If you have been a fan of Ask Us and have read most (or all) of my blogs, you will know that I have kissed a lot of frogs. This is a nice way of saying I have dated a lot of assholes. More than I would like to admit. You may also have noted that I am in my thirties and that I didn’t get married until just a year and a half ago. Meaning I didn’t rush into anything. Why? Because I have dated a lot of assholes. When I hear the term “break” as opposed to “break up” I just hang my head and sigh. I get a sharp pain behind my right eye and I close my eyes and my face goes immediately to my palm. I have no patience for this term. This idea of “taking a break” from your relationship makes me want to bury my head under the covers. It makes me want to lose faith in love and relationships. It makes me think that there are still a lot of assholes out there.
So, what does “being on a break” even mean? I suppose every situation is different, and the decision should be mutual. In an ideal world, both parties would have time to reflect on themselves and on their relationship as a whole; and they would come back together stronger than ever and embrace as the sun set in the background, and there would be rose petals and sappy music playing and everyone would live happily ever after…. Alas, my friend, this is not an ideal world. This is all a bunch of bullshit; and nine times out of ten, the “break” is just one stop away from a “break up.”
So you are on a break. It’s happened. There is nothing you can do about it, and it wasn’t your decision. You are correct in thinking that you are not together, but you are not broken up. So what are you? Well, my dear, you are floating in limbo. Your hands are tied and your mind is going to run in circles until you drive yourself crazy. You are the victim of being placed on the back burner.
Ah, yes, the back burner. Do you know what this means? It means that everything else in your boyfriend’s life has been placed in front of you while you are left to simmer on low. You are stewing in your own juices and guess what? It isn’t fair. No one should ever be placed here. It is devaluing to you, and it hurts. I think it hurts worse than an actual break up. Taking a “break” instead of breaking up is a very selfish thing to do, and it is going to keep hurting you. That’s right, a “break up” only gets better with time because you move on, have closure, and eventually find someone else. A “break” means you have nothing to do but to wait. You play the waiting game, and in the end, you might just end up in a break up anyway. So, not only have you waited around, hurting, wanting, wondering, but you have also wasted a lot of your precious time. You can’t get that back.
OK, so I admit that I am jaded to relationships like yours. If my boyfriend wanted to take a break, I would probably just break up with him. I am no-nonsense anymore. I don’t have time to waste on someone who would waste my time. But that is just me.
BUT, I am trying to erase the cynical part of my brain and offer you advice for your situation, so here we go:
If you must go on a break, I think that there should be some rules/guidelines.
- First decide if you can see other people on your break. You must be on the same page in this area to ever hope to get back together. Make sure you talk about sleeping around as well.
- Put a time limit on the break. Or, at least make a date every two weeks or so to check back in with each other and see where you are at mentally in the relationship. This means at least getting together for coffee and looking each other in the eye. This way you aren’t just sitting around twiddling your thumbs wondering when the phone will ring.
- Give clear reasons for your actions. This is for the one who is wanting/needing the break. Lay everything out on the table, have a good argument for your motivation behind the break, and what you intend to accomplish during the time allotted.
- Make sure your feelings are being validated. Don’t lose yourself if you are on the broken end of the break. Make sure your needs are being communicated and that you are not being taken advantage of or jerked around.
- Under no circumstances should you let your love blind you to what is really going on. Take a step back and really assess the situation. Protect yourself at all costs and don’t just assume that everything will work out if you just wait it out. This is a cop-out way of thinking.
If years of watching Friends has taught me anything, it’s that going on a break is a big mistake. But then again, Ross and Rachel wound up together in the end, so who knows? Please don’t go into a break with the mindset that everything will work out. Take it with a grain of salt, REALLY decide if it is the best thing for BOTH of you, and go from there.
What did you think about Robyn’s advice? Comment below and don’t forget to tune in Friday for Skippy’s advice!