Love & Relationships

What Is the Difference Between a Break and a Break up in a Relationship?

Jasmine Kamal
8/5/21, 12:00 AM

We hear a lot of couples these days say, "Oh no, we're just on a break," and this makes you wonder, "break or break up?" It's not surprising, but most of us are puzzled by this question because we don't know the difference between the two, which is what ends most romantic relationships. In my opinion, the fifteenth episode of the third season of the popular television show Friends, "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break," best expressed this. The conflict begins when one of the parties in the relationship is unaware of the term "break" and believes they are free to start dating other people. The next morning in this episode, the events escalate because they were both not on the same page; she felt betrayed, but he saw that he had done nothing wrong. And that is a common mistake we see in romantic relationships, and it is because most of us do not understand what a break is and what happens during it.

As a result, I felt it was necessary to discuss the difference between a break and a breakup in relationships, as well as the conditions for taking a break or breaking up from a relationship.

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What does it mean to take a break in a relationship?

A break in a relationship is basically a pause in communication with your partner. It is time for you to consider where you want to go with this relationship. The fundamental rules of a relationship are not changed during this stage. It's basically taking some space from one another to just sit and calm down, so you can hopefully tackle the problem with a clear mind. 

For example, if you are married or engaged, you will remain so and nothing will change. The only difference is that you won't see the other person for an agreed period. Everyone is given time to consider whether or not the relationship will last. You are still partners in a relationship, but with limited communication until the agreed period ends.

What happens when this break is over?

As mentioned earlier, this break is for you to reflect on what you want from this relationship or what you are willing to accept from your partner. So, after the "break," you talk with your partner, and you have two options: continue as if nothing has happened and talk about the things you want to change, or, the sad part that we try to avoid, break up.

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So, what exactly is the difference between a break and a breakup in a relationship?

When you and your partner agree that it is best for you both to break up, it means that things have ended and it is not the end where you try to fix things. It is the end where you close a chapter and start a new chapter. There is usually something clear and distinct, like divorce papers to finalize your breakup. You can do whatever you want without getting back to them to ask for their opinion. You can still stay in touch with them if you believe it is healthy for you, but without any romantic feelings, as "Friends."

Are there any rules for taking a break from a romantic relationship?

A break does not imply complete freedom or the beginning of a new chapter in your life; rather, it indicates that you are still in a relationship with your partner, but are taking a break from each other, such as not talking or seeing each other for a week. Of course, there are a few rules that you should discuss with your partner and agree on so that you are both on the same page.

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It's normal to want a break. Talk to your partner about it.

The decision of taking a break in a relationship is a big one, and it can't be made in the middle of a fight; you need to think about it and sit down with your partner to talk about it. And it's best to do it in person rather than over the phone or text message to avoid any miscommunication, as the other person may believe it's an actual breakup.

Explain why you believe taking a break is the best option for you and your partner right now.

A break from the relationship can sometimes be very helpful for your relationships. Whether it's a lot of fighting, a lack of excitement in your relationship, or you're going through a difficult time and want to be alone for a while, Whatever the reason, you must first determine it and then sit down with your partner and explain it to them so that they are fully aware of the reasons for which you really want a break or break.

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A set period of time for taking a break from a romantic relationship.

A break must be for a specific amount of time. It is not fair to abandon your partner for a month or even a year until you decide you want to return; this is unfair to both of you. As a result, you should sit down with your partner and agree on a specific time frame that works for you and your needs for this break. When the break is over, talk with each other on the things you discovered during this time.

Set some rules and red lines

You should both be very clear with each other and understand that a break does not imply complete freedom. Neither of you can date other people, agree to an overseas job offer, or sell your own property or make other decisions. If a critical decision must be made right away, one of you should communicate with the other immediately and not act alone.

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Be honest and clear

One of the most important rules of breakup in a relationship is to be honest and clear after this period is over. Did you miss each other a lot or not at all? Did you enjoy your time alone? Do you believe that life between you is impossible, or do you believe that there are some issues that can be resolved in the relationship? As well as other things. You should be open and honest with each other about what you discovered during this time. Consider going to therapy or couples counseling to better your relationship. 

Main Image credits: Friends 


L.O.V.E, a four letter word with so much more behind it. Explore it all in our Love & Relationships section.


Jasmine Kamal

Writing has always been my primary means of self-expression, allowing me to convey my dreams and pains with heartfelt sincerity. From a young age, I developed a deep love for the written word, and I n...

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