Should You Take A Break? Or Break Up For Good?
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?
"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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Everything Kerry Washington Has Said About Her Husband Nnamdi Asomugha
Actress Kerry Washington and her relationship with her husband, actor Nnamdi Asomugha, is the perfect example of a winning team.
The pair became an item following a chance encounter in 2009, and many years later, on June 24, 2013, Washington and Asomugha would secretly tie the knot. Since then, the high-profile couple has expanded their blended family by welcoming two children, a daughter Isabelle Asomugha, 8, and a 6-year-old son Caleb Asomugha. Asomugha also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Despite Washington and Asomugha choosing to live a relatively private life for the most part by not sharing images of their family on social media and occasionally attending events together. The rare glimpses they provide to the public showcase that Washington and Asomugha have much in common regarding essential topics.
For example, Washington is highly involved in politics and encourages others to participate by spreading information about various issues and how everyone would be affected.
As for Asomugha, the 41-year-old officially founded the Asomugha Foundation in 2010, years after doing other charity work in Nigeria. According to its site, the organization was created to help "disadvantaged youth and women by providing educational opportunities and mentorship."
Washington's public remarks regarding her relationship with Asomugha and their family may be rare, but when she does speak about their family, it's all positive.
Kerry On Why She Keeps Her Relationship Private
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bronx Children's Museum
In March 2016, the UnPrisioned actress revealed during a discussion panel at SXSW Festival that one of the reasons why she is adamant about remaining private about her union with Asomugha is because she doesn't want the public to make any narratives regarding her marriage.
At the time, it was reported that Washington and the former NFL player were experiencing marital troubles and were allegedly planning on getting a divorce. Washington would shut down those allegations by saying she hasn't and will not share any information about her private life.
"Social media has actually been great for [other celebrities'] relationships with the weeklies or the gossip sites because people say things and they say, 'That's not true!' So I'm thinking in some ways, it's been great because people are able to maintain their voice," she explained.
"It's a little different for me because I don't talk about my personal life. That means not only did I not tell you when I was getting married, it also means if somebody has rumors about what's going on in my marriage, I don't refute them, because I don't talk about my personal life."
Kerry On How She Met Nnamdi And What A Normal Day Looks Like for Their Family
Fast forward to October 2018, the Scandal star gave insight into how she met Asomugha and their family life. During an interview with Marie Claire, Washington shared that she and Asomugha met in 2009 while she was working on the Broadway play Race.
The mother of two told the publication that her life has "completely transformed" since their encounter. "The last time I did theater, it completely transformed my life. That's where I met my husband. I love being with my family. My days off look like homework, reading, and watching stuff. Just hanging out, doing things we love to do," she stated.
Kerry On Nnamdi's Accomplishment
Photo by Jeffrey Camarati/Getty Images
But as time progressed, Washington began speaking a little more openly about her man. In October 2022, Washington gushed over Asomugha and his Netflix project, The Good Nurse, which came out around the same time her film, The School for Good and Evil, was released. While talking to Entertainment Tonight, the star expressed how "proud" she was of her husband.
"I'm really proud of him, I think he's doing amazing work. I'm really excited for his film, The Good Nurse," she said. "It's really exciting to both have really important films at Netflix right now, we feel really blessed.”
Kerry On Why Nnamdi Is Her Soulmate
Washington shared how her love with Asomugha goes beyond the surface after spending over a decade together.
In a March 2023 interview with Marie Claire, Washington explained that she and Asomugha are perfectly aligned because she's allowed to be her authentic self with him.
"I'm in my immediate truth with [him]," Washington said. "Those mirrors are important because they help me get back to myself."
Kerry On The Couple's Upcoming 10-Year Wedding Anniversary
Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
That same month, Washington expressed that in addition to the many years the couple has been together, and their personal and professional accomplishments, she still finds Asomugha "incredible."
Washington shared this revelation while promoting her latest project, UnPrisioned, in an Entertainment Tonight interview.
"I do have an incredible husband," the actress told ET host Kevin Frazier as she disclosed little to no details about their upcoming plans for their tenth wedding anniversary. "Do you remember how secret my wedding was? How private and secretive it was? That's how the anniversary is gonna be too!"
Kerry On Why She Thinks Nnamdi And Their Children Are A Gift From God
Washington's love and admiration for Asomugha and their family grow increasingly each day, so much so that she uses it as inspiration to share positive messages with her fans.
The 46-year-old revealed during a panel with Al Sharpton at National Action Network Convention on April 12 that she sees her husband and their children as "proof" that God exists and loves her because of the great joy they bring to her life.
"Well, you've met my husband, my husband's amazing. I got a good one. We have three beautiful children. And I think, you know, when I look at my marriage, and I look at my kids, fundamentally, they are proof of God to me,” she said. "Because I know that God loves me to have put those people in my life. And that sense of like, knowing that God loves me. That, to me, is so much of how I make the decisions about the activism that I do and the content that I make."
Regardless of what the public may think about Washington and Asomugha's private union, they are proving with each moment that love can conquer all.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue