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Just breathe

It’s not unheard of to reach an impasse in a relationship.  You’re not moving forward or backward, or you’re simply unable to see eye-to-eye on a major issue – it make be time for some breathing space.  A break, however small, requires rules:

  1. Make sure everyone is clear on the rules!  Stay calm – this is a negotiation.
  2. Determine if this is a break or a break-up.  Don’t soft-pedal or sugar-coat the situation.  Give your partner respect and be honest, he can handle it.
  3. Decide official status.  You don’t want to tell people it’s complicated when he’s telling everyone he’s single.
  4. Make a decision on dating/sex and where the boundaries are (this is both between you two and between each of you and another person).
  5. If your situation is more complex (you’re living together or have joint finances) write out the rules regarding division of labor, money, socializing.

It’s perfectly okay to “date” your partner while you’re trying to work through your problems.  However, if your partner is booty-calling you – this is a bad sign.  If the break is merely an excuse for either of you to try out other sexual partners, you may consider redefining your relationship (if this is acceptable) or leaving it (if this isn’t acceptable).

If the relationship is committed, married, or with children, you may try finding that talking things through with a counselor or clergy to be helpful.

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