Taking a Break: Should I Hit Pause to Save My Relationship?

woman with phone

Are you in a relationship where you love your partner, but you just can’t see through the haze of confusion and frustration? Then it could be time to push pause and take a break from each other. All couples need a break from each other now and again, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is doomed. Whilst it’s true that for some couples, a break really means ripping off the band-aid slowly on a failing relationship, but for many others, it can be very helpful, and can even save a troubled relationship.

What does taking a break mean?

Many people are unsure what ‘taking a break’ means. ‘How does it work?’ ‘How long is the ideal break’? This lack of understanding means that many couples never do it, afraid of the what it will mean for their relationship. So, they simply carry on with their flailing relationships, trying their best to mend things, when what they really need to do is hit pause. To put it simply, couples take a break from each when they need space from each other. It’s a time to regain some sense of independence and catch up with friends who you have may have been neglecting, but it’s also a time to revaluate the relationship. Does your partner still make you happy? Have you become a better ‘you’ since being together? What don’t you like about the relationship?

If you want to make sure that a break in your relationship doesn’t result in a permanent break-up, you need to set some ground rules during the time that you’re apart. For example, a break should have a deadline. You don’t want your break to drag on for months simply because neither of you wants to be the first to say, “are we OK yet?”. As soon as you decide to take a break, agree on a deadline and stick to it. Take at least a few weeks away from each other. Taking a break also doesn’t mean that you’re free to date other people (not unless you both agree to this!). A break isn’t a free pass. You’re still together, and so getting with someone else during this time definitely counts as cheating.

Does taking a break mean splitting up?

The notion of “taking a break” in a relationship is sometimes misinterpreted as a cowardly way of ending the relationship without actually saying so. However, these days, this view is less common, with more people understanding that taking a break is usually a consequence of needing space from each other, rather than a desire to break up permanently. Both men and women occasionally need solitude, especially after years of coexisting in a long-term relationship. Taking a break can be a healthy option and certainly doesn’t always mean breaking up for good. Of course, this can happen, but if a couple decides that relationship isn’t worth saving, they were probably never meant to be together in the first place. If it is, a break can give you the time and space you need to take stock and really appreciate each other again.

The benefits of pushing pause

1. If you’ve spent years living side by side with your partner, stepping aside and finding yourself again could prove vital. Couples that coexist closely often lose themselves somewhere along the way, taking on traits of their loved one and losing aspects of their own self. If this sounds familiar, taking a break could serve you both well, allowing you to rediscover yourselves.

2. If you’re always with your other half, you never get the chance to miss them. Give you and your partner the opportunity to let your hearts grow fonder and revisit that wonderful feeling of actually missing them. It can do wonders for your relationship.

3. A stormy relationship full of fights can’t be fixed whilst you’re still spending so much time with each other. If you’re finding it difficult to have a conversation without it erupting into a row, a break could be just what’s needed to regather and get yourself together individually before you try to mend things collectively.

4. If you’ve stopped seeing your friends at some point during your relationship, this is the time to reconnect with them. Everybody needs other people in their lives, even when they have a partner, so get in touch with old friends.

5. Ultimately, if you and your partner are meant to be together, your love will grow stronger during this time apart. You’ll quickly realize that the love you share is much more important than pointless arguments or misunderstandings, and you’ll be keen to return into each other’s arms, so you can put things right.

When it’s time to break up rather than take a break

Hitting pause can so often save a relationship, helping couples to appreciate what they’ve got and work harder to make things work with their significant other. However, at times, a break can lead to a full break up. If you’re taking a break from the relationship to get away from your partner or if you feel happier being alone than spending time with them, this is a good sign that the end is nigh, and a break is a precursor to a permanent break up.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your relationship may already be falling apart, and you may be looking for a weak excuse to end things once and for all. Before you suggest taking a break from each other, really think about whether you really want to fix things during this time apart. If not, it’s kinder to both of you to call it quits instead going through the rigmarole of laying down the ground rules of your break. If you think you may be at the end of the road, letting go may be your only available option.

Ultimately, if you’re going through a rough patch with your partner, but you know if your heart that you’re right for you each other and that your relationship is worth saving, taking a break is a good solution. It can allow you to spend time as individuals and reassess what you both want. Time and space can be the key ingredients to get things back on track and build a relationship that is strong enough to weather future storms.