how to give a relationship a break 4 main rules

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to take a break in a relationship, but weren't sure how to navigate it? It's not always an easy thing to do, and misunderstandings can happen, as my friend found out. When she and her partner decided to take a step back from their relationship, he didn't understand that things couldn't just continue as they were before. It wasn't until she set some ground rules that they were able to move forward in a healthy way.

Taking a break in a relationship can be a positive thing, as it allows you to take a step back and reassess whether the relationship is truly what you want. And, as psychologist Kristin Davin notes, it's possible for couples to come back together stronger than ever, as long as both parties are on the same page from the outset.

If you're thinking about taking a break in your own relationship, it's important to know how to do it in a way that's healthy and respectful for both parties. In this article, we'll outline four key rules for taking a break in a relationship so that you can move forward with clarity and confidence.

1. Reflect on the Reasons for Taking a Break

Before deciding to take a break, take some time to reflect on why you feel the need to do so. Ask yourself if the issues in your relationship are fixable or if they are deal-breakers. It's important to be honest with yourself and not just call for a break to please your partner. According to couples therapist Liz Higgins, "This decision all comes down to knowing yourself."

2. Have the Discussion in Person

If possible, have the conversation about taking a break in person. This allows you to read body language and better understand each other's feelings. For long-distance relationships, a video call is the next best option.

3. Establish Clear Ground Rules

To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, set clear ground rules for the break. Discuss why you're taking a break, how often you'll communicate, and whether you'll date other people. If you live together, consider how to handle shared possessions. Dating and relationships coach Chris Armstrong advises removing co-dependencies as much as possible during the break.

Some couples find it helpful to set a timeline for checking in with each other or discussing how they feel about the break. It's important to be honest about your feelings and discuss how you'd like to proceed. However, it's also okay if you're on different timelines. The goal is to have regular check-ins, not necessarily to make a final decision at the same time.

4. Make the Most of Your Time Apart

Use your time apart to focus on yourself and your personal growth. Try new hobbies, reconnect with family and friends, and allow yourself to experience loneliness (which can be rare in a relationship). Relationship counselor Dr. Gary Brown advises asking yourself if you're happier alone or if the problems in your relationship can be fixed. If you're happier alone, it may be time to move on.


This problem, just like any other, obviously has many points of view. At this point, Wilda Harrison, relationship psychology expert, notes: "In some cases, taking a break from a relationship might not be the best thing to do. Even though it can give you time to think, it can also make problems worse and separate you from others. Couples shouldn't focus on short-term fixes; instead, they should focus on being open with each other and dealing with problems head-on. Taking a break without dealing with the problems at their source could cause the same problems to come up again and again."

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