9 Women Reveal The Pros & Cons Of Taking A Break From Your Relationship

by Candice Jalili

Anyone who's ever watched an episode of Friends is familiar with the concept of a romantic break. If you somehow managed to miss Ross and Rachel's epic break and are unfamiliar with the concept, allow me to explain: A "break" is a sort of grey area in which a couple decides to temporarily split up and give each other space. Think of it like the separation that often comes before the divorce — except sometimes, the space gives people room to get back together for good. But are breaks in relationships good or bad? Do they ever actually help or are they usually just pit stops to splitsville? Well, in a recent Reddit AskWomen thread, ladies weighed out the pros and cons and it turns out a break can go either way.

Don't mistake familiarity for love.
My experience with relationship "breaks" has been that the cat was dead and we were trying to still keep it, usually because familiarity was comfortable and one or both of us was too afraid of being alone to just call it and move on. "Breaks" are attempts to stall the inevitable end of crappy, broken relationships. I'm sure there are couples out there who have taken breaks and recovered to live happily ever after, but I have never witnessed anything remotely like this among people I know.Be honest with yourself. Can the problems in your relationship potentially be dealt with? Deal with them, then. Communicate. Seek counseling if you have to. Avoiding and turning away from each other is not going to solve or improve anything. Pretending to be single for a while/sowing your wild oats/temporarily abandoning your partner is more likely to add tension and mistrust to an already ailing relationship than to reduce it. And if the problems are unsolvable and are making one or both of you miserable, cut your losses. Don't fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy and waste even more time with a person who is bad for you.


Breaks can often be excuses for avoiding the issue at hand.
No, I’ve always felt breaks are just excuses to not deal with the unhappiness with your relationship. If you love someone you need to be completely honest and communicate effectively through the problem. I know people need “space”, but months or weeks at a time can create distance.


Sometimes they really do work.
They can be, but it’s probably rare. For me though, I took a 6 month break from a guy I’d been with for almost 2 years due to his fear of commitment. We both tried dating other people and living independently. But eventually, seeing me starting to date seriously woke him up to the fact that he really didn’t want to lose me. So it’s now been 6 years since our break, and we’ve been married for 4 and are about to have our second child.


Sometimes you really don't know what you got until it's gone.
Not usually, no. But I went through one myself in June and it really helped me and my boyfriend see things more clearly. We were both not putting effort into our relationship anymore and were resentful towards the other about it. We decided to break up because being in a relationship like that just seemed pointless. But as soon as we pulled the plug the reality dawned on us and we felt terrible. Decided to spend a week apart, going no contact, and see how we felt afterwards. Neither of us wanted to break up after that at all. But we did lay everything, every little issue we had, out on the table and worked through it. And since then we've had minor discussions, but our relationship as a whole is great again. We both put effort in and are a lot more compassionate towards the other.


Taking space can be healthy at times.
My relationship wouldn't be working had we not taken a bit of space. I love the sh*t out of him, but things were really rough and our relationship got pretty tense. Stepping back allowed me to really take stock and understand how worth it it was to stick it out.


Breaks usually don't have a place in adult relationships.
I think breaks don't really have a place in 'real relationships'. It's like there's this Hollywood idea of taking time off to better yourself and then you'll find your way back to eachother and everything will be perfect and you'll live happily ever after. I think the reality is if you can't work through something together or if you're not satisfied with the relationship, you're already on the way out.


There are a few specific circumstances in which breaks are actually helpful.
I'm going to go against the grain and say yes, I think they can. I think the circumstances in which they can be constructive are somewhat specific and limited (like one or both partners needing to do self-work in therapy, get an addiction in check, or otherwise address something that's threatening the longevity of the relationship), but I believe they do exist.The fact that taking a break is a preface to breaking up for many couples doesn't mean they can't ever be valuable.


Make sure you're not a placeholder.
Breaks have always meant to me that the other person wants to be with me and they want to be able to look for someone else, too. I was just there as someone to f**k until they have found something better. I am sure there are others out there where breaks work great, but they never have for me.


Breaks are often baby steps towards the actual breakup.
I think there are certain situations couples may find themselves in where it does work, but they're in the minority. Usually, it's just sort of like the first baby step towards splitting for good.


Every relationship is different. If you and your partner feel as though a break is truly the best option for your relationship right now (and it's not a crutch because you're too afraid to leave the comfort of the relationship), then go for it! Do what feels right for you.