Is a break good in a relationship or does the request signal the end of your relationship? Many people reach a point where they feel they need some space and may suggest they need a break believing this will benefit a relationship.
Can taking a break from your partner really benefit your relationship or is your partner using the request to signal they want out?
If you find yourself asking “Is a break good in a relationship” you need to determine the purpose of the break, agree some ground rules and stick to them.
1. Taking a Break is Not a Quick Fix
Relationships can be complex and every relationship is different. It is important to recognise the break is not a quick fix to solve your relationship problems. There is no doubt that absence does make the heart grow fonder but it is not a miracle cure to underlying issues. If you are experiencing relationship problems it is vital that you and your partner discuss this before deciding to take a break. If you don’t there is no doubt that these issues will surely re-surface again in the future.
It is natural to feel concerned or worried if your partner has suggested they feel they need to take a break. It is common to begin to worry that your partner no longer loves you or will decide during the break that they wish to end the relationship. If you’re at this stage the best policy is to accept the request for a break and use the time productively to re-establish your relationship. If during the period of the break one or both partners choose to end the relationship then it is inevitable they would have come to this decision eventually.
2. Establish the Reasons for the Break Up
Taking a break in a relationship is common practice among people who are dating, living together or married. During the time of the break many people experience a sense of relationship renewal. If you are currently feeling like you need some space it is important to be considerate towards your partner and how they will perceive your request. If your partner has asked you for a break it is equally important to establish why the break is needed and what the benefit will be to your relationship.
There can be many complex reasons why a person would suggest they need a break such as:
- They feel the relationship has become stale
- Things are moving too fast, too slow or in the wrong direction
- A growing feeling of lack of appreciation or respect
- Life situations such as stress or loss
- A period of physical or mental illness
The important thing is to establish the reason for the break and identify what the benefit will be. As an example if you have suffered a loss you may decide that you need to come to terms with this before you can continue to move on with your relationship.
3. Honesty, Consideration and Communication
If you are considering a break in your relationship it is vital that you are honest about your reasons. If your reasons for requesting the break are because you want to go out and party with your friends and see other people then a break will not benefit your relationship in any way and you should consider ending your current relationship.
It always pays to think things through and show consideration to your partner’s feelings. It is best to discuss your reasons for requesting the break and communicate how you think it will benefit your relationship. If you have been experiencing problems it may be advisable to raise these issues and communicate how you feel the break will be of benefit in resolving these issues.
4. Agree the Ground Rules
“What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander”
Once you have agreed that a break would be of benefit to your relationship it is vital that you agree some ground rules. There is nothing worse than creating some distance on a misunderstood agreement that ruins the chances of reconciliation later on. Three questions you should clarify at this point are:
- How long will the break be for?
- What level of contact will you have during the break?
- Will you date other people during the break?
5. Stick to Your Agreement
Once you begin your break it is important that you stick to your arrangement. In his fantastic book The Magic of Making Up, T.W. Jackson discusses issues such as text message terrorism, drunk dialling and premature reconciliation.
It does not matter at this point who requested the break! What matters is you do not revert to any of the behaviours listed above. You have agreed a period apart for the benefit of your relationship and you must stick to the ground rules that were agreed. Your partner will not thank you for agreeing to give them some space only to receive a constant barrage of phone calls in the middle of the night.
Premature reconciliation occurs when you break your agreement and attempt to reconcile your relationship too soon. This can lead to one partner feeling they have rushed back into things too quickly, so my advice is agree your ground rules and stick to them.
When experiencing relationship problems many people ask the question “Is a break good in a relationship”. A break between two people can help to achieve a sense of relationship renewal and if you can identify the reasons for the break and establish the ground rules a break can certainly benefit a relationship.
It is important however to recognise that a break in a relationship should be only discussed if the result is to benefit the relationship long term. Requesting a break is not a quick fix to more complex problems and issues.
Another way to look at the question “Is a break good in a relationship” is to consider what would happen if you did not take a break to address the issues that have arisen? In most cases the issues are never resolved and the relationship deteriorates to a point where a break up is eventually inevitable.