Written by Zamara Perri
No matter how much you love each other, there will be times when your girlfriend, wife or partner will pluck your very last nerve. (If that hasn’t happened yet, y’all have probably only been together for two weeks.) I don’t know any couples who never disagree. Yes, it’s normal to wonder if your relationship is even worth the effort.
When you start having doubts, it may seem like the best thing to do is just to let go. Sometimes it is, and you should just end it. But sometimes, you’re just not sure or are too scared to let go, so you come up with the brilliant idea of taking a “break.” Pump your brakes before you even go down that road. Sometimes the break can cause more problems than an official break up.
After years of taking a break and then eventually breaking up anyway, I’ve decided that taking a break is a waste of time. It’s a way to put off the inevitable. I’ve come to believe that you’re either in or you’re out. But if you insist on taking a break, these are the 10 tough questions you need to answer before you make it official:
1 Are you willing to talk and negotiate?
If neither of you is at a place where you can even talk, then taking a break is just another word for pre-break up. A break requires mutual conversations and boundary setting. If you can’t talk, then you might as well call it a break up because you can’t just leave without working things out and expect to come back when you’re feeling better.
2 Why do you want to take a “break”?
Is it because she irritates the hell out of you? Is the relationship emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually unsafe? Or is it because you’re too lazy to spend the time working through your issues together?
3 Whose idea is the break? Is it yours or hers?
If it’s hers, how do you honestly feel about the break? If it’s yours, how does she feel about the break?
4 Do you want to see if the grass is greener?
Be honest, do you just want to date other women? Then admit to yourself that you’re not interested in a relationship with her. Break up now because it’s unfair to expect her to wait around for you to figure out that you want her.
By the way, the grass is almost never greener.
If you’re having relationship problems, jumping into another relationship isn’t going to solve them. It’s going to compound the problems because relationship problems are almost never about the other person. It’s about YOU, and we tend to attract the same problems regardless of who your partner is.
5 Do you fight all the time, about the same thing?
Take a look at that. Instead of focusing on the details of your fights, look for themes. Most disagreements have several root causes: fear, mistrust, and control issues. Look at resolving those things instead of trying to win a fight. At the end of the day, what’s the point? Do you win a prize?
6 Have you sought counsel from your pastor, therapist, older couple friends?
It can help to get a fresh, outside perspective. Getting help is okay.
7 Is it okay for her to date/have sex with other people? Why or why not?
This is one of the common challenges with taking a break. People pretend they want to break up, but still, want to act like they are together. Or they want to act single, but their break partner can’t.
Have a very raw and honest conversation with each other. Is it okay if she doesn’t treat you like a girlfriend? Does she need to call you every day? Does she need to report on her dating activities? Can she have sex with others? If you feel uncomfortable with these ideas, then you’re not ready for a break. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
8 How long is this break going to last?
Anything longer than three months requires a come to Jesus moment. You may need to face the reality that you just want to be single. Sometimes no matter how much you love each other, the timing just isn’t right. Some folks need to take time to work on themselves so they can be better for a brand new relationship later on down the road.
9 Are you ready to let go of this person forever?
Is she the one? Do you truly love her? Are you ready to risk losing the relationship for good? If you’re thinking about a break, you’re clearly not afraid of losing her. And if you’re not scared of losing her, then you should just let her go. If you’re not interested in nurturing and working on a relationship with the woman of your dreams, save both of you the heartache and end it.
Taking a break is a risk. It’s a break because you are rewriting the rules and expectations of the relationship, even if it’s temporary. Once you take a break, you are opening up the doors to other possibilities.
In reality, when you break up or take a break, that person is essentially single. They don’t owe you anything once you’re on a “break,” so they are going to make plans that benefit them.
10 How will you know what’s next?
So, after the break, what’s next? What do you do at the end of two weeks or two months or however long you both agreed to take a break? What if you decide you want to get back together or chuck up the deuces forever?
Some people get back together because they are lonely or scared or just don’t want to date new people. What do you want? Do you want a lasting relationship? Then you have to deal with the issues that drove you apart in the first place.
Why? Because what ever drove you apart has probably not been addressed. If your partner is a cheater, taking a break is not going to change that. If your partner is a poor communicator, taking a break is not going to change that. What may help is if you decided that during the break, you are going to work on XYZ. If you don’t, just stay single.
If you truly want to be single, then you need some tools (friends, hobbies, activities, etc.) to help you deal with loneliness and fear, so you don’t run back to the same situation that you just successfully ended. Run, Forest! You is free now.
Featured image is courtesy of yababygyal.tumblr.com.