Relationships are not as easy as you would want, and while they bring joy and fulfillment, they can also be sources of stress, heartbreak, and disappointment.
People in a relationship might decide to take a break in a relationship for many reasons, but it usually signifies that all is not well and the break is needed for both parties to reexamine their commitments.
Breaks may be needed at times in unstable relationships to know if it’s reasonable to still stick around or take a walk from the relationship or chart a new course.
Before reading ahead, here’s a video of the dos and don’ts of taking a break in a relationship by Relish Relationship Coach.
What does it mean when people decide to take a break in a relationship?
It refers to a period of time where a couple agrees to take a pause from their relationship, whether it is for personal growth, to work on individual issues, or to evaluate the status of their relationship.
During this time, partners may choose to limit or stop communication, date other people or remain exclusive, work on personal goals, or take time to reflect and reassess the relationship.
The break can last for a specific time or be indefinite depending on the couple’s agreement.
Whatever the reasons might be, it’s better to be open to a partner instead of leaving him or her to be battling relationship anxiety guessing what might be wrong.
Reasons for relationship break
Some relationships follow a straightforward path and continue in that direction and lead to a long-lasting commitment like marriage while others do not see a few months and head for the rocks.
Sometimes relationships are driven by unrealistic desires copied from books and movies and the partners form the base for expectations; when these elusive expectations are not met, there is resentment that results in issues.
Every relationship is different and just as their challenges are different and have hiccups caused by day-to-day arguments that come about during the course of running the home and planning ahead.
Below are the reasons why a couple might decide to take a break in a relationship:
1. When the relationship is a distraction to important goals
I have seen where a relationship hampers personal development and growth. Inordinate obsession by a partner can choke the other and impart negatively on their performance in other areas of life.
Sometimes, when the partner complains or wants to defend themselves, the other party feels they are neglecting them or having an affair.
This kind of clingy attitude constricts and constrains you to reach your potential.
I recommend taking a break from this kind of relationship to give yourself freedom and have a clear head to plan your life while also giving the other partner time to see how clingy he or she has been and hopefully, work on themselves.
2. Incompatibility issues
Some people might argue that incompatibility should not exist in mature relationships.
The reason is that the two mature people should work things out since they agreed to be together unlike the younger people who are mostly driven by lust and the frenzy of being new to dating.
However, compatibility should not be totally ignored because there are people who cannot just get along.
Okay let’s put it this way – there are people whose reasons for being together are insignificant to the reasons they should not be together.
This means that the glue holding the two parties together is weaker than the forces that could pull them apart.
This is evidenced in constant altercations, trying to own a partner, rancour, and arguments which if allowed to fester might degenerate into physical harm. Taking a break is necessary for such a relationship.
It’s funny to observe that people date because of trivial things such as hair colour, height, and body build or because the person has some weird attributes that do not amount to something in the long run.
This type is bound to grind to a halt when the chips are down because the effect of the intangible attribute would wear off and reality will come to the fore.
3. Immaturity in both or one of the parties
Some people go into relationships unprepared and they trudge along without having any clear goal. The success of relationships depends hugely on maturity.
Someone who is still driven by juvenile exuberance cannot sustain a relationship and can lead to indiscriminate fights that do not improve anything.
There might be some attractions and spending time together but some factors can become barriers which can cause a reason to review the relationship.
For example, the age gap can be a problem sometimes, especially on the part of the man.
If the woman is older, the man could develop a sense of insecurity if he lacks maturity and the relationship could be affected negatively.
Other outcomes of immaturity are cleaning habits, the difference in earning power, readiness for marriage, when to start having kids, etc.
4. Toxicity in the relationship
Relationships come with risks, especially with a bitter, toxic person who can lose control of his or her temper and do something tragic.
Taking a break at this time is encouraged to ease off steam and for every party to have a reorientation of the relationship.
The break could be the only saving grace that would make the defaulting party rescind and seek advice.
It is important however to get to the root of the matter while considering a break.
If the disaffections are not mentioned as the cause of the problems prompting a break, the goal for the break might not be achieved and would lead to worse problems if they get back together.
5. Being in the wrong place
There was a relationship I found myself in at some time in my life that I couldn’t tell how I got in there.
The woman was constantly abusive and never helped in any way in the growth of the relationship.
All she wanted was to take and then take all, me, me, me. She never wanted to submit herself to the building of a relationship.
Her belief was that a man who is old enough to have a woman should be able to foot all her bills.
As funny as it sounded, it was a huge decision for me to take the opposite direction. Relationships should be a sacrifice by both parties and not an entitlement.
The funnier thing is that she came calling after two years and the man was already happy on the other hand.
I did not take a break, but I walked away because I was already burned out and needed to move absolutely away from such a mentality because it could take years for her maturity to mature.
I was pretty much at the wrong place and took the best decision. Taking a break could be a better way to rethink the relationship and see if you would copy me or give the relationship a try again.
No matter what the reasons, it is important to recognize that sometimes taking a break can ultimately result in a permanent breakup.
Is it healthy for people in a relationship to take a break?
Yes and no. It can be healthy when both parties are mutual in their agreement on why they are taking a break and use the opportunity to check themselves.
It can provide space for each person to work on personal growth and tackle issues that may be affecting the relationship.
However, it is essential to establish clear boundaries and expectations during the break and have open communication when deciding to resume the relationship.
The benefits of taking a break in a relationship
According to studies, almost half of the people who take breaks in their relationships and get back together have better relationships.
Taking a break in a relationship is an important decision that couples should take when they feel that the relationship is not working.
- Clarity and growth: It can help to clarify what you want and need from a relationship and allow time for personal growth, self-reflection, and healing.
- Personal space for reflection: Taking a break can create a space for you to think about your feelings, the relationship, and whether it’s something you want to continue or end.
- Focus on goals and career: You can use this time to focus on your individual goals, desires, careers, and hobbies that you may have neglected in your relationship.
- Reduces tension and emotional buildup: The time apart can help to reduce the tension and emotions in your relationship, which will allow you to think more rationally and objectively about your future together.
- It can strengthen the relationship: Another benefit of taking a break is that it can strengthen your relationship.
When partners decide to take a break in their relationship, it is a sign that there is a measure of commitment to working on making the relationship stronger.
It shows that you don’t want to give up on the relationship and are willing to make changes.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder: It can also give you and your partner time to miss each other, and when you reunite, you may have a new appreciation and understanding of each other.
Disadvantages of taking a break in a relationship
On the other hand, there are some significant limitations to taking a break.
- Disconnection: One of the most difficult aspects of a break is that it can lead to a more significant distance between partners. The goal of taking a break is to create space and time for self-reflection, but it can also create time for partners to grow apart. Being away from each other for an extended period can lead to a sense of disconnection and a lack of intimacy.
- Confusion and mixed emotions: Another limitation is that taking a break can lead to confusion and mixed emotions. When a couple decides to take a break, both parties may be unclear about their intentions and feelings towards the relationship. This confusion can lead to additional stress and anxiety for both partners.
- Break-up: Finally, taking a break can also lead to the end of a relationship. Sometimes, taking a break is a way of delaying the inevitable breakup. If a couple cannot work through their issues or find common ground, taking a break may end up being the final nail in the coffin.
Tips on how to deal with taking a break in a relationship
Taking a break can be a challenging and emotional experience. It is essential to set clear guidelines, such as the duration of the break, communication expectations, and boundaries during this time.
If both parties are committed to making the relationship work, they should agree on a specific timeline and the terms of the breakup.
Setting these rules in advance can help to avoid misunderstandings and conflict.
- Communicate openly and honestly with your partner about why you feel the need for a break.
- Set clear boundaries for the break, including how long it will last and what actions are acceptable while on the break.
- Take time for self-reflection and personal growth during the break. Use this time to reconnect with yourself and your needs.
- Avoid jumping into another relationship or rebounding during the break.
- Use the break to evaluate your relationship and determine if it is still what you want and need.
- Seek the guidance and support of trusted friends and family members, or consider seeking professional counseling.
Taking a break without breaking up
Taking a break in a relationship without breaking up could be the goal of some couples, but taking a break could also be a way for a partner to end things without being straightforward.
I have seen partners who went on a break and one didn’t hear from the other ever again.
Taking a break allows partners to take a breath of fresh air and the one who has been bearing the brunt could decide to move on finally.
It is good to define things before the break. Depending on the issues that are bringing about the break, both partners should be sincere to each other and define the reason they agree to take a break.
Below are how to take a break from a relationship without ending it.
1. Have an agreement on the terms of the break
Talk with your partner about the possible things to do while on break, especially with the opposite sex.
As discussed above, some couples use the break period to rediscover and improve themselves.
This rediscovery and improvement could include checking out other prospective suitors or exploring other options for a relationship.
When there is sincerity and discussion of what you can do while on break, then it would be clear enough on how to behave in that period.
Some of these should be agreed on:
- Kissing another
- Have sex with others
- Trying out a new date
- Frequency of communication
- Involvement of families in the matter
Seem an awkward conversation, right? Yes! But it is important to have the discussion as it would set the boundary for what would happen and determine what to expect after the break.
2. Concentrate on yourself
Just as said somewhere above, taking a break can be a good chance to evaluate yourself and your needs and lean in on them.
Being in a relationship of confusion can sometimes make you lose yourself and truncate your future and happiness.
Taking a break from a relationship the break would be a game-changer that will take away the clutterers and make everything clear for you to make the right decisions without sentiments.
If you have been the bad egg of the relationship, this is a time to discover how you can work on yourself and make amends so that when you get back together, you become a better partner.
3. Analyse the relationship with the eye of a third party
Taking a break can make you step out of yourself and look at the relationship with the eyes of a stranger.
This would make you observe how wrong the relationship had worked for so long.
And you would be able to identify the loopholes and decide if the relationship is worth your second coming.
This is a time to put your partner under the scrutiny lens and examine him properly and also decide if this is really what you want.
Sometimes, people don’t change. They might regret their actions and ask for forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean they would change.
When situations that trigger their unjust behaviours come, they find themselves displaying the same behaviours.
They are helpless but not every partner would have the patience to stick around such people.
4. Be bold enough to take action
Taking a break in a relationship could make you realize for sure that you can’t continue in the relationship. Be bold enough to tell yourself, and your partner, that you are moving on.
This might put them in grieving mode but it is better than playing around with it and making them guess for too long.
The earlier you do it the better for both of you to be on the path to recovery. But if you decide not to end the relationship but instead have some things changed, be also bold enough to put it forward and demand such changes.
You see, a break is very important because of the new reflection it provides and the changes for the better it brings about.
If the partner wants to go on with you, he or she will agree to the terms as long as your terms are not selfish or manipulative.
Getting back together after taking a break in a relationship
Now the break is over and you guys didn’t break up – congratulations. So, you are ready to get back together and continue as partners. Of course, there are discussions on the way forward.
The discussions are about what you learned during your time away from each other and how they affect the relationship going forward.
It’s best to have sensitive discussions as quickly as possible when you get back so there is a new benchmark for the relationship.
Also Read: How To Manage Your Relationship Effectively
Relationships are held by agreements and commitments. If there are no agreements, then the relationship would not have a rudder and the partners won’t be held accountable.
It is important to see that your partner agrees or disagrees with your new demands so you have a clear view of what the next step would be.
If the demands are agreed on, you can examine his or her own demands too and see how you can adjust.
If everything comes out fine, then you guys have a new project to deliver.
Taking a break in a relationship is both beneficial and challenging for couples.
It can provide time and space for self-reflection, growth, and healing. However, it can also lead to confusion, distance, and the eventual end of a relationship.
It is essential to communicate openly and realistically about the reasons and expectations for taking a break and to set clear guidelines and boundaries.
If taken sincerely and genuinely, taking a break in a relationship can be the best decision for personal growth and healing, and ultimately leads to a stronger relationship.
- Women’s Health: Should You Take A Relationship Break?
- Prevention: Taking a Break in a Relationship: 6 Tips For Couples
- Relish: The Dos and Don’ts of Taking a Break in a Relationship
A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.
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