What I Learned When I Took a Break with my Boyfriend

I’ve always heard the phrase “a break means break up.” And I’ve always thought it was true. Why would I want to be in a perpetual cold war with my boyfriend when I could choose to start over (with or without him)? But I realized making that choice isn’t as easy as it sounds. After weeks of fighting, I felt backed into a corner, hesitant to decide between the two sides of the spectrum. I needed time to recollect and think about what I really wanted, instead of making a decision and feeling regretful of it.

I suggested a week long break and he agreed; we parted ways amicably and I was confident I’d make the right choice by the end of it. The first two days were just what I’d imagined--lots of going back and forth in my mind. I didn’t feel happy, but I wasn’t sad either-- I didn’t miss him, yet. I updated and talked to all my friends about my situation, and got varying responses. I watched countless videos of YouTubers documenting their break up story, hoping to find a sign to spark that revelation I was so determined to find. But no matter what I heard from other people, I couldn’t decide what I wanted.

By day three, I was just constantly looking for signs to point me in the right direction. It was supposed to be our 10 month anniversary, so I told myself that if he still did something to celebrate it, then it would be worth it to try. When I got home that day, I saw that he had dropped off flowers! I was ecstatic, and texted him right away, having made up my mind. He replied that he needed another 2 days to think. I was crushed-- failing to recognize that the break was mutual, and not just a time for me to think, but him too.

For the remainder of the week, all I could think about was how I regretted the break—because the time it took for me to realize I wanted to stay together was the time it took for him to realize he didn’t. When we finally talked at the end of the seven days, I realized how much I missed and took him for granted; I kept asking everyone else what decision to make when I knew in my heart what I wanted. I was so infatuated with the idea of “taking a break” that I forgot to reflect within myself, until I realized what I was losing. Fortunately, my boyfriend’s self-reflection didn’t lead to him wanting to break up, and we ended up talking it out.

The lesson here is not that a break means breaking up, but that it could mean it. A break is time to focus on yourself and do some soul searching. If you both come to terms that you’re better off being single, then that’s great. But sometimes, you never realize how much someone means to you until you get a taste of losing them.

Image via markmanson.net