Have you ever wondered what does taking a break mean to a guy? When you hear the phrase, “we were on a break,” you may immediately think of Ross and Rachel on Friends whose relationship seemed to unravel after they decided to take a break from one another.
What Does Taking A Break Mean To A Guy
But part of the reason for their break’s failure had to do with the fact that each one had a different idea of what taking a break actually meant.
With this in mind, it’s never been more important to understand what taking a break means for you, your partner, and your relationship as a whole.
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What Is “Taking a Break”?
In the most fundamental sense, taking a break means that you and your partner haven’t officially broken up, but you’ve decided to take some time off from each other and your relationship.
Taking a break enables both you and your partner to use the time away from one another as an opportunity to reflect on your relationship, reassess your feelings for one another, and either resolve to be with each other going forward or not.
When Should Couples Take a Break?
Many couples decide to take a break because they’re facing some relationship challenges, difficulties, and/or doubts, but they don’t want to break up, or give up on the relationship, or on each other. For instance, perhaps you and your partner care about each other deeply, but you just can’t seem to stop fighting and arguing over every single thing.
Or perhaps you’re slightly unsure about your true feelings for your partner in terms of a real future together, but you’re still hopeful that there could be something long-lasting between the two of you.
Taking time off allows you the space you need to reevaluate what’s best for you, your partner, and your relationship and gives you the alone time you need to figure out exactly what you want.
There are many different benefits of taking a break from your relationship, and while it may seem counterintuitive, taking a break can actually be a way to strengthen your connection and bring you and your partner closer together.
First, it can allow you to get a fresh perspective regarding your relationship as well as enable you to reexamine your own wants, needs, and desires. Further, it can help you to better appreciate and understand your partner’s role in your life as well as how their presence affects you and your well-being.
And with this refreshed point of view, you can return to your relationship post-break and be able to articulate what you’d like going forward and what you both can work on together as a couple.
When looking more closely at the different downsides of taking a break, one major drawback is that it can simply act as a way of postponing a looming breakup. And by going on a break, you’re both merely delaying the inevitable dissolution of your relationship and prolonging any pain, sadness and/or guilt associated with it.
Along these lines, taking a break can also be a major source of stress and anxiety in your life, as you may find yourself constantly wondering and worrying about your partner and their whereabouts as well as fixating on what kind of decision your partner will reach regarding the future of your relationship.
If you’re wondering if taking a break is the right decision for you, it’s important that you and your partner communicate openly and honestly about it and establish some necessary ground rules.
So, what does “taking a break” mean?
A break is like putting a bookmark in the relationship, so you can temporarily take a step back and reassess what the partnership means to both of you. “When a couple is having issues, a break can provide evidence of what’s the best decision in terms of the relationship,”.
“It doesn’t mean there’s an official breakup, just that the couple is pausing the relationship for a certain period of time.” Depending on the couple, this may mean a physical separation, limited communication, or a change to the “rules” around the relationship. The key is that it’s a break from the day-to-day routine and life you have as a couple.
When to take a break
Taking some space can be beneficial when something jarring happens in a relationship, such as infidelity or a sudden career change. It lets you hit the pause button and analyze the event so that you’re not immediately reactive. “Feelings can be powerful,” says Chlipala, “but with some physical and emotional distance, you might start thinking, ‘How did I ever put up with that?’ or ‘Why did I make such a big deal about such small things?’”
Another reason you may consider a break is if you feel you’re not at the right place in life to be in a relationship. Maybe you want to work on yourself, be at a particular point in your career, or move out of your parents’ house. You don’t have to be in a perfect place to be in a relationship, but a break can give you time to figure out if you’re ready to fully commit.
There’s another reason for a break that can be hard to acknowledge: you’re worried you’re not really right for each other, but stay out of fear.
“Fear can look like a lot of different things,” says Chlipala. If you’re staying in the relationship because you’re afraid of being alone or you catastrophize what your life would be like without your current partner, it could be time for a break. “Once you’re on a break, you may realize things aren’t as bad as you thought they would be on your own,” she says.
Tips for taking a pause
Here’s what to do for a smooth and productive time apart:
It’s not always easy sharing your life with another person, and you’re inevitably going to run into problems. Most problems in relationships can’t be fully solved but that’s not as bad as it sounds, explains Kongit Farrell, LMFT and founder of Inspired Journey Counseling Center. “It’s more about how you choose to work through those problems and the approach you take. A break is just one approach.” Many couples have unrealistic expectations for long-term partnerships. You’re going to hit bumps, and that’s perfectly okay. A break can help you untangle issues around communication and problem-solving.
Work out the logistics beforehand
Before a couple goes on a break, it’s important to delineate the “why” so that you’re not wasting time. “What do you hope will be different once the break ends?” asks Chlipala. “For example, ‘I need to manage my anxiety better so that I don’t pick unnecessary fights.’”
The exact temporal parameters can vary from couple to couple, but 3 weeks apart is a good baseline to set. Why three weeks? “You need about a week to let your body and mind adjust to not being around someone that you’ve been in a relationship with,” says Farrell. “Then another week to sort out or identify your feelings or thoughts. And then you might need another week to actually figure out your plan.”
Set the ground rules
Are you going to date or sleep with other people? How often can you communicate? Can you do check-ins about how you’re doing or feeling? These are all questions you and your partner should consider so you both understand the expectations of the break and nothing catches you off guard. One important thing to keep in mind, from Farrell: “If you do want to only do 3 weeks, you shouldn’t really be dating anyone else. You should take that time for yourself because the period is so brief.”
Is Taking a Break Right for Your Relationship?
It’s imperative that you jointly determine a specific timeframe regarding how long the break will last. If you head into the break wanting it to last a week, but your partner believes that it’ll last at least a month, this lack of accord will likely create problems down the road.
Next, you should mutually agree upon what’s acceptable behavior (and what’s not) while you’re on the break. For instance, is it okay if you both date other people while you’re apart from one another? And lastly, you and your partner should be on the same page regarding the reasons behind the break as well as what you hope to accomplish out of it. That way, you’re more likely to have a successful break that allows you both to find yourselves as well as find out what you really want as a couple going forward.
Come back together to make a decision
Coming back together does not have to mean staying together, but it’s still important to have a discussion. If you can resolve the issue together, great. And if not? “I would recommend the couple—or even one partner if the other refuses—find a good couples’ therapist who is directive and can teach information on what it takes to make a relationship healthy and fulfilling,” says Chlipala.
The answers you find during a break may not be what one or both partners really expect, but they can be what’s best for you.