- Gender and Relationships
Is It Just A Break Or A Break Up?
Let's be clear....an extended break from a relationship that lasts more than a week is essentially a break-up—with the option of getting back together—if no one better comes along. Seriously?
Why would separating yourself for weeks or possibly months from the person you claim you care about be the solution, versus working together on whatever the issue is? You either want to be with that person (stay together) or you don't (break-up). Time apart does not build trust.
Since issues in relationships don't magically figure themselves out nor disappear, having extended time apart won't suddenly change what either one of you were originally feeling that caused the break to begin with. Many times having a break will only prolong the inevitable—an official break-up.
Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that sometimes two people might need some time apart—a couple days, maybe a week—to allow adequate time to decide how they feel about a particular situation that has risen. However, needing a few days to sort things out is completely different from announcing that you are on a break that will last several months, yet you are still talking and seeing the person you are on a break from.
I get it, break-ups are never fun—that's why time is always needed to help heal your heart to be able to move on emotionally. Being on an extended break only slows down this process.
Truthfully, it's a cop out and frankly an immature way of saying that you are broken-up, but you don't want things to fully end because you still want this person in your life. Until you decide what those feelings are, a break gives you the option to date and have sex with other people. Hmmmm...I'd rather officially break-up.
What's ridiculous about being on a break is that many couples can't decipher what that really means. There are couples who will still talk regularly with the person they are supposedly on a break with, which basically means they are still together. Others will be on a break and have minimal communication—seeing and talking only every so often. And then there are couples who say they are on a break but end up having zero communication until the break ends up being permanent. Personally, I would rather have the Band-Aid ripped off then the slow agonizing torture of wondering if the guy I'm on a break with really wants to be with me once I've waited around for him to decide…No thanks!
If a person claims they care about you but doesn't want to spend the time or energy to work on a relationship with you then you need to end things. Period!
Relationships take work, relationships take work, relationships take work—honestly, I don't know how many times I have to say this in my articles. If you care about someone, if you love this person, if you want to be with them...figure it out and be with them. That doesn't involve a break that lasts weeks or months.
I find it hilarious (more like ridiculous) when I hear that a couple is on a break from each other. What does that really mean? So...you need time apart—weeks or months—to figure out if you miss that person enough to want to be with them again? Or maybe, having time apart will make you forget about all the annoying things that person did to make you want to have the break in the first place…so, the more time apart = the greater chance you'll forget? I think that some people take the phrase, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" a little too serious. A break is just an excuse to see if there is anyone better than the person you have been in a relationship with, while keeping your ex in the wings. Give me a break!
Since a break is really a break-up—no matter how you sugar coat it— you have now become a free agent (aka: single again). You have the right to do whatever you want to do, unless there has been prior communication regarding the “terms” of your break. Being on a break is technically a free, no consequence pass to do whatever and whomever you want—without guilt. There are usually no exact time frames for how long the break will be. Also, breaks give the option to get back together with the person you are on a break with if they are still available. Sound exhausting and complicated? It is...and frankly, it’s stupid.
People who love to be on "breaks" want to have their cake and eat it too. These are usually the people whose Facebook status says, "It’s Complicated"—which really means, "my ex is still in my life, but since we aren't “together” together, I am still available to the rest of you." Are you kidding? Why would you want to wait around for someone to come back into your life—if and only if they haven't found anything better? I don't think so. If a guy isn't happy enough with me to stay together and work on things, then don't be with me.
When I went through a rough patch with a yearlong boyfriend, his solution was for us to take a break for a month or so. My reaction—if we can't be adults and figure things out then we don't need to be together. Saying this was confusing to him....he just couldn't understand why I wouldn't agree to this break he was suggesting.
When I decide to be exclusive with someone I take that seriously. For me that means that we work on issues, not run away from them or think that time apart is the solution. Time might make you miss someone, but it doesn't resolve any issues that are there. In fact, it can create new ones since breaks usually mean less communication and therefore consistency in his behavior that built the foundation of the relationship will begin to crumble. Consistency in behavior equals trust…if that changes, so does my desire to be with a guy.
As he attempted to convince me why a break would be great for us he failed to understand that dating other women (which is something he wanted to be able to be open to do) was not a good way to build our relationship…in fact it was the complete opposite. Instead of giving full attention to fixing our relationship his solution was being available to date other women while keeping me around??? The break he needed ended up being a permanent one that I gave him, making it very clear that we were broken-up and would not be getting back together.
In all relationships it's important to take adequate time (not a break) while together to figure out what your thoughts and feeling truly are—quick emotional decisions are never a good thing. If you intend for your relationship to last, you don't want to unravel the hard work you’ve put in to building it.
Bottom-line, if the feelings and desire are no longer there, it’s much more respectable to simply state the truth, instead of stringing someone along with lukewarm half-in/half-out sentiment… Cut the strings so you can both move on. If you happen to come back to each other, you’ll have a much clearer perspective of what went wrong the first time, and a much greater desire to never lose that person again.
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