Taking a Break in a Relationship – A Complete Guide

If you and your partner are considering a break, then you’ve come to the right place. Our guide on taking a break in your relationship is here to offer you advice on navigating this phase. Follow along to learn more about what a break really means, how long a break should last, and what you can do during that time to better yourself and your partnership.

What Does a Break Mean in a Relationship?

During the course of their relationship, some couples decide they want to take a break. But what does a break mean in a relationship anyway? A break in a relationship refers to when a couple mutually decides to take some time apart to calibrate. They usually don’t see each other during this time and may temporarily refrain from contacting each other. 

When they go on a break, the couple is pressing pause on their relationship, hoping to reset it so they can come back together stronger and happier than ever. However, it’s important to note that not all relationship breaks end with the couple reuniting and getting back together. In some cases, they find they’re actually better off when they’re apart and, therefore, decide to end their relationship for good. 

In either situation, this period of separation is meant to help the couple determine what’s best for themselves as individuals and partners. 

Things to Consider Before Taking a Break in a Relationship

Taking some time apart can either make or break your relationship, so you both must understand the potential consequences. Before making the decision, ask yourselves these questions:

Have You Fallen into a Breakup Pattern?

Some couples benefit from a break, but not if they do it every other month. When partners get into a cycle of taking breaks and getting back together, it’s often a sign of a more significant issue in their relationship. This toxic pattern can sometimes cause more harm than good, so reflect on whether this is a one-off thing or a common occurrence in your relationship. 

If you and your partner are constantly taking breaks, we recommend looking at the root of your problems to determine if you’re truly compatible as a couple. 

Why Do You Want to Take a Relationship Break?

There are many reasons couples decide to go on a break, and it’s crucial to discuss these reasons and what you both intend to get out of this break. Maybe you both need to take some time to cool off because you’re constantly arguing. Or perhaps a big life change like a new job or cross-country move is causing you to reconsider your relationship. Likewise, you could both just need time to work on yourselves.

Whatever the reason, couples should have a mutual understanding of why they’re taking a break in the first place.

How Do You Plan to Benefit from This Break?

A break can be a great way to reset your relationship, but if you want to have a productive break, it’s important to determine what you plan to get out of this time apart and how you can both use that time to benefit yourselves and your relationship. 

This requires being intentional and proactive with your time apart to benefit from the break. 

Are You Prepared for a Possible Breakup?

Even if you both go into a relationship break with the intention of getting back together, sometimes, time apart can alter your feelings. For instance, you might feel lighter, happier, and more yourself when you’re apart, making you question whether your relationship is truly healthy for you. Or, there’s a possibility that you or your partner might meet someone new during that time. Remember, part of the reason for taking a break involves sorting out your feelings for each other.

When deciding to go on a break, you and your partner both need to be aware of and open to the possibility of a more permanent breakup

Deciding How to Take a Relationship Break

To get the most out of your relationship break, we recommend openly discussing rules and expectations with your partner. 

Set a Time Frame

To keep your break from being indefinite, it’s a good idea to mutually decide on how long you’d like it to last. So, how long should a break last? It really depends on the couple and the reasons behind why they’re taking a break in the first place. 

For example, if a couple is working through issues in their relationship, they may want a month or two to address them. But if a couple is taking a break because one partner is moving, starting a new job, or caring for a sick relative, the break may need to be two or three months until they can fully recommit themselves to the relationship. 

That said, if you’re committing to a break, take at least a week apart so you both have sufficient time and space to reflect on the relationship.  

Establish Some Rules

Rules are important because they help set boundaries, determine expectations, and avoid misunderstandings.

Start by tackling if and how you plan to stay in touch. Do you both plan on communicating with each other during this time, or would you prefer to cut off contact temporarily? And if you are open to chatting, will you have set check-ins, or is it a free-for-all? 

Also, be sure to discuss the rules around seeing other people. Are you allowed to join dating apps or go on dates? And if so, are there limitations regarding how far you can take those relationships? This one’s a biggie because if you’re not clear on these rules, something that happens during the break could cause more issues in your relationship if you and your partner aren’t on the same page.  

Agree to Reflect

The goal of going on a break is to determine if you and your partner should continue your relationship or not, so it’s crucial that you both take the time to reflect on your situation. Meditate, journal, or do whatever it is that helps you sort through your thoughts and feelings.

Think about how this person makes you feel and the kind of person you are when they’re around. Do they encourage you to be a happy, positive person? Or do you feel small, dark, and lonely in their presence? Also, contemplate what your future would look like with them. Do you share the same goals, values, and beliefs

Agree to Put the Work in

You won’t see the kind of results you want if you spend the break hanging out with your friends, rejoining the dating apps, and ignoring your relationship entirely. For your relationship break to succeed, you and your partner must agree to put in the work. 

This will look different for every couple. For some, it might require attending therapy sessions to work through trauma or focus on self-improvement. For others, it may involve pinpointing the recurring issues in their relationship and determining if there are ways to solve them. Remember that your relationship won’t magically fix itself after time apart without putting in the time and energy needed to address the kinks. 

Plan a Time to Meet up

Once you’ve arrived at the day your break is set to expire, schedule to meet in person to discuss where you stand as a couple. Be open and honest about your findings and allow each other to speak without interruption.

If you’re lucky, you’ll both have arrived at the same conclusion, but that’s not always the case. If you don’t see eye to eye, consider taking another day or two to reflect on your conversation before coming together again. You may find it takes a few discussions before you can mutually decide whether to stay together or find closure and move on.

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