Dear Lulu Jeh: My girlfriend and I have been on the fritz lately just as she is getting ready to move to London for a new job. Since we’ve been fighting a lot, we thought it might be a good time to take a break and re-evaluate our relationship.
For now, we are still talking as if we will get back together after having a little space, and I am even planning to move to London by the end of the year to be with her. But how can I make sure that we both get the room we need… but not lose each other permanently?
— Boy On a Break
I have some good news and some bad news, BOB. The good news is that temporary distance can often be a valuable reset button for couples — sharing each other’s space, especially in tiny Hong Kong apartments, can be difficult. Lots of couples enjoy the independence for a time but end up longing for that companionship and intimacy.
Do I think you needed to call it an official break? Probably not. The distance would have done the job for you. However, if there are enough arguments and everyday dramas to have warranted a real “re-evaluation” of the longevity of your relationship, then it sounds like you made the right call.
And now for the bad news: There’s no real way to prevent this break from becoming a permanent thing. Assuming you’ve agreed to continue speaking, the most important thing is to stay involved and try to mend what was broken: communicate, address your issues head-on and keep planning for the future together.
I’d suggest casual check-ins throughout the week, where you ask lots of questions about your girlfriend’s new job, neighborhood and friends. Otherwise, the distance could cause you to grow apart not just physically, but emotionally as well. — Lulu
Have a question for Lulu Jeh? Send a note to email@example.com.