"I think we should take a break..."
We will all experience this at least once in our strategic endeavors to find "the one." Whether it is caused from frequent arguments, jealousy or one-sided feeling, "taking a break" is something we are all confronted with at one point or another.
If you are on the receiving end of this shitty arrangement, one of the first thoughts that will come to your mind is that this break is just a way for your partner to not deal with the inevitable breakup they truly want.
Now, in the few cases in which the person initiating the break really does just want to reconsider and re-evaluate themselves for a couple of months or weeks (and there is a mutual understanding regarding rules and distance), it can prove beneficial to both parties. It can also ultimately save your relationship with the person.
I am not here to talk to you today about those rare cases.
Instead, I am here to tell you that oftentimes, you will be a victim of the rule, not the exception. In other words, it probably won't work out.
Here are the reasons why:
1. A "break" is a lie.
This is the number one way to tell if your partner genuinely wants to end it with you, but they are just being too much of a shady douchebag to honestly do it.
I had multiple experiences with this when my partner of two years decided he wanted to take a break to "find himself" and work out his own issues at the time.
Lo and behold, I began to notice his words and his actions didn't necessarily match up in the already confusing situation.
He told me he deleted his social media accounts because they were "making him depressed," but he then made new profiles on each outlet, blocked me on them and began actively using them.
This should have been an immediate red flag to me, but as I began to succumb to wishful thinking, his excuses for why he made the accounts made sense to me at the time.
Under no circumstances should you accept someone lying to you just to appease them or keep them around. This is a major sign something sketchy is going on, and this person is simply stringing you along.
If they are not honest with you during this crucial time (in which communication should be most productive), then who is to say they didn't lie to you initially about this period being temporary, or that this has nothing to do with you?
Being the victim of lying during this time can make you feel pathetic and like you're not a priority.
If they continue to say things to you like, "You're the love of my life," "I promise this is temporary" or "I feel the same way about you that I've always felt" and then lie to you, there is something inconsistent and unreliable going on there.
2. Guidelines you established will be broken.
The healthiest way to go about a break with your significant other is to establish set rules that are to be followed by both parties to ensure both people feel connected to each other, while still providing distance in order to become more self-reliant again.
Examples of rules that could be set during this time are questioning things like: Will we see other people? How often should we communicate in person or through social media? What goals do we want to reach during this time?
This is a crucial part in a successful break because if both parties follow the rules, it prevents feelings from getting hurt and misunderstandings. It also promotes healthy communication that can be taken back into the relationship when the break is over.
In my case, I attempted to establish set guidelines with my SO, only to have them be followed initially. They were then abandoned by the end of our relationship.
When we established we would call each other before bed a couple nights of week (considering we were used to living together for roughly two years), he began to only communicate with me when it was absolutely convenient for him.
This means he would tell me he would text, call or follow through with set plans to meet in person, only to ignore me and fail to tell me he was busy and wasn't going to be able to follow through.
When someone chooses consciously not to follow the rules mutually agreed on, this is another obvious red flag. Do not make excuses for this person if you're afraid standing up for yourself will push them away.
This break is as much about you as it is for them and you need to be able to establish a sense of independence and reconsider your standards. If they can't take 20 seconds to text you and tell you they won't be able to contact you that evening or cancel a date, they don't care and they don't deserve your loyalty and trust.
3. Your partner will act irrationally or unlike themselves.
This last one is something I didn't realize until after the whole experience was done and over. But, it correlates quite a bit to the overall outcome being a negative one.
In my case, my ex began to go out drinking every night with co-workers, dabbling in illegal behaviors and retracting from our normal friend group in order to become close with some pretty destructive and negative people.
This behavior was totally unlike him, considering that even before we started dating, he had told me how much he didn't particularly enjoy drinking.
After the whole ordeal was done, I began to realize this behavior wasn't simply because he wanted to "find himself" or explore new experiences. Rather, it was a way for him to hide himself from the pain he was causing me and himself due to this whole confusing situation.
Now, don't get me wrong; when someone begins to act a little unlike themselves in this situation, they are honestly just trying to experiment. They want to see what it would be like to act outside of their comfort zone and explore themselves.
There is a large difference between trying new things in a healthy way (exploring new hobbies, new friends, etc.) and beginning to act out with self-destructive behavior (excessive drinking and retracting from healthy friend groups).
If your partner thinks it's necessary to act in these ways, it is a warning that not only are they flip-flopping on their feelings for you, but they are also ultimately going through an intense time in their life. They are not ready to communicate in healthy ways or be in a committed relationship.
The way they may be acting feels hurtful, and it is easy to personalize it all. But, this should also make you reconsider whether or not you want to be with someone who may continue down this negative and disrespectful path once you reconnect.
I hope this guide has helped you reflect on your situation a bit more and helps you to refresh your standards for what you want in a partner.
Just because your partner initiates the break does not mean that they have control over the situation.
You have the option to permanently end the relationship at any time (what I eventually ended up doing), and you don't have to feel bad for it. You both may have loved and cared for each other, but what they are choosing to do in the present often reflects their future behavior.
Take control of your own life, and do not feel sorry for standing up for yourself.
You can only control your own behavior, and if they choose to string you along, you can very well choose to cut the cord.