Taking time out from your relationship - is it worth the risk?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Marian Hanson - Nu Journeys Counselling
2nd April, 20180 Comments
In some relationships, there comes a point where you may be considering whether you want to stay together or go your separate ways. The compromise for some couples can be taking time apart but for many couples, this can feel like a major risk. Some of the reasons that people may view taking time apart as a risk are firstly because there may be a fear that if a separation occurs, one half of the couple may find someone else. This fear is heightened by the fact that the relationship is already in trouble and therefore, temptation may be harder to resist. Another fear is the thought that by taking any type of break, the connection between you could be lost. This is scary to many couples especially if they spend the majority of their time together. An additional fear and the one that creates the greatest anxiety to many couples is a fear that taking a break will mean that the relationship will end.
The above fears can prevent many couples from taking a break and they continue to struggle within their relationships without ever resolving the issues affecting them. I will now discuss the benefits of taking time out from your relationship and some of the key actions to take before, during and after the break.
One of the benefits of taking time out from your relationship is that it provides an opportunity to think and reflect upon the relationship. Prior to taking the break it is important for both parties to have an open and honest discussion beforehand about their boundaries and expectations during the break. For example, "I don't want you to be intimate with another person" or "we can text each other during the break but no phone calls". Another benefit of taking time out from your relationship is that it provides both parties time to think about what it is that they really want. It is a good idea to try to put a time limit on how long the break will be for and to even consider a review in between. You may decide to meet a neutral place to discuss how you are both feeling and to confirm the date of the end of the separation period.
Another benefit that couples may experience by taking time apart is that they will see what it feels like to miss each other and experience a break from the stress of the relationship (including the stress of arguments, tension, lack of intimacy etc.). Finally, if you decide to take this course of action, try to view it in a positive way as opposed to a bad thing and when you do eventually re-unite, take the opportunity to move forward with any decision that you've made rather than focusing on the issues that led up to the break.
That's not to say that you do not discuss the issues before the break, but the purpose of taking time apart is to more concretely discover what you want for yourself and the relationship. There is no right or wrong solution to this but if the relationship is already at breaking point, maybe think about whether you have more to lose or more to gain.
About the author
I am a relationship counsellor with eight years experience of providing counselling to individuals and couples. I also have experience of providing counselling to children and women who have experienced domestic violence and I am in the process of becoming a confidence and self-worth coach and I have a passion for areas of personal development
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