While one might assume that the force to break a chemical bond gives a measure of the bond strength, this intuition is misleading. If the force is loaded slowly, thermal fluctuations may break the bond before it is maximally stretched, and the breaking force will be less than the bond can sustain. Conversely, if the force is loaded rapidly it is more likely that the maximum breaking force is measured. Paradoxically, no clear differences in breaking force were observed in experiments on gold nanowires, despite being conducted under very different conditions. Here we explore the breaking behaviour of a single Au-Au bond and show that the breaking force is dependent on the loading rate. We probe the temperature and structural dependencies of breaking and suggest that the paradox can be explained by fast breaking of atomic wires and slow breaking of point contacts giving very similar breaking forces.