Sustaining a healthy relationship isn’t always about being together all the time. It is also about providing a positive individual space to your partner. If one of you starts feeling overwhelmed by the relationship, maybe it’s time to take a step back and take a break.
Relationships can work after a break if both the partners have utilized it for self-improvement, eliminating mistakes, while remaining loyal. Fighting over the same issues after getting back together is a recipe for disaster. Taking a break works because it allows partners to miss each other.
It’s an understandably difficult decision to stop interacting with your favorite person suddenly. At first, it might even seem risky. But if you genuinely wish to have a healthy long-term relationship, then a break will be a positive step in that direction.
How To Make A Relationship Work After A Break?
To make a relationship work after a break, do not repeat the same mistakes that caused problems in the first place. Making new mistakes is acceptable, but resorting to old habits shows your failure as a couple. Also, be transparent about future expectations and the deal-breakers for you.
Ask yourself some vital questions once the break is over.
- What was the primary reason for wanting a break?
- Was the break an excuse to postpone the breakup?
- Who initiated the break?
- Was the cause personal or external (due to mental stress or due to work\study commitments)?
- Was it hindering your growth?
- Are you willing to make improvements in yourself for your relationship?
- What are the changes that you are willing to make in your relationship?
TABLE: People On Why Their Relationship Worked After A Break?
|Changed our lifestyle||14%|
|Became serious about long-term commitment||31%|
|Started taking care of my body||35%|
|Focussed on clicking as friends first||61%|
|Took greater interest in each other’s life||67%|
|Quit bad relationship habits||93%|
Note: Percentage does not equal to 100 due to overlapping reasons.
Answers to these questions will clarify the role of your partner in your life and help you handle the situation maturely.
1. Ensure There Is Mutual Understanding
Being on the same page with your partner can make the conversation easier.
It can help you express yourself freely without being misunderstood about your intentions for taking a break.
It might be possible that one of you was not too happy about the break. Solve the core issues behind the uneasiness.
Be confident about your past intentions and express them honestly to your partner.
2. Time The Talk
If it seems complicated to converse with your partner after a break, don’t discuss the topic immediately after getting back together. Take your time to calm down first.
After a few days, it is advisable to have this conversation in a peaceful state of mind to avoid miscommunication due to pumped-up emotions.
And when you do talk, try arranging a direct face-to-face conversation about it rather than a text or call. It would show your sensitivity and seriousness towards it.
3. Display Your True Emotions
The deeper your bond with your partner, the easier it will be to sail through this storm.
This is because then you would aim to resolve the issue in every way possible and be the couple you were during the honeymoon period of your relationship.
Always follow your heart in these matters and be transparent with your future expectations and what you seek to achieve henceforth.
Don’t hold back your emotions.
4. Remember The Time Spent Together
If you have known your partner for over a year, it is natural for you to be deeply attached to them.
Since the break allowed you both to see each other’s importance in life, you can now value the relationship even more despite the setbacks.
For all the time, emotions, and efforts you have invested in this period, promise to give your all to keep things going without further hiccups.
Remind yourself what brought you two together initially and why what you have is insanely precious.
5. Increase Communication Gradually
There is no need to pretend that nothing is wrong and jump into talking to each other as if the break never happened. Real-life doesn’t work like that.
There will be awkward silences, an uncertain environment, and it’s completely natural. The key is to make tomorrow better than today.
Being on a break from a relationship required a cut-down or a complete halt to communication.
Now give time for clouds of anger and bad feelings to fade away gradually. If you continue as if nothing happened, your partner will know what you’re trying to do.
They probably won’t be a part of your charade, and even if they do, it won’t run for long.
6. Spend More Time With Yourself
Perhaps you were too invested in the relationship and forgot about making yourself a better person every day.
Spending time with yourself does not imply that you have to be alone during this period.
You can use this time productively by investing it into yourself and doing things you like.
It might seem difficult initially, but it will get easier as you engross yourself in any activity or hobby.
You can use this time to read more, join the gym, learn a new sport, or a skill that would shift your focus from your relationship woes and help you relax.
The new you will also give your partner things to admire and open up new lines of communication.
7. Give Your Partner Space
This follows the key point of opening up gradually. Give your partner their space to think about the significance of this relationship in their life.
A person can emotionally invest more in a relationship when they have clarity of their feelings first.
If they are confused about their feelings after the break or indecisive about committing to the relationship, this time will help them ponder what they want.
You would not want to be with someone unsure about you.
8. Confide In A Friend
Talk to a close friend of yours and lay your heart out. It will help you gain perspective of your situation and discover the areas that need work.
A third person’s perspective is always insightful and unbiased. They can help you with instances from their own experiences.
That would widen your horizon and give you actual points to work upon while you’re trying to give a new breath of life to your relationship.
9. Be Considerate Of Your Partner’s Feelings
When back together, be mindful that a few things could come across as harsh and hurtful.
Your partner might not have been as positive about the break as you were.
These include crude jokes about the break, underhand comments, sarcastic remarks, or playfully threatening about making such breaks a regular thing.
If you are frustrated, a better outlet is to eradicate the core cause rather than being mean about it and trying to show your partner ‘their place’.
10. Communicate Your Reason Behind The Break
Even if you had already done so before going on the break, now is the time to sound more believable since you are back with your partner. Walk the talk.
Make it clear that taking a break did not mean that you are no longer interested in your partner the way you were earlier.
The only reason you took a break was to clear your head and think about improving your relationship.
It was like someone going on a holiday to relax and unwind their mind, only to bounce back to productivity.
The purpose of the break was to reignite the lost spark.
Convince your partner of your intentions, so they don’t stay confused or skeptical about being around you after the break.
11. Make Your Future Expectations Clear
Since you two are back from the break, you wouldn’t want the same mistakes to repeat, which made you drift apart initially.
Be honest and clear about your feelings and expectations.
If something was a dealbreaker before the break and still is after it, chances are it will only cause more problems.
Thus, either you need to change, or your partner does. There is nothing better than finding common grounds where both of you compromise to meet in the middle.
But if that seems impossible, leaving things unresolved for now to tackle them in the future will not make everything okay.
It will be unfair to both of you. Be unapologetically truthful.
12. Listen To Your Partner’s Points With Respect
As much as it is crucial to put across your point clearly, you should listen carefully to what they have to say. Be respectful towards their opinions as well.
Hereafter, you can ascertain whether your partner actually wants to improve the bond or is drifting away from you.
Are they being mean in the name of stating their opinion?
Their reactions, big or small, will be your answer to where your relationship is heading and whether the break was of any use.
How Long Should A Break In A Relationship Last?
A break in a relationship should last for at least two weeks if the relationship is less than six months old. For six to twelve-month-old relationships, the duration should be at least four weeks. If you have been in a relationship for over a year, spend at least eight weeks away from your partner.
Based on the duration of your relationship and the situation you’re going through, here is how long your break should last:
1. For Relationships Shorter Than Six Months
When one gets into a relationship, it is natural for them to get so engrossed in it during the honeymoon period that they lose their sense of self.
By the time you realize this, the relationship starts to get overbearing, and you just feel the need to break free from it.
For such situations, two weeks off from each other seems enough. You have to stick to the decided time for the break to fulfill its purpose.
2. For Six To Twelve Month Old Relationships
Confusion and space requirements are normal for couples when they have been together for longer than a semester.
If fights have become increasingly common, take a break of at least four weeks.
Do not fear that it will lead to your breakup, and if it does, then clearly that person didn’t love you, and you can do better without them.
Use this time wisely. Refrain from stalking your partner physically or on social media and treat this break as a litmus test of your relationship.
3. For Relationships Older Than A Year
When people stick with each other for extended durations like more than a year, they begin to despise aspects of each other.
Usually, the issues are something over which couples have had multiple disagreements.
Thus, it requires a longer period of separation to gain composure and resolve the fundamental problems. Ideally, taking time off for at least eight weeks is suggested.
Even after the suggested period, it all depends on the needs of the two people when it comes to how many weeks more do they require to come back.
Be open to the idea if your partner needs more time.
4. In Case Of Cheating And Abuse
If your reason for the break is a cheating or abusive partner, you should give them an indefinite period of break, that is, break up with them permanently.
No amount of time can change the slyness of a cheater or bring empathy to the heart of an abuser.
Do not exhaust yourself over such people and move on.
How To Reconnect After A Relationship Break?
To reconnect after a relationship break, bring back the initial dating days. Plan out romantic dinners and adventurous outings. But if your partner isn’t up for it, do not force them or accuse them of not making efforts. Wait for an opportune moment when your partner is more responsive.
Here are the steps to reconnect after a relationship break:
1. Keep The Approach Friendly
You will need to take things slowly here as rushing them will spoil everything you’ve built this far.
You do not want to smother them as that will push them away. Exhibit confidence in your manner and stay cool, calm and collected.
Keep the approach friendly. Meet them like you are meeting a dear friend after a long time and make them feel comfortable.
2. Have A Heart To Heart Conversation
Hear them out. When you sense that they are opening up to you like before and the conversation is flowing smoothly, say some words of affection.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So tell them what they mean to you and how their absence affected you.
Describe how much you missed them and share how you spent your days without them.
3. Walk The Talk
Breaks do not work if you don’t change the behavior that broke you up in the first place.
Ask yourself what got you at this point that you needed a break in the first place. Once you have known the major pain points, use this opportunity.
Showcase the change in your behavior and actions when you see each other again.
4. Show Them The Changed Person In You
Make them believe that you have worked on yourself and you are in a better position to continue the relationship, be it physically, emotionally or financially.
Earn the lost trust and state your reasons for the break and how that period helped you gain new perspectives. Show your intentions through your actions.
5. Talk Your Heart Out
Share your growth experiences with them so that it further strengthens their belief in your intentions. Do not make up imaginary scenes.
If you had any breakdowns during the phase, talk to your partner about them. Showing your vulnerabilities isn’t weak but a courageous thing to do.
6. Make Some Relationship Goals
Do not make unrealistic promises about the future. Instead, present realistic short-term goals you wish to achieve in your relationship.
Having control over your anger issues, being more patient, and understanding are great starting points.
They would be more believable and help restore your partner’s faith in you.
7. Be A Good Listener
If your partner initiated the break, then enquire about their state of mind and well-being. Be a patient listener and show interest in their life.
Ask them about activities that kept them occupied. It would make them feel special.
Ask them about their current take on the relationship and how they would like to take it forward, and that you would respect whatever their decisions might be.
If they feel that being back together is not a good idea, you’ll need to accept it, however painful this separation might feel to you.
8. Plan Outings With Your Partner
Keep the conversation genuine and light-hearted. When they get comfortable with you, take the next step ahead.
Invite them for dates and picnics in romantic spots to create happier memories to replace the sad ones. Be your true self.
This is your partner we are talking about. You should show your most authentic side to them and put in some efforts.
Do not take them for granted or else this time the break might be permanent.
9. Show Your Romantic Side
Remind them of the joyful times spent together. It would make them crave for such moments with you again.
Your partner will remember the reasons they fell in love with you and that they still do. This will rekindle the lost flame in their heart.
10. Respect Each Other’s Boundaries
Discuss the priorities and boundaries to avoid the same situation again in the future. This includes prospective careers, family, friends, personal boundaries.
Talk about the importance of personal space and individuality. Promise each other to respect these boundaries.
11. Don’t Force Your Emotions On To Your Partner
This is so important that we are happy to repeat what we had said in one of the earlier sections.
If you feel that your partner is not reciprocating the same energy, do not force your emotions. Be patient and let them take their time to come to you.
You will know soon about their feelings. Don’t get disheartened if it does not work out. It is better to know the truth early than to live with false hopes.
12. Be Transparent About Your Feelings
The key is to stay honest and true to your feelings till the end. That’s the only way your relationship will work out in the long run.
Speak what you want your partner to know and create a safe space to be heard without judgment.
The break can be the deciding point where you both realize that you want to be together.
It might seem a daunting idea at first to take a break but remember that you are doing it to save your relationship.
The break will act as a fresh breath of life for your relationship that is getting suffocated at present.
It will clarify your relationship status and guide you towards its next course.
It might not be what you had expected and could even disappoint you, but at least it will lead you towards the truth.