“On A Break”: The Real Meaning

'We were on a break!'

Breaking up with someone can sometimes be an easy process, but more often than not, it’s emotionally draining. Many people stay in unhealthy relationships for far longer than they’d like to simply because they’re too scared to bite the bullet, or because they’re scared that the grass might not be greener on the other side.

But a relationship trend that should have been left behind long ago that seems to be making a return in 2020 (at least for one portion of the population) is the ultra-public ‘relationship break’.

Let’s be clear: we don’t have an issue with people taking a ‘break’. If taking some time away from your partner is something you feel you should do, great! We’re all for healthy relationships, communication and problem solving.

We’ll leave the whole ‘the real reason behind any relationship break, no matter how sophisticated you say your reasons are, boils down to wanting to sleep with other people’ debate for another time…

What we truly think is insincere (or, at least, bizarre), is the overly workshopped, too-obviously rehearsed relationship break that celebrities and influencers have taken to spouting in 2020.

For example, an Australian influencer couple earlier this month went through a highly orchestrated breakup on social media. In the same week, both went from posting about how much they love each other to simultaneously sharing a single script announcing their split.

“It is with the heaviest heart that we want to let everyone know that we have decided to take time apart in order to give each other space and time to fully focus on our own paths. We both love each other deeply & only want the best for each other & both want the ultimate happiness for each other and hopefully our paths will reconnect again soon. We’ve decided to be open with this so there’s no speculation and so we expect love, respect & kindness in return.”

Most commenters had nothing but support for the couple, but many were also very sceptical.

“So what was 4 days ago about,” one commenter asked.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lalalaletmeexplain (@lalalaletmeexplain) on

Let’s be clear: we don’t want to speculate on their relationship. If they need to take a break, who are we to interrogate their intentions? It’s also a challenge being in the public eye, where you often forfeit the right to privacy – we can understand why you’d want to get ahead of the headlines and set the record straight (in some ways this just proves how sad we all are with gossip).

But we can’t help but think that this sort of thing can do more harm than good. Despite their intentions, it can’t help but come off a little fake: isn’t this all just a nice way of saying y’all got bored?

In short? There’s nothing wrong with ‘taking a break’ but, in our eyes, chucking out a PR announcement is counterproductive.

We blame David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston. Ross and Rachael’s ‘we were on a break’ plotline on 90s sitcom FRIENDS has done more to damage modern relationships than just about any other piece of modern media.

Ross and Rachael provided the template for the relationship break, but the template was a flawed one (or perhaps just a rather prescient one): the two made a big deal out of going on a break, but then scored points off each other by sleeping around and changing the terms of their relationship break when it suited them.

Like with anything, being classy pays dividends. Rather than announcing your break to the world (which also acts as a clarion call to say ‘look at me, I’m single’), keep things on the down-low. Even celebrities don’t owe the world a look into their relationships.

And be consistent. Don’t use a relationship break as an excuse to sleep around (unless that’s what you both discussed). Either have the cojones to break up with someone properly, or just put up and shut up. Preferably the latter.

Read Next