In my experience close to 50% of relationships start in a very casual sort of way.  For all of the talk of people having checklists and unreasonably high standards most people don’t acknowledge that a vast percentage of the dating pool is not really like that.  Most people don’t plan out their meals for the day, what they are going to wear in the morning until they get up or how they are going to pay some of their bills from month to month.  Essentially everyone is not some sort of anal, intense planner.  A lot of people just date whomever based on who they run into that day.  Who comes up to them.  Who they think is cute.  Who they have fun with.  And that’s it……  The drawback to that at times can be having this boulder of reality fall on you a year into what has become a serious relationship.  Having to decide if someone fits into the list of things that you just didn’t really care about too much on the front end.  And as you start to look at a couple of things that are glaring deficiencies for a serious companion that are not really relevant as a person you are dating, you start to realize……….Oh Shit……  what the hell have I been doing for the past year of my life?

It can be a really scary moment when you have doubts or reservations about a relationship.  It can be stressful.  Smothering.  And build within you the sort of anxiety that will send you to an early grave.  But it also makes you take a serious look at your life.  And about your future.  And whether or not you want this person to be a part of it.  But how do you do that and still look that person in the face?  How can you balance being in a relationship and evaluating that relationship at the same time?  It’s sort of like trying to give an employee evaluation to your best friend.  I once wrote in one of my blogs that if someone cannot make up their mind about whether or not they want to be with you, that they should make that decision on their own without the comfort of having you to warm their bed at night.  Because that would not make them come to the decision any sooner or with any greater clarity.  I meant that and I still believe that.  But that would almost lend itself to “taking a break”, which I am adamantly opposed to.  Space I can do.  Maybe we shouldn’t spend the night together for a while.  Or maybe I should stop blowing your phone up on the regular multiple times a day.  Or maybe we should stop carpooling to and from work.  Just do whatever it takes so that we are not on top of each other all the time.  Those are things I can do.  But breaks??!!  Nah Chief!  Either we work this out or we don’t.  No Breaks.  Yes to Space but No to Breaks! 

You see, in my small mind I see breaks as something that does not coincide with working on issues or problems that a couple may have.  I see it as leaving to much of a gap emotionally that can easily be filled by other things or other people if not defined on the front end.  And truthfully I have rarely heard of people taking breaks that are well-defined anyway.  A lot of times one person wants the break and the other person goes along just to not appear like the weaker or more fragile of the pair.  Or they are at that moment, fearful that the relationship is at such a teetering point that to protest my be the straw that breaks the camels back.  And what I can certainly attest too is that when you do not define the parameters of relationships or the break-ups that come from them, you end up in all sorts of weird places with things happening that you would have never really intended or anticipated.  A break to me might be that we won’t speak for a month, while a break for her might mean that she can finally get a crack at that guy from work who is always flirting with her.

But recently, in talking with a friend I have come to accept or at least better comprehend the purpose of a break.  I still don’t want one for any relationship I am in but….I get it.  She is dating someone who she is really, really respectful of and truly happy to have in her life.  Loves him to death, as she alwasy says.  But she is having the sort of reservations that are not singularly answered by a little reflection.  She feels like she has to know for certain that some of the flaws that she may see in him are things that she can swallow for the rest of her life.  And I can understand that.  I am the type of person that if I make a decision to be accepting of something that I do not like in a relationship, then I just go all in.  I resign myself to not bringing it up as a point to harp on for the rest of my life.  I don’t throw it in a woman’s face.  I may try to address it in a manner that let’s her know that I want her to do something different.  But I do not mandate that she change or throw in her face that I am making a huge sacrifice to put up with her shortcomings.  Which for some of us could be something as serious and not sharing the same moral view about abortion or something as frivolous as someone who does not believe in making their bed in the morning.  Whatever it is, if I decide to accept it, that is an internal thing that I handle myself.  But of course I am HARD like that!  (On the low I am an extreme tough guy!  But I am sure that you all knew that already based on my writings about dating, emotional distress and how much I love my grandmother.)  But I understand how difficult a task that is for some people.  Some people have a hard time not correcting people’s poor grammar in passing with people who they sit next to on the train.  So the thought of having to just be totally accepting of someone else’s insecurities, uncertainties or even deficiencies for the rest of your life can be more daunting than what some people are capable of dealing with.  Now that is not necessarily a cool way to comport yourself.  Always feeling like you have to tell someone how much you do not like something that they are doing.  But some people are just that way.  And those people feel tortured when they cannot talk about it.  And instead of being this person that is bottled up with all of these reservations that will lead to resentment, heart ache, disappointment, heart-disease, hypertension, high-blood pressure, diabetes, whooping-cough, rectal itchiness…..  (Wait!  Nevermind those last few.  I got carried way while watching this drug commercial.)  Maybe a “Break” is a not so horrible thing for her.  Or for anyone struggling to feel more certain about the person they love.  But on this break I think you have to be proactive about what you really want to find out.  You cannot just sit at home and get lonely in a couple of weeks and go back to someone and have the same issues.  It would seem appropriate to me that if you are going to take a break to soul search about your uncertainty that you would need to get out and go out with someone else.  See how the vibe is.  See if what you are yearning for exists in someone else.  See if you had what you were looking for all along. 

It is not the end of the world I suppose to take a break.  It does not have to mean that the person you are with is not a great person for you.  I have never believed that there is only ONE great match for you in the universe.  I believe that the special connection can exist in many people.  And in that pool of compatible people who are destined to pass through your life, you just have to make a good decision on which one is the BEST for you.  So taking a step away in a break allows people, I suppose, to just see if there is an “easier” circumstance out there for you.  Allowing you to discern whether or not the person you are madly in love with, holding unresolved reservations, is really the most comfortable partner. 

But as with all “breaks“, you run that fatal risk.  The risk of while, you go on a soul-searching expedition to see whether or not this is truly the person for you, that the door for a return may not be open when you finally find your answer.

What do you think about Breaks in relationships?