Is It Wise for Couples to Take Relationship 'Gap Years'

In the past, gap years were a chance for a person to take a break from school, and the years afterward were spent meeting other people's expectations. People usually took them between high school and university and explored things/cities or passions they liked. Sometimes, it was even a journey of self-discovery. Now, gap years are making their way into relationships. Read on to know what they mean and whether it is wise for couples to take relationship gap years.

What are Relationship Gap Years?

For most people, relationship gap years are about traveling the world, doing a different job, following their passion, relocating for a bit, and following their passions. They just want to change their lives and explore new things for a while. Often, they prefer to do it alone- without their partner.

Benefits of Relationship Gap Years

·       It helps people to re-think the value of their relationship.

·       It gives them some time for self-exploration.

·       It makes them feel free and boosts self-dependence.

·       It can increase bonding between couples.

·       It can help people boost their knowledge, skills, and self-worth.

Agreement and Motives Matter

Experts believe that for relationship gap years to be successful, both the partners should have a desire for it. One partner should not impose the decision on another. The motives of the gap years also matter. Boredom, desire for sexual variety, and the grass is always greener belief might not be the best motives.

According to Tom Murray, a sex therapist, and professor at Adler University, US, if partners are not on the same page about their intentions for taking gap years, it might lead to breaking up or even divorce. He said, "The primary downside is that human beings are very fickle. Because we are social creatures, we yearn to belong and be in a community with others, therefore if jealousy and insecurity are present, then I doubt that a relationship would survive [a gap year]. And if there are unspoken agendas, such as a desire to exit gracefully from the relationship, then things can dissolve very quickly."

How to Make It Work?

Murray also believes that Gap Years can work when both partners prioritize communication. He asserts that couples need to consider practical issues like joint expenses, responsibilities, potential emergencies, and the emotional complexities of spending time apart. He suggests agreeing on a definitive end date and what is acceptable behavior when they are apart.

Murray said, "I would strongly encourage couples considering taking a relationship gap-year to consider their motivations. What would have to happen for them to agree that the gap year was a success? I would encourage them to come up with a vision for their relationship to ensure that their behaviors when apart are in service of the relationship that they want to sustain in the future."

All in all, it can be said that relationship gap years can be a good idea if both people in a relationship agree to it, set some terms, and decide on boundaries. Sometimes, it can strengthen a marriage, and sometimes, it can break one. So, being cautious is the key to success.




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