Break or Breakup?

I recently had a discussion with a couple of friends about the controversy of “taking a break” from a relationship that may be heading south. It seemed that the consensus was if it was basically meant to be you wouldn’t need a break.

“If someone wants a break, it is often because they want to play the field,” said one friend. Another friend completely disagreed, confidently stating that she knew of a number of couples that were happily married today that took a break during their courtship.

Is there really a right or wrong answer to this? Can a break truly create a happy long-term makeup or is it a softer landing into heartbreak hotel?

Perhaps the jury is still out on this one because people tend to feel rather strongly about this
topic. Most of us know that there isn’t a relationship that is perfect and that sometimes even in good, solid relationships things can go awry.

I have counseled and coached many people who asked if they should take a break and my answer was always the same, so I share it here with you.

The answer is, it depends on the reasons why a break is on the table, to begin with.

I think that sometimes two people really come together for a time. They learn, they grow, they get disappointed, they get turned on and then get turned off. Some couples are truly addicted to the drama in the relationship. Perhaps the beginning was a little too perfect and now that reality has set in and imperfections are in sight, you are disappointed that the fantasy died. You or your partner may have difficulty accepting change and reality. All relationships have some ups and downs. Acceptance is key in order to keep a relationship viable.

For some, the relationship is a roller coaster. Today we are a couple, tomorrow you are wishing to be single. Other couples are truly addicted to each other. They get caught up in a dysfunctional pattern of love tests and drama in order to get the other to “prove” their devotion. Some couples fit together like hand -to -glove from the start and other couples have a great deal of work to do together before they hit smoother sailing. Others just aren’t meant to be.

Before making the decision to take a break, break up or give it one more try, here are some Goddess Pearls of Wisdom:

Don’t Panic.
Communicate and allow yourself to be vulnerable if one of you mentions a break.
Get clear. Ask questions. What is the true reason behind this? Then really listen.
No matter what the outcome, you will be OK.

Some reasons to consider a break:
* Breathing room. (Too much or too little)

Have you been spending too much time together or perhaps too much time apart?
Breathing each other's air maybe cute in the early stages of infatuation but after a while can become suffocating. Does your partner need more space? (Perhaps a weekend or two away or a night out with friends more regularly would do the trick.) Space and closeness in regular intervals keep things more balanced. Too much distance can have a negative impact as well.

* Are you fighting more and staying mad longer?

All couples have disagreements and difficulties from time to time. Be mindful if the storminess is out of balance, it could be a red flag of incompatibility.

* Has there been dishonesty or lack of trust?

Everyone tells a little white lie here and there. A little jealousy within reason is normal. If you are getting the intuitive feeling that your partner is lying often (or pathologically) it may be time for you to seek professional help. Dishonesty is very toxic and hurtful to a relationship. If your partner doesn’t want to seek help, then go yourself and reassess the relationship.

If you and your partner are in agreement that you both need a time out it’s important to discuss timing, monogamy, and boundaries. Breaks may fare better if they are kept to a shorter time-frame. It’s one thing to take a break to clear your head and quite another to use that time to
play the field.

After a break, partners may really miss each other and decide to work it out. Other times it is nothing more than the cursor to a formal break up. It’s difficult to predict. If you take a “break” it’s important that you both prepare yourselves you may or may not get back together.
It is a risk.

So, the bottom line is: break or break up? The only way to really know is to talk it out first. Communication is KEY. Then see if perhaps by tweaking the time you spend together, working on trust, boundaries and need issues, you may not need the “break”.

If you decide to stay, be sure to take the “emotional temperature” of the relationship every 30 days or so. By keeping the lines of communication flowing, without nagging, will make each of you feel heard and respected. These are key ingredients to a healthy relationship and will naturally cause less stress.

Sometimes relationships are wonderful for a time and then run their course. Others can last for a lifetime.

It is not an easy decision but taking the time for understanding what got you to this place is the key to the future of your relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Laney Zukerman is a Relationship and Empowerment Coach. She is the Author of Lessons for an Urban Goddess & The Urban Goddess Lesson~How to Spot the Bad Boys. (
She is a contributor to the Huff Post and college educator.