Taking a Break in Your Relationship

03 Aug

The Friends Reunion special re-ignited the discussion around whether Ross and Rachel were really on a break. The key scene famously ends with Rachel saying “maybe we should take a break”, and Ross storming out without commenting. A US therapist observed there was no proper conversation between the characters, which lead to assumptions.


In this fictional on-screen relationship, many conversations were sparked amongst a generation around who was right or wrong. It of course provided all the conflict of character story arch that works perfectly for storytelling. However in the real world, if you were to predicate your break on an exchange like Ross’ and Rachel’s, you would have have completely side stepped the important and difficult conversations.

Here at Maclynn, our matchmakers anchor their matchmaking expertise on the psychology of relationships. In this respect our team makes introductions to avoid the conflict of cognitive dissonance; meaning, situations that involve conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. While it can be easy to be physically attracted to someone, attraction doesn’t hold up when your beliefs or actions in the way you live and operate don’t match with a partner.

If this happens, then “taking a break” is a way to end the relationship without accepting responsibility for what you really think, feel and believe. What you may be thinking is, “listen I find you incredibly attractive, the sex is great, but we are just so different”. Difficult conversations are an opportunity to lean into vulnerability and really find out the truth. If you can’t have the discussion now, how is being on a break going to solidify the relationship? If anything, what are the rules of play of taking a break? Have you discussed them if you plan to do it, and what does it really mean? If you are going to sleep with other people, how does that play into your trust and should you decide to become exclusive again? Have you reached the point of planning to take a break because you are angry? If so, what conversation have you not had, and will it go away through absence or just fester quietly in the background?

In some circumstances, it may make sense to take a break as a pause, not as an excuse to avoid conflict and confrontation. A long-distance relationship between countries can place excessive demands on commitment and you may need a pause to properly assess. You may wonder.. what about Prince William and Kate Middleton, didn’t they take a break? Indeed, but didn’t she need need space to contemplate quietly out of the spotlight what it would mean to live a life of service and constant international scrutiny? Under the magnifying glass, it was a life decision that required time and introspection.

So before you decide to “take a break” it’s definitely worth asking yourself the hard questions. Particularly, how is a break going to support and solidify your commitment to this person? Do you need to take space in order to process the truth of what you probably already know isn’t going to work? Deciphering between physical and mental attraction is key for longevity, as well as essential to not ending up in a relationship stained with mistrust and miscommunication.

Ultimately, you can’t get away from the truth of yourself or other people. It is better to face up to the discussion rather than use the idea of taking a break as a way to avoid heartache. Even better, date the right people whose belief system is more closely aligned with yours by working with an expert matchmaker on our team. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more about how we can offer our expertise to guide you in the right direction.

by Gina Yannotta

Chief Operating Officer, New York City.

Gina Yannotta is Head Matchmaker & Chief Operating Officer at Maclynn International's New York office. Gina’s unyielding passion for the field, in combination with her extensive experience in matchmaking, has allowed her to orchestrate successful and everlasting relationships amongst her clients. Tasked with running the Manhattan office, Gina utilizes her interpersonal skills and relationship expertise to make a splash in the matchmaking pool, personally connecting her clients with their ultimate match while simultaneously taking advantage of the endless possibilities that NYC offers to its client-base.More by this author