In modern dating times, I have noticed an emerging trend—“the break,” a sort of relationship purgatory. There are many reasons why a couple enters this wishy-washy covenant. They may think it’s over but be too chicken/scared/whatever to admit it. Perhaps one party wants to put the other “on hold” for a time that is more convenient—and in the meanwhile use the break to hook up with whomever they please.
Some couples enter this break-y phase with an optimistic outlook. “Let’s reevaluate after the summer, 30 days (cough, after I’ve hooked up with other people and decided that I want you back).” My outlook? There’s no such thing as a break. You might as well just call it quits for real.
Exhibit A: Junior year of high school. I date a popular senior (“nickname: Balls”) who can DRIVE A CAR (a Ford station wagon!) and gets invited to COOL PARTIES. OMG, I am so cool. He has “never felt this way about someone before” (cool status rising!!). Two months in, I’m ditched. The reason—“I have wrestling season, so I’ll be busy. Can we get together again when I’m less stressed during lacrosse season?” Oh, a break!
I am so, so understanding and encouraging of his wrestling, er, career, and we agree to remain friends during the break. Until a mutual pal calls that weekend and tells me that Mr. Varsity Athlete has been spotted with a new girl at one of those cool senior parties I’ve been disinvited to. Um, why couldn’t he have just told me it was over?
Exhibit B: My once-sweet college boyfriend does a 180 and decides he cannot make the 20-minute drive to see me anymore. He says, “This is too much for me and I need a break. You’ll understand when you’re older.” He is one year and 10 months older than me, but okay. I agree to breakdom. We never go over the rules, so for me the “break” includes remaining moored in my bed and writing sad poems, and then making out with a bunch of my guy friends at bars over the course of two months.
Eventually, Old Man and I try to rekindle. When it comes up that I have kissed (hey, not had sex with!) other men, I am called a few choice words. Eventually the relationship ends. He was crazy (as shown by “older” and “20-minute driving inability” points) and it should have been over as soon as he cried “break.”
I’m no lawyer, nor do I play one on Law & Order, but I would say that all evidence shows that breaks do not work, at least for me. I’m the type who thinks that if there are problems, both parties must be honest and committed to solving the problems together. If a “break” must be granted, I think a few days of thinking instead of an undefined period should be the remedy. Case in point: my current boyfriend asked for a break once. He still loved me, but wanted to be “friends,” he said. I told him he couldn’t have both, so he ended up staying with me and we worked it out.
So, ladies, believe me from other experiences (whole ‘nother story), dragging a relationship out when you’re not emotionally “there” is exhausting and a waste of time which could be spent discovering other great people. And next time a guy offers you a “break” don’t hang on like a pathetic loser (I was one in Exhibit A and B). Tell him you’d like to tough it out together or call it quits. There are no gray areas for me. Case closed.
GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of relationship “breaks”? Have you ever taken one? Was it your choice or his? What happened? Do you think they work or not?