When you’re struggling to find peace in your relationship, it’s easy to get lost and think that you’re not meant to be together. That’s why I was taking a break from the relationship to work on myself before we finally decided to fully commit to each other.
Fighting and having arguments with your loved one is something that none of us can avoid. That doesn’t mean your relationship isn’t perfect, it’s just that there’s always room for improvement.
Taking a break doesn’t mean the end of the world. Sometimes your emotions can get in the way of identifying the problems you’re having with your partner. All the sadness and anger that occupy your mind clouds your judgment and you don’t know what to do.
That’s exactly what happened to me. That’s why I opted to take a break from the relationship to work on myself.
Also, I didn’t know whether or not I was even happy with my partner. I questioned my emotions for him and I started blaming him for every issue that occurred in our relationship. Eventually, I realized that taking a break could give me some time to look for answers.
The truth is we can get caught up in endless worries and become stuck in a routine that may lead to us losing ourselves in all that mess. So, that’s what I tried to avoid.
I certainly didn’t know where to go or what to do anymore. I loved my partner back then and I still do to this day but I also wondered whether being single could have been the right move for me.
Reasons why taking a break is a good idea
1. You’re having doubts about your relationship
Truth be told, after years of dating my boyfriend, I knew I needed some time to spend on my own. At some point, I had become attracted to other people and I was confused as to why that was happening to me.
That internal desire made me feel guilty and curious at the same time. I felt as if I was cheating on my boyfriend and I tried to hide it from him – the person whom I loved the most.
Eventually, I began blaming him for me going through such a roller coaster of emotions. I genuinely thought that I wasn’t able to fully commit to him and that breaking up with him was the right decision.
I’m not saying that you have the same feelings as I had but perhaps you’re thinking you’re not ready for a committed relationship. In that case, you need to have an honest discussion with your partner about taking a step back and slowing things down.
Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to take a break. Doing so means that you’re thinking about yourself and about your well-being.
2. You haven’t been happy in your relationship for a while
Do you think that you need space but you’re too afraid to let your partner know about it? Tell me, would it be better to lie to him about your emotions or would it be better to confess everything to him and try to find a solution together?
Taking time out from your partner isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you and you don’t have to feel bad for not enjoying your relationship right now. If you can’t stop imagining what your life would be like if he wasn’t a part of it, then taking a break in your relationship will give you an opportunity to find out more about it.
Just be honest and confront him about your emotions. That’s what I did and it proved to be the best decision I ever made.
At first, I thought that I was going crazy and that I shouldn’t have had those feelings at all. We were going through a rough period then but I was determined to make it work despite everything and everyone working against us.
However, in that process, I forgot to take care of myself and my happiness. I wasn’t the same woman as I was before.
All those little things that he did for me weren’t bringing me any joy. That’s when I knew I had to have a face-to-face conversation with my significant other and pour my heart out.
3. You can’t stop fighting
Self-love is vital when you’re trying to make a relationship work. If fighting, bickering, or arguing have become a part of your daily lives, then it’s probably for the best to take a break and focus on yourself.
You have to take care of yourself first if you want to reignite the spark in your romantic relationship and that’s impossible when arguments become routine in your relationship. Eventually, those things will have a negative impact not just on your emotional health but on your partner’s overall well-being as well.
An official break-up may also occur after a big argument but if you take a break instead, you’ll have more space to see things from another perspective and understand what you really want in life.
Perhaps you wanted to walk away from your boyfriend but a timeout makes you realize that the good times outweigh the bad and that you should keep fighting for love. Or it may be that you’ll finally accept the bitter truth that you two aren’t compatible after all and that your life is better without him.
4. Your relationship has taken a toxic turn
Sometimes couples do take a break before they reach the point of no return. It’s common for one partner to suggest a timeout if their feelings are constantly overshadowed by endless communication issues, trust issues, or unfulfilled needs.
If you want to save your relationship from being completely destroyed, that’s when taking a break comes in handy. It gives you time to get to the root of your problems and develop healthy ways to resolve them.
That way, your emotional connection will only grow stronger and you won’t doubt yourself or your partner whenever an issue arises.
5. When they’ve cheated
Usually, we believe that we’ll walk away the second we find out that our partner has cheated on us but that’s a lot easier said than done. The truth is your partner is likely someone with whom you share a deep and meaningful connection and walking away over one mistake can be difficult.
You’ll try to justify why he cheated on you in the first place and you may even think of going to couples therapy just to save your relationship. However, taking a timeout to work on yourself can help you clear your mind and figure out whether or not your relationship is worth saving.
Perhaps you need some time for yourself to decide whether you can be in a long-term relationship or not. This is not what actually happened to me but if you can relate to this, then you have to tell your partner to leave you alone for a while so you can gather your thoughts.
He won’t be allowed to cross the boundaries you set at the beginning of your relationship while you two are separated because you have an important decision to make – to forgive or not forgive your partner for cheating on you.
6. Your relationship isn’t a priority anymore
If you don’t think that a healthy relationship requires any effort and it’s all rainbows and sunshine, you’d be wrong. You have to put a lot of work into keeping the spark alive and to be there for your partner whenever and wherever they need you.
This doesn’t mean you should be clingy or needy and demand your partner to be with you 24/7. After all, we all have our own careers and hobbies and we should focus on them as well.
On the other hand, if you don’t think that you can give your partner all the attention he needs and that you have other priorities in your life right now, then taking a break could be the right move for you.
I have a friend who was in a similar position and she told me that her relationship was better after taking some time apart from her partner. She said how she felt guilty for not giving her boyfriend all the attention he needed but she wasn’t ready to break up either.
Luckily, he understood that and gave her the space she wanted to get her life back on track.
The dos and don’ts of pausing your relationship
“We were on a break!” This phrase is popular due to the TV show Friends and it’s probably Ross’ voice that’s ringing through your head right now. They made it seem as if taking a break is some kind of joke when in reality, it’s a serious matter that no one should take lightly.
Even though pausing your relationship can help you see things more clearly and understand the root of your problems, it could instead lead to an actual break-up. The things that I’m about to mention made my life a lot easier when trying to decide whether or not my relationship was worth saving.
Always discuss the break in person
Taking a break from your relationship to work on yourself is a major decision for any couple. It’s something that should never be discussed over social media or in texts but rather in person with your partner.
It’s tempting to take the easy route and talk to your partner about important things over the phone because it’s less intimidating or scary. However, there’s a possibility that he may not understand what you want and that’s why it’s better to have a face-to-face conversation.
A break requires a huge amount of honesty and communication on both ends. If you aren’t strong enough to have that ‘talk’ with him then a break may not be the right decision for you.
Being in a long-distance relationship obviously means that you may not be able to have that discussion in person but either way, you have to make sure that you see your partner’s face when you break it to him and you can use something like Facebook or FaceTime for that.
Be honest about why you need a break
Before I decided to put my relationship on pause, I took some time to analyze my feelings and understand why I felt that way. All those arguments and problems that we experienced had taken a toll on me and I never thought I would be happy with my partner again.
On top of that, I began to feel attracted to other men and that’s when I knew I had to tell him everything. I was taking a break from the relationship to work on myself but I first had to identify what the issue was and speak to him.
I sat down with him and shared my feelings. For the first time in months, I was sure that he was listening to what I had to say but I was careful not to request a break in the middle of being angry or frustrated – and that’s exactly what you should do too.
Trust me, taking a break from your relationship to work on yourself is a big decision. It’s one that both of you need to decide on together.
Set ground rules
Before pausing your relationship, it’s important to set boundaries so that both of you are on the same page about what the break entails. Frankly, breaks look different to different couples.
My partner and I decided to stop communication altogether and we agreed that neither of us should go on any dates whatsoever. But the thing is that there are couples out there who choose to stay in touch even though they are taking a break, while others agree to sleep with other people.
Whatever it is that you two decide, having clear boundaries from the beginning will help maintain the trust in your relationship even when you’re on a break. It’s okay if you modify these ground rules over the course of the break, as long as you communicate and express your expectations precisely.
Make the time away count
Spending time apart from your significant other can be difficult in itself, so if you do decide to take a break, it’s important to make that time count.
I was taking a break from the relationship to work on myself. I needed some alone time to figure out whether I could imagine myself being with my boyfriend for the rest of my life. On top of that, I was working on an important project and I had to finish it so that I could shift my focus on to my partner and our relationship.
It could be that the reason why you want to pause your relationship is different from mine. Perhaps you feel like you haven’t had enough time to explore yourself fully and that’s why you want to take a break.
Whatever it may be, make sure that you use your time apart to do something productive that can positively influence your relationship once the break is over. On the other hand, maybe that alone time will help you realize that you aren’t compatible after all and you choose to walk away for good.
Ask yourself the important questions
Some people aren’t strong enough to ask themselves the important questions while they’re taking a break. But as I mentioned earlier, you have to use that alone time wisely and work on yourself.
However, you shouldn’t be selfish and only think about your own needs. You must put yourself in your partner’s shoes if you want your relationship to work once you’re reunited with each other.
So, ask yourself this: Do you understand your partner’s concerns? Do you think you’re putting enough effort into your relationship or could you do more? Can you accept that you made a mistake or do you only point the finger at him?
Also, be realistic and answer the following questions: Are you happier being single? Do you see yourself being with your partner for the rest of your life or are you in a relationship with him just because you’re afraid of being alone?
Facing these difficult questions will help you learn more about yourself; at least, that’s what happened to me. As I mentioned, taking a break from the relationship to work on myself was the best decision I ever made.
After that, I realized that what I had been feeling was temporary and that in reality, I was madly in love with my partner. I simply had to slow things down a bit.
Don’t take a break if you want to break up
Many couples do decide to take a break when in reality they actually want to break up. But choosing the easy path will only make things harder for both of you.
If you know that you’re going to break up with your partner, then it’s for the best to face the situation head-on. Don’t choose to stay in the relationship just because you can’t stand the thought of being alone.
It may be difficult for you to accept the bitter truth so you choose to lie to your partner because you don’t want to hurt him. But the truth is that by doing so, you’re only avoiding the inevitable.
Even if you do decide to take a break instead of breaking up, when you already know that you won’t be together again, that will hurt his heart even more. Saying that it’s over when you know that’s what you want will give both of you the time and space to properly heal.
Don’t set a definitive time frame
Setting some ground rules is vital when taking a break from a relationship but it’s also important to leave the time frame of your break open.
You never know how much time you’ll need when you’re pausing your relationship so creating a definitive time frame may add pressure during the break. This will only cause stress and make it more difficult to fix the issues that the two of you have.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a general idea of a timeline for the break either. You could agree to talk to each other again after that big project is over at work or after the last semester of school.
However, the exact time frame should be open for discussion throughout the break. Don’t be pushy and instead focus on your own life, until finally, you’ll have the opportunity to work on yourself and be better for your partner.
Don’t communicate during the break
Taking a break doesn’t just mean you’re not spending any time together. It also means that you’re taking a break in communication as well.
It’s only natural to feel a void in your heart once you’re separated from someone who has taken up a big part of your life. I understand that you may wish to go back to this person as soon as possible.
I had that exact desire too. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to resist the urge to call or text my boyfriend, even for one day, but I knew I had to stay persistent in my goal.
My mind was clouded with negative thoughts and it almost felt unreal to me that I was without him but I needed that alone time to clear my head and reflect. That’s why we chose not to talk to each other for a while.
So, use this time to gain insight into yourself and your relationship. You can only achieve that if your space remains uninterrupted by any external factors.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations
Taking a break from the relationship allowed me to work on myself and our relationship turned out to be stronger than before. But the truth is that’s not always the case.
Perhaps you and your partner didn’t set clear boundaries or rules in the beginning or weren’t able to stick to them during your time apart. This could mean that your relationship won’t end well.
You have to keep in mind that a break can’t fix those fundamental problems you may be experiencing in your relationship unless you put some serious effort into solving them.
Many couples plan to take a break because they think their love is only going to get stronger but you need to remember that things can go south too. Prepare yourself for both scenarios and expect the unexpected.
I wanted our relationship to grow but I wasn’t sure whether or not we were ready for it. Luckily, taking a break gave me the time to work on myself and after that, I realized that my boyfriend was the only guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.