I often hear that when you take a break in a relationship, it pretty much means the whole thing is coming to an end. OK so it always happens when your couple is in a dark place, but isn’t it intended to save it? Is it possible to save your relationship with a break, with physical distance? Can breaks take different forms? In what state of mind is the one asking for it and how should the other one react? And foremost, how do you make a break work? So, How to take a break in a relationship ? What are the rules ?
How to take a break in a relationship ? What are the rules ?
A few basic principles
In order to take a break, it’s essential that you be honest with yourself, and also with the other. If you want to take a break, it’s to think about your couple, to look over the damage caused by time or other natural (or not) phenomenon that have proven toxic to your relationship.
A break is putting a physical distance between you and the other, no longer living together, no more phone calls, no more messages, emptying your mind to finally find your true self again and observe if your partner’s absence is unbearable or if it makes you feel better.
You don’t take a break to try out a new relationship with Michael and then go back to Peter a few days later because you found out that it was better with him after all!!! If you wish to breakup with your boyfriend, don’t be a coward, tell him instead of pretending to take a “break” which is only an excuse to try to smooth things over.
First you must decide on some ground rules : set an expiration date (a week? two? a month? ==> don’t go beyond, it simply won’t be a break anymore).
You don’t start a break on your own, both partners must agree and be aware that a problem has come up that is steadily eating away at their couple.
A break can save your couple
A break can be beneficial only if the decision was made by BOTH partners.
Distance allows you to take a step back from your couple, to consider each other’s real needs, your desires, and to determine wether you are capable of imagining a future without HIM or not.
What generally happens during a break is that you test your feelings. Your head overflows with questions and the answers get clearer without the bias of your partner being there. Do I really miss him or was it just a habit? Do I want to kiss him, to touch him, to breathe him in or have I simply forgotten how to sleep alone? Why did we end up in this situation? Do I still love him? Why couldn’t we avoid taking that break? Are his qualities more relevant than his flaws…?
Taking a break sometimes allows you to rekindle the passion from the beginning of your love story. That’s because the feeling of abandonement and especially of loss of the loved one can wake up violent emotions you had long forgotten! And both of you can realize that life without the other is bland and that getting back together will prove to be steamy.
Here’s what Laura, 24, told us :
“I had been in a couple with Silvio for four years. The first year had been passionate and magical, strangely perfect. We were happy together and happy to be in each other’s arms regardless of the time of day. But then, when we moved in together, difficulties arose. Daily life started to take up too much space and we all know how that ends. I felt like I didn’t love him anymore. I wanted to be alone, to be free, I stayed as late as I could with my friends in the evenings to push back the moment I would see him again. I didn’t want him anymore. I was desperate, unable to understand how such an intense love as the one we had experienced could have transformed in this insufferable and tiring routine. I ended up, after over a year of doubt – a decision I had matured – telling him I wanted us to take a break. At first he didn’t understand. He told me he was happy with me, that he didn’t see the problem. He was fine with routine. But he was tolerant and open and so he accepted my decision nontheless. I stayed at a friend’s and we had no contact for a week. He was going along with the whole thing so well that I got afraid of losing him. And alone with myself, I realized that is was me, us, that had made routine into something boring but that I loved him and that was what was important. The first month back was strange, I knew we had to move forward, I had become aware of many things during that week but I had no idea of how to set up the solutions. In the end, it came naturally. We started planning weekends together, outings, visits… And as weird as that sounds, I started feeling better and better. Today I have clearly reconnected with Silvio, and even the passion of our beginnings came back, maybe even stronger, and I feel that the obstacles we have overcome have reinforced our love.”
And yes, when you live together, a break can be even more useful than if you don’t! It’s only normal to feel smothered once in a while when you spend a lot of time together! A little bit of freedom is often all it takes to realize you’re done with a single’s life!
But a break can also go wrong…
Do not use the break as a love strategy such as : I’m going to leave for two weeks in order for him to realize how much he’s crazy for me and how he’ll never be able to live without me. Just because you see things that way doesn’t mean he does. Your partner might develop a taste for freedom and not want you anymore when you jump back into his arms.
In short, a break is a double-edged sword : it can revive a flickering passion just as easily as it can kill a relationship. So take some time to think it over!