3 Signs To Determine If Your Relationship Needs a Break

As a younger woman, I envisioned romantic relationships filled with smiles and kisses and fueled by respect and adoration. I always believed in notions of happily ever after and life-long commitment.

While those concepts haven’t been completely dismissed, I’ve grown to understand the range of complexity living between the words along with the effort required to have a relationship go the distance. It’s never been easy – although childhood fairy tales positioned it as such. Bedtime stories omitted mentions of growing beyond communication gaps, questionable judgment, commitment phobia, and emotional immaturity.  Because the magic potion is still in development, we’ve been forced to learn by doing.

During a particularly tumultuous relationship in my late twenties, I was introduced to an important lesson:

Some relationships need an intermission while others require an ending. 

Break Up

But how do you really know whether you need an intermission or an actual ending? Let’s discuss the 3 signs your relationship could use a break…

Is It Time To Take a Time Out?

For us, a timeout would not have made much difference. We were incompatible from the start, yet hoped reality wouldn’t catch up with our disillusioned minds.

It did.

Reality gut-punched us and left our relationship on a nearby street corner. Fast forward a few years and many additional lessons. Even though the aforementioned connection wasn’t my happily ever after, it taught me how to dodge potholes and spot warning signs.

And yesterday, as a girlfriend asked if she should consider taking a break from her boyfriend, I recalled those signs and lessons before opening my mouth. Because even though every secret wasn’t revealed in a ten minute bedtime story, I’d learned enough over the years to know when it was time to take a break or time to take a bow.

Here are 3 signs your relationship could use the former.

1). Constant arguing

If ever there was a clear reason to step away from a significant other, it’s to regain a sense of peace.

Arguing ranges from squabbling over the insignificant to yelling about the unimaginable. No one wants to pick up the phone, answer the door, or sit down to dinner fully expecting a daily dose of raised voices, sarcastic overtones and rolling eyes. It’s a sign of issues that span beyond mere communication dysfunction. It reaches to the heights of past distrust, disrespect and all-out drama. When feeling stressed and overwhelmed, some people become combative and distant while others crave intimacy.

If you’re arguing nonstop, take shelter in your respective corners and do a little soul-searching. Be introspective and ask tough questions:

  • Do you believe in the long-term viability of your relationship?
  • Do the problems appear temporary or more permanent?
  • Do you feel disconnected from or smothered by your mate?
  • Are you listening during disagreements or simply trying to argue  your point?
  • What role do you play in the communication breakdown?

It may take several hours or days but eventually, you’ll gain the clarity needed to either move forward together or head in different directions.


2). Feeling depleted & drained

A healthy relationship starts with healthy people.

You can’t offer your best to another if you’re void and without. My friend’s biggest complaint was feeling tired and emotionally spent after every phone call with her boyfriend. It was so draining, she rarely had energy to do more than sit on her couch and ponder the complication that is their relationship.

When every interaction leaves you feeling like you’ve just gone toe-to-toe with a heavyweight, it’s time for a relationship pause. Often, this is a result of #1. And, if not properly addressed, will make you ‘miss’ his calls, ignore her texts and celebrate canceled dinner plans.

We all want someone that adds to our lives, not a person that depletes and depresses. It’s essential to evaluate your feelings and determine if the connection is building you up or bringing you down.


3). A wandering eye (or mind)

If you constantly allow yourself to consider straying, you most likely will.  

Relationships require work without the added issue of infidelity. While dreaming isn’t cheating, I question whether it strengthens a partnership. Most people are aware of the wandering eye but what about a disconnected mind?

I once had a relationship with so little stability, I assumed any disagreement would spark a breakup. I never allowed myself to fully invest in a future with him because I didn’t know if he was all in or halfway out.

No one wants to feel like an afterthought or a pity prize. Taking a break allows both parties to decide what they truly want before doing something that cannot be undone.


Is it time for a break or a break up? Let’s love to hear from you!

This post was written by Renita Bryant and originally shared on her Mynd Matters blog. She’s always interested in discussing love, life and everything in between! Follow her on TwitterFacebook and don’t forget to subscribe to her blog.

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About Renita Bryant
I’m a native of Fort Valley, Georgia. Since obtaining my BS & MBA, I’ve worked for some of the world’s largest companies on many of the most recognizable household brands. Although I found the work rewarding, my passion for writing compelled me to complete and publish my first novella, Yesterday Mourning, in May 2013. Since then, I’ve been living, learning, loving and writing!

I'm currently experiencing this.  It's difficult to make the decision, which is what I'm faced with.


Oh gosh love it!!!!  TEACH! TEACH!

Maureen McLaughlin Pilati
Maureen McLaughlin Pilati

Nothing easy about this.. It was necessary for us as it was a new relationship and he was still having feelings for his ex gf. Wished I would have knew sooner but things happen and we all do the best we can:-)

Sheri Fowler Grundy
Sheri Fowler Grundy

What about posting more how to save a marriage. Instead of the easy way out.

Amber RThomas
Amber RThomas

If u r yelling at each other (or one to the other) its time for a break

Patricia Anderson
Patricia Anderson

@ Nola, that is the norm with guys. I have seen 4 friends have the same things happen. I think older guys get set in their ways and believe having to compromise or believe something is too much for them to take they would rather be alone. Seems strange to us:(

Nola Baardsen
Nola Baardsen

But don't date for a year, be best of friends. Tell her you want to marry her and then a week later, send her an "it's not you it's me" email...still in utter shock :(