If you're feeling unappreciated, underwhelmed, or just plain trapped, taking some time off may help.
Step 1: Assess your relationship honestly. Is your unhappiness due to external stress, or issues with your partner? If it's the latter, consider a temporary split.
TIP: Don't make a rash decision; suggesting a break to your partner may cause hurt feelings, confusion, and anger.
Step 2: When you've decided, discuss it with your partner. Be honest about your feelings and clearly communicate why you want a break. Engage in a serious discussion about your relationship and where it's going.
Step 3: Set some parameters. Decide ahead of time how long the break will last, and if "break" means no contact or limited contact. You should also address whether you'll be allowed see other people.
TIP: Thirty days without face-to-face contact is usually a good starting point for a relationship break.
Step 4: Rediscover yourself. It's easy to get caught up in a relationship and lose your sense of individuality, which can lead to stress and resentment of your partner. Use the time off to reflect on what you really want.
TIP: Be patient. A break can be an uncertain time, but don't rush back into things just because you're feeling needy.
Step 5: If you decide to get back together after the break, talk openly about the issues that drove you apart and how you can work to resolve them. Taking a break isn't a quick fix, but it can lead to a sense of renewal and better communication.
FACT: Celebrity couple Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale took a break and ended up getting married.