Quantcast

Should You Take A Break? Or Break Up For Good?

Are you saving your relationship or just prolonging the inevitable?

Dating

Taking a break. Yeah, I don't know, y'all. Don't "break babies" come out of taking breaks? OK, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. Whenever someone is dating someone else and their status update is that they are currently "taking a break", on the surface, I typically liken it to when married people separate. Although it's not nearly as serious or even consequential (a break-up is hard but ask any divorced person and they will tell you that a divorce is hard times a thousand!) oftentimes, the purpose of two spouses separating is to get some space in order to see if their marriage is still worth saving.

That's why, when I look at taking breaks in a dating relationship, I get it. Sometimes, even though you deeply care about someone, you need a little space in order to decide if you should be together or not. I think where breaks get the side-eye from me is if someone is in the kind of situation where breaks happen often or they are used as a way to do some mad shady stuff on the sly. You know the kind I'm talking about—"I mean, I slept with someone else because I was on a break." (Uh-huh. I bet.)

Feel free to chime in, but the way I see it, is if two people have been together a couple of years and one of them gets a job in another city or one of them wants to get married and the other isn't sure, a break might be necessary in order to get a fresh perspective on things. But if you are sick of hearing yourself say "We're on a break" whenever one of your friends ask you about your man, ask yourself the following six important questions. If you're totally honest in your answers, you might discover that what you actually need to be doing is breaking up. For good.

Are Your Problems a Set of Unresolved Patterns?

media1.giphy.com

"Why" has got to be one of the most underrated and underappreciated (and yes, sometimes most annoying) words on the planet. I say that because asking it can help you to get down to the root of so many situations, challenges and issues. Take this break that you and ole' boy are thinking about taking, for example. Why is it necessary? Is it because your relationship has reached a plateau and you both would like some time apart to figure out what's next? That's fair. Or is it because, outside of the earth-shattering sex the two of you've been having, your communication totally sucks?

Remember what I said about married people sometimes deciding to separate for a season? How crazy would a married couple look if they did it every six months? After a while, you would be like, "If y'all can't figure out what's wrong, maybe it's time to do something else." Same thing applies to dating dynamics. If you and yours are always on a break because it's the only solution to y'all's problems that seems to work…yeah, something isn't working. This is your first indication that it just might be time to break up instead of taking a break for the umpteenth time.

Are You Upset More Than You’re Content?

media1.tenor.com

Did you peep how I used the word "content" rather than "happy"? Sometimes I think that people miss out on some great things in life because they are obsessed with feeling happy all of the time. Happiness is cool, but it's also an emotion that has ebbs and flows just like anything else. So, if you call things off just because two days out of the week, you aren't happy, that would be super unfortunate.

Content, on the other hand, is important. When you are content with something or someone, it means that you are satisfied. It also means that you don't want any more than what or who you currently have—whether you're currently feeling super happy or not.

Check it. If you're in a relationship where a lot of times, you're ecstatic but sometimes you're simply chillin' in the state of contentment, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if, at least half of the time, you're upset? This means that you're not happy or content. Listen, even if you're dating someone, technically until your relational status on your tax returns changes, you are single. Why stay with someone who doesn't put a smile on your face or leave you satisfied? Break up so that you can get with someone who will (hopefully) do both.

Can You Honestly Say That Your Lives COMPLEMENT One Another?

media.giphy.com

If you happen to read my articles a lot, you know that it's not uncommon for me to "sneak" some Scripture into here sometimes. One that applies well to this particular point is Genesis 2:18 (AMPC): "Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.'"

Just because someone is attractive and appealing, that doesn't mean that they are a good complement for you and your life. Your right complement will serve as your counterpart. They will make your world easier. They will enhance it, bring balance to it and add some finishing touches to it. They will truly be like the icing on your already bomb cake.

A lot of couples find themselves constantly taking breaks because, even though they truly care about one another, what they also can't deny is they don't seem to complement each other very well. How did your spirit feel when you just read that sentence? Did your gut say that it's a sign to stay and try and make things work or that it really is time to call things off?

Is There Love and Passion? Or Only One or the Other?

media.giphy.com

I'm a passionate person. I feel things pretty deeply. I go hard at everything I attempt. If you're a fellow Gemini and reading this, you know that we give our all and expect the same in return—in every room of our home (read between the lines right there, y'all). So yeah, when it comes to that complement thing that I just mentioned, it's a non-negotiable that my long-term mate would have to be a passionate person too.

But as I've gotten older—and prayerfully, wiser—there's a Benjamin Franklin quote that stays with me. He once said, "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." Amen. And what reason has taught me is passion is not enough to sustain or maintain a healthy relationship. Love must be present too. Not "emotional love" but grown love that says "I'm in this. Not just during the easy times."

At the same time, I'm also not gonna settle for love without passion. I deserve both. So do you.

If you're currently considering taking a break so that you can figure out if you're getting your fill of both love and passion, that's actually a pretty wise call. But if this is now your third, fourth or fifth break because you keep trying to turn one of those into the other, can you feel me looking at you through your computer screen? Guess what I'm about to say. Right. Exactly.

Are You Staying Mostly Because You’re Afraid to Be Alone?

media0.giphy.com

Months back, I penned a piece on signs that you may be a love addict (for the record, an addict, in any form, isn't a good thing; even if the addiction is love). The last sign I mentioned is "you don't feel whole unless you're with someone". I've had a couple of boyfriends where we took several breaks. In hindsight, I must admit, I didn't really keep going back because of how "in love" I was. It was more because I was saying things to myself like, "I mean, we've already been together this long. I'd hate to have nothing to show for all of that time" or "I'm not getting all that I need out of this situation. But at least I'm getting something."

What do both statements boil down to? A woman who's afraid to be alone. The ultimate lesson in all of that? You shouldn't stay in or settle for anything when your core motivation is fear.

A wife once told me that my loneliest night alone in my bed tops being in a bad marriage any day. I've counseled enough married couples at this point to totally agree with her. So, if you're constantly taking breaks because you're afraid of what life would look like if you broke up with someone, look at it this way—the minute he's removed out of your life is the moment that you can prepare for who should actually be in his place. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be alone and hopeful than with someone and semi-miserable.

How Many “Breaks” Have You Already Taken?

media.giphy.com

Break up to make up, that's all we do/First you love me then you leave me/That's a game for fools. The lyrics are from an oldie but goodie by the Stylistics. And you know what? They're right. If all that you and yours are doing is breaking up and getting back together, only to break up again, while I won't call y'all "fools" for doing it, what I will encourage you to do is think about how many times that has happened and if you're being foolish (unwise, not factoring common sense, ignoring red flags) by staying.

You've probably heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing while expecting a different result. That said, a couple of breaks is one thing. But it being a part of your relationship routine probably means that one or both of you are ignoring that something—or a series of things—aren't working. Maybe you're meant to be only friends. Maybe the timing just isn't right. Maybe the two of you are more addicted to make-up sex than you would've ever thought. You won't really know until you stop the taking-a-break cycle, take the plunge and break things off—yes, for good. Or at least for a very long while.

The time apart to work on yourselves will reveal far more than if you stay in the pattern. Then, either you can get together or stay together or get to the one for which this article won't even apply.

It's a win, either way, if you ask me.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

The Survival Guide To Break Up Season

This Is Why I Have Mad Respect For People Who Break Off Their Engagement

9 Months After We Broke Up, I Proposed

Yvonne Orji Shows Us How To Handle A Breakup Like A Boss

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

"Black men, we're in constant warfare. Every day is a fight outside of my house, so why would I want to come home to more fighting when that is the very place where I should be resting? There are loved ones who I don't speak to as much anymore because they aren't peaceful people. A huge part of the reason why I am happier without my ex is she was rarely a source of peace. The older I get, the more I realize that peace really is the foundation of everything; especially relationships, because how can I nurture anything if I'm in a constant state of influx and chaos? Guys don't care how fine a woman is or how great the sex may be if she's not peaceful because there is nothing more valuable than peace. If the closest person to me is not a source of it, that can ultimately play a role in all kinds of disruption and destruction. No man wants that."

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

When Ngozi Opara Sea started Heatfree Hair almost a decade ago, curly and kinky extensions weren't the norm on the market as they seem to be today, especially if you wanted those textures in quality human hair. Beauty supply stores mainly sold synthetic curly hair, and there was a surge of renewal for women who were just beginning to embrace natural styles, taking to YouTube to experiment with new techniques and styles.

Keep reading... Show less

No one is excited about paying taxes, but for the most part, they're unavoidable for the working woman. Yet, not everyone has to pay quarterly taxes. You may have to get acquainted with quarterly taxes depending on how you earn money and who signs your paychecks. Not only is it essential to know if you should pay quarterly tax payments, but you need to know what your tax liability is and the deadline to submit your taxes — unless you want the IRS visiting.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Find Confidence With This Summer Workout Created By A Black Woman For Black Women

Tone & Sculpt trainer Danyele Wilson makes fitness goals attainable.

Latest Posts