Do you need a cooling off from your relationship? Follow these 4 rules to make it work
When one’s romance seems to be going nowhere or one cannot figure out how to move forward, a pause for reflection may be the only possible way to really understand what comes next.
Indeed, if things are not going well, proposing a pause for reflection to your partner can be a healthy way to figure out what is wrong with the relationship and get it back on track. Or change course if you find that the problems are not fixable.
But it can only work if you follow certain rules. Here they are.
**10 tips for getting over (really) the end of a relationship**
4 rules to follow if you want to take a break in a relationship
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Is a break really what you want?
Before establishing any rules for relationship breakdown, you and your partner should be completely honest with yourselves-and with each other-whether you both agree that taking a break is the healthiest thing for your relationship.
Do you need extra space and time to better understand how to make the relationship work or are you tired of the other person?
Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, professor of sexual communication at California State University Fullerton, encourages partners to dig deep and make sure they still want to continue the relationship and are not just using a break to mask a desire to break up.
Taking a break is an unhealthy choice when one partner actually wants to end the relationship but doesn’t have the courage to break up, so they opt to ‘take a break’ and offer false promises to the other.
Using a break as a cover for an actual breakup is narcissistic and can have a negative psychological impact on the other partner.
2. Make the rules clear
Agreeing what your expectations are and what you are comfortable with regarding the break is a key rule if you want this time away to lead to real results.
Be as clear as possible: explain to your partner why you want time away, how often (or if) you will stay in touch, and whether you will be dating other people during this time.
Some people find it helpful to set a rough timeline for when they will plan a check-in or a time to discuss how they feel about time apart. Then work together to determine a reasonable time frame for each of you, as this will limit any ambiguity or anxiety around your break.
When the time comes, talk honestly about how you both feel and whether you have an idea of how you would like to proceed.
Avoid telling friends and family
Although you may be used to revealing every little detail of your relationship to friends and family, you and your partner should consider keeping the break private. Or at least reaching an agreement on what to share with others.
Set boundaries together on what you will tell your respective friends and family about the decision to take a break, so that there is no gossip and negative rumors anywhere, suggests Suwinyattichaiporn.
The decision to keep your temporary separation private can also prevent others from meddling in your problems and potentially cause more tension.
Although leaning on trusted friends may seem natural during during difficult times for a couple, remember that this breakup is about you and your partner, no one else.
4. Use this break to focus on yourself
Although it is easy to feel some anxiety about what might happen to your relationship during or after the breakup, taking a break in a relationship can also provide much-needed space for yourself, especially when the couple feels they have spent so much time together that they have lost sight of their respective individuality.
If this situation sounds familiar, then you and your partner may have some codependent habits to work on.
Couples can become very dependent on each other, says Suwinyattichaiporn. And while there is a healthy amount of interdependence, a break can help overly dependent partners regain a sense of freedom and individuality.
Then focus on you, your physical and mental well-being, your favorite hobbies, your career or whatever else you want. As long as it doesn’t have to do with your partner.