Most of us have attempted the fated “taking a break” in at least one of our past relationships. Maybe you’re even considering one with your current significant other. Truth be told, there’s no easy way to take time away from each other, but sometimes it can be the healthiest option.
In certain instances, the “break” is used as more of a ghosting technique for someone who may not have the guts to just end things. However, there are many couples out there who go this avenue in hopes of bettering the relationship and giving the other person space to grow individually. Whatever the intention, it’s important to be realistic about the phases of a break, both good and bad.
1. Ambiguity can make you will feel like a crazy person.
Often times a break will bring you clarity and a sense of understanding. Other times, the uncertainty can drive you absolutely mad. You want to call him, but feel like you can’t. What’s he doing? Is he thinking the same things? So many questions with so few answers. Unfortunately, this is an inevitable side effect of the “break” syndrome.
2. Strict rules won’t always work.
While communication is absolutely key in any relationship (break or not), setting out a list of do’s and don’ts may not be your best bet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know where the lines are, but the whole point of the break is to give each other some space to do your own thing. You don’t want to create room for conflict if it’s not necessary, especially if the “rules” are a bit unrealistic.
3. One of you might talk to/hook up with someone else.
It’s tough, but it’s true. With new freedom, comes temptation. This isn’t always a terrible thing. Yes, if one of you is spending this time apart to truly work on bettering your relationship while the other is out swiping left and right, it can be extremely hurtful. However, this isn’t always the case. Maybe you or your partner need the chance to explore their sexuality a bit, ultimately making them a more well rounded person. Again, communication is key.
4. Time apart doesn’t erase issues.
Contrary to popular belief, time will not erase problems. It will give you the opportunity to deal with them the right way and to consider other perspectives on the issue. Consider what the other person was thinking or intending when they said those things that sent you over the edge. Then give them a chance to better communicate with you. Ignoring the problems and acting like they never happened will only lead to resentment and future arguments.
5. Breaks can give an inaccurate glimpse of the single life.
It sounds awful, but more often than not people who are recently removed from a serious long term relationship get a small taste of the solo ride and indulge with the assumption that they have someone to fall back on after a few weeks. It creates a false sense of having your cake and eating it to. No one wins in this scenario and someone will always get hurt.
6. They can lead to break-ups.
Yes, this one is pretty obvious, but it’s true! Even if you didn’t go into the break with the notion that things would end, sometimes you discover that your happiness lies outside of the relationship and that it’s best to go your own way.
7. If you do get back together, the work isn’t over.
For those that are able to rekindle their relationship and grow from the time apart, this break may have saved you. However, that doesn’t mean the future is all, as Maroon 5 would say, rainbows and butterflies it’s compromise that moves us along. Couples that are meant to stay together are willing to work for it and in these cases, the ends most definitely justify the means.
Related-ish: 10 Tips For Rocking A Long Distance Relationship