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What Does 'Taking a Break' Mean?

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Pensive couple discussing their relationship.
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The Meetcha Live blog once talked about divorce being "catchy" (see: Have you caught the divorce bug?) yet I hear more about 'taking a break' than anything else these days. The problem is, most folks are confused about what taking a break really means, even if they're in that stage of their relationship, or even suggested it.

One reader summed it up for me nicely: "Taking a break means not cutting ties to each other, but postponing the relationship temporarily to see where things are at." I like the definition, other than the 'see where things are at' part, because it's still vague and fails to list specifics.

To me, taking a break means taking a step back from a relationship that has yet to meet one or both partner's needs, and reviewing how the relationship fits into their life picture over the long term. It's about re-evaluating or redefining the relationship and removing the stress-filled aspects the relationship itself temporarily.

The problem with 'taking a break' is that few people actually define what it means for their relationship. Does it mean one or both of you see other people? Do you contact each other (like texting), or do you really take a break from interacting on all levels? When does the break end, and how will either of you know it? What outcome(s) are one or both of you hoping for from taking a break, and do both parties know it?

The only book I've read that tackles this touchy subject is one I've talked about briefly: Don't Break Up, Make Up by Dr. Bonnie Weil (Buy Direct). In it, Weil suggests that couples take a break to save their relationship, and outlines specific requirements to ensure everyone's needs are met. For those of you currently taking a break or considering it, I highly recommend picking up up for a read.

But what about you? Have you ever taken a break? Why? What happened? Was the outcome positive, or worth it to you? Why or why not?

Related: Take a Dating Break, What Not To Do After a Breakup, Can You Break Up to Make Up?

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