Relationships are tough business. Sometimes, it might become too taxing and that’s when we need a bit of a time-out from our partners. It’s all right to have a break. It’s not like it’s definitely moving toward a break-up.
But breaks can also come with a lot of baggage. We need to think it through. If you are thinking of going through a break, ask yourself these questions before executing it:
1. Is a break-up inevitable?
Sometimes we take a break from a relationship knowing that a break-up is inevitable. We just want to separate ourselves from our partners to give them the time to ease into this inevitable consequence. But it never really works. We imagine that it will help with the guilt. If you’re going for a breakup, don’t let a break delay it. Come out with the news of break-up – it will be better than hurting over a decision during a break.
2. What could be the reason for a break?
A break must have a reason for it. Ask yourself why you felt a need for a break. Did you have problems communicating? Do you have financial issues? Do you think your relationship is not allowing you to achieve your other goals? Understand why you need a break. It’ll soothe your worry and you can convey the same to your partner. Make sure that the reasons actually make sense. If you feel like you are taking a break to see if your partner’s behavior changes, make that clear to yourself. Ask what might have changed. Take a time out and think things through. You don’t want to feel guilty about your decision.
3. Can you lose them?
Breaks come with no guarantees. If you choose to take a break, and then try to return, your partner may not want to. You must keep in mind that breaks can make you lose your partner. So try working on your problems. Choose to go for counselling if you have to. Breaks are risky so make sure you don’t rush into it. Trust your instinct and take a cool-headed decision.
4. Have you set some ground rules?
A break is not a breakup – so both of you should decide on some ground rules. Can the two of you date other people during the break? If yes, accept that your partner may find someone else. You should also be aware that they have dated other people, even if your partner comes back to you. Stick to the ground rules. Set a duration for a break. If it goes on for months, don’t rationalize – it’s a clear break up. Keep your thoughts rolling. Don’t crowd your partner either. If you’ve made your decision to come out of the break phase, it may be that your partner still needs time. Allow them to have it.
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5. Are you going to keep in touch?
When you are setting the ground rules, decide whether you want to keep in contact with your partner or not. Weigh all the consequences of such a decision. If you keep contact, chances are that you won’t be able to commit yourself completely to any other dates that you go to after the break. Don’t get tempted by the allure of keeping in touch. Take a proper decision on what you want to do about it.
6. Is your break practical?
It’s easy to go for a break when you are just starting out. But what happens if you have been together for a long time and have a lot of memories with one another? Add to it other investment decisions that both of you had taken. If you are in a shared apartment, who is going to move out during the break? Are you going to pay the rent even if you have moved out? Where will you stay? These are questions you need to ask yourself. If you have pets, who’s going to take them? The problem becomes worse if you have kids. You need to decide on the time that each person gets to spend with the kids. On top of that, you have to break the news to them too. The more connected you are, the more difficult will be the break. You have to figure out how practical it is.
7. How will you spend your time during the break?
Start focusing on yourself. Don’t mope around about your break. You have taken a break for some reason; don’t keep your partner in your mind. Take control of your life. Go out on a spontaneous holiday with friends. A solo trip could be great too. Rediscover who you are as a person, as an individual. You are much more than you think you are.
It’s easy to think of breaks but a lot of things come into play. You have to be mature and really think it through. It really could be a major setback for a relationship, if it lasts. Be strong, and be prepared for the worst. Hopefully you can get through it.