Needing Space in a Relationship: What About a Trial Separation or a Time-Out? How to Take a Relationship Break
You’ve been dating for a while, but you’re still not sure if the two of you are right for each other. In order to figure out if you have a future together, you might be thinking of taking a break from the relationship, sometimes referred to as a time-out or a trial separation. Time apart can be a healthy choice and a good way to figure out if you have a future together. If you want to make the most of your time apart, keep these simple tips in mind.
1) Know whether you want to take a break or just break up.
Be honest with yourself. Do you want to take a break because deep down you know you two don't have a future together? Or do you really believe that your feelings for each other could blossom into a loving relationship if you had time and space to get your thoughts in order? If you're pushing for a time-out break, or atrial separation because you really want to be single again but don’t want to go through the pain of a breakup, reconsider. Make a clean break. It will hurt at first, but chances are it’ll be the best thing for you both. On the other hand, if you feel there’s still potential in your relationship, a bit of time apart can be the right thing to do.
2) Set a time limit for the break.
There’s no rule on how long your relationship break has to be. While each may need some space in the relationship, you should equally agree on how long. A weekend, a week, a month—it’s up to you. Consider how often the two of you are in touch with each other, and decide how long you want to stay apart. If you see each other every day, start with a few days apart. If you currently meet for a date once a week or so, try a week away. It's important, though, that you both agree on when the relationship break will end. Trial separations should have a start and an end date.
3) Establish contact rules
Taking a break from your relationship and a break from each other doesn’t always mean cutting off all contact with your partner. Sit down with your partner and agree on how and how often you'll get in touch with each other. Total non-contact is fine, but it's also fine to chat once a week, email every now and then, or meet in person. It's up to you, but make sure you and your partner are on the same page about keeping in contact. You can’t create space for thinking if you’re always together.
4) Focus on yourself
While you're taking a break from your relationship, really take a break. When in your time-out from your relationship, try not to think about your partner or the time you’ve spent together. Instead, spend the time focusing in your feelings, your dreams, the people you love, and the activities you enjoy. The point of taking a break is to balance your thoughts and feelings. It’s often hard to keep your relationship in perspective when you're in constant contact with your partner. If you let your thoughts dwell on your relationship even when you’re taking a break, you won't be able to gain the perspective you need. Keep the focus on you.
5) Count how many times a day you think of your partner
It's only natural that while you’re taking a relationship break your thoughts will return to your partner. You might wonder about the future, or remember good and bad times together. Let this happen, but be aware of your thoughts. Carry a small notebook with you and make a briefly note the time and circumstances each time you think of your partner. This will help you keep track, over time, of where your thoughts about the relationship are heading. After all, this is what needing space is all about..
When your break comes to an end, reconnect with your partner. Arrange a time when the two of you can be alone and have a good talk. Tell your partner how the time apart from each other was for you, and find out what he or she thought of your break from the relationship. Where you go from here is up to you, but if you’ve used your time apart well you’ll both come back to the relationship with a fresh perspective and a new sense of balance.
7) You Don't Want a Time Out!
If you really don't want to be single anymore, but you fear that you've lost your attraction and your ability to attract back a mate, you can read Tigress' advice and learn more about how to win back your attraction here!
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