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How Taking a Break in a Relationship Works

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Want to take a break in the relationship? Find out how taking a break in a relationship works and what both of you should know to benefit from it. By Kirsten Cole

taking a break in a relationship

Ever been in a relationship where you’re in love with your partner but just can’t see through the haze of frustrations?

[Read: The best way to deal with a complicated relationship]

Perhaps it’s time for both of you to take a break in the relationship, and from each other.

All lovers take a break from each other now and then.

But some couples need a longer break than others.

So what is taking a break in a relationship all about really?

And how does it work?

And how long is an ideal break?

Taking a break in a relationship

To put it simply, couples take a break from each other in a relationship when they need space from each other.

[Read: How to give space in a relationship]

A break is always a good thing, as long as it’s taken in the right manner.

Taking some time apart from each other can actually help clear the confusions and frustrations internally, and help both of you focus on your own faults and desires in the relationship.

If both of you love each other, and yet, both of you seem to have a few difficulties coping with a particular issue that’s bringing out the worst, a break from each other may be the need of the hour.

The two kinds of breaks in a relationship

There are two kinds of breaks in love, one that’s good and one that does more harm than good.

#A break that leads to a makeup. Are you genuinely interested in your lover and want to hold the relationship together? If you’re taking some time away to calm down and sort the confusions in your head, it’s a good break to take.

# A break that leads to a breakup. Are you taking a break from the relationship to get away from your partner for a while because you can’t stand them anymore? Do you feel happier being alone than together with your partner? Your relationship may already be falling apart and you may be looking for a weak excuse to end the relationship. [Read: The right way to end a relationship]

Reasons to take a break from the relationship

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just take a break whenever you want. There are just a couple of reasons to take a break. For everything else, there’s a little thing called a conversation.

# You feel claustrophobic. Men are easily susceptible to this kind of a break. They fiercely protect their own space and go to great lengths to get some alone time by themselves. If you’re feeling silently frustrated by all the together time or if you feel like you have no life of your own, take a break for a few hours or for a weekend.

# You need time to think things over. Are both of you dealing with a relationship crisis right now that can’t be sorted through a conversation, perhaps one of you cheated on the other or did something just as unforgivable? If you need time to reevaluate the relationship, taking a break in the relationship may give you the time to give that a thought. [Read: Signs to tell if you are not in love anymore]

The little breaks all of us take in a relationship

All couples take breaks all the time. It helps us appreciate our partner and also gives us some time to just be ourselves. By learning to take these little breaks now and then, you can eliminate needless frustrations and  avoid taking those big scary breaks that can ruin the relationship.

# Going out with your own friends, be it for shopping or to catch a movie.

# Spending some time indulging in a favored activity, reading a book or just watching the television by yourself.

# Little getaways with friends that last a few days or a week.

How long is a good break? – The magic number

This is something that needs serious thought. Both of you have to decide how long the break has to be and both of you have to keep your word to not interfere with each other’s lives until then.

Two weeks is the perfect break in the relationship to sort your issues and come back together for a conversation.

Anything less feels like a little holiday from each other. Anything more and you’ll both end up forgetting each other and get used to living separately *unless that’s what you want*.

But then again, depending on how deep the wound is, you can spend more time apart if you’re willing to risk the relationship status and decide if you want to date someone else. [Read: How to love again after being hurt]

How a break can help both of you come together

While taking a break in the relationship is something that should be avoided unless it’s inevitable, it can at times bring both of you closer for many reasons.

# You’ll miss each other. If you truly love each other, while a break may give the much needed time away from each other, it’ll make you realize just how much both of you need each other and depend on each other. It can also give the relationship a fresh start, romantically and sexually.

# Love is stronger. You’ll realize in a few days that your love for your partner is way more important than any silly confusions or misunderstandings in your lives. Most of the time, it may your egos that create a fight rather than real reasons. [Read: How egos affect the outcome of an affair]

# You’ll be motivated. When you love your partner, you’d definitely care about them. Can you imagine not knowing what’s going on in your partner’s life for more than a few days? It would drive anyone who loves their partner insane. Taking a break from each other will give both of you the motivation to work on the issues so both of you can be with each other again.

Reasons why a break in a relationship is bad

While a break may seem like the perfect thing to do when things turn sour in love, in reality, it’s got more bad than good in the recipe. [Read: The right way to fight fair in a relationship]

# When your relationship is spiraling downwards, taking a break can push both of you apart instead of helping in understanding each other.

# It’s an easy way to run away from nagging conflicts that will always crop up again and again, until it’s inevitably discussed.

# A break is like a really expensive diamond ring. You can only afford a couple in your lifetime. Anymore, and it will ruin both of you.

# It could end the relationship because one of you may genuinely believe you’re better off single even though the relationship has a great chance of working out to perfection. [Read: Do you want to be single again?]

A better alternative to taking a break from a relationship

Communicate. It’s as easy as it gets. Taking a break in love is like a little shot of adrenaline. It keeps you running for a while until it makes you collapse again. The only way to truly make things work in love is to talk to each other. [Read: Tips to communicate better in a relationship]

Talk to each other and learn to be frank. You can be honest, as long as you’re not hammering a nail into your partner’s heart with accusations. Talk about each other’s real wants and hear your partner out without cutting in between, even if they make ridiculous claims or accusations. At the end of the day, you have to remember that your partner loves you and it’s only their pent up frustrations that’s finding a vent.

Both of you will feel better after communicating with each other and understanding each other’s desires. [Read: 25 relationship rules for a successful relationship]

And once both of you feel better, take a vacation with each other to rekindle the romance back again instead of looking for a way to stay away from each other.

[Read: Things to talk about in a perfect relationship]

Taking a break in a relationship may seem like the perfect thing to do when love gets tough. Go ahead and take a break, but if you’re brave enough to try something better, have a truthful conversation instead.


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Have your say!
  • confused
    January 7, 2013 | Permalink |

    Nice article…doesnt make the decision easier but maybe a bit justified…

  • J
    January 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    This is not deep enough and is incredibly vague. Relationships are so complex and so diverse that there is no way this less than a page article can be beneficial to most or even some. I guess the issue stems to the definition of a “break.” If you break a stick, it is now two separate pieces. If you take a break at work, the idea is for work to not be a thought. A”break” in my opinion is either not a good idea or the wrong terminology. This article references alone time, i.e. an hour or so away from your partner, as a break. Wrong, no one terms an hour away from their partner as a break in a relationship. I don’t see an upside to a break, 2 weeks as coined a good time period. I feel the issue that was the cause of so called break will still exist at some level in the relationship when/if reconciled. I feel that if a break is necessary then inevitably the relationship is spoiled. Relationships involve the good, the bad, and the ugly. If one doesn’t have the patience, discipline, or most importantly the want to continuously maintain a relationship with their partner then there is something deeper than the given issue that prompted the break discussion. Why do you really want to take a break? Is it the issue at hand or is this one of many issues? What are the parameters of a break? Are we talking or are we not? A break is not a step forward it is 2 steps back, if not more! Good luck!

  • Shay
    March 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    This article made me feel bad at some points. It was also encouraging at some points. I agree that it was a little vague. It wasn’t deep enough and made it seem as if any situation (good or bad outcomes of the break) can happen to anyone…it made it a little scary. When you stated , “if the two of you really love each other..” ..that was a little better because we knew that “this option is only possible if we really care about each other.” And that allows u to further evaluate your relationship and figure out whether or not the given outcome is an option for you. But as stated before, this wasn’t the case for all of the possible outcomes.

  • Rayla
    March 20, 2013 | Permalink |

    My boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot and i don’t want to break up but maybe a break is a good thing, but i don’t know how to tell him without hurting him :(

  • Shai
    April 15, 2013 | Permalink |

    I have done this and found out usually the other person wants to explore things with other people. Instead of being alone and really looking at self, the person is running dealing with other people.

  • Adam
    June 12, 2013 | Permalink |

    My gf said she wanted a break yesterday i was ok with her decision but i feel like shes completely done with me idk what to do i really love her and yes ive cheated on her but it was never physical only internet flirting!!!! And ive been texting her alot and i only get a few responses but what can i do to make things better and what are the limits??? i dont want her seeing other people ughhhh this is hurting me so much somebody please help!!!

  • Anon
    July 18, 2013 | Permalink |

    My boyfriend and I of 5 years are taking a break because of similar circumstances as the above poster “Adam”. He was talking sexually to a girl online, this hurt me very much and I feel like it is emotionally cheating. He insists its nothing but words and that he loves me with all his heart and doesn’t like not being able to be with me everyday but I thought he needed space to see what he truly wants. It’s very difficult but giving each other space may help to pull you closer together because you know you never want to experience being without someone again. It’s so important to appreciate what you have and treat one another with the same respect you would want.

  • James
    August 14, 2013 | Permalink |

    Had a break with my girlfriend of 3 years she didn’t think she loved me anymore I was heartbroken. We discussed it and didn’t see each other for a week. We then started from the beginning again like dating, then yesterday she said she loved me and it felt like the spark was back. At one point I saw no hope for us and now the candle is lit again. It can work as long as you have a conversation then decide together

  • sheri123
    September 1, 2013 | Permalink |

    Me and my BF are taking a break (my idea) and its mot because I want to see anyone else but I am doing it so that he can figure out what he wants. I know he loves me and dont agree with this taking a break idea but I struggle to communicate my needs to him at times. When i finally get it right, we are back to square one. We barely spend time together anymore and this is really frustrating to me and puts a lot of stress on me in various aspects of my life. i thought perhaps he will miss me so much that we might realise how we really feel an take better care of the relationship. Communicating did not work so now its do or die. This makes very little sense but i dont know what else to do.

  • S.L.
    September 18, 2013 | Permalink |

    The article told me what I already knew. There are lots of things influencing me to want this break but it broke ny heart to tell him today. I was so ready and string and I just collapsed when I saw his expression. I’m not sure what I want but I know this break will be a good one.

  • stick
    September 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    hi
    my gf for 7 years said that she needs a break
    but i am confused as we are in distant relationship for the last one year.
    we had few fights dint talk for days…but i dint think thats the reason
    3 MONTHS!! BREAK i think its too much
    but she ensured that she loves me..and her future is with me…
    i am confused!
    what should i do?? prepare for the worst…i dont think she has a other guy…she said all these fightings has made her depressed..so she needs a break
    guys opine please!!

  • Da Funk
    September 29, 2013 | Permalink |

    Hint: pay close attention to the part where they say that the timeout should be discussed with your partner and agreed upon…. In talking the situation over with friends, parents, etc., I made the mistake of “deciding” that “we” needed a time-out. Bad move, kids. As far as I can tell, because I did not communicate properly (and I know I have hard time doing that), that’s pretty much leading to not a break, but a break-up. Dammit.

  • JW
    October 4, 2013 | Permalink |

    Sher123?

    Are there rules to your break? My GF wanted a break and took my by complete shock. She says that she doesn’t want to break up but wants a 1 month no contact break for us to think things over, then take the 5 love language test, and ten we can meet after the one month break to talk about things.

  • sasha
    October 17, 2013 | Permalink |

    I’m in a situation where the man I love has decided in one day because of one misunderstanding that he needs a break to figure things out. He is under a lot of stress and I feel like its my fault because I pushed him over the edge. I don’t wanna take a break. We never have had any problems at all and I’m really hurt but I know I could never do what cindy the comment above did. I want him to come back to me. This wasn’t a mutual agreement and I don’t even know how long he wants. I’m just sitting here completely heartbroken

  • Victoria
    October 20, 2013 | Permalink |

    Me and my boyfriend of 2 years have decided to have a break because we are constantly together and I hardly ever see my friends only if I’m at college . But it’s not just that it’s just I’m getting bored of him and I Duno what to do I don’t just wanna break up cus it might be the wrong decision I just hope this works :( I just Duno what to do anymore cus I Duno if I love him anymore he’s also very obsessive I just need some advice

  • Ayla
    October 24, 2013 | Permalink |

    My man and I have been dating for 7 years with 5 of those years blissful. It wasn’t until his mother died everything changed. He pretty much died along with her and was replaced by anger, guilt, resentment all of which built up until last week. I don’t know what to do cause we live together. I love him and he is my sould mate. I hate that I can’t tell him how much I love him and want to hold him. I am hoping this is a break to help us grow without rubbing each other raw which is what has been happening since we moved into our new apartment in may. I dont have a job and havent had any luck finding one which is one of our problems. He is paying for everything and its taking its toll. He says since his mom died we havent been moving forward with life and that this was what we need to do. We have actually been talking to each other again and he seems to not want to let go even though this is his idea. I am trying to give him his space to figure everything out as well as keep my promise to try to stand on my two feet independently but its hard when I don’t have a job. So far it seems to be working but I am still heartbroken over this and don’t want to loose him anymore than I already have. Is this a good break or not?

  • selsel
    January 10, 2014 | Permalink |

    My partner wants us to take a two week break and I feel like I’m gonna lose him for good! I really love him and I really don’t want to lose him, hour thinks we should have a break for the good if our relationship but I don’t think so what do I do, he says I need to be more independent and not include him in all my thought processes but I feel he’s trying to break away gently but not to hurt me because we’ve known each other such a long time

  • Sabitaqdamana
    April 12, 2014 | Permalink |

    yes, the ex gives him all sorts of abuse and then bans him from seeing the girls for a week. At his ex’s reeuqst we have now stopped all contact at weekends, when his youngest daughter is with him.This is difficult for us both, but i dont mind doing it because the girls are innocent in all of this and he is a great dad so i want him to have a good relationship with them.The problem that i have is that his ex still wont back off. I know she doesnt want him back, she is evil towards him, leaving him voicemails telling him how awful and useless he is, when they were married she destroyed his self esteem completely which is why he left because he couldnt take the arguements and abuse anymore.now she is sending me messages insulting me and saying he is seeing other girls when i know he isnt.she even sent one today saying he has dumped me for another girl. i cant get my head around it, she doesnt love him but wont stop stirring.i suppose my question is is there anything more i can do? i love this guy and he loves me, he treats me like a princess so i want to do all i can to help him maintain a good relationship with his daughters (they are 9 and 12) xxxJust as a little note, my guy has stood up for me in the past, he is very loyal. but this just seems to aggravate her and she bans him from seeing his daughters for a while as punishment so at the moment we are just ignoring it and supporting each other. he is totally worth it. just wanted an objective view to see if i was acting right cos i dont have kids of my own so sometimes worry i dont do the right thingoh and he didnt cheat on her with me. we met 12 months after he filed for divorce and moved out. she is refusing to sign the papers, so he is seeing a solicitor.

  • Sarah
    April 14, 2014 | Permalink |

    I have been with my boyfriend for 18 months and he told me that he wanted a break from our relationship the other day. He has reassured me that he misses me and that he still loves me and that this break is a good thing but I still can’t help feeling so upset about the whole situation. I feel lost without him and am really scared that he will decide that I am not what he wants . Is this normal? Any advice on how I should read this would help?

  • Nikkola
    May 15, 2014 | Permalink |

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for one year and gave up my income as a sex worker to make him happy, he has it all put together work/life balance.
    Without that income I don’t know what direction my life is going. I love him and there is no going back.
    So why do I feel a break will help?
    It seems I had it all figured out 19 bought a new car, was saving for a house everything was scheduled, routined health and fitness, I felt great. Now I don’t even want to get out of bed.
    And Im begging to resent my partner, for my own selfish reasons.
    He moves into my unit now we split the rent, his low income so I can’t just pick up take off.

  • Elizabeth
    May 17, 2014 | Permalink |

    Right now I’m on a break with my husband. We have been together for nearly 4 years. We have had our ups and downs, emotional breakdowns and so on. My point is that you go through the whole process from a relationship and love grows. Having 2 kids to him was a beautyful blessing. I have two girls that they are so handful. Getting married to him at a young age and pregnant at the same time. I wasn’t really thinking what I was doing but I didn’t listen to my parents, it started off when we first met at work I was being myself as always I met right there in his uniform and so on lol. To be honest it was really a one stand that turned out to be a relationship that we actually said our vowels. I love this man with all my heart and soul. He came around the day after mothers day I know its stupid but he used the excuse if the girls had any stuff so that he could come over. I was happy to see and he was to and yes it was very emotional the night he came by. Even though we’re on a break we still love each other no matter what.

  • rahab
    May 17, 2014 | Permalink |

    I was in long distance with my boyfriend of 3yrs we have a child together currently were on a break I found out that his in love with another university chick the news broke my heart to piece cause he lied he’s not seing anyone while he told his brother he’s in love with this chick am really angry at this and I don’t see us getting back together cause I have lost all trust I heard for him please help me what am I to do? please help should I get back to him cause of the child or should we just part ways I still love him but am afraid he will cheat on me….

  • Markus
    June 29, 2014 | Permalink |

    Me and my girlfriend have been arguing off and on for the past month. Yesterday she told me that she didn’t wanna talk to me nor see me for the next week. I’m guessing it’s a break but it sucks. It has me worried because I think this break stuff just leads to break up. She says she loves me and I honestly do believe that, but I also know she’s gone through situations in life where she completely left those closest to her. I have no idea why we have been arguing lately, we usually never do. But she’s moving off to college soon so stress has been pretty high lately. I have no idea what to do. I love her with everything I have, I just don’t want to lose her.

  • Mikyla
    July 29, 2014 | Permalink |

    me and my boyfriend have been fighting allot lately and I finally figured out why but it was to late. he had lost feeling and wanted a break. the first day he seemed so sure it was a break up. second day he was a little bit more positive and by the 3rd day we were better :)

  • Hank Barducas
    August 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    Woah. I never new this existed. I AM NOT ALONE. the struggle is real for the fellas that fucked up and pushed their girlfriends patience too the max. I “cheated” on my girlfriend I guess. it was online. I never met up with them, but we did talk sexually online. my girlfriend found out a couple times and now she wants a break. I get it I fucked up, I instantly regret it now. I feel like I’m being stabbed in the gut repeatedly, it sucks knowing she crys and is heart broken because of my actions. I never want to hurt her like that again. she says she needs time to forgive me and get her frustration with me out of her system and for me to get my shit together and figure out what I want. she never said how long it would be for is exactly, just until she’s ready to accept me back. been almost 2 months and still waiting. she says she still loves me a lot and misses me tons, I know she would never be with another man or talk to one. but the longer this goes on the more I hate it. Idk if I could go on for much longer, but I know waiting will be worth it cause we’ll hopefully be happy again.
    is 2months a long break?

  • Hank barducas
    August 5, 2014 | Permalink |

    ohh man. the struggle is real for those DUDES who are on breaks because they fucked up somewhere down the line. i have been with my gf for almost 2 years and we have been on break for the last 2 months. i understand that it is my fault we are on break because i fcked around a talked to other females online. technically its cheating i guess even though i never went out with them. i instantly regret fcking up because now I’m alone and lonely and it sucks knowing that i hurt her emotionally never knowing if she will except me back now all i can do is wait. Also it sucks cause now I miss everything about her and what she has done for me that i never really thought about till now, and i realize that i will probably never find another female like her again if she left me. All i can do it wait and keep going with the break and hopefully she’ll come back to me and we will be stronger than ever. i just wonder how much longer i will i have to wait.

  • Ana
    August 12, 2014 | Permalink |

    My husband and I have been together for about 7 months, married that is. And in total we have been together for about 2 years. He says that he feels different towards me, and that he doesn’t feel like he loves me. But at the same time, he’s not sure if he wants to be alone, or if this is indeed something that we can work out. So we are talking a break. And I’m flying back home for at least a month. We’ll be working on ourselves and seeing what it is that we want, and if he’s happy without me. We’re technically still married, but separated. Any advice? ): ;-;

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