Sometimes it is healthy for us to take breaks from relationships, to pause. Stepping away is not the same as shutting down. Detaching is not the same as leaving. This need for separation happens a lot in friendships and family relationships. It can be harder in romantic situations, but there are times when we need to take a step back from a relationship.
This break can act as a reset. It can allow us to figure out where we are and allow us to come back to the person with clearer expectations. We can also take that time to decide how we want to show up in the relationship.
We may realize that the distance is healthy, and that perhaps this person is not someone we need to engage with on a regular basis. Every relationship is not an everyday relationship, and some relationships are annual, monthly, or biweekly, just like a subscription. We are allowed to decide what we want and what works best for us, even if the other person is demanding more.
Sometimes the break leads to the recognition that there is something beyond repair, but other times, it’s just a break. It’s taking a breath. We get to decide what that distance means. The goal of the break is to take the time you need to be able to approach the relationship in a way that is more intentional with a fresh mindset, and new strategies for engaging with that person.
Some of the reasons you may find yourself needing to take a break are as follows:
You notice that your energy is impacted by the interaction with the person.
You notice that you become easily frustrated, or short tempered while or after being around them.
You feel that your boundaries aren’t honored.
You don’t feel comfortable being yourself around this person.
You’re in a different season of your life. As our priorities and interests shift, our people may shift as well. If you are really into plants, you may want to be around a bunch of plant people. Likewise, if all your friends are going through a divorce and you’re trying to figure out how to make your marriage work, you may not want to be in that space. It’s ok to center your needs and take a pause.
Once we have decided to take a break, should we tell the person? Well, it depends on your intention. In our attempts to manage situations we can damage them. If you tell someone “I need to take a break from you,” how do you think they will receive it? Will it be helpful, or might they rather you just take the space you need?
Keep in mind that you are taking the break for you. It’s not about the other person. The issue that is causing you to want to take a break from them may not be a problem for others. It’s something you have to work through, and pausing allows you that time and space.
In True Story, starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, there is a dynamic where a character has to leave a relationship that is very unhealthy. The series explores the need to shift your relationships as you shift where you are in life. Watch True Story on Netflix.
What friendships have you stepped away from and come back to? How were you able to restore the relationship? How did the relationship evolve?
What relationships do you feel you may need space from and or need to revisit again in the future? How could you reimagine those relationships going forward?
I hope you’re enjoying the Nedra Nuggets newsletter! Please share in the comments how this article resonated with you.