Recently, it was reported that Hollywood couple Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have taken a break to re-evaluate their relationship. Apparently, actors Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling had done the same in 2013, before reuniting later.
Another example is that of actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who announced that they were on a break in 2013. They have reportedly got back together since.
These celebrities are among the many couples who have often relied on ‘taking a break’, when it comes to clearing their mind about their relationships. Counsellors believe that the concept has several benefits; some city-based couples vouch for it too. While a few admit to having emerged stronger as a pair, others have found it easier to break up altogether, knowing that they have explored all their options.
Namita Mahapatra (28), a PR executive, was in a relationship with software professional Prateik Choudhary (32), for five years. The issues started when the latter got a job in Delhi. “The romance had gone out of the window. When you are in a relationship, you want to share things with each other. But we were finding it hard to make time to even talk to each other. So, one day, I told him that we should get rid of this relationship tag and take a break,” says Mahapatra. They have been on a break for over a year now.
While distance was the deciding factor in Mahapatra’s case, studies and work commitments came in the way of Saket Rana (22) and chartered accountancy student Pallavi Parashar’s (21) relationship. “I was preparing for my GRE, and working part-time for a software firm. I felt our relationship was distracting me. Pallavi was equally focused about her career, so we decided not to see each other for a while,” says Rana. They still haven’t rekindled their relationship, but are still in touch.
Ross Geller and Rachel Green — characters on the popular TV sitcom Friends — kept breaking up, only to get back together. Marketing professional Mallika Sarkar (30) and Abhishek Chakraborty (31), HR professional, have also faced similar ups and downs in their relationship. He would feel insecure every time she would meet clients and attend parties, and she would complain about his inability to mingle. Three years later, they parted ways, not realising then that they had merely taken an inadvertent break. Seeing each other with their new partners only made them want to be together. “Initially, I liked hanging out with the other guy. But deep down, I felt only Abhishek understood me well. So, despite all his eccentricities, I went back to him,” says Sarkar, who got married to Abhishek recently.
Save a marriage
Breaks in relationships aren’t only for the unwed. Homemaker Shubra Vyas (37) opted to take time out when her marriage to Daksh Agarwal (41), banker, hit a rocky patch. “After eight years together, I started feeling claustrophobic. He was always busy with work, and all I did was look after the house, and take care of our son. I would feel low all the time. I considered getting a divorce, too, but a friend suggested that I should just distance myself from him to think things through,” says Vyas, who didn’t want to make a hasty decision. Once she moved to her parents’ home, and took up a job at a travel agency, Agarwal’s behaviour also started improving. “After four months, there was a changein his attitude. He became considerate towards me. I was also able to understand the demands of his job better,” she adds.
Perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Sangbarta Chattopadhyay, a psychotherapist and life coach, agrees. He feels that a short-term separation is better than a hasty break-up. “A little distance also gives couples an opportunity to appreciate each other, and at times to reconcile with their partners. Sometimes, people tend to take each other for granted in relationships. A hiatus can give people a new perspective.”
(All names changed on request)