Are you and your partner thinking about taking a break from your relationship? Maybe you need to step back and think about things for a while? We’ve recently talked about the benefits of taking a relationship break and there are many. However, for the break to work and be beneficial to you, there need to be rules that you and your partner follow.
Since taking a break is different from breaking up, you don’t live as though you’re single during the break. You’re still accountable to your partner even though your relationship is on pause. The rules that you follow are up to you and your partner and should reflect what you are both comfortable with.
Use these rules as a rough guideline and then create your own. By creating a set of rules and following them together, you and your partner can use the time apart to make yourselves and your relationship better than ever. Scroll to the end of this article to print out your worksheet to create your own set of rules for your relationship break.
Rules to Follow When Taking a Relationship Break
1. Establish Why the Break Is Needed
If you aren’t sure why you’re on a break, your partner likely initiated it. It’s important that you both understand what the purpose of the break is. Otherwise, not much productivity can come of it.
So, are you taking a break because you need to focus on yourselves for a while? Are you going to be distanced for a time due to work or school? Or have you been fighting a lot and need to reevaluate your compatibility? Talk about why the break is needed together so that you both have a clear understanding of why it is you’re doing this.
2. Both Partners Need to Agree to the Break
This break can’t be a one-sided thing. You’re not allowed to just tell your partner that you’re on a break suddenly without them agreeing to it. To create rules that you both agree to, you need to agree to the break in the first place.
If you are the one initiating the break, you can let your partner know your reasoning. You can explain that a break can be beneficial to your relationship in the long run. Make sure that you communicate properly beforehand to make sure this is something positive.
3. Set a Time Limit
Once you’ve both agreed to take a break for a while, you need to determine a timeframe. Think about how long it will take for you to reach your objective. How much time apart do you need to clear your head or work some of your issues out?
Most people agree that the break shouldn’t be too long. But it should be long enough for it to be effective. You’ll have to decide what works best for your situation. Any amount of time from one week to three months can be effective.
4. Decide Whether It’s Okay to See Other People
In most cases, it’s not okay for either of you to start seeing other people. However, this needs to be established so it’s crystal clear to both of you. Unless there’s a reason that you think seeing other people would be beneficial to your relationship, ground rules need to be set against it.
If you do agree to see other people, it can get messy. There needs to be a whole other set of rules for that. Like are you allowed to kiss them? Or more? Make sure that the rules you create are ones that you’re comfortable living with.
5. Set Communication Boundaries
Depending on your situation together, it might be unrealistic for the two of you to not have any contact during the break. You might need to coordinate with the other person or deal with things that come up together.
Establish rules for communicating so that you’re getting a break from each other. It’s up to you what you decide. Maybe you want to be able to check in once a day over text or not have any contact whatsoever. Set the boundaries before you start your break so you both know what’s expected.
6. Discuss What You’ll Both Focus On
Part of the reason for taking a break is to focus on yourselves or issues. It won’t be very helpful if your partner isn’t doing the same. So, it’s important that you both agree on what you’ll be doing during this time apart.
You might want to use this opportunity to better yourselves in some way. Whether you see a counselor or just take some time to find yourself, you should share your intentions with your partner. This way, they know that you’re both on the same page and that the break will be productive for your relationship.
7. Use the Time Wisely
Most couples don’t keep taking breaks from their relationship. So, you probably aren’t going to get another chance like this to work things through on your own. Use this time wisely to think about your relationship and what you want from it.
This is a chance for you to grow as an individual and work on things that you’ve been struggling with. It’s also an opportunity for you to assess your compatibility with your partner with a clear mind.
Make sure you use this time to gain perspective on your situation. Is it really something that you want? Are you willing to work through any issues you have with your partner?
8. Decide Whether Or Not You’re Announcing the Break
Will you tell friends and family that you’re on a break from your relationship? Or are you both more comfortable keeping things private? You’ll need to decide what you share with others as part of the rules you create.
It’s common for couples to want to keep the break from their relationship private. After all, it’s not usually something that you want people to know. It can also add a lot of unnecessary pressure if other people are aware of what’s going on. And the point of all of this is to be able to make decisions with a clear mind.
9. Schedule a Time to Talk After the Break
Once the time limit on your break is up, you need to discuss your findings with your partner. You’ll need to talk about what you learned and how you feel. If you were able to successfully work through some problems you’ve been having, you can talk about how things will be going forward. Maybe part of your plan is to see a relationship counselor together.
You might find that after some time apart, you’re more certain about your relationship than ever before. Or, you might decide that it’s time to move on. Either way, it’s important to communicate with your partner about what you want.
10. Decide How to Move Forward Afterward
Once you both discuss how the break went and what you’re thinking and feeling, it’s important to create a plan of action. Are you moving forward together, stronger than ever? Or did one or both of you decide that the relationship wasn’t really working for them?
It can be difficult to make these decisions, but it’s important that you’re both on the same page. If you decide to move forward together, talk about what steps you’ll take to improve your relationship and your plans for the future.
Printable Worksheet to Create Your Break Rules
Use this worksheet to write out the rules of your relationship break to make sure you’re on the same page as your partner. You can use this to reflect on when the break is up.
Taking a break from your relationship can be a difficult decision, but it’s often necessary for both parties to reassess things. By setting some ground rules before beginning the break and agreeing on what you’ll both focus on, you can make the most of this time apart.
You might find that your relationship is stronger than ever after having some time away from each other. Or you might have been happier on your own. A break can be a great way to determine how you feel with a clear mind.