Do You Need A Relationship VACAY?
You’re in a committed relationship, but three months of sun, sea and… sangria is just around the corner. Can a break ever work?
E WERE ON A BREAAAAAAAK!’ For most of us, Ross Geller’s desperate pleas on Friends have put us off a relationship break for life.
But for every person who approaches the idea of a break with the same enthusiasm as Saturday nights without Love Island (terrifying, unnerving and something you’d rather didn’t happen), there’s another who thinks they’re great. So do they ever work?
Made In Chelsea’s Tiffany Watson and Sam Thompson recently revealed their plans for a ‘summer relationship hiatus’ (read: an agreement in which a couple can pull other people – usually in Marbs or Ibiza – before reuniting when the nights start to draw in).
Their reason is simple: they say they want to be with each other forever, but feel they still need to spread their wings in the dating scene. In other words, it’s a way around the ‘right person, wrong time’ hurdle that plagues many commitment-phobe millennials. It sounds straightforward on paper but messy in real life, so can it really ever work?
‘Taking a break can seem like a good idea, but in reality it doesn’t necessarily work,’ explains dating coach James Preece. ‘If you care about the other person, you’re always going to be wondering what they’re up to. This will inevitably eat you up and make you unhappy.
‘If you do get back together afterwards, things will never be quite the same. Even if neither of you did anything, there’ll always be that doubt. It’s much better to either fight to make things work or quit now.’
A study in the Journal Of Marriage And Family found that only a third of couples who reunited after a break-up ended up staying together. What’s more, research on Personal Relationships found couples had significantly more problems after time apart. So is it possible?
According to Katie*, the answer is a resounding no.
‘A couple of years ago I took a new job, which meant being away for the summer,’ reveals Katie, 24. ‘At the time I was in a long-term relationship, but I didn’t want to pass down the opportunity. When he suggested a break, I felt so guilty. I was head over heels in love and felt pressured to agree. The rules were clear but ruthless: we were allowed to sleep with other people, but we could never discuss it.
‘As soon as I left the UK I called him and said I didn’t want it, but he refused to talk. He’d always say I was his forever girl, so the idea of the break was that he could make the most of his last chance at being single before we spent our lives together. We Skyped every day and I didn’t go near another guy.
‘Despite the uncertainty, I was so excited to come home. I ran through the airport to jump into his arms, but the moment I saw him, something had shifted. There was an elephant in the room – the girls he’d slept with – and it wasn’t the same.
‘The situation was made worse by the fact we couldn’t discuss it. In the end, I broke the rules and asked him. He lied, but at that point I’d lost respect for myself and the trust had gone. Sadly, we broke up a couple of months later and he eventually admitted he’d been with other girls.’
Celebs are at it, too. Just look at Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, who went ‘on a break’ in summer 2013 but are now back together and rumoured to be eloping next month.
But it won’t work for everyone. ‘Even if you stick to the rules, you open yourself up to jealousy issues,’ says James. ‘Even if neither of you does anything, there’ll always be that doubt and the trust will be gone.’
Tiff, Sam, we hope you guys work it out but, in the meantime, we can’t wait to see the drama unfold in the upcoming series…
I lost respect for myself and the trust had gone – we broke up a few months later
MIC’S Tiffany and Sam recently revealed they’re on a summer break