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

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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

5 Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship Not to Overlook How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting 7 Signs of Manipulation in Relationships (And How to Handle It) Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make How to Recognize a Controlling Relationship and What to Do About It

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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