create clarity.
For many couples after they have had a break, they appreciate each other far more and the relationship improves as a result. For others, it helps them to see that they’re just not compatible anymore or that they no longer want the same things. Either way, clarity is achieved and helps you to decide what to do next.
For sure, it might be that one side of the couple wants the relationship break and the other doesn’t, but it’s important to talk about things and come to a compromise that suits you both. The truth of the matter is that a relationship break doesn’t meant the relationship is over, it means it’s on pause, to be continued or perhaps cancelled at a later date.
What are the rules of a relationship break?
The reason the term ‘relationship break’ strikes fear into the hearts of couples is because it sounds drastic. To be honest, it is quite drastic. You’ve both come to a place where you no longer can carry on as you are and must figure something out. You both need space to work out what that ‘something’ is.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to think clearly when you’re still in a situation, so a little space gives you the time and opportunity to really consider things carefully.
However, to make a relationship break work and to help you both feel far less worried about what it means deep down, you should set some ground rules. This can be different for every couple, but overall, there are some questions to ask and rules you set.
#1 Are you going to see other people? A relationship break means that you’re no longer together for the time being. That means you discuss and decide whether you’re able to see other people or whether you’re both going to remain single for that time and work things out. It’s vital to be clear about this, as one person dating and the other staying single is a recipe for confusion and the break becoming permanent.
#2 How long is the break going to last? It’s tempting to just go down the ‘see how it goes’ route, but not having a general timescale means that the break can go on for months and even years, leaving both or one party in limbo. That’s not fair on either of you, so have a general idea of how long the relationship break will last before you come together and decide what you want to moving forward.
#3 Will you be in contact with one another? Are you going to talk during the break or will you cut all contact until after? This is something you both need to be certain about. For some, having a little contact makes them feel better, but for others it can be too painful. The contact disturbs their process of gaining clarity on the future of the relationship.
#4 Will you still follow each other on social media? This isn’t about contacting each other, it’s about being in each other’s lives virtually. Much of the time’s it’s far better to block each other temporarily, until you decide what you’re going to do. Seeing what the other one is up to while you’re apart can often be confusing and heartbreaking, often leading to misunderstandings that could put the relationship in a coffin for good.
#5 What will you do about mutual friends? Many couples who have been together for a long time have mutual friends. How are you going to handle that? Will you sit your friends down and tell them that you’re going on a relationship break? Therefore, they need to understand your need for privacy and time. To avoid confusing other people and making life harder, you should figure this step out.
#6 Don’t make any promises about the outcome. When you decide to go on a relationship break, don’t make promises to each other about what the final outcome may be. At this point, you simply don’t know. It’s not fair to say that everything will be fine after you’ve spent some time apart, only to realize that the relationship has run its course. It’s easy for one partner to hold out more hope than the other. And it’s simply going to lead to hurt and heartbreak over time.
Be open and honest. Be realistic. You both should understand that while it’s not the end, a relationship break is a period of limbo. It can go either way. You may split, you may come back together, but right now, you cannot be sure which way it will go. Simply focus on gaining clarity and try not to promise each other something you can’t really keep right now.
Relationship breaks can be useful tools
Relationship breaks can actually be a very useful tool for couples who are going through hard times. They can kickstart the love and passion once more and help people get back on track. It’s easy to assume that it’s a precursor for the relationship to end. However, I know countless people who have been on breaks only to come back together with everything far better than it was before.
Of course, I know a few who ended up splitting for good, but they found the clarity they needed. They didn’t end up wasting more time in a relationship that just wasn’t working. At the end of the day, working out what you both want and need is never a bad thing.
If you think you need a relationship break in order to decide the future of your relationship, it’s important to be open and honest with one another.