Sly Signs That Taking A Relationship Break Won't Work For You

Sometimes couples reach a point in their relationship where it's just not working anymore. There are issues that can't be resolved, toxic tendencies, patterns that can't be broken, and a lot of questions surrounding a future together. In some cases, couples see these things as reasons to break up, while others see these as reasons to take a break, regroup, and come back to the relationship later.

"Breaks can be for the purpose of reflection and reconfiguration, or time devoted to personal development," relationship expert Susan Winter told Bustle. "Time apart from each other can be a positive thing if the relationship is healthy and not suffering from ongoing, unresolved issues. Coming back into each other's arms after structured 'me time' apart can reignite a stagnant romance."

But, as Winter points out, these breaks only work when the relationship is strong enough to handle them. In other words, just because you take a break it doesn't mean your relationship will be saved. Sometimes the relationship is over and the two people in it take a break as a means to putting off the inevitable: a breakup. However, whether or not you want to acknowledge it, the signs that a relationship break won't work for you are always there.

There are still unresolved issues

No relationship is without its issues. It doesn't matter how big or small, you can't escape the curve balls that can come crashing toward your relationship, potentially throwing everything off course. When this happens, you need to approach the issues head-on and work to resolve them. You simply can't take a break and assume that space and time will remedy the problems.

"Taking a break does not help heal the wounds," research psychologist and psychoanalytic therapist Frieda Birnbaum, Ph.D. told Shape. "Results can be temporary, but the root cause still exists." This is especially the case if you tried to rebuild trust, but these issues — whether from infidelity or other betrayals — continue to linger.

"[When there are trust issues] having confidence that the other person is going to do the thing that you want them to do rather than do the thing that you fear, whatever that fear might be, is really omnipresent and hangs over the relationship often like a cloud to a certain degree," sociologist Jess Carbino, Ph.D. told Well+ Good. And, sadly, the cloud isn't going anywhere just because you took a break. Even if it seems like a distant memory when the break is over and you're back together, its absence is only temporary.

You and/or your partner aren't willing to do the work

Relationships take work! This is something you've probably heard hundreds if not thousands of times. You can't just casually roll into a relationship and expect it to be all unicorns and rainbows without really getting in there and working on every facet of the partnership. Like anything, a relationship needs all its parts working. If one part breaks down, then all the rest become vulnerable until the broken part is fixed.

"Just taking time away will not make the issues and problematic dynamics in your relationship magically disappear," licensed marriage and family therapist Omar Ruiz told PsychCentral. "If [the couple] spend time away with the intention to work on themselves and come back to improve the relationship, it can be useful." Keeping a relationship as healthy and happy as possible requires not just all those parts functioning at optimal levels, but the two partners working to make sure they do every day. Relationships aren't just about check-ups and occasional tweaking. They're something that requires effort, energy, love, communication, and honesty daily — all of which takes work. 

You've already taken breaks and nothing has changed

According to a 2009 study published in Personal Relationships, two-thirds of the participants had broken up and gotten back together with their partner at some point during their relationship. As the study found, it was these couples who reported lower relationship satisfaction, more issues with communication and trust, and an overall larger number of negative experiences and factors when they got back together after a break.

"Even among those few who take a break and get back together for keeps, it's not always the case that they deeply want to be together and are using the break to repair their bond," psychotherapist Holly Parker, PhD told Glamour. "Some couples get back together not out of love, but because they're facing crucial barriers to permanently leaving." While it's understandable that there's comfort in what you already know, as well as financial stability and other components that can make a breakup seem scary, that doesn't change the fact that some relationships just can't get to a healthy enough place so they can evolve. If you've taken a break(s) before and it didn't change anything, you can't expect it to be any different this time around.

Your and/or your partner just want to break up

For some couples, taking a relationship break is just a way to avoid a breakup which, of course, is never a good idea. It's just prolonging the pain, drama, unhealthy behaviors, toxic patterns, and everything else that has brought the couple to the conclusion that they need a break. Deep down they know they need to — and even want to — break up, but they're not sure how to navigate that.

"When I work with a couple, the first thing I do is look each one of them in the eye and ask, 'Do you want this relationship?'" psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. told Women's Health. "They're either afraid to say they're not interested anymore because they fear a violent or angry response and they're looking to me for safety, or they're afraid to hurt the partner's feelings, and they want me to make it easy."

Although it's nice that both parties in a couple may not want to hurt each other, if the feelings to move on are present in either of you, a break won't save the relationship. You can take as many breaks as you want, but if the desire to be in the relationship is gone, then everything that should be occurring during the break isn't happening. There's no growth, no work on oneself in the interest of the relationship, and no plans for the future. Without these elements, a break is useless. All that remains is cutting your losses, savoring the memories, and moving forward with the rest of your life. Not everything is meant to last and that's okay.