In today’s video, I’m answering an email from Monica.

A reader wonders: are relationship breaks healthy?

Monica writes

Are breaks good for both parties and relationship when your partner is dealing with retroactive jealousy?

Zachary Stockill: My general theory on breaks in a relationship, is that more often than not, breaks are preludes to a final breakup. Especially if you’re doing it more than once in a while.

There’s this kind of ambiguous phase in the relationship where it’s like, “Are we together or not? Are we dating other people or not?” If you’re going to take a break, be very clear on what that break is going to entail. And be very clear on when the break will end and when you’ll come back together.

are relationship breaks healthy

I don’t think that breaks are usually good in the context of a relationship.

It implies a break in the intimacy, a break in the connection, and a break in the being there through thick and thin. So it kind of depends on what you mean by breaks in this context.

Now, if your partner needs some space and time to heal, maybe go on a weekend retreat or whatever, then yes, I think that’s absolutely a good idea. Depending on the situation. Depending on the severity of your partner’s retroactive jealousy. Quite often, a bit of time apart is actually a really good thing.

But by a bit of time apart, I mean, a day or two or three. Not weeks, not months, nothing like that. I think more often than not, that’s going to do more harm than good.

However, an odd weekend away to have some space, to have some clarity, to have some time to think, that can often be good.

And also, expanding on this idea of a break, as your partner works to overcome retroactive jealousy, as I make very clear in my premium course, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast and beyond often with one on one coaching clients, they are going to need some space and time to heal.

They’re going to need little pockets of time where they’re away doing the exercises and practices which I recommend. They’re going to need time where they’re away from you focusing on their mission. Getting clarity by what’s important to them, etc.

are relationship breaks healthy

Well, are relationship breaks really healthy?

I don’t think a complete break and contact is often necessary, at least not over long periods of time. And as the partner of someone struggling with retroactive jealousy, it’s good that you support them. And the fact that you’re okay with them taking a bit of space and time to do what they need to do to heal.

Whether that’s an afternoon, a weekend, or whatever. Supporting them as they take that space and time to heal can be very helpful. And it’s a good sign that you wrote to me and that you expressed interest.

A bit of distance can actually do a lot of good in a relationship. But taking these big breaks and these long periods of time apart from each other, especially if you’re not very clear on what that break actually entails, can do a lot of harm.

As we all learned from the popular American show FRIENDS, years ago when Ross and Rachel took a break, breaks can be kind of messy.

So if you’re going to do it, be very clear on what it means and more importantly, when you’re going to reunite and come back together.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.