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Last Updated on October 4, 2018

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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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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