“We were on a break!” –Ross Geller
No chance you haven’t heard that quote. Friends, Season 3, Episode 15. It is the most honest and accurate representation of a couple “taking a break;” but what does that even mean, anyway?
In this episode, Ross and Rachel decide to “go on a break” instead of celebrate their anniversary. Rachel ends up making Ross think she’s sleeping with Mark, and Ross winds up actually sleeping with the copy-girl Chloe. I see no happy endings, here.
Have you ever heard of a couple “taking a break” and things working out in the end? Because I haven’t. And to be honest, I would love some hard evidence to disprove my opinion on this matter.
Breaks. Aren’t. Real. If you need a “break” from your significant other, you need to break up. Please don’t get me wrong: time spent apart is normal. Hours or a day or so where you aren’t in constant communication is normal. Annoyed at your girlfriend and need some time off to chill? Totally fine. But days or weeks where you pretend the other person doesn’t exist and never did? Not so fine.
Our generation doesn’t like to break up. Actually, we don’t even like to really date, let alone have to end a relationship. We hook up. We Bumble. We Tinder. We barely scrape the surface of human interaction. We constantly right swipe and black out just to have a one night stand and laugh about our sloppy-ass behavior in our group chat the next day. And we’re still unhappy.
This is why we prefer to ghost. We like to disappear. We would rather drop off the face of the earth than engage in a confrontation that involves telling another person, “Sorry, but I don’t see this going anywhere.”
How do we solve this problem? Great question. I don’t know the answer to that one. But I’ll tell you how we don’t solve this problem…by “taking a break.”
When I think of taking a break, I imagine a period of relaxation. Maybe a nap. A glass of wine. A hit or two of the Devil’s Lettuce, depending on your preference or current state in the Union. What I don’t think of is constant anxiety and worry. I don’t think of biting my fingernails down to the quick wondering what my relationship will look like after said “break” is over. My version of taking a break doesn’t involve me skipping meals because the pit in my stomach won’t allow me to eat.
But unfortunately for us, “breaks” have become yet another part of the status quo, along with right swipes and DM slides. Not sure if you want to be single again or want to continue dating the person you’ve been with for a while? No worries, you don’t have to cheat. That is an archaic belief, though still widely practiced amongst many cultures. Instead, you can just claim the need for a “break” and you get off scot-free. You now have a pre-determined amount of time to decide whether you like being single or your girlfriend better.
No luck during your break? That’s totally okay! Because according to the rules of the break, if you aren’t satisfied with being single after it’s all over, you can just take your significant other back. No harm, no foul. No, no. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry. There won’t be any hostility on their end after you string them along for days or weeks! I’m sure they’ll just be grateful you decided to stay in your comfort zone by continuing to date them until you find someone else who is a better fit!
There are no breaks in relationships. That in itself is a farce.
There are hard times in relationships. There are also fun times in relationships. But there are no breaks. It is a long, continuous, experience. Sometimes filled with tears. Sometimes filled with tears from laughing too hard. But no breaks.
There are times where you may want to grab the other person by the shoulders and shake them. You may want to scream into their faces about how unreasonable they are being.
There are other times where you will want to be vulnerable and open. You may expose the ugliest parts of your character to another person in total confidence. But even amongst these moments…there are no breaks.
Breaks are a temporary fix, if you could even call it that. A band-aid over a shotgun wound, if you will. If you need a break from the person you love and care most about, a break that completely cuts them out of your life, then you don’t need a break. You need a break up..
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