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Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make

Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make

A relationship break can sound like a terrifying thing if you are having trouble in your relationship. What if my partner moves on during this break? What if they find someone else? Are they taking a break just so they can breakup later?

A break in a relationship often leads to a breakup. But it’s not always the case. If taken for the right reasons, a break can breathe fresh air into a dying relationship and give both partners a much-needed perspective.

Here are 3 reasons why taking a break could be a smart choice to make:

1. If you are feeling overwhelmed in the relationship, you need a break.

A lot of times, you just feel overwhelmed in a relationship. It could be because you are both fighting and arguing too much. Or it may be because of some unresolved issue in the relationship.

If you or your partner are feeling overwhelmed to the point where neither of you can go about your daily activities, it’s time to take a break.

A break can be a perfect excuse to take some space from each other without making the decision to breakup. When you decide to take a break, you make a commitment to each other to not date someone else and just take the time to think and get some perspective.

In most cases, you are feeling overwhelmed in your relationship because of fighting, constant arguing or inability to come to an agreement.

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Taking a break will not help unless you find a way to address these issues first. And you can do that by figuring out the underlying cause of the issue.

For example, if you are fighting and constantly arguing, it could be that one or both of you may be insecure or lack proper communication skills. If that’s the case, it will help to work on your communication skills while you are taking a break.

One of my favorite books to learn proper communications is Non-Violent Communications by Marshall B. Rosenberg.

The book can be effectively applied at all levels of communication and in diverse situations: intimate relationships, families, schools, organizations and institutions, therapy and counseling, diplomatic and business negotiations, disputes and conflicts of any nature. – Marshall B. Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication)

In addition to working on your communication skills, you should also figure out the root cause of insecurity that’s leading to these arguments and fights. Ask yourself:

Is it a personal problem or a relationship problem?

For example, if your partner has been completely honest and loyal to you from the starting and you still get jealous every time s/he speaks to another man/woman, then your insecurity and jealousy issue is most likely a personal problem. You developed these jealousy tendencies either from an experience or some childhood issues. If that’s the case, you should use this time to work on yourself.

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On the other hand, suppose you were loyal and trusted your partner completely until one day you found a sexually explicit message on his/her phone from another person. You talked about it and forgave him. But you could never trust him again. If this is the case, then you should seriously consider ending the relationship unless you figure out a solution for this insecurity or jealousy. If your partner does not want to work on rebuilding the trust, there is no way this relationship can work.

If you were feeling overwhelmed because both of you couldn’t reach an agreement on an issue, then you can use this break to think things through and figure out how important that issue is to you.

Serious disagreements such as religion, politics, values and career choice usually lead to a breakup. Whereas minor disagreements such as time management can be resolved with proper communication and understanding.

2. If one of you cheated, taking a break can be a smart choice.

Infidelity is usually a deal breaker for most people. But in some cases, you have invested far too much in a relationship to just walk away because of one mistake. If your partner cheated, and you are having a difficult time letting them go, it’s time to ask for a break.

When you ask them for a break, you won’t get too much resistance from your partner. They won’t try too hard to convince you take them back because you are not really breaking up with them. You are just asking for time and space so you can get your thoughts together.

When you decide to take a break from your partner because of this reason, you should make a few things clear to them.

  • It doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting back with them.
  • You are only doing this so you can process this and decide what’s the best decision for you (and your children if you have any).
  • That you will only be getting back with them if you are sure you can trust them again.
  • Set a rough timeline for the break but don’t commit to the deadline. Let them know that you will take more time if needed.

3. If you are having doubts about commitment, try taking a break.

A lot of times, people end up in a relationship they are not really sure about. Before you know it, your partner expects you to get married and have children.

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Since you have invested so much time in this relationship, you don’t really want to end the relationship. But a part of you doesn’t want to commit either. A part of you thinks that there is something better out there for you. A part of you thinks that your partner is not “The one”.

Fear not, the mysterious powers of a break are here to save you. If you are not really sure about committing to your partner, it’s time to ask them for a break. A break is a perfect way to find out if you are just getting cold feet or if your partner isn’t right for you.

Beware though, before you tell your partner you want to take a break, be prepared for the worst. If your partner did not know about your doubts, you wanting to take a break will come as a surprise to them and it will most likely make them question their commitment as well.

“If s/he is not so sure about this relationship, then why am I?”

You should expect a lot of pain and emotions when you break the news to them. But, in my opinion, it will be worth it. If your partner isn’t right for you, it’s better you find out now rather than years later.

And if they are right for you, you will eventually figure it out and be ready for commitment.

If you decide to take a break because of this reason, you should keep these things in mind:

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  • Tell them that you care about them, and this is not a breakup. That you are doing this to make sure a commitment is the right step for you.
  • Set clear boundaries about dating others during this break. If you want to go on dates, be honest. If not, be honest.
  • Set a clear time line for the break to end. You are doing this with someone you love. It’ll be cruel to keep them hanging indefinitely. It’s best to set a clear timeline before you take the break. If you are still not sure by the end of the timeline, it’s best to just breakup with them and let them go.

The Bottom Line

A break can be a smart choice if you are in a tough situation in your relationship. It gives you time and perspective you need to make the right decision.

But when you take a break, you should be clear with yourself and your partner about your reasons to take it. You should discuss the details of the break clearly and set a clear time line.

If at the end of the break, you feel you need more time, let your partner know about it as they may be waiting for you to reach out.

If you have decided to take a break, you should commit to it. Don’t go back to your partner just because you miss them. Make sure you have resolved the issue that caused you to take a break before you end it.

Featured photo credit: Edward Cisneros via unsplash.com

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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