By Anna Freije
“We were on a break!”
“Or, were we?”
Many years since the TV sitcom FRIENDS brought the subject up, everyone in a relationship wonders the question at some point: Does it matter if you’re with someone else while you’re on a break with your significant other?
There are couples everywhere that at one point or another feel the need for some space and say, “I need a break from us”. You get really wrapped up in the idea of being with someone so much so that there comes a point that you lose yourself and just need a break. This brings up the question “is a break a ‘hall pass’ of sorts? Does the other one in the relationship get to do whatever they want to in that time that you’re just trying to clear your head? I took to the halls of JCCC and asked a few singles and a couple for their take on the famous “We were on a break” defense.
“When you’re on a break it’s not a free for all, do what you want type of thing. The girl or guy isn’t saying I want to see what it would be like being with someone else and they’re the ones with doubts. If the other person is there and fully in it, then they shouldn’t mess around with other people,” said Amy Johnson, a single student at the college.
Now, to most people her argument would sound completely logical. If you are the stable one but you’re the one that’s fooling around with someone else, do you really want to be in the relationship? According to our single male friend, that isn’t exactly the case.
James Gordon is a single man on campus that has had this happen to him, he told his girlfriend that he needed a break and she ran around with other guys on that break.
“It hurt. When I asked her why, she said that she thought me asking for a break was me not wanting to be with her anymore and that she wasn’t going to wait around. All I needed was some space to relax without pressure. School and work gets to people sometimes and when you add in a relationship that gets to be a lot. I lost the girl because I needed to be alone in my own head for awhile,” Gordon said.
Pretty different responses, right? The thought behind the “break” was to be a better version of himself; he had no doubts about the girl whatsoever. The first interview with Amy really made it sound like the other person was the unstable one in the relationship but was he? He wanted to clear his head; he was busy and had a lot going on. Don’t we all deserve some time to ourselves and have a break? Or are we all supposed to be alone together?
When I interviewed John Phillips and Savannah Hastings, my first thought was no. I thought they were completely acting for this interview, but after talking to them over time and seeing how they were, I realized they weren’t acting. They did have a break very early on in their relationship and neither of them messed around on the other.
“We still talked once a day or once every two days; I couldn’t not talk to him. Even when I knew I needed space in the relationship. I wouldn’t do it again (laughs) but it was definitely something we both ended up needing” Hastings said.
I found that extremely endearing that they still spoke so I asked Phillips what he had thought during that period of time that they were on a break.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it, it sucked. I hated that she needed space at first. I was miserable because I thought she just didn’t care about me. Then when I realized she was just run down and tired I knew it wasn’t me. I knew we would be okay because I knew then that I loved her enough for her to be what she needed at that point”. He had the most genuine look on his face that I couldn’t actually believe it. There was a pride in her face as well.
I guess what it boils down to with a break is if your heart is really in the relationship. I also think maybe just explaining why you need the break could help. That sounds reasonable right? If you want them to wait for you, you better tell them that you’re coming back. Give them a way to know that it’s not at all that you want to leave them, but that you need to get back to yourself for you and for them. If they don’t get it then move on. But, you might just find that one person that thinks you’re worth waiting for.
Contact Anna Frieje, reporting correspondent, firstname.lastname@example.org