Are Breaks Good For Relationships?

Are Breaks Good For Relationships?

I’ve recently gone on a break with my boyfriend as we were arguing too much. I couldn’t see any other way forward (aside from ending it completely which I wasn’t quite ready to do) than to just take some time apart to think about what it was we really wanted.

After speaking to several friends that were single/in relationships/married, I whittled down a list of opposing views on the benefits and disadvantages of taking a ‘time out’ in a relationship.

 

The Benefits

You get a ‘taste’ – of what it would be like to be without that other person. It’s the perfect way to make you realise if you do or don’t want to be with them. If you’re coping just fine without them then take the time to think: what impact is this person having on my life?

You can Find Yourself – sometimes couples can get too caught up in the moment and lose track of what’s important, depending on how long you’ve been together, you may have ‘lost’ who you really are. Having a break and spending some time alone can help remind you of what’s important to you.

You can figure out how you truly feel about the other person – do you love them or do you just love the idea of being in love, of having someone to share your life with?

You can recreate ‘the spark’ – depending on how long the break lasts for and how you both feel after it, you may both come out of it with a stark reminder that actually, you couldn’t live without that person; you’ve been so caught up in other things that you haven’t focussed enough on your relationship. A break can be the wakeup call you need to reignite the passion you both once had towards each other.

 

The Downsides

The ambiguity – depending on what state the couple are in when they go on a break there could be a grey area of what can ‘happen’ whilst on a break. I personally see a break as simply spending time apart to reflect and think about how you feel, but there have been many instances when people see the time as a hall pass and make the most of the fact they are essentially single, until the break is over.

The reality – if you have to go on a break, is the relationship even that good in the first place? Surely for it to have reached that stage must mean that things are pretty bad – some may even say you are just avoiding the inevitable. My counter argument to this would be that this viewpoint reflects to me how dedicated someone is to a relationship. My view is that if something isn’t working you try your best to fix it first, not give up on in it straight away.

The false feelings  – normally, after the first few days of being separated, a couple will naturally miss each other and want the other back – even if it’s just for familiarities sake – if the couple both persisted in pushing past those initial difficult days/weeks of a breakup, they may find that they are actually completely fine by themselves. Unfortunately, many couples don’t ever reach that stage, because they believe the initial stage of missing of each other is a sign that they should stay together.

The outcome – if you go on a break, the time apart doesn’t actually solve anything if you get back together. The key to then making it work afterwards is to address the reasons why you went on a break, how you felt during that break and the conclusions you came to and working through them together. Otherwise, you are just going to end up back in the same situations you were in before you went on that break.

To my lovely readers – what are your thoughts on this?

My post has also been featured on the Huffington Post! Check it out here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/giulia-smith/are-breaks-good-for-relat_b_14019952.html

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38 Comments

  1. January 7, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    I don’t understand if you are single or not

  2. January 7, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I love the way you looked at this, but I have to admit, I only see a break as a means to a break up bc as you pointed out you rediscover yourself, explore how you truly feel, and you hit the reality that maybe the relationship us ending. As you said, the outcome is wuat is going to be important, meaning what is the purpose of the break. If you go on break bc, as you said with your beau you are fussing too much, then what do you plan to do in the interrim? Are you planning to work on the areas that you are constantly arguing about? Do you plan to see other people? Unless that break has some true intention and limitation, then its just creating more space between couples. But it doesn’t mean its a bad thing. Maybe it’s just time to move on.

    • January 8, 2017 / 6:42 pm

      Thank you for sharing your views.. they are definitely all valid points. I personally do plan on working the areas that lead to the arguments to try and prevent them happening in future rather than just addressing how to better argue. I think more often than not breaks do delay the inevitable and end up in splits.. I will keep you posted on the outcome 🙂

      • January 9, 2017 / 3:28 am

        You got it love! I am of course following. Sorry for so many typos. Phone.typing SUCKS! LOL. And its not the end, just keep true to you and your relationship. I am confident you wont stay Single in London long! Seem like a GREAT CATCH!

        • January 9, 2017 / 11:10 am

          Thank you very much for your kind words! 🙂 ps don’t worry about the typos!

  3. January 7, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    You’ve made so many good points in this post! It’s well written! 🙂

    Also, I hope you’re doing okay with being in a break and all that.
    Take care!! x

    – Zee xx

  4. January 7, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    I think breaks can be valuable for the reasons you mentioned. The positives outweigh the negatives.

    • January 8, 2017 / 6:40 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  5. January 7, 2017 / 11:07 pm

    I’ve never realized this until now… I don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship “break” without just flat out breaking up.

    • January 8, 2017 / 6:39 pm

      Is it something you would now consider doing in future?

      • January 10, 2017 / 3:03 pm

        I guess it depends on the person.

  6. January 8, 2017 / 10:04 am

    This is a great read. You have a very mature way at looking at this situation which I think will help you. I think a break can be useful as a Time to re assess and correct previous mistakes going forward. But do you necessarily need a “break” or just a couple of days off and a calm conversation with eachother? How long is a break? Some people use space as a way of disconnecting before ending things which happened to me (hopefully not you). You also have to think about what you are arguing over, is it big or small things? If they aren’t deal breakers as issues then sweep them to the side as life is too short!

    • January 8, 2017 / 6:35 pm

      Thank you so much for your advice! 🙂 Exactly.. as they are small non deal breaker issues I think the time apart will help in calming down and having a relaxed, non stressful conversation about the issues afterwards.

  7. nluthra1
    January 8, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    I have not been successful at “breaks” but I’m sure there are lovely mature people who have! My “breaks” have always turned out to be permanent. I think it is because when I take a break with someone I realize that I am usually okay (and actually happy) with myself without them, in which case, there is less of a need to be pulled back into the relationship. Surprising myself with how self sufficient I am is why “breaks” have always been more like “break ups” for me. 🙂

    • January 9, 2017 / 11:08 am

      I think that is definitely the case for most people.. it’s not until you carve out that time for yourself that you realise you are OK on your own – I’m glad that has been the case for you 🙂

  8. January 9, 2017 / 1:10 am

    I don’t know how I feel about breaks. I’ve been with my partner since we were 16 – so 14 years now, we’ve never had one but we’ve also had the benefit of spending our first couple of years together in a relationship with limits on how often we could spend time together so we didn’t lose ourselves to each other. So many of my friends who meet people spend so much time together and forget who they are so I think that’s where many issues can arise from.

    I don’t think a break would ever work for my relationship, but I think it’s important to do whatever you feel is right for your own relationship.

    • January 9, 2017 / 11:09 am

      Congratulations on your 14 year relationship! That is brilliant 🙂 I totally agree that when people meet these days they become all consumed and it can end as quickly as it started. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  9. January 9, 2017 / 10:33 am

    Agree with all your pros and cons. I think a break is a good idea if both parties agree to it. I think both must also agree to some ‘rules’ to avoid a Ross and Rachel situation.

    I hope you both get what you need from this break, whatever the outcome, I hope it makes you both happy.
    S.

    • January 9, 2017 / 11:11 am

      I’m definitely going to try and avoid a Ross & Rachel situation ( I was tempted to use a picture of them as the main image for this post!) I think it depends on how cooperative the other person is in going on the break too, there are so many factors that can influence how well it goes!
      But thank you for your kind words 🙂
      G

  10. January 9, 2017 / 11:37 am

    I like the break down. It never seems like a good idea. The problems seem to remain.

    • January 9, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      More often than not it definitely does!

  11. FNU MNU LNU
    January 9, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Every couple I know that “took a break”, never got back together.

    YMMV

  12. January 9, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    This is a topic that people can go back and forth on, to be honest. I agree with your thoughts though. Breaks can be a time to really consider what it is you want in the relationship and trying to fix whatever’s wrong without automatically ending things. I think it’s better than just breaking up without ever trying to fix things. Lovely post! I hope you’re doing okay 💕

    • January 9, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      If you don’t mind me asking, did you guys set a duration for the break and “rules” during it?

      • January 9, 2017 / 9:05 pm

        We didn’t set rules as I framed as me needing time to think and that I would get back to him when I’m ready. I don’t know if I’m naive or not to think he will just wait!

    • January 9, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you very much! I am doing well thank you 🙂 I agree that it is a topic people can go back and forth on, people will always have opposing views on it!

  13. January 11, 2017 / 5:52 am

    I personally think breaks are good for any type of relationship whether friendship or dating. I recently got into a back and forth with a good friend I talk to daily on the phone. He’s out of the country for a year so for sometime we seemed to have lots to talk about until I said something he didn’t agree with.
    I also didn’t appreciate the fact that he couldn’t just take my opinion despite thinking that he must know me better from talking daily 4 months straight. I felt he judged. He felt I couldn’t take constructive criticism and used a tone on me that surprised me and I didn’t like.
    So I decided to take a break from the friendship. I didn’t tell him but I simply stopped the contact. I believe this break will give us a breather, allow temperatures to cool, remind us why we were friends in the first place and actually communicate the fact that we need to respect each other’s opinions whether we agree with them or not.
    So yes, i’m for breaks when things don’t seem to be going right with you and the one you like or love. In addition to proving to yourself that you can still be independent while being in whatever kind of relationship it also works well in bringing things into perspective during the break.
    However, I still think some issues can be sorted out without going on breaks. You only resort to breaks when you feel you have exhausted all options. In my case, I felt taken for granted as a friend that’s why my current decision.

    • January 11, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      It’s interesting that you talk about a friendship break – I think they are definitely something to consider in friendships too.
      But I agree, that certain things can be talked out and not have to resort in break – I mainly see them as a last resort before actually calling things off all together.
      Hopefully your friendship can get back on track after your break 🙂

  14. January 17, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    Coming from someone who had experienced this – I completely agree with everything you’ve said ! I really like your writing 🙂 you’re very talented

    • January 18, 2017 / 8:49 am

      Thank you so much – very kind of you to say 🙂

  15. January 31, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Breaks are good but not to be with someone else, totally for yourself. I know people who take breaks to find someone else, because they are not sure who they want to be with. You can’t play with people’s emotions like that. I met a guy who was married, tried to hide it. Red flags went off, he had 3 women with his children, thought I could make his life easy and tried to string me along. He moved way to quick with trying to lock me down after a couple of hours of hanging out. Breaks are fine to re-evaluate where you want to be in life, because sometimes a relationship can hold you back and waste your time. I took a break from an ex 15 years ago and moved to another state. He didn’t ask me to stay. W were better off as friends, no way I could see a future with this guy, to needy and clingy. He acted like I was his mother instead of his woman. I’m introverted so i need a man who’s going to be busy so I can work on me.

    • January 31, 2017 / 6:43 pm

      Blimey! Thank you for sharing!

  16. February 6, 2017 / 6:54 am

    I asked my ex for a break for she was beyond stressing me. From day 1 I felt such a relief. 3 weeks after I broke up with her. Then after the break I was sad. It was so weird. But I never went back and again regained happiness after the sad feel I g subsided.

    • February 6, 2017 / 10:44 am

      I think sometimes we are sad because we are losing what we are familiar with rather than what we actually want, but glad you were able to feel happy afterwards. Shows you made the right decision!

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