HEY, LET’S TAKE A BREAK!

Herworld (Singapore) - - NEWS -

Hit­ting the pause but­ton on your re­la­tion­ship may be a risk, but the up­side can be sweet. Ask Kate and Wil­liam.

Call­ing a time­out on a re­la­tion­ship worked for Justin Bieber and Hai­ley Bald­win, Mi­ley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, and even roy­als Wil­liam and Kate. It can help cou­ples re­alise they’re meant to be – no mat­ter how tough the chal­lenges. But oth­ers just don’t come back from it. Is there a right time and way to do it? You quar­rel a lot…

… and not about the small stuff. So­phie*, who called a time­out on her re­la­tion­ship for eight months, feels cou­ples should only con­sider this op­tion if the dis­agree­ments they’ve been hav­ing come down to dif­fer­ences in the big things, like core val­ues and life goals. “Don’t take time off for petty ar­gu­ments,” she says. “These should be talked through – if tak­ing a break is your an­swer to these prob­lems, it’ll only make the lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion worse.”

In her case, she felt that she and her ex were never on the same page about their long-term life goals, like when (or if) their re­la­tion­ship was go­ing to move to the next level. It bugged her enough to want an­swers, and she knew that leav­ing things sta­tus quo would only be ig­nor­ing the ele­phant in the room. Af­ter a breather from each other, they still didn’t have an an­swer, so they called it quits.

You sus­pect you’re us­ing your part­ner as a crutch

A break can be good for help­ing you fig­ure out if you’re re­ally into him, or if he’s just a con­ve­nient way to make you feel bet­ter. Take Natalie*, who hit the pause but­ton on her two-year re­la­tion­ship to deal with anx­i­ety issues. She recog­nised that she had be­come overly re­liant on her boyfriend – to the point that it frus­trated him and put a strain on their re­la­tion­ship. Re­al­is­ing that things had be­come toxic, they de­cided they needed some down­time.

“When I was alone, it forced me to con­front things that scared me – like work re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – without his help,” she says. “As time went on and I learnt to cope, the knowl­edge that I was con­quer­ing this on my own gave me con­fi­dence. I re­alised I didn’t need him to be with me ev­ery step of the way.” So af­ter a month, when they checked in with each other, the cou­ple agreed to give things an­other go. “We just needed time to eval­u­ate if the re­la­tion­ship was worth it, and for me to work on my­self,” she says. That time apart gave the cou­ple clar­ity, and they’re still go­ing strong af­ter six years.

You find you’re hap­pier on your own

If you’re lead­ing pretty sep­a­rate lives, a re­cess could con­firm whether it’s time to pull the plug on things. Af­ter all, it’s telling if you both seem to get by just fine without each other. That was the first thing So­phie’s ex pointed out when they had a con­ver­sa­tion af­ter their break. This was on top of the fact that there were fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences in their per­son­al­i­ties that they could not rec­on­cile.

So­phie says she har­boured hopes that they would get back to­gether, but with hind­sight, she feels that the in­ter­lude gave them both clar­ity and per­spec­tive that they weren’t head­ing in the right di­rec­tion. “Plus, if he was feel­ing that way, I didn’t see a point in fight­ing for the re­la­tion­ship. It takes two, af­ter all,” she says. And even though the hia­tus ended her re­la­tion­ship, it opened other op­por­tu­ni­ties for her to re­con­nect with friends, as well as sparked a ca­reer switch. *Names have been changed.

Kate Mid­dle­ton and Prince Wil­liam Justin Bieber and Hai­ley Bald­win Mi­ley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth

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