Why Taking a Break in a Relationship Can Be a Good Idea
Dear April Masini,
My husband and I really love each other and don't want to get a divorce, but we are thinking about taking a break. Friends and family tell us this is immature and needing a break is a sign we need a divorce. I just think with the craziness of our everyday lives, we are getting burnt out and we each need a breather. Do you think taking a break always means a break up or can it be a good idea? Please give me some relationship advice to help me maintain my sanity!"
Just a Break
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Just a Break,
Taking a break from a relationship may look like the road to a break up, but the truth is that it can be the smartest tool a committed couple has. In the beginning of a relationship, and in less mature relationships, partners think that they can and should be everything to each other. Wrong! Eventually the couple realizes that they are not everything to each other. This usually happens after children are born (or adopted) into a family. Mothers are traditionally more necessary to newborns and young children leaving fathers feeling left out of intimacy and relationships. Fathers traditionally throw themselves into work as a reaction, leaving mothers feeling left out of romantic coupling. You can see where communications can break down and break ups can happen.
But when couples realize that their relationships are changing, and that the change is not a bad thing, they can adjust and regroup, coming away with a stronger relationship than ever, albeit different from what it once was. Taking a break from each other, from the kids, from the family, can give a person who is confused or unhappy, some space to figure out their own feelings and what's really going on. Perspective allows people to take a break from feelings that are reactive to situations. It's really a mature step to know you need a break and take one. Taking care of one's self is the first and foremost step towards any healthy relationship.
In terms of Brad and Angie, his taking a few days off from the family is a GREAT idea, and one that will probably allow their family more cohesion and strength in the long run. If both adults in the relationship see his taking a break (and her taking a break, too, at some point) as a good thing and not a weakness, then it will become normal, and there will be no trouble in paradise -- simply a change.