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Too much togetherness can kill any relationship. Falling into a predictable pattern, especially when you’re not ready for it, can be the kiss of death. What if you need a change? It can be actually advantageous for a couple to take a breather without ending the relationship. Far from ending the relationship, time apart can actually heal a conflict or help both parties start fresh. Check out these four ways to take a relationship break and not break up!

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Say what you mean, mean what you say, but do not say it mean. Commit to an honest and kind conversation. You have to be prepared for your partner to get upset, but it’s important to maintain your composure and reassure her that you’re not asking for a permanent break. Try phrases like “I know this is hard for you, and trust me, it’s hard for me, too. But I think this is something we both need.” A frank, sensitive discussion lets both partners know what is happening. Ignorance is not bliss. Get the difficult topic of a temporary separation out in the open, because harboring these feelings without expressing them can only lead to trouble.

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Get clear on why you need to take a break and for how long. Do you need to spend alone time? Do you need to date out? Are you contemplating making a deeper decision about your girlfriend. Maybe you have been thinking about getting married and want to meditate on whether it’s the right choice. Set a date with yourself on when you will return. Be honest with your  girlfriend about the amount of time you require for your break. Keep in mind an open-ended return date is just giving yourself permission to remain vague. Be firm.

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Reassure your girlfriend that you are committed to the relationship. Again,communication is king! Explain to your girlfriend that while you need time alone, you are committed to her and the relationship. If it works for you both to agree you won’t date out, then do that. Maybe it also means not only keeping sexual fidelity, but a promise of emotional fidelity. If it works for you to set a finite date when the break is over then do that. Don’t be afraid to take her picture with you, or give her a call  or text if you are capable of being separated while keeping connection.

 

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Find an activity to keep you preoccupied. Figure out if you need an entirely different atmosphere or merely a temporary separate living space. Go on an extended solo vacation. Book a trip to an outdoor adventurer’s expedition, or just take up an interesting hobby or two. Chances are, you’ll still be thinking of your significant other, so in order to keep your mind on the task at hand, you’ll need to diversify your habits. You have to use this time to find new interests in order to decide if this relationship is really the one for you!