Ellen M. Lerner
4 min readMar 5, 2024

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Why I feel that a temporary ‘break’ in a relationship can be a good thing (especially if you find that you are in need of one.)

Photo via unsplash.

A ‘break’ does not always equate to impending doom. I think it comes down to the relationship and the intentions for said ‘break.’

If one or both parties need to take a step back and either work on themselves or possibly something else that is going on in their lives that could take precedence over the relationship at that moment, I do not see this as a bad thing, provided you are talking about two grown-up people who care enough about the other person to put in the work and the time during this break to see if the relationship is going to grow…to get to the next level (so to speak. )

If you are just biding your time…prolonging the inevitable, I think that is terribly unfair, but I am choosing to look at this break as a healthy step. If two people truly care, and are invested enough that they are willing to really put in a great deal of thought and effort, the relationship could actually flourish and grow, provided they come together at the end of this break.

I tried to think about myself in this scenario. I am very comfortable being alone. That does not mean that I would not entertain the idea of a relationship if it was something extremely special and something (someone) I would not want to run the risk of losing. But I would have to think long and hard if I was ready to give up my freedom that I have gotten quite comfortable with. So if I was the person asking for this break, I would hope that the other person in this relationship would trust me enough (and know me well enough) to know that it is because they were just that important to me that it would take a lot for me to make such a huge change in my life. To share my life with another. That during this break, I would not be thinking of other people, other ‘options’ they would be the only option, and I might need a little time to decide if I was ready and capable of truly giving it my all.

Because that is what you do when you share your life with someone. Even a friendship. Maybe not all friendships, but those very rare, special and very important ones…if you are not willing to be the kind of friend or partner that the other is hoping for, a bit of time and a bit of thought could not only make things clear but to me it’s the fair and the right thing to do.

If a specific incident precipitated the break, sometimes you need to pause. Reflect. If one or both of you tend to react far too emotionally or irrationally when a fight occurs, a break, or ‘taking a breather’ can be a healthy thing. Walking away in the heat of the moment knowing all the while you would miss this person if the relationship were to end for good means you might really need to work on yourself so you can become better at handling your emotions, and the better you learn to handle your emotions, the better all of your relationships will ultimately be.

Most important…you both have to be on the same page. You have to really put in the work during this break. Trust is a given. That does not mean that after this break you will find yourself in a fairy-tale. But you might be a little bit closer than you were before this break. Or, you might decide during the break that the relationship has either run its course or simply was not right for either one of you.

I do not see a break as a cop out or a cowardly deed. I actually see it as a sign of maturity and a chance to figure out what you really want and if this relationship is worth fighting for.

At the end of the day, what is meant to be will be and a break (in a healthy, stable relationship) will seem rather small, or better yet…it will be a faint memory if you wind up coming together, stronger than before. Figuring things out with the outcome of a better understanding of each other and most especially, of yourself.

Photo by Ellen M. Lerner

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Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.