Does taking a break work for relationships?

Friday February 23 2018

Although when the heat is too much most couples

Although when the heat is too much most couples prefer to take some time apart to cool off, relationship counsellors advise that a break is a recipe for disaster and instead couples should look at other ways of solving their issues.  

By Christine Katende

When Carol and Peter met four years ago their relationship seemed like heaven on earth. Peter had assured never to hurt or take her through any form of misery. Little did Carol know that Peter was a wolf in sheep’s skin. He started returning home late and behaving in ways Carol could no longer find desirable. “He would return late lying that he had a lot of work and reports to deliver until a friend spotted him with a woman in one of the hangouts in Kampala,” she narrates.

If it was not for the several pictures that were sent to Carol’s phone, her husband would have denied the affair. Carol says the situation later went out of hand, that she had to ask for a non-specified break. She wanted to cool down and try to rest from the situation. The period they spent apart did not yield anything but separation as Carol could not trust her husband anymore.

Sometimes a relationship loses its spark making couples look for solutions to revive the romance. However, when immediate solutions fail, some decide to take a break from one another to give themselves room to honestly evaluate the relationship and decide if it is worth saving.

Road to destruction
Relationship experts say taking a break in a relationship is a sword, it can either slay or make it. “When a couple usually ask for space or a break, this is a clear red light screaming danger. You only ask for a break when you feel smothered, suffocated, uncomfortable, challenged and falling off track among others,” says Gloria Aketch, a relationship counsellor attached to Imani Camp.

She reveals that the time off (a break) could do a couple good, only if they stayed true to the reasons they needed the break. But if either party deviates and goes off script, the stated break may lead to a break up.
“The couple could get comfortable being apart, more free, no need to be accountable to the other, this could lead to even noticing the little flaws you had not seen in your partner before,” observes Aketch.

Be sure what you want
To Samuel A. Bakutana, a counsellor working with Inspired Leaders International, a couple needs to be wise enough to first define what “taking a break” means. “Someone may say, I feel tired or disturbed. So let me go away from this man or woman for a month and return later when my head is sober.”
According to Bakutana, this is wrong. People need to understand that you do not solve a problem by running away from it but by boldly facing it. “We need to learn that whatever we run away from shall meet us somewhere else,” he notes.

Bakutana reveals that most people, have totally lost their marriages after the so-called break. That is when the other person finds a more accommodative person and never returns to you who chose “a break”. “A break is a spicy remedy to a break up. Not many couples survive it.”
However, Aketch says taking a break calls for a lot of maturity, honesty, sincerity, trust, loyalty and above all discipline. If or when either party becomes defiant, this might not end well.

“The couple should also only do this after a series of dialogue. The communication must be good and productive and both parties must comply and agree to this arrangement. If only one party is for it and the other against, this might lead to a breakup,” she expounds.
Bakutana emphasises that, “the best way to solve marital issues is to sit down, swallow your pride, and talk about your matters with each other, not seeking to be understood but to first understand the other person.”

If this fails, he supports the couple to involve a mutually trusted third party to help make sense of the situation. “Prayer will also calm down your tempers and help you consider issues more soberly,” he says.
“Couples should only opt for a break if they are sure all other options have been tried, tasted and failed,” Aketch notes.
“You may be asking for trouble. The act of requesting for a break alone could do irreversible damage to a relationship,” she clarifies.