”Does a cool-off in a relationship really work? We’ve been together for a really long time. Everything was perfect, things were going great… Until one day they weren’t. Something changed and the only solution we could come up with was to take a break. Could this break lead to a breakup?”
There might come a time in your relationship when you become plagued by the feeling of uncertainty. While it isn’t easy to admit, deep down you know you need some time to figure things out alone. Taking a break, a pause, a cool-off, or whatever you wanna call it might seem like the only thing left to do.
And you’re terrified to take such a huge leap of faith! How can either of you be certain this break won’t lead to an inevitable breakup? How can spending some time apart be beneficial for anyone? After all, you haven’t even said goodbye to each other and you already miss him.
It’s completely normal to freak out over the idea of taking time apart from someone you love. But, there’s a reason why the two of you felt as if that was exactly what you needed. You have to understand that a cool-off in a relationship doesn’t mean you no longer love each other.
Quite the contrary – it means the love you feel for each other is so strong that you’re willing to risk everything trying to mend something you felt was broken. You should take this time to reflect on how you’ve been feeling and how you want to proceed after the break.
If you’re an overthinker like me, you might need an in-depth explanation of what exactly a cool-off period in a relationship entails. You can find all the answers you need, and more, in this article.
What does a cool-off in a relationship mean?
So, the term cool-off refers to a period of time couples take to spend apart from each other when they need a break from their relationship. The biggest problem with the cool-off period is that most couples have a different understanding of what it means.
It’s important to recognize that it’s completely normal for this period to have different meanings for different couples. There are so many reasons why you and your partner might feel like the only solution to whatever your problems are would be to spend some time alone.
For example, you might have hit a wall in your relationship. You need some time apart to figure things out without the added pressure. You might have gotten a business opportunity in a different country. Or you might have suddenly realized you don’t share the same plans for the future.
If you’ve seen that TikTok ”I gotta put me first, I gotta put me first!”, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There comes a time in your relationship when you have to put your own needs above the needs of your partner. You don’t want to break up, you simply want a break!
On the other hand, it’s possible you decided to take a break because you wanted to avoid hurting each other’s feelings. The two of you might have felt as if the only way to break the cycle of constant negativity was to pull the trigger and take a break.
Lastly, you might think a cool-off is a sure sign your relationship is coming to an end. But, it doesn’t have to be!
Think about it, you could’ve ended things immediately. Yet, you didn’t. You decided to take some time apart, deal with your issues, and reunite once you get your heads straight.
How to take a cool-off in a relationship the right way?
First things first, you have to recognize that a cool-off in a relationship doesn’t have to be a negative thing. The two of you are taking the time to understand the situation, work on your own issues, and come back to each other once you’re ready to tackle the situation.
There isn’t a right or a wrong way to take a cool-off in your relationship. But, there are a couple of things you could do to ensure that the two of you are on the same page.
Unless the idea of taking a break came from a nasty fight, you might want to talk things through. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Have an open conversation
Honestly, this should be the first step to solving any problem you have in your relationship. Even if the two of you have been fighting, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to bury the hatchet and have an open and honest conversation about everything that’s been going on.
So… If you’re the one initiating the break, you should understand that your partner deserves to know the reasons. Don’t shy away from opening up and talking about everything that’s been bothering you. Explain to him why you think a cool-off would be beneficial for your relationship.
Even if you aren’t certain if this cool-off would have a positive outcome, you should still talk it over with your partner. There’s nothing good about hiding your true intentions!
On other hand, your partner might be the one initiating the break.
While it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in your emotions, the best thing you could do in this situation is to stay calm, hear him out, and talk things through. I know it’s hard, but you can do it!
2. Be clear with your intentions
It’s incredibly important to clarify what ”taking a cool-off in a relationship” means to both of you. What if you’re planning on giving him the silent treatment for a couple of days, while he’s planning on going out and seeing other people?
You might think that’s impossible, but… Have you seen that iconic episode of ”Friends” where Ross ends up sleeping with a stranger because he thought Rachel and him were on a break? But they weren’t, or at least they haven’t discussed what taking a break actually meant!
Ross and Rachel did end up getting back together, but you might want to avoid the entire shebang that was the result of their misunderstanding. You shouldn’t initiate a cool-off in your relationship before having an open conversation with your partner and explaining your intentions.
You might need some time alone to reflect on your issues, or even to take a break from the constant pressure of keeping your relationship afloat. Either way, the two of you should be on the same page before making any decisions that might influence the future of your relationship.
3. Avoid putting a time stamp on your cool-off
”Hmm, didn’t she just say we should be clear with our intentions?” While you should be clear with whatever expectations you have for the cool-off, there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t put a time stamp on it.
How can you be certain about the amount of time you need to put your affairs in order? You might be planning on taking a couple of days for yourself, working on your emotional and mental health, and contacting your partner when you’re ready.
But, what if you aren’t ready? Your partner is waiting for you to contact him because you promised you will only need a couple of days. Not only did you raise his expectations, but you also put immense pressure on yourself to deal with everything in such a short period of time.
When you’re deciding on taking a cool-off in your relationship, you should always emphasize that you plan on contacting each other once you’re ready to talk again.
You should let your partner know you aren’t planning on disappearing into thin air. You simply need some time away from each other.
4. Set some ground rules
Being clear with your intentions and setting some ground rules is pretty much a guarantee your cool-off will have a positive outcome. Once you’re certain that taking some time apart is exactly what the two of you need, it’s time to talk about what you expect from each other.
Are you allowed to call, text, or see each other during the break? Are you allowed to date other people during the break? Or, are you allowed to tell your friends and family that the two of you are on a break? These questions are incredibly important!
This is a good time to mention that taking a break might be a difficult task for partners who share an apartment. While it’s possible to respect each other’s space and avoid each other during the cool-off, it’s much better if one of the partners can temporarily move out (or take a long vacation).
Either way, you should set some ground rules and stick to them! How hard is it to respect someone’s wishes and stay away for a couple of days or weeks? Pretty hard if that someone is the person you love, but… Keep your chin up, because it should pay off in the long run!
5. Be patient
Take this time to reflect on your relationship and your goals for the future. You should avoid thinking about your partner, wondering where he is, what he’s doing, and who he’s doing it with. Trust me, the best thing you can do in this situation is be patient.
You might want to speed things up by texting him late at night. You might show up at his apartment uninvited, or even send him passive-aggressive messages through your friends. That’s only going to make things worse! Your partner will feel as if you don’t have enough faith in your relationship.
You have to learn to trust the process. Surround yourself with positive people, take up a new hobby and work on becoming the best version of yourself. Not only will this boost your confidence, but it will also help you steer clear of overthinking and overanalyzing.
Lastly, if both of you take this time to work through your issues and focus on your own needs, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to come back together as a stronger and healthier couple. This cool-off might become the best thing that’s ever happened to your relationship!
From cool-off in a relationship to an actual breakup… Is it possible?
A cool-off period in your relationship might last for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, depending on the amount of time you and your partner need to reflect on your situation. The cool-off period typically ends once the two of you realize you don’t want to spend another day apart. But…
There’s always a but when it comes to the matter of the heart. There’s a possibility that you spent this time asking yourself whether the two of you are even compatible. Or whether you’re with him simply because you’re scared of being lonely!
You shouldn’t continue your relationship just because you don’t want to hurt your partner. Or even because you feel as if you don’t have another choice. Trust me, your partner would rather be with someone who’s actually in love with him.
Taking a cool-off in your relationship might be incredibly difficult. But it’s an opportunity for both of you to reflect on how you feel about each other.
Whether it ends up leading to a stronger relationship or helping you realize things are no longer working, you can’t argue that it’s an incredible strategy.
If the two of you came out of the cool-off period with a sudden realization that you’re ready to end things, you shouldn’t avoid the inevitable. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be difficult and heartbreaking. But you have to do what’s best for both of you.
However, if your cool-off period made you realize how much you love each other… You should give each other a big hug, and make sure you don’t end up making the same mistakes that led you to this point.
You’re stronger, happier, and healthier than ever and you should use that to your advantage!