Your relationship has ups and downs, which can sometimes drain all of your energy. In such cases, taking a break from a relationship is preferable to making a hasty decision to end the relationship. You enter a relationship hoping to have a fulfilling union with your partner, but relationship management can be exhausting at times. However, reality will catch up with you sooner or later, and constant fights will plague your relationship.
When things get difficult, it’s best to take a break to reflect on your relationship, and work something out. Because taking breaks is a healthy way to reflect on and understand what is wrong with your relationship in order to get it back on track. This post discusses taking time off in relationships, remembering essential points, and following rules.
What Is a Relationship Break?
When couples can’t stay together or even talk to each other without exploding, they separate until they are certain of what they want. In other words, they take a break from the relationship. Giving each other the space and time to rethink and gain clarity about where they stand in the relationship and what they want from it is what taking a break entails.
Although it is intended to prevent a total breakup, it may eventually lead to one if both or one of the partners realize they do not want to continue. The rules of ‘taking a break in a relationship’ differ depending on the couple. There can be various types of relationship breakdowns based on this.
When to Take a Relationship Break
When something unexpected happens in a relationship, such as infidelity or a sudden career change, taking some space can be beneficial. It allows you to pause and analyze the event rather than reacting immediately. “But with some physical and emotional distance, you might start thinking, ‘How did I ever put up with that?’ or ‘Why did I make such a big deal about such small things?'” says Chlipala.
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Another reason you might think about taking a break is if you feel you’re not in the right place in your life to be in a relationship. Perhaps you want to improve, advance in your career, or leave your parents’ home. You don’t have to be in a perfect state to be in a relationship, but taking a break can help you decide if you’re ready to commit fully.
Another reason for a break that can be difficult to admit is that you’re afraid you’re not right for each other, but you stay out of fear. “Fear can manifest itself in a variety of ways,” says Chlipala. If you’re staying in the relationship because you’re afraid of being alone, or you fantasize about what your life would be like if you didn’t have your current partner, it might be time to call it quits. When you’re on break, you might realize that things aren’t as bad as you thought on your own.
How to Take a Relationship Break When You Live Together
If you and your partner have been through a rough patch recently, you may be considering taking a relationship break. Taking a break can provide much-needed time and space apart, but the logistics can become complicated if you live together.
Fortunately, even if you are still cohabiting, there are ways to take a relationship break from your partner. Continue reading to discover how you can make your relationship breakup a little easier when you live together.
#1. Have one person stay with friends or family.
It is probably easiest to take a break if someone moves out. If one of you has close friends or family in the area, see if you can spend some time with them. You can still communicate with your partner through texts or phone calls, but you don’t have to see them daily.
#2. Sleep on the couch if no one can leave.
Moving out for an extended period may not be an option. If you both have to stay in your current location, make a schedule and decide who will take the couch and the bed. Try to alternate every week so you both get a good night’s sleep.
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#3. Keep day-to-day contact to a minimum.
Try not to be a stereotypical couple. If you still live together, try to make plans with friends outside of the house regularly. When you’re at home, spend time in different rooms to give each other space.
#4. Create a timetable for the break.
Set a deadline for reconnecting with each other. Most breaks last about three months, but yours can be as long or as short as you want. However, don’t go beyond 6 months, as this can start to feel like a real breakup.
#5. Create rules for the break.
Within a break, different couples set different boundaries. Some couples believe it is acceptable to see other people, while others prefer to remain monogamous. Make sure you discuss what is and isn’t acceptable with your partner ahead of time.
#6. Discuss the specifics of your living situation.
You may also need to check on logistics. If you live together, you might share a streaming account, a utility account, or even a bank account. Discuss with your partner the possibility of setting up automatic payment plans, so you don’t have to contact each other during the break to discuss bills.
How to Take a Relationship Break Tips
Taking a break from a relationship is an art, not a science, and there are some rules to follow:
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#1. Don’t freak out.
It’s not always easy to share your life with another person, and problems will inevitably arise. Most relationship problems cannot be completely resolved, but this isn’t as bad as it sounds, according to Kong Farrell, LMFT and founder of Inspired Journey Counseling Center. “It’s more about your approach and how you choose to work through those problems.”
#2. Plan out the logistics ahead of time.
Before a couple takes a break from their relationship, it’s critical to define the “why” so that you don’t waste time. “What do you hope will be different after the break?” Chlipala inquires. “For instance, ‘I need to manage my anxiety better so that I don’t pick unnecessary fights.'”
#3. Create the ground rules.
Will you date or sleep with other people? How frequently can you communicate? Can you provide regular updates on how you’re doing or feeling? These are all questions you and your partner should consider so that you both understand what to expect from the break and that nothing surprises you.
#4. Take some time to reflect.
Set some goals for this time apart if you are truly committed to working through the problems in your relationship. “You want to know what you and your partner will work on during this break, as well as your strategy,” says Chlipala. This can range from seeing a therapist independently to reading self-help books and journaling.
#5. Make use of checkpoints.
The length of your break will be determined by the context of your “why,” but checkpoints will allow you to communicate about your progress and reflections. This could include checking in at the end of each week or after you’ve both seen a therapist. Checkpoints will hold you and your partner accountable for sticking to the work you agreed to do.
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#6. Come back together to make a decision.
Reuniting does not have to mean staying together, but it is still necessary to have a discussion. If you can solve the problem together, that’s fantastic. And if not, what? I would advise the couple—or even one partner if the other refuses—to seek the services of a good couples’ therapist who is directive and can teach information about what it takes to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
#7. Keep up your responsibilities.
Taking a break may be more difficult if you and your partner’s finances are intertwined, but it is still possible. Negotiate ahead of time with your partner how you will maintain your responsibilities to each other while on break.
#8. Engage in activities that nurture you.
Lee recommends that her couples “engage in activities that nurture you and reconnect you with the parts of yourself that you feel disconnected from.” The key to a good break is discovering what you’ve been missing. Maybe you’ll sign up for that 7 a.m. yoga class that was once a staple of your weekly schedule.
#9. Inform the children (or don’t).
Things get a little more complicated when it comes to children. While you may want to keep your relationship issues private, “kids observe everything,” Brito says. To keep the peace in your home, she suggests explaining to your children (in a way that they will understand, depending on their age) that “adults are going through adult things.”
Finally, taking a break does not have to mean the end of your relationship if you can agree on specific goals and expectations ahead of time and heal any wounds that have caused damage. If the changes are superficial, you may find yourself in “timeout.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a break in a relationship last?
The exact timing can vary from couple to couple, but 3 weeks apart is a good starting point. Why is it three weeks? “It takes about a week for your body and mind to adjust to not being around someone you’ve been in a relationship with,” Farrell says.
Do breaks in relationships work?
Your relationship may not take a perfectly straight path, but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed to fail. Taking a break at the right time and for the right reason may be exactly what you need to strengthen your connection and deepen your commitment.
Is it healthy to take a break in a relationship?
There’s nothing wrong with a couple needing to take a break from each other. It allows for more space than is typical in a relationship and can help clarify how you both feel about each other and the future.
Do breaks lead to breakups?
Your break may come to an end if you and your partner decide not to remarry. While taking a break to avoid a breakup is never a good idea, sometimes breaks naturally lead to breakups, even if that is not the direction you expected.