Two to Tango: Should a couple take occasional breaks from each other?

Therapists say that when a couple is facing problems dealing with a particular situation, and being together does not help, then a break is not only desirable but necessary.

Written by Amrita Sharma | New Delhi | Published:March 21, 2016 4:19 pm
ross break 22tango_759 Counsellors say it’s best to be open about the need for a break and to convey it in full honesty to the partner. (Source: Screenshot)

It’s very common for people to move from “I” to “we”, “mine” to “ours” and “me” to “us” when they become a couple.

It is also expected that they will do everything together – be it watching TV, going to the gym, shopping, socialising and even being on social media together. But in every relationship comes a time when couples need some space from each other, when they feel they need some “me” time or even some time away from the spouse with their own set of friends or family.

But many couples feel uncomfortable with the feeling that they are seeking a break.

According to counsellors, it is perfectly natural and sometimes even healthy, provided it is taken in the right perspective by both the partners. Take the case of Shoma and Prasanjit. When Shoma lost her child to an illness, she found herself feeling depressed most of the time. While Prasanjit was always with her, she had this strong need to be alone. But she was not sure about how to convey it to her husband. “I just wanted to be with myself and whenever Pasanjit would come and try and console me I would feel doubly depressed. I appreciated how he was trying to be of help but I wanted to tell him that I needed to be away – from him, from the house, from all that was familiar, in order to get my bearing back. But I was afraid he would be hurt if I told him I did not want to be around him for some time,” she said.

Counsellors say it’s best to be open about the need for a break and to convey it in full honesty to the partner. According to them, if the partner loves you, he/she may not agree with you, but they would understand where it’s coming from. “I really felt that she should be here with me so that we could both ride out this difficult time together. But I also saw how irritable she was and how nothing made her happy. So I went along with her desire of going away for some time for her peace of mind,” said Prasanjit.

Therapists say that when a couple is facing problems dealing with a particular situation, and being together does not help, then a break is not only desirable but necessary. There are even times when taking a break from each other helps the couple see things and even one another in different light. Take the case of Raman and Mina. When the two got married there were many things they were not aware they would be dealing with – housework, finances, families and even socialising.

Within a short span of time, they started having fights over who was doing more of housework, who was paying for what, whose family members visited more often and even whose guests wasted more time. When things got too much, Mina decided to take up an assignment in another city for six months. “I felt it would be good to get away from the usual fights we had. I was almost looking forward to the break from Raman, from the house issues and the family members,” said Mina, and Raman echoed similar sentiment.

Read all the Two to Tango columns here.

But after a few months, they both realised that things were not the same without each other. “What I felt was that Mina was not wrong when she got irritated at having to come home and then take care of the food while I watched TV. I realized that she must have been tired too after a long day,” he says. Similarly, Mina realised that she was also not “always in the right” as she thought.

“I realised that I would dump all the stuff about paying the bills, submitting them and running to the grocery store for everything, even on Sundays. Now that I was alone I realized that he also must have found it quite annoying,” she adds.

Counsellors say that sometimes spending some time apart can help put things in a different perspective, which can provide couples with more clarity. It also helps them to understand each other’s points of views, their frustrations and reflect on their stance and positions.

That’s why experts say, not all breaks are ominous. Some work as a breather for the couples, who need to step back once in a while in order to start afresh. It serves the same purpose as a vacation does in our life, where one takes a break only to return to the married life with new vigour, better understanding and a realization of what being together means to you and your partner.

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