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The How-To Lounge: Time Apart Without Taking a Break

The notion of taking a break in a relationship is one many people ascribe to and one I’ve even recommended before, but it does seem that more often than not, taking a break is simply a step away from breaking up. When it comes down to it, a break may offer clarity, but it doesn’t actually solve any problems — only communication and compromise can do that — which is why I wanted to share some ideas for taking a break that doesn’t require any official breaks at all. To see my ideas, just


  • It is possible to put physical distance between one another without actually taking an official hiatus. Spend an entire day to yourself or take a weekend to visit your family. Consciously not talking for a couple days is not necessarily unhealthy. In fact, it can let you think clearly for a while.
  • Instead of taking a break from your relationship, try taking a break from the issue at hand. It sounds difficult, but if you and your significant other make the decision together to let something go for a while, it’s not so hard. In fact, being able to enjoy time together might actually give you both some much-needed perspective.
  • Go out with your girlfriends to cry, dance, get goofy, or do whatever it is you want to do — and don’t worry about your boyfriend back at home on the couch. Sometimes we just need some room to stretch our legs. But remember: don’t do anything that might compromise your relationship unless you’re willing to deal with the consequences.
  • Just as breaks are an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, they’re also an opportunity to reach out to other people and process the struggles our relationships are going through. But reaching out to family and friends for an opinion or a new insight can happen at any time. And you may find it easier to process your problems when you can go immediately back to your significant other and tell him what you’ve realized as opposed to waiting until your break is over.

If you really do want time to yourselves, then by all means take it. But if you're just looking for a breather, it's important to learn how to get that feeling even with your significant other by your side.


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