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Is There Any Point In Taking a "Break" in Your Relationship?


There comes a time in every relationship where you realize that things may not be as good as they seem. Whether you are fighting constantly or just not the same page, this begs the question of if you are going to stay together or break up. For some couples, an easy way to test the waters of sorts is to take a break. Whether this means not seeing each other for a few weeks, days or months, the idea of a break basically promises that you will get back together. But does that really happen?

Cons of taking a break

Last month, my boyfriend of a year and half and I were hitting a rough patch. By hitting a rough patch, I mean that I was always getting upset with him when really he didn’t do anything wrong. Something was off with me and I couldn’t figure it out. So I thought the best way to fix it was to take some time apart to allow myself to think about what I really wanted and if him and I were better together or apart. Instead of jumping right into the break, I did what any normal 19-year-old with an older sister would do and I hopped on the phone instead. Upon hearing my situation, my sister told me what I basically wanted to hear: “Taking a break is stupid.”

She followed up with something along the lines of, “If it is not working out, then taking a break and time apart is not going to fix it—only communication and effort will.” Upon further talking it out with my sister and my boyfriend, we came to the conclusion that a break was not going to fix whatever was going on. To me, taking time apart would make the issues worse because I had time to be alone instead of being with him and communicating.

Lauren, a junior at Cornell University, had a similar experience with taking a break in her relationship. She and her boyfriend took a break because she was not sure how to break up with him and she needed her time and space. Even though the break was only a week long, she says, “Honestly, if you need a break, just break up. I think taking a break is prolonging the inevitable breakup.”

Sarah, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University, also agrees with that. Sarah and her boyfriend took two breaks, one for a week and another for three weeks, in their relationship and she said that both times it actually made the situation worse. She felt pressured and jealous during the break because he would talk to other girls and they both ended up just hurting each other. Her advice to those looking to take a break is to “figure your shit out or break up.” Communication is key and when you take a break and boundaries are often blurred. Many times it just makes things worse.

Rhonda Ricardo, a columnist, speaker, screenwriter and author of Cherries Over Quicksand books, spoke with Her Campus about taking breaks in a relationship. Overall, she agrees with Sarah. Ricardo says that a break is never a good idea. Basically, a break is a “free ticket to ride any ride in the amusement park while waving a tattered toga flag,” she says. Ricardo suggests that you respect yourself, your friends, your family and your SO by breaking up and never granting a relationship break, so they don’t have to give you the pity-face when you ask them if your SO will cheat on you during your “break.”

Related: 4 Reasons Your Breakup May Have Been a Mistake

Pros of taking a break

On the other side of things, Jacqueline, a senior at New York University, says that taking a break is a good way to think about your relationship without the other person constantly harassing the other person for answers. But she does agree that you have to set limitations, otherwise you will have a Rachel and Ross break and NO ONE wants that.

Kayla, a freshman at the University of Rochester, thinks that taking a break does have its perks. When her and her SO took a break, it made her miss him so much. She was so used to depending on him so it also helped her become more independent. When they came back from the break, they were both ready to try again and move forward.

Ricardo also mentions that if you truly just want a weekend without planning the next date with your SO while creating an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” scenario, plan something with your friends or family, pack your bags and promise to text or call your SO once in a while.  Also, tell your SO to have a blast with friends or family while you are gone (it’s only fair), kiss goodbye as you profess that your heart will be longing for your SO, then “drive off into the sunset alone.” While you're gone, send a nice but short text or two and always sign off lovingly. While apart do not cheat on your SO as you will never forget your own disloyalty and your SO will find out; especially in this age of posting and tagging photos of the innocent partying turned cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater on social media. After your missed weekend together, plan a magical reunion on the town or cozy date at home. Your time apart will give you stories to share and a refreshed outlook on your relationship.

So what should you do? 

Overall, taking a break in your relationship really depends on the type of person you are. If you're like me, taking a break might have seemed like the best option, but it was really just because you were scared of confronting the real issues. After a long sit-down conversation, my boyfriend and I were finally on the same page and things have never been better. Ricardo says that relationships are about communication and if you feel like you need time apart to figure out exactly how you are feeling, then just make sure to let your SO know what is going on. There is nothing worse than being left in the dark, no matter what side you're on. Regardless of what you choose to do, the goal is for you to be happy.

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