take-a-break

Making the Most of a Break

Sometimes you gotta take a step back from a relationship. You don’t want to break up exactly, but you just need…a break. Maybe there are too many other things going on in your life, maybe you and your partner just can’t get on the same page about something, or maybe you just need some space and time to yourself. A break can be a chance to gain some clarity about a relationship, or about yourself and what you want. It’s okay to take a break—in fact, it can be really healthy, as long as the relationship isn’t abusive (a break isn’t going to “solve” an abusive relationship). However, there are some things you might want to consider doing to make sure the break is the healthiest it can be.

First, it’s important that you and your partner are communicating honestly about why you want to take a break. You should each feel safe discussing your reasons and give each other the space to talk about it from your own perspectives. If you want to take a break but your partner doesn’t, try calmly explaining your feelings without attacking your partner. Use “I” statements, for example, “I feel like there’s a lot going on in my life right now, and I can’t be as involved as I’d like to be in this relationship.

We were on a break! (?)

Communicate! Don’t be like Ross and Rachel

Next, consider working with your partner to lay some ground rules. It could be helpful to set a time frame for the break (for example, a week, a month, or whatever you’re both comfortable with), after which you’ll regroup and decide what your next steps will be. Talk to each other about your expectations for the break. Some people choose to cut off communication completely, while others might want to check in with each other during the break. There’s no right answer; what’s important is that you both feel comfortable with the boundaries you set. You might discuss questions like:

  • Will we communicate or check in with each other during the break by phone, text or online?
  • Will we be dating or seeing other people during the break?
  • Will we still follow each other on social media?

Once you and your partner have reached an agreement for the break, now’s your chance to make the most of it. Take some time to really think through the reasons you wanted a break, then decide how best to spend it. Maybe you’d like to:

  • practice self-care more often
  • journal about your thoughts
  • take a road trip
  • write a letter to your partner saying what you need/want to say (you don’t have to send it!)
  • finish a project
  • pursue a hobby or interest
  • do some yoga or go for a jog
  • write down a few goals and the steps you need to take to accomplish them
  • see a counselor or join a support group
  • spend more time with your friends or your family

Whatever you choose to do, remember that this time is about you and what you need.

When the break is over, meet with your partner (if you feel safe, face to face is best, but a phone call could work, too). Talk about the break: how it felt, what you each did or thought about. Maybe you gained some new insights about your relationship and you can work together on making it stronger. If you need to, you could extend the break (just repeat the steps above!). Or you might realize that the relationship just isn’t right for one or both of you, and it’s time to let go. These aren’t always easy decisions to make, but it’s important that each of you respects the other’s feelings and desires.

Need some help figuring out how to take a break with your partner? Call, chat or text with a loveisrespect advocate any time, 24/7!

4 replies

Comments

  1. Josephine
    Josephine says:

    My guy and i have been in long distance relationship,we decided to take a pause in our relationship because an elder pastor consulted us to pause it and continue later when we are ready to get married.its pains but we agreed to do it,its been 2months since i heard from my guy,cant we atleast chat for sumtyms without completely avoiding eachother??

    • LIR-Advocate
      LIR-Advocate says:

      Hello Josephine,

      Navigating breaks can be confusing and what works for both people is different in every relationship. The boundaries around how you want to handle the break depend on what the two of you have agreed to. Our advocates are here 24/7 if you would like to talk to us directly, we can go over your situation with you and talk about options and communication in a healthy relationship. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact us 24/6 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522).

      Thank you for reaching out!

      Take good care,
      Advocate RG

  2. Rhett
    Rhett says:

    [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]

    Hello, I have been dating this girl for 2 years and 2 months. Im just gonna say that i haven’t been the best boyfriend in the world. Pretty shitty one actually, well thats what iv been made to believe. Iv always been 100% faithful to her and have never lied to her but she had been gaining weight rapidly while dating me and i encouraged her to come exercise with me or we can start going on a diet together. I didn’t say it in the nicest way but it was for her well being as she had put over 15kg, well my little comments didn’t get to her as encouragement but rather the exact opposite. This with me being emotionally locked off from her about my feeling towards her because im an idiot who believed the person who cares the less in the relationship is the one better off when i just should of showed my true feelings towards her. This was not good as she was going through two rough jobs which spiralled her into a deep depression and anxiety disorder. I have no understanding of these things and told her i didn’t understand it so i wasn’t comforting with her as i should of been. Shes got so bad now that we have had to break up. I love her dearly and care for her. We have hung out once after the break up and she told me that she needs time to herself to get through this. She said she still wanted a future with me and still loves me and that we can be friends. I have came to be more understanding with the situation and am comforting her more now. But is this really just a break for a while or does she want to move on? I cant tell if shes just comforting me as i am extremely upset on what has happened even though she has told me she isnt. I really need another helpful persons opinion on this because the break/break up has taken a huge toll on me.

    • LIRAdmin_BR
      LIRAdmin_BR says:

      Hi Rhett,

      It sounds like a lot is going on, and we’d really like to help you. Please call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on the website or text loveis to 22522 to speak with an advocate. We’re totally free and confidential!

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