Ask Marwa: Healthy break or Healthy Breakup?

Date posted: July 8, 2014


Published in Identity Magazine – July 2014

Hello! I've been dating this amazing guy for 3 years now, and we've been through it all. Everyone around us know how perfect we are for each other and so do we. As much as we love each other, somehow the spark and chemistry were fading the past couple of months… I kept getting the feeling that he was no longer interested in me, and apparently he felt the same. He can see it in the way i talk to him, and i can see it in the way he looks at me. We've been through some similar phases where we both get bored and we think it's normal. But this time it's different. Maybe because we both knew a serious step had to be taken soon. Anyway, we talked and decided to take a healthy break to get back our old selves. It's the first time that i take a break from a relationship so I'm a bit confused. Is this the right decision? Or should we have tried together? Should we ask about each other? Or should i disappear? How long should it take? And how will it end?


Dear Healthy Break Seeker

There is a rule of thumb that I would like to start my reply to you by highlighting:

"If it does not feel right, then it is not healthy!"

Any relationship has its ups and downs and has its peaks and declines. Our feelings towards anything go through what looks like a wave; heights of happiness and plunges of uncertainty. After three years, you too should be at a certain point of security and certainty that does not generate any feelings of discomfort of awkwardness.

The sparks and fireworks of the peaks turn into comfort and companionship during the plunges. It is unrealistic to expect your relationship to sustain the same intensity and passion over the years and I hope that your "healthy break" does not end up into a breakup.

The healthy break does not involve disappearing or any other forms of manipulation and pressure. It also does not have an ultimatum feel to it, whereby it has a beginning and a deadline. A healthy break involves breaking away from your habitual relationship rituals and exploring new activities that accommodate the new phase of your relationship.

You could explore together or separately but you still need to share your experiences together. You could both go on a fishing trip for example, or each of you could do something on his own, but you must maintain the bond and commitment or this break will just be an excuse to explore another partner – even as a fling!

If you, or your boyfriend, are not ready for taking your relationship a step further, then talk about it openly and clearly; you owe it to one another to be honest and clear about your expectations as well as your fears and troubles. At the end of your discussion, you will both decide if you are heading together towards the same destination or if you will both go your separate ways.

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