Relationships go cold for many reasons. Whether you are busy with your individual lives or have started to grow apart, you might wonder whether you should make up or break up. Rekindling a cold relationship is often possible, but whether it is the best choice depends on the reason for the distance.

Going Through Relationship Stages

According to therapist Zoe Hicks in an article on PsychCentral.com, all relationships go through five phases. The final phase is Love, but negotiating the first four stages can be tough. During the first stage, known as Infatuation, a biochemical reaction causes you to feel blissful when you are together and induces a deep longing when you are apart. Aptly named Landing, the second phase occurs when real life comes crashing in to break the fantasy. In Burying, the relationship plays second fiddle to the more mundane aspects of daily living. It is normal for your relationship to go cold during Landing and Burying, only to rekindle naturally during Resurfacing. Of course, not all relationships last until that point.

Defenses Up

Sometimes relationships go cold because one or both partners have immature skills for coping with feelings. Splitting is a defense mechanism that young children use when they don’t get what they want. They paint people as all good or all bad, depending on whether the person is currently meeting the child’s need or desire. Most people outgrow splitting over time, but it is not uncommon for it to continue through the young adult years. If you and your partner have trouble seeing the good in each other when you are angry, splitting can cause the relationship to sour.

Taking a Break

If your relationship has grown cold, taking a break can give you the chance to miss each other. You don’t necessarily need to break up altogether, but the staff at eHarmony.com points out that relationships sometimes become unbalanced. If you feel more strongly about the relationship than your partner does, you can become adhesive, which is a form of clinginess. Relationships work best when they are cohesive, with both partners working together. Take some time apart to focus on your individual interests and decide what is best for you.

Go Back to Go Forward

Hicks gives some suggestions for rekindling the spark in your relationship. Do things that remind you of happier times. Revisit the place where you had your first date, take a dance class together, or skip Sunday at your mother’s house to go hiking. Unbury your relationship from your real-life concerns and focus on the things that brought you together in the first place. If the romance is meant to be, making a conscious effort to bring it to the forefront can remind you of all the reasons you fell in love.