“We were on a break!” Goes the classic line from the popular television show, Friends. Whether or not you think Ross and Rachel were on a break, chances are you’ve either had a break in a relationship or ended up breaking up at some point or another.
Taking a relationship break isn’t the same as breaking up, and yet we often confuse these two things. Sometimes two people need space in order to see their relationship more clearly. Taking a break doesn’t have to be a bad thing; when done correctly, it can provide a strength to a relationship that needed some revitalization.
If you are feeling overwhelmed in your job or with your partner, you might feel like you’re sabotaging your relationship without even trying. When we feel claustrophobic or stuck, we lash out in ways that could permanently damage our relationships. A break can be a mutually desirable way to get what you both want without hurting each other.
Here are a few reasons why you and your partner could consider taking a break and how to go about this in the right way:
- Give yourself space
You can often grow so close to someone in a relationship that you feel like you’ve lost yourself. A break can be a good way to reassess your feelings about your relationship and your partner, in addition to connecting with yourself and your desires.
- Compartmentalize your relationship.
A break can be a good way to detach from your relationship to reassess your goals for your life. Are you where you want to be professionally? Does your partner give you the support you need? A relationship break can be a good time to ask yourselves these questions and really work through your answers honestly.
- Go with your gut.
A break gives you space to examine your intuition and feelings. Do you feel like your relationship is ending, or do you still feel deeply connected to your partner? Does your career or your family require more of your attention right now? Listening to these voices in your head and go with your gut about what deserves the priority in your life.
- Talking to your partner.
Discussing taking a break can be stressful for both parties. Your partner might feel like you want to break up, so be very specific as to why you want and need to take a break. Discuss your boundaries and why you need space. Let them react to this idea of a break in their own time and let them weigh in on what they want out of this experience, too.
- Define your break boundaries.
Determine how long you want to take a break for. Remember that this isn’t a breakup- you and your partner should still talk, text, or get together when you want to. Stay connected with each other in the ways that make sense to you, while still accomplishing what you want to out of this time apart.
Every relationship is different. There are no tried and true formulas for making a successful relationship last, nor are there guidebooks for what you should do in case your partner talks about wanting to break up or take a break. If you find yourself in this situation, examine your feelings and your intuition. You and your partner could end up becoming stronger than ever thanks to a little bit of structured time apart.