Okay, so Kylie and Travis are on a break, and it doesn’t look like they’re planning on ending it anytime soon. This is obvi terrifying for any stans of the “Rise and Shine” singer and her beau, because relationship breaks pretty much have the worst rep ever. Personally, I’d like to blame Ross and Rachel for this—but more likely, it’s because we’ve all “taken a break” from a partner, only to break up for real, like, three minutes later.
But, hellooo: Let’s not forget that relationship breaks can have happy endings too. Need I remind you that Will and Kate took a break before they got married and became one of the most iconic married couples of our time? Or, how about the fact that Justin and Hailey were split for, like, years before they tied the knot and started spamming our news feeds with their PDA pics?
The good news is, you don’t need to be a celeb to take a healthy break from your relationship. If you’re considering a break or are currently in the middle of one, take a deep breath, relax, drink a glass of wine, and read these women’s stories as nine IRL beacons of hope:
1. Taking space made her realize she wanted to spend the rest of her life with her boyfriend.
“My now-husband and I took a break when we first started dating. Before I met him, I had just come off a very single period in my life, and I enjoyed meeting new people and going on dates. I wasn’t ready to fall into a routine with one person. When I initiated the break, I thought I needed space because I felt like our relationship had grown too predictable.
But after a few weeks apart, I realized that consistency and reliability is nice—and my husband was the kind of guy you want to do life with. Before I knew it, I had made my choice, and I knew that when we got back together, that was it.” —Danielle, 32
2. Their break taught them that they didn't have to compete for each other’s time.
“At the beginning of my senior year of college, I felt like my boyfriend was pulling me away from my friends. He was needy and I felt responsible for his social life, but I couldn’t handle the pressure. I tried giving him a warning, but a week after, things got worse, so I told him I needed him to do his own thing.
Our break lasted for three weeks, and while my boyfriend took the break really hard, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to either of us. It gave my boyfriend the reassurance that he didn’t need me and that I am not his other half. It also made me realize that we complement each other well, and we both missed that.” —Madison, 21
3. Time apart only made this couple realize how much they missed each other.
“Back when we were dating, my now-husband and I were having a few hardships in our relationship that we really struggled with fixing. We decided to take a break and think about what we really wanted. He left to go to Tennessee, while I stayed in our hometown in Arizona. While separated, we even went on a couple of dates with other people, but neither of us ever felt like we could continue on with other dates.
After about a month of being apart, we both felt like he needed to come home and that we should patch things up. The heart really does grow fonder with distance. While we came to realize that the issues we were having were there, we loved each other enough to get through them together.” —Marissa*, 23
4. This ’ship needed a break in order to prioritize love again.
“My boyfriend’s mother passed from stage IV brain cancer a week before Christmas. My boyfriend, stricken with grief, dove head-first into his work. The grief, pressure, and time constraints certainly created stress and strain on our relationship over the course of our first two years together. I also went through a career shift, leaving the corporate world and starting a business of my own, and we moved in together around two years into our relationship.
Because of everything, we had a hard time prioritizing one another, so we took a month break. It wasn’t until we stepped away that we understood what we had, what we were missing without one another, and the value of each other as individuals and us in our relationship. We got back together healthier and better than ever.” — Alyssa, 29
5. Taking a break reminded them why they fell in love in the first place.
“My boyfriend and I went on a break because we had been together since college and felt like we needed space to find ourselves and grow more independent. We also weren’t communicating as well as we had in the past, and it was leading to more fights.
The break lasted five months, and during that time, we saw other people, spent time with friends, took some time to learn who we were on our own, and worked out. Looking back, the break helped us remember why we loved each other and that we do want to be together. Every relationship takes work, and we realized and remembered that we both wanted to put in the effort.” —Veronica*, 26
“It was the best thing that could have happened for either of us.”
6. This on-again-off-again situationship even led to a happy ending too.
“My husband and I took a few breaks during our dating career, ranging each time from a few days to a few months. I was always the initiator of the breaks; I had a lot of commitment fears and I was worried about leading him on if I wasn’t 100 percent committed to our relationship.
Thinking that I had to have the entire future mapped out in my head made me feel like I should just end things since I couldn’t guarantee the future. It all worked out though, because now, we’ve been married over six years.” —Hannah, 29
7. This break left both of them feeling doubt-free.
“My boyfriend and I started hooking up my freshman year and his senior year of college. During my junior year, he moved to Florida temporarily for work, and during this time, he felt like he wasn’t ready to settle down or commit long-term, so we both focused on living our best lives.
After four months apart, we got back together knowing that we were the best together. Any time we were with anyone else or on a date with someone else, we wished we were with each other. It was the basic quote: ‘Sometimes things need to fall apart, so that better things can fall together.’ Since we got back together, there is no doubt in my confidence in our relationship, his loyalty, or anything. He is my rock. We haven’t ever been in a better place.” —Zoe*, 25
8. These two took almost a year apart, and now they’re happier than ever.
“After dating for four years, my partner proposed to me. We were set to get married a year later (venue and vendors booked and everything), but we ended up calling off the wedding and taking a short break last November. Then, we didn’t speak until June.
For three months, we spoke regularly, wrestling with the idea of giving it another shot. All our friends and family thought we could make it work and told us we would be perfect together, but we were hesitant to go back down that road. After a long talk about what differences we could each expect this time around, we officially got back together and we couldn’t be happier.” —Megan, 31
9. She needed a break to realize what she had.
“After only six months of dating, my boyfriend was moving fast in terms of wanting to settle down. Well, I wasn’t at a period in my life where I was ready to commit—as I was dating several people—so I initiated a break. After six months apart, I realized how good he was and how good I had it. I came crawling back to him and told him I was done looking around and realized there was no one better in the world than him!” —Brittany, 32