Break it Down

“We were on a BREAK!” It was the cry heard around the world- famously screamed by Ross after he had cheated on Rachel during a “break” in their relationship.

But how does it actually happen in real life? Boy meets girl, they fall in love, it gets messy, and they take a break? I didn’t realise how fascinating the concept was until I started to ask friends for their opinions. A female friend of mine (who will remain un-named for my protection) thought “taking a break” was just a quick service-station stop on the long motorway to breaking up. Other people thought a break could be a good thing, providing people with space to think. Others thought a break could stop one partner from taking the other for granted, giving them time to reflect on their behaviour. Essentially, making them sit in the relationship “naughty corner” for a while.

However, there did seem to be a gender divide. Although this could be a generalisation, I’m tempted to argue that women and men have different underlying reasons for requesting a break in the relationship. With women, I get the feeling that we request breaks because we’re fed up and want to force a change. We’ve fallen into a rut. We don’t go out anymore. He’s stopped buying flowers and now openly scratches his arse in front of the telly.

So we get sick of feeling unappreciated and threaten him with a break to shock him into action. I guess we’re hoping that the end result is that he shows up at our door a changed man, looking sharp with a fresh haircut, armed with flowers and promises to change. After the break he would look all shiny and new again, and we would fall back in love. Am I the only one who thinks that’s stupid? How long would the New Him last for?

From the man’s side? I personally think that if a guy says “We should go on a break” he’s simultaneously lacing up his Nikes super-tight in preparation for running as far away as possible. Forever.

Now… I’m aware that love isn’t a slow-motion dance in a moonlit field of chocolate-covered blossoms. I know relationships aren’t easy. But I don’t understand why they should be such hard work. Granted, you have to struggle through some barriers. Personal space gets invaded. People get angry. Harsh words are exchanged. I’m sure sometimes it even turns petty and toothbrushes end up in the toilet. But the “love” part of it? Should that really be the difficult bit? Surely that should be the one constant thing, through all the hardships? If that really has faded away, you can bet your bum cheeks that taking a break isn’t going to bring it back.

I could be wrong. All I’m suggesting is that perhaps if you find yourself having that awkward conversation on the couch, maybe you don’t need to “take a break.” Maybe you need to break up.



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