Sometimes in relationships, there comes a point where you can start growing a little bit irritated by your partner. You spend most of your time together, you’ve built up a routine, and things are comfortable. But there’s a voice inside your head that tells you something might be wrong. Maybe the way they chew their food bothers you or the way they brush their teeth. It can be anything that can send you spiraling down. Things may all of a sudden feel like they’re going downhill and you may be wondering whether or not to re-evaluate the whole relationship, take a step back, and perhaps even call it quits. According to experts, taking some time apart from your partner can actually be very beneficial and provide some healing. It could be the very thing that saves the relationship.
Lisa Brateman, a psychotherapist and relationship specialist, explains that taking a break is “not uncommon. It can be healthy, and more often than not, people look at it as ‘We have a good thing going, but it’s not working right now.’ But it’s not about being apart. It’s about what you do when you’re apart.” So if you’re experiencing a rocky relationship, you may be wondering when the best time is to take a break. The thing about relationships is that every couple is different and there are varying reasons why couples decide to take some time apart from one another. According to Brateman, couples who find themselves fighting all the time who can’t even stand looking at each other or being in the same room should really think about taking a break in order for both sides to re-evaluate the relationship. It can be really difficult to have this conversation when you care deeply about your partner, but sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do.
According to an integrative therapist and licensed master social worker, Janine Ilsey, many couples tend to not temporarily split even though one or both partners have started withdrawing themselves, however, in this situation, a break could help them to grasp why they aren’t satisfied. She says, “making a conscious decision to make space allows each partner to hone in on their deeper needs and clarify their intentions as to what led to this break.” Think of it as a positive thing as opposed to a negative thing. It gives you the opportunity to think about your feelings for each other. A break isn’t a full stop, it’s a phase in which you can make meaning of your feelings. So how does one go about doing this? Talk about the break in person, set a time frame for how long it will last, figure out if you will be speaking or not during this time, and whether you’ll see other people. The most important thing is being clear and honest.