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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

3 Ways To Communicate Your Boundaries When Your Relationship Is On A “Break”

Testing the waves of a relationship break can be especially tricky during summer break: when college life turns into a whirlwind of sun-soaked adventures, new experiences, and the sweet promise of freedom. But even with all the fun in the sun, it’s crucial to set your boundaries straight in a relationship… especially if you and your partner agreed to “take a break” during the summer.

As the summer heat blazes on, so do the intensity and dynamics of relationships. Summer break offers us the perfect chance to step back, breathe, and reflect on where we stand in our relationships. The season isn’t just about soaking up the sun — it’s a great time and opportunity for self-discovery and reevaluating what you want and need most from your connections. So, whether you’re embarking on solo escapades or navigating the complexities of a ‘break,’ one thing remains paramount: transparency and respect.

Summer break can be a time of excitement and exploration where you can maintain clear and respectful communication. Luckily for you, relationship experts are like lifeguards, ready to help guide you in your summer of self-love. To ensure that your summer is both enjoyable and respectful of your needs and your relationship’s dynamics, I spoke to Relationship Coach Silvy Khoucasian about how to communicate boundaries when your relationship is on a “break.”

Define Your “Break” Rules.

First off, clarity is your sunscreen — essential and protective. Before diving headfirst into beach parties and late-night bonfires, have a heart-to-heart with your partner about what this ‘break’ means to both of you. Are you free to date others, or is this a solo journey for personal growth? Establishing clear terms can prevent those pesky sunburns of misunderstanding and ensure you’re both riding the same wave. Think of it as setting the rules for your summer escapade.

The word “break” can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a summer break or a break in a relationship, it can be a totally different experience. “A lot of times, people want to take a break when the relationship gets hard or they don’t know how to navigate conflict,” Khoucasian tells Her Campus. “So rather than getting professional support, they may lean on taking a break as a way to avoid working through relationship issues.”

For some, it’s a complete pause with zero contact, while for others, a break might mean taking a step back but still staying in touch. Khoucasian also wants to acknowledge that clarifying whether dating others will be accepted during the break or not is a must-have conversation.

“The most important element of the break is really getting clear on what the intention of the break is,” says Khoucasian. “There has to be a necessary reason to take a break that makes sense for everyone.” So, sit down with your partner (over coffee or FaceTime) and hash out exactly what this break entails. Is it okay to date other people? How often will you check in? The clearer you are, the less drama down the road.

Stay True to Yourself.

This break is your golden hour and time to shine, both for yourself and for your relationship. According to Khoucasian, “It’s rare that both people are on the same page. With that said, you can still create healthy agreements and boundaries if you are willing to go on this break with your partner.”

Ask yourself what you need right now. Maybe it’s some space to dive into your studies, reconnect with friends, or finally binge-watch that series you’ve been dying to see. Speak up for what you need with confidence and kindness. Saying, “I need some time to focus on me,” is a strong and empowering way to set your boundaries.

Another self-care solution is to exercise the ex away. “Working out regularly [helps] you release stress and cortisol from your body as much as possible,” Khoucasian says. “Breaks can be really stressful as we are attached and bonded to partners, and losing access to that can feel very painful.”

Respect and Communicate Your Feelings.

Khoucasian emphasizes how essential it is to define what the communication will look like during the break ahead of time. “Will you speak once a week? Via phone or text? How long will the break be?” she says. “I strongly suggest the length of time be defined ahead of time as well.”

If your ex keeps sending you memes and it’s messing with your head, it’s totally fine to speak up. “Even if one of you might need more time at that point, it’s still helpful for the brain to have a time frame ahead of time to come back and check in with each other,” explains Khoucasian. Try saying, “I need some space to sort out my feelings. Can we limit our contact for a bit?” Setting boundaries isn’t about shutting people out — it’s about making room for both of you to grow.

Stay off of socials.

Ah, social media — the ultimate vibe checker, am I right? It’s where we come together to define what’s hot and what’s not. We’ve all been there, deciding whether to keep scrolling or hit that unfollow button for a while to resist the temptation of getting too wrapped up in each other’s lives. “Social media can show a deeply distorted and limited view of a person’s life experience,” Khoucasian says. “People tend to showcase their highlight reel rather than their challenges and vulnerabilities.” 

And trust me, not seeing that tagged photo from last night’s party can save a lot of unnecessary heartache. “Limit and/or avoid looking at one another’s social media profiles during this time,” Khoucasian says. “So you can spend your time going inward and reflecting on your own process as much as possible.”

Lean on Your Support System

“Having a few people to talk to can help you process your feelings,” explains Khoucasian. Think of your friends as the sunshine on a summer day, guiding you through the warmth of life’s twists and turns. They’re your companions on this journey, cheering you on and lifting you up when you need it most. 

And remember, professional insights can be like a refreshing breeze, offering clarity and perspective when you least expect it. “I suggest working with a professional as well since they will have an unbiased perspective on the situation that can help you process your feelings and look at the situation with honesty,” Khoucasian says. So, embrace the beauty of these summer moments with your friends, for they’re the true besties that make your path brighter.

Navigating your break boundaries during summer break can be as refreshing as diving into a pool on a scorching summer day. By being clear, honest, and true to yourself, you can make this break a positive step forward, whether it leads to a reunion or a fresh start to your summer.

Lily Brown

Emerson '25

Lily Brown is the Wellness Intern for Her Campus Media. She writes for the Culture, Style, and Wellness verticals on the site, including Beauty, Decor, Digital, Entertainment, Experiences, Fashion, Mental Health, and Sex + Relationships coverage. Beyond Her Campus, Lily is a rising senior at Emerson College in Boston, MA, majoring in Journalism with a Publishing minor. She works as the Creative Director for the on-campus lifestyle publication, Your Magazine, where she establishes and curates the conceptual design and content for the entire publication ranging from style, romance, music, pop culture, personal identity, and college experiences. She has written and photographed for Your Mag along with several other on-campus magazines. Lily was recently recognized for her work on YM and awarded two EVVYs for Outstanding Print Publication. In her free time, Lily maybe spends a little too much time keeping a close eye on captivating red carpet and runway fashion, and binge-watching her favorite shows. She also enjoys expressing her thoughts through creative writing, exploring new destinations, and blasting ABBA, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, and Lady Gaga on Spotify. Additionally, she actively contributes to fostering a sense of community among college residents as a dedicated Residential Assistant.