The holiday season

How to take a break from your relationship, without breaking up
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It’s no surprise that ‘a break’ has negative connotations. Breaking, break down, breaking bones, breaking plates… But ‘a break’ doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for your relationship. Sometimes, having a mini-holiday from your partner is just what you need to put the sunshine back into your lives.

Get some space
Whatever it is that’s bothering you about your partner, sometimes no amount of talking can help. Some space to think about it, however, can. So rather than simply giving up when the going gets a bit tough, why not give each other some space to reflect on everything and have a chance to miss each other. Just like a holiday abroad can help you reassess life back home, a holiday from your relationship can do the same. Getting out of the little bubble that you share, and looking at your relationship objectively doesn’t have to mean the end – in fact, it could be a new beginning.

Approach with caution
Suggesting a break to your partner might not immediately be met with open arms. It may take some convincing that ‘some space’ doesn’t mean ‘the end’, so reassure them that you want to make it work. It’s important to talk about any issues or frustrations you both have before embarking on the break, otherwise everything will simply fester and get worse over time.

Set some ground rules
Not everyone will have the same definition of ‘a break’ so iron out any confusion before you start. Different things work for different relationships, so decide together what works for the two of you. How long do you need apart? Should you cut off all face to face contact? Are you allowed to call, text or email each other? Or are you going cold turkey? But the question which might be plaguing your partner the most – are you going to stay faithful?

Remember it doesn’t mean you’re temporarily single
Let’s be honest, if either of you are itching to spread your wings and date other people, it probably means your break will end in a break-up rather than a make-up. So if you’re keen to make it work, remember you’re still in a relationship. And when that inappropriate colleague flirts or someone catches your eye in a bar, act exactly how you would have done pre-break. Otherwise, the classic Ross and Rachel “we were on a break” argument could plague you for years to come…

Use the space to look at your relationship objectively
It might be tempting to mope around, being paranoid that he/she is having a whale of a time without you. Don’t. Instead, do what they are doing and use the space to think about what you want out of a relationship – it’s not just about their needs, remember. Work out if you miss them, or you just miss having someone. Living in each other’s pockets 24/7 can cloud your judgement so use the chance to look at your relationship overall, the good and the bad. You might find you miss the way they make you laugh far more than you hate the way they never pick their socks off the floor. Or vice versa. Either way, it will put everything in perspective.

Fill your new found time with fun things
When you’re loved up, particularly in the early stages, it can be all-consuming. All that talking late into the night, hair stroking and eye gazing can really take up some time. So much so, you might neglect the activities and interests that normally matter. Now that you’ve got some space, use it to rediscover yourself and get back in touch with your individuality. So relax, have fun, and prove that you can survive without your other half. The old cliché is true; you need to be happy with yourself to be happy with someone else.

The reunion
By the end of your little ‘holiday’, hopefully you’ll be bursting with excitement at the prospect of seeing your partner again, even if you might be a little apprehensive about what comes next. You might get anything from a dramatic Hollywood embrace, to a hug and a relieved smile. As long as you talk honestly and openly about what you’ve learnt from your time apart though, your gut will tell you whether your time-out was time-up.
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