The Dreaded “B” Word: Do Breaks in Relationships Really Work?

It’s safe to say we’ve all taken a break with a significant other at one point or another in our lives. They’re never easy, and quite frankly they can send a lot of mixed signals if you don’t go about it the right way. Trust me, of all people, I would know!

Though many people see a break as the inevitable demise of a relationship, you’d be surprised to hear how many people can actually benefit from a little space. If your relationship is in a rut, taking a break can help you reassess how you both feel about each other and whether or not you want to make an conscious effort to make things work again. On the other hand, I know many couples that have taken a break for purely selfish reasons, and these types of breaks rarely have a positive turnout.

So whether you’re the guy or girl in the relationship and you’re thinking of taking a little hiatus from your significant other, make sure to follow these top do’s and don’ts before you find yourself in a dating dilemma…

  • DON’T interrogate your friends or your partner’s friends. You will only make you look desperate and needy. And besides, I’ve learned from personal experience that it’s best to not involve your friends in your own personal relationship drama.
  • DO tell your partner why you feel it is necessary that you take a break. A relationship is a two-way street and you both have to be able to openly discuss your feelings if you’re hoping to work things out in the future. After all, honesty is the best policy.
  • DON’T suggest taking a break just because you want to hook up with someone else without feeling guilty. This will only hurt your partner’s feelings if they were to find out, plus it shows that you have no respect for them.
  • DO take a break if one of you cheated. If you’re stuck between the idea forgiving and permanently letting go, a little separation can be a great way for you to explore you true feelings about your partner and help you decide on the next step to take.  
  • DON’T play with your partner’s emotions. No one likes to be left dangling, so if you have no intention of getting back together with your partner at the end of the break, make your feelings known from the start.
  • DO maintain a positive attitude. Although breaks can be a difficult thing for people to deal with, it’s important that you stay in good spirits if you want to have a clear head during the decision-making process. 
  • DON’T call, text, email or meet up with your partner every chance you get. What was the point of your break in the first place if you were still planning on spending all your time together? A little separation will help you determine whether or not you truly want to get back together. As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
  • DO give your break an expiration date. It’s important that you both decide on a date to convene in the future that is sure to give you both plenty of time to assess your relationship. Otherwise, your so-called “break” will turn into a permanent separation.

At the end of the day, remember that there is no easy way to tell someone that you want to take a break. However, if the feeling is mutual, and you both believe that the only way to make your relationship survive is by taking a break, it is extremely important that you go about your time apart with respect for one another’s feelings.

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