So You’re On A Break


All of this talk and confusion has me thinking a lot about breaks. Being that I’m a bit of a relationship novice, this is largely new territory for me. My only experience with taking a break is the one Snickers and I decided to take – and if you’ve been reading my blog a long time ago you know that was not the move.  That’s it. Well, that and Ross and Rachel’s infamous break. Also not the move.

Like many people, I’m a bit iffy on the concept of relationship breaks. A big part of me thinks that a break is just a pussy’s break up – it’s what people suggest when they secretly want to end things and just don’t want to be that person. So they suggest that you “slow down”, “take some time”, “think things over” in the hopes that either the other person will say “why don’t we just end it?” or things will fizzle out and die when all this breaking is going on.

When I think of it that way I think breaks are a bunch of bullshit.

But on the other hand, I know from personal experience that sometimes we rush into things. Sometimes we get so caught up in our feelings for someone new that we just want to….consume them. We want to be around them all the time. This person is all we think about. We’re so fixated on this new person and this new relationship that we don’t pace ourselves and then suddenly you look up one day and realize it’s only been a few weeks but you’re somehow embroiled in this big relationship. And that’s a bit overwhelming so I can understand the concept of wanting to take a step back and reset before moving forward. It’s not that you don’t feel the same way, you just need to let some time and distance get in there so you can regain perspective.

When I think of it this way I think breaks can be a great thing.

I guess, like so many other things, whether breaks have value in a relationship can really only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. What is a necessary and helpful cooling off period for one couple is just postponing the inevitable for another. Maybe. Or maybe breaks are just unilaterally bullshit and if you really wanted to be with the person you’d stay close to them while you worked out your issues.

What is even more interesting about breaks is how the rules for behaviour change when you’re on one. That’s where shit gets real, isn’t it? I’d bet that for every person who thinks that a relationship break is a free for all where you’re allowed to act as though you’re single while simultaneously being attached to someone, there is another (probably corresponding) person who thinks that you’re supposed to act as though you’re still in the relationship. To some people, being on a break means you’re free to bone the copy girl, while to others it means you’re supposed to be sitting at home thinking about your partner while not speaking to them or fucking them.

The truth is, there’s a middle ground somewhere between going balls to the wall and cloistering yourself when you’re on a break. The greater truth is that it’s probably nearly impossible to define that middle ground. Is it that we’re allowed to date other people while we’re on a break but not allowed to fuck them? Kiss them? Perform oral sex on them? Tell them our deepest secrets? If we date while we’re on a break, do we owe it to the outside person to let them know that there is a relationship looming over our head? Are we being disrespectful to our partners if we don’t divulge that? When the break is over are we supposed to confess all of our breaktime activities? Or do we invoke a don’t ask/don’t tell policy?

And while this break is going on, are we speaking to our partner or are we keeping our distance? Do we still talk, but less frequently or do we stay the hell away. When we do talk, are we allowed to pepper our conversations with I love you’s and I miss you’s or is that too manipulative and guilt-inducing?

And then there are questions like how long is a break supposed to last? If Mr. Max and I decide not to speak for four days, is that really a break or just a lull in the conversation? Are we supposed to be pre-defining how long the break lasts or do breaks take as long as they take? If we go on a break for 6 months, is that really still a break? Or is it an ipso facto break up?

Relationship breaks are killer for a chronic over-thinker such as myself. So many questions! So I put it to you, dear readers.

What do you think about relationship breaks? Have you ever taken one? Did it accomplish what it was supposed to?
Are breaks really  just postponing the inevitable break up?
What are the rules of engagement while on a break? Do you think we should be free to act as if we’re single or should we be honouring our commitments to our partners even while we’re running away from them?
Do relationship breaks work?

Speak your piece in the comments.

bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 7

  1. Melissa says:

    For the most part, I don’t believe in breaks. If you need a break AND you’re going to use that time to date/f$ck/spend time with other people, then I think that’s a break up. If your reason for the break (from me) is to think about our relationship, etc., then it makes no sense to me if you’re spending that’ time with someone else and therefore, it’s a break up.

    Although I’ve heard of breaks being healthy cuz it gives you a chance to miss the other person, but I would still consider it a break up with a reconciliation.

    The last “break” I was on lasted like 2 days. It was a pathetic break.

  2. Lady Ngo says:

    In my opinion “breaks” are just break-ups in disguise. How do you solve an issue in your relationship by not talking to each other for a month?!? And if the break is because one person feels smothered…how are we supposed to stay married for 60 years (wishful thinkin) if you can’t stand my company for 6 months?

    Even if the break thing was a good idea, i feel some kind of way about dating and sexing someone else. The relationship didn’t end so why would you behave like it did?

    Long story short: breaks are stupid, unnecessarily complicated and pointless. Either you’re together or you aren’t. #TheEnd

  3. Dewan says:

    Relationship breaks are great, especially if they start right before the weekend.

    1. max says:

      Funny you should say that. I actually dated a man in my 20’s who used to need a break from me every Friday and come back to me every Monday. Hmph.

  4. MR. SD says:

    Breaks are sometimes necessary. I dated a very VERY overwhelming chick once, and she was extremely difficult to deal with. The emotionally high maintenance type. I needed a serious break from her. I loved her dearly but I was so caught up in her shit that I lost me. I wasn’t looking to partake in any extra coochie activities. I was so messed up in the head I needed a severe reboot. Them breaks def helped.

  5. Flyy says:

    “…I know from personal experience that sometimes we rush into things. Sometimes we get so caught up in our feelings for someone new that we just want to….consume them. We want to be around them all the time […] suddenly you look up one day and realize it’s only been a few weeks but you’re somehow embroiled in this big relationship…”

    That whole paragraph… LIFE.

  6. Krystal Light says:

    We’ve never taken a break. I don’t know that I’m fully against them though. I can imagine after a particularly stressful time, you may want some alone time to refresh and then re-enter the relationship with a clean slate. IDK though. You’re right, it’s a case by case type thing. This whole cuffing season thing that has been talked about though, I don’t think I’d be going fot that. Or is that something else entirely?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *