Like Ross and Rachel, sometimes taking ‘a break’ is a great way to gain perspective, get some space, and dodge anything permanent like a break up. But it’s still difficult to navigate as it is a delicate situation that your relationship health literally hinges on. That’s why we’ve put together the Do’s – and Don’ts – of taking a break. Here’s everything you need to know.
To successfully ‘take a break’ from your partner, DO:
- Discuss in person.
This shouldn’t be surprising, but this is NOT a conversation that’s okay to have over text, or via Snapchat, or through DM’s… or anything other than a face-to-face discussion.
- Set ground rules.
The logistics are, arguably, the most important part. Will you and your partner talk during your break? Or go cold turkey on communication? How long before you check in with each other? A week? A month? Indefinitely? Setting parameters and boundaries are essential to a healthy break.
- Make the time apart count.
What is the event or issue that spurred your break? Whether it’s an unsatisfying sex life, feeling neglected or underappreciated, or curiosity about another person – use your time apart productively to analyze and explore that issue.
- Consider what you want your future relationship to look like.
In your time apart, reflect on how you want your relationship to change or improve if you and your partner get back together. The worst thing would be to get back together and things return to normal, so make sure that doesn’t happen with forethought and preparation.
To avoid disastrous scenarios, DON’T:
- Set a definitive time frame.
Restricting both you and your partner to a set timeline for your break isn’t productive. It’s hard to pre-determine how much time either of you will actually need once the break begins, so don’t hold yourself to an unrealistic standard.
- Have unrealistic expectations.
If you have a picture in your mind about taking a break and getting back together with everything fixed – you should re-frame your expectations. Understand that there will be a lot of things you find out about yourself – and about your partner – that you can’t plan for.
- Use this time vindictively.
A break is not a ‘get out of jail free card’ or an excuse to hurt your partner. If retribution is what you’re after, a full break-up is the answer. If you’re still trying to work things out between you, then a break is the appropriate option.