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?

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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

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