I consider myself a pretty big "Friends" fan, having seen all ten seasons and lots of the episodes more than once. In the third season, one of TV's oldest questions that still tears friendships apart had its origin.
Were they on a break?
There are two sides to this argument: those who side with Ross and those who side with Rachel. But before we get into that, let's dive into what happened to cause this "break" between one of TV's greatest couples.
Rachel had just recently gotten a job at Bloomingdale's which was a foot in the door to the industry that she absolutely loved, despite the fact that it was just a desk job. It just so happened that a man by the name of Mark worked there, and Ross was constantly jealous of Mark because he seemed to have feelings for Rachel. And Mark totally did have feelings for Rachel, but Rachel was blissfully unaware of that and tried to reassure Ross that nothing was going on.
This, in the end, led to a huge fight where Rachel calmly suggested, "Maybe we should just take a break." Ross replied, "Ok. Fine, fine. Let's take a break. Let's cool off. Let's get some frozen yogurt or something." Then Rachel said, "No.. A break from us," and walked out of her and Monica's apartment.
Let's freeze the explaining for a moment. Many people argue that because Rachel suggested the break that she had no right to be upset at what Ross did. In my opinion, I think that the couple should have had more than a three sentence conversation about going on a break. In the heat of the moment she did say that, but I think that if Ross would have tried to stop her from leaving the apartment so quickly they could have discussed this "break" and the terms and conditions of it. I feel like a deeper conversation needed to have happened before Ross did what he did.
What did Ross do?
He of course, like every upset guy on TV, goes to a bar. He then calls Rachel, who had her work friend Mark over because she wanted to be in the company of a friend, and Ross got super upset because he thought Rachel was cheating on him (which she wasn't).
Ross then proceeds to cheat on Rachel with another woman at said bar. Okay, some might argue that Rachel should not have had Mark over and that could have triggered Ross to completely lose all hope and think it was over.
I get that. But also, why didn't Ross just ask Rachel what was happening?
He could have come up to the apartment to talk to her or even had her meet him somewhere to talk. Instead, he is stubborn and cheats on her.
In the morning, Ross receives a message from Rachel on his phone stating that she still loves him and that she'll come by his apartment. Of course, Ross still hasn't made the girl from the night before leave. Once Rachel shows up, he hides the girl and agrees to be her boyfriend like usual.
He could have admitted everything that happened to Rachel right then and there, but he didn't. He continued with his facade of "nothing happened" and "we are okay." If he would have told Rachel right then and there that he cheated on her, it may not have upset Rachel as much.
Also, if Ross didn't think that what he was doing was completely wrong, why did he hide the girl and pretend everything was fine? If they really were on a break like he claimed, he should not have had to hide his actions from her.
Cue fight number two. After Rachel finds out everything that happened between Ross and the other girl from Gunther, they get into an even bigger fight. Rachel says she can't believe that Ross hurt her because she never ever thought that Ross would do that to her (same, Rachel), but that everything has changed now and she can't stop picturing him with another woman. The fight ends with Ross unable to believe it's really over to which Rachel says, "Then how come it is?"
Some people say that Rachel overreacted to the entire situation. I don't believe that at all. How would you react if you found out that your significant other cheated on you? A fight is not a reason to go out and cheat, especially if the two people do not even have a real conversation about it.
And why would Ross just give up on Rachel so easily without a bigger discussion about their relationship?
He had loved Rachel since high school and just recently got his chance with her. I just can't believe he would give up so easily without discussing the terms and conditions of their break.
To end this, I will say.... They weren't on a break. No matter which side of argument you are on we can all agree that Ross and Rachel are still one of the most iconic television couples to this day, despite the lack of them actually being together throughout the seasons on "Friends." Luckily, we had Chandler and Monica to fill that gap.