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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

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 March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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