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Taking a Break in a Relationship: When it Is and Isn’t a Good Idea

Taking a Break in a Relationship: When it Is and Isn’t a Good Idea

Sometimes, when a couple is going through a hard time and they find it difficult to leave each other, they both decide to take a break from the relationship. A break from all the responsibilities of the relationship, a break from all the fighting and arguing, a break from the commitment, a break from feeling like they need to take care of their partner.

Taking a break in a relationship does not necessarily mean a breakup. But in a lot of cases, it ends up in a breakup as one of the partner realizes the relationship is not worth saving.

When you take a break, you are putting your relationship through an ultimate test. You are trying to see what life would be like without your partner and without the relationship.

In this article, we will explore when it is a good idea to take a break and when it isn’t.

It’s a good idea to take a break if you are fighting a lot and can’t seem to stop.

If you and your partner can’t stop fighting about a certain topic and it seems the argument is never ending, it might be a good idea to take a break.

Staying away from each other might help you understand their perspective and figure out if it’s compatible with you.

It’s not the same as taking a break after a big fight. If you want to take a break because of fighting, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Make sure it’s because you are genuinely concerned about the fighting and disagreement and you want to come to a reasonable conclusion by taking some space and time apart.

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If you want to do it just to gain the upper hand in the fight, you are not doing it for the right reasons and it’s likely to blow up on your face.

It’s a good idea to take a break if you are having doubts about commitment.

In a lot of relationships, major commitments like moving in together or marriage can be daunting for one or both of the partners. If you are having cold feet, it might be a good idea to take a break from each other and figure out if this relationship is something you truly want.

Staying away from each other might help you figure out how important your partner is to you and if they are worth committing to.

On the flip side, if you are not really ready for this type of commitment or if your partner is not right for you, a break will also help clear your mind and it will give you the strength to breakup with your partner if you are sure they are not the right person for you.

There will often be times when a break will not give you a clear answer. You may feel like your partner is right for you, but you are not ready for a commitment.

If that’s the case, you can discuss your predicament with your partner and if they agree, you can both decide to take things slow instead of making a commitment right away.

It’s a good idea to take a break if your partner cheated on you and you need time to make a decision.

Cheating, emotionally or physically, is a huge deal breaker for a lot of people. But often, it’s very hard to leave your boyfriend or girlfriend after they cheated. It’s especially true if you are very attached to each other and you feel that your relationship with your partner is very special.

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If your partner cheated on you, it might be a good idea and take some time to figure out if it’s worth it to try and save the relationship. Let your partner know that you want some space and time to think and you don’t want them to contact you for a while.

As you are away from your partner, try to look at it from a neutral perspective. Sure your relationship is special but will it be possible to rebuild the trust after this huge betrayal? Here are a few things to think about:[1]

  • Are they remorseful? Do they show remorse about their act? Do they understand how much they’ve hurt you?
  • Are they honest? Have they been completely honest about the level of cheating? Or are they giving you bits of truth here and there (Commonly known as trickle truth[2])?
  • Do they understand what it will take to rebuild the trust? Do you understand what it will take rebuild the trust? It’s going to be very challenging unless both of you are willing to work hard on saving the relationship.
  • Is your relationship truly worth saving? Was it really that good in the first place? Or perhaps it’s time to let go of this relationship and focus on moving on?

It might take you a while to get your thoughts in order. It’s important you don’t rush into a decision. If your partner keeps contacting you during this time, just keep reminding them that you need more time and you have not made a decision yet.

It’s a good idea to take a break if you are not satisfied in the relationship for a long time.

A break can help you figure out what exactly is the reason you are feeling unsatisfied in the relationship and if anything can be done to change it. If you take a break for this reason, it’s important that you be honest with your partner about it.

If you have been unsatisfied in the relationship for a long time, there’s a good chance this break will result in a breakup and your partner needs to be aware of that.

It’s NOT a good idea to take a break if you just want to win a fight or have the upper hand.

It’s never a good idea to ask your partner to take a break because you want to get the upper hand in an argument or you want to show your partner that you might break up.

The fact is, most breaks usually end up in a breakup. And if you are deciding to take a break, there’s a good chance you will breakup.

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If you try to use a break as a manipulation tactic to gain power over your partner, you may find yourself in a breakup that you never really wanted.

It’s NOT a good idea to take a break if you plan on sleeping with someone else.

A lot of people think of a break as an opportunity to sleep with someone else. It’s usually someone they have been interested in a while and they feel the break will give them a free pass to sleep with that person.

If that’s you, think again. If you sleep with someone else during a break, there’s a very good chance your partner will resent you for it. You will most likely have huge fights about this for years to come and your partner may never be able to get over it.

Depending on how well both of you defined the terms of the break, you may not have done something “technically” wrong. But your partner will resent you nonetheless if they were not expecting it.

Most people cannot get over the thought of their partner being in bed with someone else. Especially when they were at home crying their eyes out missing you.

If you are not ready for a monogamous relationship, you will be better off breaking up with them and satisfying your sense of sexual adventures while you are single.

Don’t use a break as an opportunity to have your cake and eat it to. As we all know, it’s not possible.

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It’s NOT a good idea to take a break if the issue can be solved by communication and/or therapy.

Most of the issues in a relationship can be solved by proper communication or couples’ therapy.

A break is not always the right solution for all the problems in a relationship. Ask yourself if you have tried communicating with your partner in a calm manner and if you have tried understanding their point of view.

If not, you may want to look into couples’ therapy to help both of you understand each other more. If a break is required, the therapist will most likely recommend it.

Final thoughts

Taking a break in a relationship doesn’t mean ending a relationship. Like what it says, it’s a break only. A break that helps you and your partner to have room for reflecting your thoughts and emotions; and for thinking your future with or without your partner.

Featured photo credit: Almos Bechtold via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] ExBack Permanently: My Girlfriend Cheated on Me – What Should I Do?
[2] Infidelity Help: Trickle-Truth

More by this author

Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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