7 Things To Do During A Relationship Break That Make The Most Of The Time Apart

Ad failed to load

When your relationship has hit a rocky patch, and you and your partner aren't ready to throw in the towel, but can't keep going the way you're going, what else is there to do besides take a break? Though it can be a hard decision to come to, once you and your partner have decided to take a break, it's important that you keep a few things in mind. Nobody wants to wind up like Ross and Rachel on Friends, forever referring to that time you were on a break, right? That's why there are things to do when you go on a relationship break so you and your partner don't wind up forever ruined for something that happened during your time apart. Because a break to one person can mean a completely different thing to another.

You've gotten through the hardest part, which is deciding with your partner that you do in fact need a break to figure out the next steps. Now, there are a few things you can do to ensure you use your time wisely, and come back from that break feeling clearer about the direction of your future with or without your partner. Because if you're not using your time to figure out what it is you want next for your relationship, then what exactly are you doing? Here are seven things all couples should do during a relationship break that will it worth the time apart.

Ad failed to load

1Define Expectations


If you're looking to get back together with your partner in the future, you and your partner both need to sit down to discuss what your expectations of your break will be. Though it might be a hard discussion to have, it's one you need in order for you to part ways temporarily on the same page. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, psychologist and author of When Mars Women Date told The Chicago Tribune, that couples need to be honest and clear with each other about what that time is going to look like in order to get the most out of the break.

2Set Boundaries


Can you call each other during this break? Text? Drop by? See other people? It's important to set and define boundaries for you and your partner during your break, so that you don't come back from your break with entirely different views and experiences about how things happened. If one of you has been at home, contemplating the future of your relationship while the other has been out dipping their toes in the dating pool, you're going to come back from that break with very different thoughts about what to do next. Though it might seem excessive to set such detailed boundaries in place with one another, for the break to really be a mutual break, it's important to do.

3Figure Out Why You Want To Take A Break


If you're feeling blasé about your relationship and think a break will fix it, couples therapist Liz Higgins told The Huffington Post that it's important to get to the bottom of why you want to take a break. "When taking a timeout, call it for yourself and not for your partner," Higgins said. "This decision all comes down to knowing yourself." Finding the why will better help you approach the situation with your partner, and can help both of you better evaluate what your break will look like.

Ad failed to load

4Set A Clear Timeline


Figure out a timeline for your break. Taking a break with no end in sight is the fastest way for your break to turn into a full on break up. Even if you just schedule a check in after a certain period of time, to figure out if you need more time, or where to go next. In the same Huffington Post article above, couples therapist Marni Feuerman said setting up a time to check in with your partner is extremely important. And you don't have to have all the answers when you check in, according to Feuerman. You just need to stick to your timeline, and respect it. “When you do eventually talk, just let each other know how you’re working on yourself during the time apart," Feuerman suggested.

5Use Your Time Wisely


In order to come back from your break with a renewed sense of understanding of your relationship, you need to use your time wisely. Take time and think about why you're on a break, and whether or not you and your partner truly have a future together. "People often return from the break with renewed hope, and yet once again face the disappointment that the same issues remain glaring in their faces, unchanged," psychotherapist Fran Walfish told the The Chicago Tribune. In order to prevent that disappointment from happening, both you and your partner need to commit to working through what's been keeping you apart, even if it's on your own time and your own terms.

6Stick To Your Rules


Being apart from your other half can really open your eyes to what you're missing when they're not by your side. But according to The Huffington Post, it can also open your eyes to the idea that you might need your break to become a break up. Regardless of what your break helps you come to terms with, it's important to stick to your rules. If you've realized that you can't live without your partner, don't call them and text them incessantly to tell them about your revelation. Respect the rules you agreed upon at the beginning of your break, and honor your partner. Whether it's positive or negative, by respecting the boundaries and expectations of your break, you can revisit your relationship with your partner with clarity when it's time.

Ad failed to load

7Reconnect On Neutral Territory


When you decide to reconnect with your partner, reconnect on neutral territory. Pick a place the two of you can meet that's not your apartment, or their apartment, or their workplace on a break. Try a coffee shop, a park, or a restaurant to meet up with your partner and discuss how the break has been for the both of you. By meeting up in a neutral place, you avoid the risk of things getting too emotional, which can be helpful if you think you need more time, or if you've decided not to pursue the relationship further. Regardless of what your break has helped you realize, meeting your partner in neutral territory will ensure that your first meeting post-break goes smoothly, and gives both of you time to discuss what you learned and realized over the break.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik