Could my relationship break be temporary and successful?
April 20, 2011 12:25 PM Subscribe
My girlfriend have decided to go 'on a break'. I'm interested in hearing about how others have fared in such an arrangement.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
We've been together just over four years, which have been amazing. We get on like a house on fire, are best friends and physically intimate, and have been operating almost since the very start on the assumption that we'd be together forever.
Therein, I think lies the problem. We got together at eighteen, and neither of us had any experience of relationships or sex. We had originally planned to delay our relationship for a while and see other people, but in the end the draw was too strong and we quickly turned into a fully fledged couple. Although we’ve never lived together (other than holidays) we’ve always spent lots of time together, and frequently spend the night together at hers or mine.
For the last few months, things had felt a little unsettled: I’m due to be taking a job internationally for about a year, and she was the subject of a serious crush by a co-worker. I think both of these things have made us (and particularly her) think more explicitly about our future and our basis. My rationale has been that we shouldn’t overthink the relationship and we’re together because we’re fundamentally happy on a day-to-day basis. It felt like we’d worked through the issues and everything was back to normal.
Yesterday though, she had a bit of a panic attack: she can’t stop thinking about the fact that we’re effectively ‘settled’, and she feels like she needs to be young and free, and that we should go on a break (we’d previously discussed this when discussing our long term future). This was obviously a shock for me, but I reacted positively and sympathetically and we had a great, long, honest conversation about it. She tells me that she doesn’t want to break up, that she loves me deeply, and that she has no desire to be emotionally/sexually involved with somebody else. I think she just needs to have the option of doing so: to feel freedom, and to assess our relationship from afar.
So we discussed specifics: a six month break, we’d talk weekly and stay honest about feelings for others, but otherwise enjoy total freedom to have a fling or a random hookup without the need to constantly inform. While I’m sad about the entire situation, I’m hopeful that we could reunite as a stronger couple in time. (I’m also very aware of the fact that there’s a significant chance of permanent break-up).
Has anybody here successfully navigated such a break? Or could there be a better solution to our issues with long-term commitment and freedom?