Can you save your partnership with a relationship break? Or does a temporary breakup just usher in the end of the relationship faster? We explain the advantages and disadvantages.
“I can’t do all this anymore, I need a break!”: This statement can occur not only in everyday life, when everything is getting on top of you, but also in the context of a relationship. Before you end your relationship completely, many choose the path of a relationship break. A temporary separation, which should bring more clarity and help to make the right decision: As a couple, are we trying to save the partnership or have we reached the end of our relationship?
If you yourself are considering taking a relationship break with your partner, you should definitely take the following rules to heart beforehand and be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of such a break.
What is a relationship break?
Many couples decide to take a relationship break in order to go their separate ways for a while and to better understand the reasons for their dissatisfaction and doubts.
A relationship break occurs mainly when people are thinking of separating from their partner for good and a certain distance already exists between them. The conditions under which the time-out is taken vary, of course, from couple to couple. During this time, the lovers have no contact with each other and do not see each other – but are not officially separated yet. While many couples do not actively look for another partner during the relationship break.
Relationship break: This is how you can proceed in your partnership
Step 1: Gain distance from each other by not seeing each other
If you want to take a break in your relationship, you must first and foremost gain distance from each other. During a break, you should therefore either not see each other at all or as little as possible. If you don’t see your partner all the time, you gain time to think and can reflect on the problems of your partnership much better. You can also become much clearer about your own feelings during this time, since you can be influenced by your partner. So it’s best to define in advance how often you will see each other and perhaps even set a time frame for how long the relationship break should last. In this case, experts advise a period of at least four weeks up to a maximum of half a year.
Step 2: Set precise rules for your relationship break
Not only how often you see each other or how long you don’t see each other at all, but also the time frame of the relationship break should be defined by you and your partner beforehand. In order to prevent misunderstandings from arising in the first place, which may only aggravate the situation, you should define further rules. Clarify important aspects, such as:
- Do both really agree with the break in the relationship
- What form of contact (meetings, phone calls, messages) is allowed and what is not?
- How long does our relationship break last?
- Do we meet other people during the relationship break?
- Are there particular points in one’s behavior that are worked on during the relationship break?
Step 3: Make the most of the relationship break
Of course, the situation is new at first and seems unreal in many ways, especially if you are in a long-term relationship. But the relationship break can be an opportunity that you should definitely take full advantage of. Not only do you gain distance from the strained partnership, but you also have the opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief and sort out your thoughts in peace. In addition, you can fully concentrate on yourself during this time and find out what makes you tick without having your partner by your side.
But: Of course, during this time you should also try to review the mistakes and problems of your relationship. So don’t run away from the unpleasant questions. Among other things, you should take the following things to heart during the temporary separation:
- Am I missing my partner right now?
- Which quarrels have been useless – which ones were worth it?
- Where do the problems in the partnership come from?
- Which needs and wishes have fallen by the wayside in the partnership?
- What are my wishes for the future?
- What feelings do I need to work through in order to become happier and more content in the partnership?
- Can I imagine a life without this relationship?
- Am I enjoying the time away from the relationship? Or is the distance from my relationship just making me more unhappy?
- Do I see a chance for my relationship? Can it be saved and what would I do for it myself?
- Am I happier and more satisfied since I took a relationship break?
- Would other relationship models such as an open relationship be conceivable for me or would I like to lead a monogamous partnership?
- Can I imagine working with a relationship coach or couples therapist after the radio silence to prevent the relationship breakup?
- What would I hope to gain from couples counseling?
Relationship break with a shared apartment or children: What to do?
Couples who share an apartment or a house or even have children together naturally have a much harder time setting up a relationship break and following through with this time-out. You should clarify beforehand who will leave the apartment and look for another place to live, how the financial situation will be clarified during this time and also how contact with the children can be maintained during this period. If you set clear rules beforehand, you will avoid one thing above all: unnecessary drama, which will only make the temporary separation more and more stressful.
Relationship break: These advantages it has for a partnership
Relationship breaks can initiate a new beginning and help the relationship out of its crisis. First and foremost, you finally find time for yourself again, can look more neutrally at the relationship and problems and become clearer about your feelings.
Especially if you realize in the relationship break how much you miss your partner and the love for each other, despite many problems, continues to exist, a temporary separation can bring you new momentum to fight for the partnership and to break through old behaviors and structures that have harmed you or your partner.
Relationship break: These disadvantages it has for a partnership
Relationship breaks also have negative connotations. Many consider a temporary separation to be an excuse to allow themselves flings and affairs. Others consider a relationship break for a separation in installments, because one is afraid of a radical relationship end.
Taking a break from a relationship keeps one’s options open and delays big decisions and the associated pain of separation. In addition, a relationship break can only make you more distant from each other and even end up living apart completely. A final separation after a relationship break is therefore quite possible, as you yourself realize that it no longer makes sense to ignore the conflicts.