If you’re thinking about taking a break in a relationship, you need to be careful. There are no rules for taking a relationship break, but these tips might help you see your relationship more clearly.
If you’re confused about your relationship, read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship. I also list a few resources for love and relationships at the end of every article, which may help you decide if taking a break in a relationship is a good idea. It’s important to be careful when you’re considering taking a break in a relationship is because sometimes it’s better to work through your problems. Walking away rarely solves relationship issues. In fact, taking a break can make a relationship worse.
I wrote these tips for a reader who asked for help with her boyfriend. Here’s what she said: “I have been seeing my boyfriend for about 9 months,” says K. on How to Cope With Your Partner’s Depression. “He has been diagnosed with depression and is taking medication to treat it. Every few weeks he becomes distant and basically shows all [signs of depression].”
While I don’t think depression (or any mental or physical health condition) is a reason to take a relationship break, I do think we need to recognize when our partners need space and time to heal.
And, here are a few things to think about…
Should You Take a Relationship Break?
“We moved in together and it lasted three weeks,” says K. “Then, he then told me he couldn’t support me financially. He wasn’t ready to move in. But, the situation is that I have no where to go but live with my parents again. They hate him and tell me I can’t see him. I miss him, but he gives me no indication of when I can return.”
The most obvious sign: he says he can’t handle living or being together
My friend, if your partner is giving you clear signs that he’s not ready for a committed love relationship, then you need to listen to his cues. Do not believe what your heart wants over the reality of the situation!
K. wishes with all her heart that her boyfriend could be healthy and ready for a relationship – and I don’t blame her. Being in love is wonderful. But, if your man has clearly indicated that he can’t live together or be in a relationship, then you need to step back. I believe he’s giving an obvious sign it’s the right time for taking a break in a relationship.
Need marriage help? Get FREE relationship advice from Marriage Coach Mort Fertel.
Regarding K’s parents: if she’s seeking shelter in their home, she needs to abide by their rules. It doesn’t matter how old she is or if she’s supporting herself financially. I’ve heard from many readers who found moving back home uncomfortable and even painful…but when if taking a break in a relationship is the right thing to do, then discomfort and pain is the name of the game.
Your partner doesn’t seem interested in spending time with you
If he doesn’t initiate dates or seem to want to spend time together, then it’s time to take a relationship break. Don’t bend over backwards trying to make yourself available to him – instead, hold on to your self-respect! Don’t beg, plead, cry, or whine.
Why do you want to be in a relationship with a man who doesn’t want to spend time with you? Why are you treating yourself so badly? Remember that taking a break in a relationship could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
He withdraws physically or emotionally
If he isn’t there to support you emotionally – he’s selfish or uncaring – then you need to consider separating for awhile. His lack of connection, or interest in connecting, is another clear sign that a relationship break is a good thing.
Sometimes a health problem, whether it’s an emotional health issue like depression or a physical health problem like cancer, needs to be taken care of before he can be a functioning half of a relationship. Sometimes health problems are too burdensome and consuming; they disrupt other aspects of life too much. And, new relationships are especially vulnerable to serious health issues — which depression is.
If he can’t give you what you need and deserve, either because he doesn’t want to or because he just doesn’t have it in him, then it’s time to take a relationship break.
The bad parts of your relationship outweigh the good parts
“There is so much good in the relationship,” says K, “but when it gets bad it is really so bad and it upsets me so much.”
Every relationship has good and bad parts, no matter how loving and committed the partners are. But, if the bad outweighs the good, then it’s time to seriously consider taking a break in a relationship. If you feel insecure, unloved, heartbroken, confused, and upset more than you feel happy, loved, secure, connected, and certain about your relationship…then it’s time to take a relationship break.
You feel bad about yourself – insecure, helpless, dumb, or unlovable
How does your partner make you feel about who you are as a woman? If you feel like you need to change, then you need to step back and take a break from him. If you have no control or are helplessly waiting on him – like K. seems to be doing – then you’re not a strong, fulfilled, happy, healthy woman! Waiting for a man to decide your future does not make you feel good about yourself, does it? And if you don’t feel good about yourself because of your man, then it’s a huge indication that taking a break in a relationship is a good idea.
Deciding to take a break from your love relationship can be a mature, selfless, loving action. It’s like the cliche says: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”
Is taking a break in a relationship a relief for you, or a scary prospect? I welcome your comments and stories below. I can’t tell you if it’s time to take a relationship break, but I’m good at listening :-)