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Relationships over Break
Semester breaks can mean a disruption in a current relationship we might have on campus, returning to a partner we have been in a long term relationship with at home or a time to re-kindle an old flame (or start a new one). All of these situations require two things: knowing what we want out of these relationships and being able to communicate about it with our partner.
If we’re currently in a relationship but will be going our separate ways for the break, it’s a good idea to talk ahead of time about what our expectations are during the time apart. We might have good ideas about talking on the phone every night or regular Skype dates but those can get sidetracked by a lack of privacy when we’re at home or spontaneous plans with family and friends. It’s easier to address these challenges if we can recognize ahead of time that they might happen. If we’re committed to keeping the relationship going over break, it might take some extra effort to overcome some of these challenges.
Winter “Break” At the same time, the upcoming break may be causing us to reconsider a relationship we’re currently in and whether or not we want to take a “break” during our time apart or officially break up with our partner. While some choose to just let the relationship fizzle out through a lack of communication, it can sometimes feel better to be upfront about it with our partner. Our approach may depend on the nature of our relationship,-the length of time and intensity of it. Winter break is a time of rejuvenation and (hopefully) relaxation and fun. Consider which approach to breaking up may offer the best break (and break up) experience for both you and your partner. That way, you won’t be spending your time away from school worrying about or trying to navigate a relationship you’re no longer into.
Wants & Needs Whether we’re ending a relationship during break or looking to start one, it can be helpful if we know what we want and think about how we might communicate this to a partner. If it’s not working out, people usually desire an explanation. We can reduce drama by sharing our thoughts and feelings about the relationship but also by maintaining good boundaries (reducing communication once we’ve stated our preferences). For new relationships we may want to think about what our expectations are and ask our partner what theirs are, too. For example, are we just having fun during break or is this something we want to last after break is over? Knowing what we each expect can help avoid hurt feelings or misunderstanding later on. (think: less drama when we return to school).
Have a great winter break and look for more newsletters on relationships and sexuality next semester! As always, if you have a topic you’d like us to write about or if you’d like to write a newsletter submission, send your ideas to Susann Sears.