Hands up who immediately thought of one of television’s most famous quotes of “we were on a break”? As one of TV’s most gripping and enchanting love stories, Ross and Rachel set a precedent for many couples across the world. Their will-they/won’t-they plot left their audience captivated for months until fans finally breathed a sigh of relief when they eventually got together – but then, everyone’s fairy-tale ending took a wrong turn. They broke up.

That happened to you, right? And to your friend? What about your colleague who couldn’t stop raving about his significant other, only for them to come into work looking as though their world had ended because their partner left them? Sadly, while we can feel a sense of safety watching Ross and Rachel’s less-than-perfect relationship unfold from the comfort of our living room, there’s no safety net to stop us from experiencing this first-hand in the real world. However, there is a safety word – and instead of resorting to a break up, you can instead experiment with a ‘break’.

Testing a trial separation

When relationships lose their once shiny appeal and the honeymoon period turns into a stressful series of arguments, it may feel like there’s only one way out – and that’s to exit the relationship. We’ve all been there, bought the T-shirt and used it as a duster – but perhaps there’s another way: and that’s a trial separation.

After all the endless fighting, hurtful remarks and uncomfortable silences, you may feel like there’s no other choice but to call it quits. And that’s understandable. Let’s take a step back here a second – when we argue, we argue because emotions are involved. And when emotions run high, that’s when we’re at our lowest; because our emotions take over and we lose all rational thinking and logic due to thinking with our hearts as opposed to thinking with our heads.

But once we’ve calmed down and we’re able to think clearly, that’s when things start to make sense. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and say things we’ll instantly regret – which is why you should always practise this simple mantra: will whatever we argue about now be worth arguing in a day’s time? The likelihood is that the answer is no. So: will us breaking up now be worth a break up in a day’s time? Safe to say the answer will still be no.

The end is not the end. It’s just the beginning

It’s easy to associate the word ‘break’ with a break up – after all, it sounds so final. But imagine if you had quit your driving lessons because you failed your test, or if you had called it a day at your job because of a lousy client. When you think about it, if you quit everything without giving it another go, then you’ve essentially run out of options. But no matter how difficult things may seem, there’s always another option.

So before you despair and call time on your relationship, instead take some time out from one another. Go rekindle old friendships, take up new hobbies, tie up any loose-ended projects – but more importantly, use this time out to focus on other areas of your life. Then, when you’re both ready, perhaps the time will be right to pick up from where you both left off. If Ross and Rachel can do it, then so can you – and from all of us at Match: “we’ll be there for you”!

Trial a separation before you break up