In this article will examine the right ways of how to tell someone you need a break without hurting their feelings. We will highlight 5 key points you need to consider.
Taking a break can be an essential part of maintaining good mental health. However, telling someone you need a break can be challenging.
If you are in any relationship, you may need some time away from the relationship. You may want some alone time or feel suffocated in the relationship. Whatever the case, wanting a break from a relationship is not something you can ignore.
However, facing your partner and telling them you need a break can be tricky. Your partner may misunderstand your request, and they may have hurt feelings.
According to studies, many people report breaking up and getting back together. So, it is okay to need a break from your partner, and it doesn’t mean you will not get back together if you decide to take a break.
Why Do You Want a Break From a Relationship?
First things first, why do you want a break? According to statistics, in the US, at least 13% of all married couples who separate get back together. Moreover, at least 6% to 18% of married couples have separated at some point in their relationship.
So, the elephant in the room is, why do you need a break? In order to tell someone you need a break, you need to know why you need the break.
There are many reasons you may need a break from someone. Some of the reasons include the following;
1. You Are Not Happy in The Relationship
One of the main reasons many people need breaks in their relationships is because they are not happy. Happiness is subjective; what makes you happy will not make someone else happy. So, if you feel unhappy in a relationship, you may ask for a break.
Some time alone will help you view the relationship clearly and give you a new perspective. You will also evaluate your feelings.
For example, is the person not making you happy, or is it one specific thing they did that upset you, and you are taking the anger of one incident out on the person?
2. You Are Doubting If The Person Is Right For You
Sometimes you may get into a relationship, and after some time, you start wondering if the person you are with is the right person for the future with you.
It may take days, weeks, or even years. Sometimes you are with someone and the things they do make you wonder if this is really someone you want to be with in the long run. So, if this is you, you should take a break to reevaluate your relationship.
3. There Are Things in The Relationship You Don’t Know How To Fix
If there are things in the relationship you are not happy with and you do not know how to fix them, you may want a break from the relationship to figure things out.
Moreover, if the person you are in a relationship with is doing something you think will never change, you will want to take a break.
However, if you think the person will never change, it may be time to break up with the person.
4. The Relationship Has Turned Toxic
Sometimes you will want to take a break from a relationship if the relationship has turned toxic.
No one deserves to be in a toxic relationship, whether it will be with family, friends, or a romantic partner. So, if you see your relationship has turned toxic, you will want to take a break to see if the person will change.
For instance, if someone is gaslighting you, you will want some time away from the relationship. It will help you evaluate the relationship and the pros and cons of staying in it.
Sometimes you may say it is your family, so you don’t want to break communication with them. Toxic is toxic, family or not; you must take care of yourself and your mental health first.
5. You Want To Focus On Other Things
You should take a break from a relationship if you want to focus on other things. For example, sometimes you can be in a relationship that prevents you from attaining your full potential.
If this is the case, you should take a break from the relationship to focus on other aspects of your life.
For instance, if you have friends who love clubbing and going out all the time, you may want to take a break from them to focus on school or work.
Moreover, you may want to grow your relationship, and your family is getting in the way; in this case, you will want to distance yourself from them so you can focus on the other things that matter to you.
How To Tell Someone You Need a Break
After knowing the reasons, you need a break; you need to know how to tell the person you need a break from you need a break.
Telling someone you care about you need a break can be overwhelming. However, there is no shame in needing a break; we all need to breathe sometimes.
So, if you need to tell someone you need a break, here are a few pointers on how to do it respectfully and without hurting their feelings.
Timing is everything when you want to have a difficult and honest conversation. So, ensure you pick the right time to tell the person you need a break.
Chances are that there is an issue in the relationship, and that’s why you need a break in the first place. Communication is paramount in a healthy relationship though, so pick your moment well when bringing up the conversation.
Have the conversation when you are both sober, do not bring up the conversation when the person is about to get out the door or when they just got in from a stressful day at work or school.
Moreover, refrain from bringing up taking a break mid-argument; chances are the person will not listen to you and will carry on the argument.
Alternatively, they may think the conversation came up because of your current argument and not give it much thought.
So, timing is essential when bringing up a difficult conversation about taking a break. You want to talk about when you are both relaxed and can think critically.
Show them where you are coming from and tell them this is not necessarily the end; you have just hit the pause button for a while, and you still care.
2. Keep It Simple and Clear
When telling someone you need a break, you need to be clear about what you want. It would be best to say it in the simplest language possible.
Tell them why you need the break, how long the break will be, and what you expect from the break. However, it would help if you also understood that this is not a one-sided conversation, the person will have questions, and they may also have suggestions about the break.
Sometimes you will have to compromise, for instance, if you want a break from your boyfriend, you may want to have no contact during the break, but he says you can have contact at least once a month because even though you will be on a break, he will miss you.
However, as much as you compromise, remember why you needed the break and stay focused on your end goal.
On the other hand, you may introduce the topic, and the person you need a break from will be more okay with the break than you hoped. This may catch you unaware, and you may feel hurt.
However, remember you brought up the topic for the good of the relationship and your good. So take it in stride and know they are not trying to hurt you, and they still care.
3. Acknowledge Their Feelings
When you tell someone you need a break, remember to acknowledge their feelings. As much as you are the driver of the conversation, you should listen and consider the other person’s feelings.
Everyone reacts differently when they receive certain news, so manage their reactions. Show them you hear them and acknowledge their feelings. Tell them you are not demanding the break and you still care about them.
Show them that you are still a team and that being on a break does not mean they cannot reach you in an emergency or need help.
It is also important to show them that you appreciate them and that you are thankful for the time you have been together. Considering the other person’s feelings is the fastest way to get what you want.
4. Be Honest
When explaining to someone that you need a break, the most important thing is you should be honest and direct. Tell them why you need the break and how it will benefit the relationship.
For instance, if it is your boyfriend you need a break from, tell them the break will help you strengthen the relationship and give you both time to grow as individuals before picking up the relationship.
In addition, when talking about taking a relationship break, avoid making excuses or blaming the other person for the decision.
The break is about you and what you feel, not necessarily what the other person did. However, even though you need a break from something they did, this is not the time for blame games.
For example, you can say, “I need to take a break because I am feeling overwhelmed, and I need some time to recharge.” This makes the break about you and not them.
5. Have A Plan
When telling someone you need a break, you need to devise a plan beforehand. Have a set time limit of how long the break should last.
Is it a week, a month, or more? Ensure you have enough time to adjust and focus on your feelings.
You should also set the ground rules for the break. For example, what amount limited communication is acceptable within the break, are you allowed to date other people, and can you keep in contact during the break?
According to Kathryn Ford, a former relationship counselor and expert, you should talk about what you both want, including the ground rules; you should also be realistic about your expectations and, most importantly, focus on minimizing the damage to the relationship and yourselves.
Use the break to reflect on yourself and the relationship. The purpose of the break was to evaluate the relationship and your feelings. Reflect on your feelings, goals, and needs.
You can use the time to talk to a couples therapist to help you sort through your feelings. You may also talk to a confidant or journal your thoughts.
After the agreed break time, you should discuss the next steps in the relationship. Talk about what you have both learned during the break and how to take the relationship forward if at all you will want to continue with the relationship.
Do Breaks Work in Relationships?
When taking a break in a relationship, you may wonder if the break will actually work to help resolve the issue in the relationship.
According relationship experts and to Weena Cullins, a licensed marriage and family therapist, if you are considering taking a break instead of breaking up, it means there is still hope for the relationship. However, whether or not the break worked depends on how you define success.
A break will help you see things more clearly and help you make a better objective decision about your relationship.
Anita Chlipala, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says, “When you’re in a relationship, it may be difficult to see things objectively. Giving yourself some space can let you see your relationship from a different perspective.”
Having a conversation about taking a break from someone you care about is tricky. However, sometimes it is necessary to take a break for your mental health and the relationship’s good.
A break will help you figure out your feelings and see the relationship from a different perspective; it will also give you time to grow and be better partners.
You may want to take a break from a relationship to focus on other aspects of your life because you see things you may not be able to fix or are overwhelmed and need some alone time.
When telling someone you need a break, you need to be honest and clear and keep the conversation as simple as possible.
You should also choose the best moment to talk about it and acknowledge the other person’s feelings. Additionally, telling someone you need a break needs a plan. Plan what to say and when to say it.
Spend time thinking if this is the right thing to do, make sure you are in the same page with you partner that you are taking a break and not necessarily breaking up.
Photo by Alena Darmel on Pexels.com
Sarah Williams is an author at CandidHaven.com she is an expert in human psychology having graduated with an M.S. in Psychology.
Sarah has extensive experience in relationships and dating therapy having worked for over 6 years with different groups of people including teens, dating couples, and married people.
She is a lover of life, and self-development and believes everyone deserves to be in a fulfilling relationship. Sarah loves reading self-help books and doing research on human psychology.