There is no singular right answer to how to reconnect after a relationship break. It doesn’t matter if the break was consensual, it will still be a little awkward when you start seeing each other again. Consider this an opportunity to give the relationship a fresh start by letting go of all the past fights, conflicts, and misunderstandings.
To help you understand how relationship break works and how to reconnect after one, we reached out to Joie Bose, who specializes in counseling people dealing with abusive marriages, breakups, and extramarital affairs. She says, “Sometimes there are moments in your life when you feel like everything is getting to you and you need a break. A break from work, responsibilities, friends, family, and even romantic relationships.
“Maybe the two of you wanted to focus on your careers or focus on bettering your mental health. The reason for your breakup can be anything. What matters is how you plan on approaching this new beginning.”
What Is A Relationship Break?
In simple words, a relationship break means spending time away from your partner. It is mainly done to gain clarity regarding the relationship. A romantic relationship goes through so many ups and downs. If there are signs of emotionally exhausting relationships, a break allows you to recoup, rejuvenate, introspect, process your emotions and feelings better, and if all goes well, regroup to make a fresh start.
A relationship break doesn’t mean you stop loving the person. It serves as a means to get to the root of the issues you may have been struggling with. Maybe the two of you can’t stop fighting or you can’t look past the fact that one of you crossed a line that is a dealbreaker for the other or has unmet or mismatched expectations in the relationship. Issues like these can cause significant unrest between a couple and count as signs it’s time for taking a break in a relationship.
Speaking of relationship breaks and how they can help a couple, a Reddit user shared, “We took a break and got back together after seven months, now we are engaged. We took a break because I was overwhelmed with the idea of an LDR. We got back together and it made us stronger than ever. In those 7 months, neither of us even thought about seeing other people.”
How Long Should A Relationship Break Be?
Whether it’s to clear your head or get over your insecurities, you can take a relationship break for many reasons. But the duration of the break can’t be more than six months. Being away for six months is basically a breakup because there is a real possibility of either of you falling out of love or worse, falling in love with someone else. Six months is a long time and anything can happen during this time.
A relationship break makes you go through a flux of emotions that help you gain clarity on how sure you are about the relationship. Do you miss them? Do you want to be with them? Do you see a future with them? What are they doing right now? Do they miss you? These are some of the questions that will constantly pop into your head.
Mona, a social worker in her mid-20s says, “Sometimes taking a break helps you grow as a person rather than as one half of a romantic equation. This is especially vital when you’re both young. My partner and I took a break and now we are happily engaged. A break can help strengthen a relationship and show whether you both really loved each other and were just bad at communication or were just good for each other at that moment and that it’s time to move on.”
I didn’t know a concept like “relationship break” existed until I saw FRIENDS. It’s a never-ending debate about whether or not Ross sleeping with another woman constituted him cheating on Rachel because they were on a break. Was it? Wasn’t it? That’s a debate for some other time. For now, let’s focus on what led to the hotly debated “break”.
Rachel wanted a break because she had just started experiencing professional contentment and felt that Ross’ jealous behavior impeding her growth. That is a valid reason to take a relationship break. Some of the other signs it’s time for taking a relationship break are:
- You are finding it difficult to manage the relationship
- You and your partner don’t have enough time to spend with each other
- There are too many fights
- You need time to evaluate the relationship because you have doubts about it surviving in the long run
- Either of you has cheated
- You haven’t been happy in a while
- Your relationship is draining you out
Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good
Expert Tips — How To Reconnect After A Relationship Break
Once when I was confused about taking a break in the relationship, my dear friend Nora told me, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder but it may also make your heart wander. They might start looking for other fishes in the sea. Anything can happen. So before you let a good relationship go to waste, make sure you restart a relationship after a break at the right time. Learn how to reconnect with your spouse and strengthen the bond before it’s too late.”
I couldn’t agree with her more. If taking a break in a relationship is hard, figuring on when and how to put an end to the break and reconnect can be a far bigger challenge. To help you navigate this tricky patch, below are some of the expert-recommended tips on how to reconnect after a relationship break:
1. Have an honest conversation
Joie says, “Reconnect by having a real and honest conversation. There are ways to improve communication in relationships. Open your hearts out to one another. Tell your partner you missed them. Tell each other everything you did when the two of you were apart. Share your feelings about the break and how much you’ve grown as a person.”
To get back together after a break naturally, have a smooth conversation where nothing is forced. Don’t force them to share things they did during the relationship break. If they want to share it, they will. Don’t be overly inquisitive but let your partner know that you’re interested in listening to anything and everything they want to share.
2. Accept and take accountability for past problems
If you have decided to not speak of the past and let bygones be bygones, then good for you. But if you and your partner want to have a conversation about your past issues, make sure you don’t criticize the other person’s perspective. This is one of the best answers to the question, “How do I reconnect with my partner after time apart?” Taking accountability for your actions is one of the apology languages that keeps the relationship harmonious.
Apologize to them for causing them pain and when they apologize, don’t drag it by leveling more accusations against them. Forgive and forget. Most of us want to sweep all the problems under the carpet but that isn’t how relationships work. If you want the relationship to survive, you need to take responsibility for whatever happened that led to the break.
3. Ask open-ended questions
Joie says, “This is one of the best ways to restart a relationship after a break. Make a list of questions to ask your partner to build emotional intimacy. Ask them questions that don’t have a one-word answer. Ask them what they’ve learned about themselves in this brief period or ask them what they missed the most about you.”
The purpose of open-ended questions is to connect with each other. It allows one partner to understand the other by listening to their answers and comprehending them. If you want to know how to reconnect after a relationship break, then try asking open-ending questions such as:
- Why was the break necessary according to you?
- How has our relationship benefitted from the break?
- Do you have any different or new ways of approaching conflicts this time?
4. Spend quality time together
How to fix a relationship after taking a break? Spend quality time with them. Joie says, “It’s important to spend time together with your partner. Quality time is a love language which is very underrated but it is one of the building blocks of a healthy relationship. It becomes even more essential when the two of you have spent so much time away from each other. Watch a movie, go shopping, or just go on long walks together where you can talk about random things or discuss present and future plans.”
There are 5 types of love languages. Quality time is one of them and it is centered on the idea of giving your partner your undivided attention. No mobile phones, no office work, and definitely no scrolling on Instagram. Eye contact attraction is real. So, always make eye contact with them and flirt with your eyes. Listen to what they are saying, and just be mentally present. Some other ways you can spend quality time together are:
- Run errands together like grocery shopping or do the dishes together
- Sit down at dinner and talk about how you spent your day
- Go on a little staycation
- Watch romantic movies together
5. Cut any romantic connection you may have developed
Joie says, “This is one of the things you need to keep in mind while reconnecting with your partner after time apart. If you met someone during that period, then cease all kinds of communication with them. Don’t keep this a secret from your partner. Tell them you met someone and liked talking to them.
“You need to be honest about everything if you want the relationship to survive, otherwise the baggage of lies and mistrust will eventually take a toll on your bond. Let’s say you dated someone or just enjoy someone’s company but didn’t label the relationship because you were on a break. You don’t want to hurt your current partner by still being in touch with them.”
Related Reading: 19 Signs He Likes You But Is Afraid Of Rejection
6. Rekindle the love
Joie adds, “There are many things you can do to restart a relationship after a break. Learn how to rekindle romance and the love you shared by making romantic gestures. Start with something small. Get flowers for them. Compliment them. Flirt with them. Have good sex. Talk about what you like and don’t like in bed.
“Get small gifts. Plan dinner dates. If you can afford it, go on a vacation together and make memories. And don’t forget to set boundaries. It’s important to have boundaries in a relationship. Make sure your words and actions are aligned. If you make promises, fulfill those promises. Just words don’t hold weight. You need to act accordingly in order to add substance to those words.”
Here are some ways you can rekindle your love when reconnecting after a relationship break:
- Flirt more often
- Let your partner know you’re there for them
- Appreciate and acknowledge them with words of affirmation
- Try sexting, role-playing, and mutual masturbation to connect with your partner and rekindle your sex life
7. Be kind and put equal efforts
In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind. Both of you might have gone through a lot when you weren’t together. They might be struggling with their feelings for you or you might be having a hard time wrapping your head around the whole break and getting back together. Whatever it is, learn how to be kind.
If you want to know how to fix a relationship after a break, then make sure this time there is growth in the relationship. If something in your relationship wasn’t working out earlier, then there are chances the growth was stunted. Both the parties should put in equal efforts in the relationship for growth and sustenance.
Before you reconcile, make sure you learn how to reconnect after a relationship break. Don’t forget to validate, appreciate, and acknowledge their presence. Apologize for whatever happened and tell them they are valued.
Absolutely. A relationship can go back to normal after a break as long as you put in equal efforts, and accept and take accountability for what happened in the past. Share your feelings and be honest with them. Be consistent with them and be supportive of their dreams.