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Published on March 22, 2019

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

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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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