A Guy’s Take on Being on a Break post image

A Guy’s Take on Being on a Break


Editor’s Note: A little while back, I was having a conversation online with a close guy friend of mine about “breaks.” As we learned from Ross on Friends, the rules of being on a break can get murky and may wind up costing you your entire relationship. Being on a break is different for men and women because men and women are very different when it comes to relationships in general… a fact any ANM reader knows well by now. The conversation I was having with my friend got so interesting and enlightening, I asked him to elaborate further on the subject and took our exchange and turned it into an entire article. Let the enlightening begin…

Whenever a guy says he wants a “break” or some time to just “chill for a bit,” it usually means he’s feeling stressed of overwhelmed by the relationship and needs time to work things out on his own. Even if the problems aren’t overt, he may be feeling unhinged about some aspect of the relationship, oftentimes it’s by the fact that the relationship is getting more serious.

Whether he officially says he needs space or he just disappears, this situation usually causes problems in the relationship because a guy and a girl will see it in two totally different ways.

The guy just sees it as him needing time to work through some issues he’s having. The girl will usually see it as some kind of rejection or abandonment and will go into crisis mode. She’ll obsess over what she might have done to push him away and will try to devise some plan to get him back.

In my opinion, breaks are usually a big sign of trouble. However, it is possible for things to go back to normal as long as both people use the break time properly. The point of it should be to figure out why certain problems are arising in the relationship and to decide if they’re fixable. It’s also a good chance for both people in the relationship to focus on themselves for a bit. In a relationship it’s easy to let other areas of your life slip away and a break is a good time to re-build those areas.

A guy will usually spend this time trying to get back on his A-game. Maybe he’ll go to the gym, maybe he’ll go out with his friends, maybe he’ll devote himself to his job, anything to make him feel like he’s back on top. While he’s working on putting himself back together, the worst thing his girl can do is fall apart and burden him with constant texts and questions. This will only make him feel pressured and he’ll pull away even more.

I did the break thing with a girlfriend and she accused me of being cold because I didn’t want to get into deep emotional discussions about the relationship. I wasn’t trying to be cold, I just wanted to focus on me. We had already had the sad emotional conversation when we decided to go on the break… what’s the point of having it over and over again?

If a guy seems cold and aloof during break time, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Guys are just wired differently and handle stressful situations differently, this does not include talking about the problem for most men.

So what should a girl do when her guy wants to take a break?

First off, let it be. Just give him the space he needs to deal with his issue and focus on other things in the meantime. Even if he is going through a hard time, just leave it alone and let him handle it on his own. It’s not that

You also can’t bug him for reassurance that he’s gonna come back and the relationship will resume. Instead, use that time to focus on other areas of your life.

Just make sure you keep your confidence in check. Confidence is a huge turn on for a guy and whether you’re a guy or a girl, you always want what you can’t have. Have confidence that even if this relationship doesn’t work out, you will find another that will. And don’t cling to this guy like a life-raft.

If he feels sure that you’ll be there whenever he’s ready to come back, he can take all the time he needs. Don’t let yourself get walked on and don’t let him string you along…he wants that…it makes him feel secure…and it does nothing but prolong your hurt in the process. This is especially true if you stay in touch over this break and continue to see each-other, and maybe even hook up, from time to time. The best thing to do is quit cold turkey.

If it’s meant to be, he’ll come back on his own. In the meantime, go about your life and try to enjoy it without him in it. Keep your options open (you don’t necessarily have to go on dates with other guys, but stay open to the possibility of another guy being the right one for you) and don’t make the break all about him, you are an equal in the relationship and also deserve to take time to figure out what you want and need.

If either you or he decide to pull the plug for good, try and make it a clean break. Even though you probably have his number memorized, delete it. Not seeing it when you’re flipping through your phone will help initiate the healing process. Even though you may not want to, if you pretend long enough to be cold-hearted and distant with him, you’ll slowly find yourself getting over it. It’s okay to be hurt, but at a certain point you need to get mad…that’s normal too…and at that point you’ll realize the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

——

So tell us readers, what do you think about breaks? Can they save a relationship, or are they a sign that a break-up is a right around the bend? Tell us in comments.

– SABRINA

{ 27 comments… add one }

Leave Your Comment Now…

sharon

Hi… I wanted to let you know about my situation and see if you think there is any hope of him coming back. We met 6 months ago. We stayed together for 6 months..All of the sudden he wanted space. I knew he had met some other girl.. He is 45 and she is 35. He has been through 2 marriages and 4 kids.. I believe she has one child (Not sure) .. When he asked for space.. Of course I didn’t handle it well like a classy lady. I let me emotions and anger take over me and I screw everything up. I asked him how much space he needed and how long..He didn’t … I pushed for a time limit..he said 30 days…I did the no contact rule for 30 days…hardest thing..grieved… cried..lost weight… after 30 days.. he didn’t contact me… Based on his posts on IG.. it appears that he is totally in love with her… after the 30 day was up…I dropped off everything he had given in that 6 months (gifts/birthday gifts) and all… I requested for the key to my house back and returned… He went to Bahamas with this new girl… I believe he is a serial jumper…Because, prior to my relationship with him… he was going out with another girl for two years… she cheated on him and he went out with me after few days ( I guess)…………. I am in love with him..While we were together- he treated me nice until the last two months of our relationship. In my heart i know we will never repair what is broken… He has moved on and is in love with her( judging based on his IG posts) God knows what he posts on FB.. He has blocked me from his FB…He claims he has blocked me from his phone, email and all… I am completely blocked from his life. OH- He did introduce me to his ex/and his kids… So, I am not sure what went wrong… Can you give me your honest opinion.. Everyone tells me that this girl won’t last in his life… I think she is using him. Any chance I could get him back after all this mess.

Reply November 25, 2014, 6:28 pm

EL

Hi all,
I was with a guy for about 6 month. Everything was great at the beginning. He was soooo into me, he called several times, and we had a really good relationship, till one night that we had sex. I was virgin but that night I lost my virginity. In our culture, usually girls should be virgin till their marriage, but we live in canada! After that, I had a very bad time, I felt soooo bad!and he said our relationship is complicated! I didn’t even understand what did he mean! we were together for 2 month after that night, but he suddenly started to get space, he became cold! Once I saw a picture of a girl in his computer but I didn’t tell him anything. It was weird because some facebook photos of a girl was saved in a folder with her name! one night, I asked him to explain who that girl is and I saw he is contacting his ex in viber, they were texting in viber! after one week, he stopped calling me and I called him and asked what’s going on and why he is changing! then he said I need space. I hang up and that night he called me again but I didn’t want to talk to him! I texted him the day after and told him:I respect your need for space and I like you, so I think it’s better not to contact for a while. Then he responded: thanks for understanding me! I’m under pressure and I need some time to relax and think what I want. I hope everything will be fine at the end!
After 2 weeks something came up that was related to our relationship, I contacted him and asked him to call me. He called me after one day and we talked about that issue. And we met after 2-3 days. He said he is thinking and it’s not a breakup, but people break up sometimes! and I said we cannot be in space forever, so let’s pick a deadline. He said he is ok with whenever I say. I said we were in space for more than 2 weeks, 2 more weeks would be enough! and last wednesday, 2 weeks passed and I didn’t hear anything from him. Also, last weekend was his birthday but I didn’t send him a text or anything else. I don’t know what should I do now? do I have to call him and ask him to talk? I like him so much and I want this relationship to work, but I don’t know what should I do. but I don’t know if he is contacting his ex or seeing the others! Please help me what to do now…..
Thanks

Reply November 25, 2014, 1:33 am

Rose

My husband just told me he wants to have break after 1.5 years in marriage. He said maybe he will go out to have fun with girls or maybe he can flirt with someone (right now we live separately in different country). Does it mean he is going to break up? What should I do? Please give me advices

Reply November 24, 2014, 8:15 am

Lisa

I need advice ASAP. Me and my boyfriend have been together for a year. To keep short I’ve been loyal and inlove. In the beginning of our relationship he was stressing the fact that he is getting older and not financially where he want to be. Now that he is turning a year older close to 30 he is really trying to find a career that fits him a permanent job. He is very focus on that and gets stressed and upset because he is having a hard time finding himself. He came to my house and told me that he wants a break and that he still want to come around talk to me and that during the break he isn’t going to date he and wants to be with me he is just going to focus on finding a career he says he wants to be the provider and doing this for us so if we move in together and he is financially good we both will be happy. I’m just upset and can’t stop crying because I love him I’m in college and its hard to focus on that right now if need advice. Thanks

Reply November 2, 2014, 4:21 am

Anna

I’m going through a similar situation to yours right now. Our two year anniversary just passed (while on our break) holidays are coming up and I’m unsure of where his head will be at come the time we see one another again. He’s in law school right now and is in over his head with work and testing coming in December. He needed the space for school and is in panic mode. He decided to pull the plug on our relationship so he can focus. in our last conversation, he told me he loves me, doesn’t want to be with anyone else and has no desire to be with anyone else and that this is all relating back to the pressures on him. So far been a month of hell with knowing that I won’t see him through the holidays and unsure of what to expect. I’m very much in love with him so I struggle on a daily basis with this.

Reply November 25, 2014, 3:29 pm

Patti

Hello,
I’m glad this topic came up. My guy (seeing exclusively for 2 months) told me a few weeks ago that he needed the ‘break’ via text. I reacted poorly initially but after an in person conversation understood that he simply was asking for time away to work on himself. I decided that the best way for me to move forward was to work on some things myself which also included some recent TLC from a FWB! I don’t feel badly, I needed to feel connected (my FWB is a true friend, no strings) and reassured that I was and am a good and desirable woman. Since that time, I’ve spent time with friends and kept busy and am NOT contacting him. He has reached out to me a few times to ask how I am and I’ve responded in kind. I do NOT initiate communication with him even though a part of me really wants to. I figure at this point if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Reply October 20, 2014, 10:27 am

Vickie

Hi Gail,
I have been reading a lot of relationship articles lately and found your post. Your situation is exactly like mine. I decided we would go on one month with no contact break. I was sad for the firs week but I am OK now. We have not been dating that long either. I am fine with either way, get back or break up after a month is Ok for me. I am super busy and have a lot on my plate right now. I don’t want to cut it off because what if he is trying to compromise for our relationship. But I also don’t know if I keep hanging on there but then find out he wants the break up after a month.
We are happy when we together but there are lot of other life aspects. I still don’t know what I want; don’t know what is in his mind. We have three weeks left til our time to contact again.

Reply October 8, 2014, 12:41 am

sharon

I met this guy about 5 1/2 months ago. We hit it off, had a strong connection and were happy. When I met him, he had just broken up with his ex gf of two years (on and off relationship). He was emotional and I told him I would stick with him until he gets healed. Hoping that once he finds peace he would give us a try. When we were together we had fun. however, when we departed we would have disagreements! we had few days of no contact and I always threw the white flag because I cared about him alot. He introduced me to his ex wife and his kids. Since, he was a fed employee and it was during the close out time(budget related) he was stressed. I understood that he was stressed and left him be. I figured once its over we would pick back up. Well, during that 3 weeks- he became more distant towards me. I found out that he met someone else. He asked for a break and of course I hate the word “break or space” and see that is a negative situation. So, I tried hard to make things better. SO, I pushed and begged but it didn’t help me. He claims that he enjoys me, likes me but he doesn’t want to be in a serious relationship. Now, he is dating another girl… He asked for space and I needed to know for how long. I pushed and he said for a month… Its been so hard on me…I don’t know if he is coming back. I feel as long as this girl in his life… he won’t be back… i keep writing letters to him … I haven’t send it yet… what do I do! I don’t want to lose him… But, I know I am losing him to her. Help, suggestions…

Reply October 17, 2014, 12:06 am

Ian

Hi, I’m a guy and have experienced this first hand and have also seen female friends in the same situation. In my opinion, he hadn’t healed from last relationship before getting with you. He must have been going through a tough time, but unfortunately chose to deal witi these negative emotions by getting involved with you. I always ask girls and tell my female friends to ask guys: when was last relationship over and how long together? This information is vital. What you need to do now is zoom out of your situation and see yourself from the outside, like you’re watching a movie, play the movie from the start, look what’s happened to this girl, pity her, love her, protect her. I did this after same happened to me and it helped heal and love myself more again. Take care and love yourself.

Reply October 28, 2014, 1:15 pm

Kelly

My partner of 4 years just recently told me he wants to take a break. I came traveling and met him after 3months and we have been together since. He comes from a small town and me from a city and have always had the traveling bug. We have done a small amount of traveling together before we had to stop for a couple of years to save. We settled in a small town where his family are. We moved to a city 6 months ago to be closer to our friends and have more options and variety. I thought we were happier then ever. Now he’s just said that in 8months time he wants to go and do more traveling, this time on his own to go find himself and be out of his comfort zone. He wants to do it for approx 6months and doesn’t want to make any foreseeable plans with me. It’s really come out of the blue and I’m struggling to know how to handle this. Do I take this as a sign of a break up? Do I just wait around and try carry in as normal for 8months until he leaves? Do I just leave now instead as how can I pretend everything’s still the same when I know he wants space? I’m so confused as he says he loves me and knows our relationship is strong. I would appreciate any opinions…

Reply October 6, 2014, 1:17 am

Gail

I don’t know. Break seems to be the adult term for when you give a time-out for a child. I am torn. I was not totally happy with the relationship but I was ok with waiting it out for what it was, was ok for all I had time for but for what it needed to be for something long term, it was lacking. We are on a break for a month. The first day or two was a little sad but I go back and forth about just going ahead and officially calling it off myself or do I wait and see if he gets his act together and wants to make it right. What if I wait for him to make the call and he chooses to cut it off for good? What if I act on one of the moments I want to cut it off and he was working toward staying together? Do I just cut it off before the month is over or do I wait to see if he is going to do it? I am willing to let him try to make it right but I am also fine with it if we let it go. We have not been dating that long and I am really busy right now anyway–which is why the way things were would be fine now as long as he doesn’t mind not progressing the relationship.

Reply September 18, 2014, 1:57 am

jennifer

I am going through the break right now but it started as a misunderstanding when i was somewhere and he was texting then i said “im done”. I meant i was done where i was and going home. He took it like i was done with the relationship. He said he cant do “us” right now and needs a break. I said ok. Let it go, move on, life goes on and if he comes back its fine but i told him im not putting my life on hold for him. We were just talking about our future a week ago and how he was going to move in together. He was so happy. I think the seriousness scares him. All because of a misunderstanding. Space is what we both need.

Reply September 17, 2014, 7:43 am

PW

I just entered a very similar situation to yours. We didn’t have a misunderstanding. But we were talking about moving in and did a big travel just two months ago. I think that all doesn’t matter to men when they want to retreat and have a break. I told myself I have experienced the worst than this and he is less experienced. Of course I am mad but I think the real love needs two people to balance out each other. We don’t want a man who can just easily escape when the circumstances get challenging i.e. work, economy etc. If he does want to come back to a committed relationship, I think men should prove themselves even more. Otherwise, how can a man to expect the girl to trust him again?

Reply September 17, 2014, 12:27 pm

Maribel

My boyfriend says he wants to get married but he needs a break but he stills calls me and text me everyday and says he loves me. I am so confused

Reply August 16, 2014, 10:35 pm

MP

My boyfriend of 8 months just suggested a break the other day. We have a wonderful relationship, never ever have gotten into a fight… our relationship is just easy. We’ve talked about the future and both have said that we’re in this relationship for the long haul (we’re both in our 30s). Before I met him, my goal for my career was always to get to a bigger city. We’ve had the discussion and he doesn’t want to move (he’s a farm boy, would get eaten alive in a big city!). I love him. I’ve never met anyone like him before, and for the first time in my life, I said love trumps a big fancy job. I told him I’d stay… that I WANT to stay. And that it’s not just for him, it’d be for me too if we take this relationship to the next level eventually. I love my job here, my friends, our life together…. but he asked for a break. For some reason I just don’t think he believed that I was serious about staying put. I am. Very serious. A fancy job isn’t going to love me. So during this break he wants time to think, pray and speak to his family (who have always been rooting for us). I know that I need to just give him the time he needs, but it’s so tough when he’s become one of my best friends… talked every day… saw each other several times a week. It’s just super tough to deal with. I’ve been good about giving him space, but I feel like I can’t concentrate on anything else.

Reply June 13, 2014, 4:54 pm

ladyj

It doesn’t sound like he is abandoning you but asking you to REALY think about whats best for you and YOUR future. He doesn’t want you to rush making a decision about your choices and he doesn’t want to feel like he is holding you back. 8 months is NOT a lot of time when looking at the scope of your life you’ve lived and or life with someone. Give yourself time to just think about what you really want. maybe even take a trip to the big city see what it would be like for you. Hes inviting you to speak with his family and pray so just give him a little bit a space by focusing on your needs not being so worried about what he is doing. guys don’t need as much contact as we like most of the time.
Hang in there.

Reply June 13, 2014, 6:14 pm

Cynthia

I agree I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years now and he’s staring to withdraw now. He won’t look for me unless I look for him. Recently he told me he had too many problems going on and he doesn’t have time to have a girlfriend. Also he told me he just wants to do him. But the problem is that he always used to tell me he doesn’t believe on breaks. If we have a break we would never go back together. But now he’s telling me he wants to be friends and maybe that would help the relationship. I’m really confused my friends tell me not to look for him anymore and let him be. He might come back later on. But he gives me too many mix signals. I don’t know what to do. I need help!!!! Any advice?!? Should I give him time or should try to talk to him. Because he never clearly said we were breaking up.

Reply May 27, 2014, 10:17 am

Amanda

I know its easier said than done, but really you should just leave him be. It sounds like he is desperate for some space and that’s exactly what you should give him. Trying to just be friends right now is only going to hurt you rather than help you because its so hard to “just be friends” with someone that you have serious feelings for. Tell him that you still want to remain on good terms but that you also need some time apart, then try as hard as you can not to contact him. Absorb yourself in your own life; go out with your friends, spend time with family, pick up extra shifts at work, go on a fun non-serious date with a guy friend, and/or if you have a hobby dive into it. If not start one!Do you! Try not to discuss and rehash the situation with your friends and family over and over. If he contacts you be polite but don’t drop everything you are doing to talk to him or meet up with him. Let him know that you have a life outside of your relationship, and what is more important, actually do the work to create a life outside of your relationship! After a while of this you will begin to feel more empowered and less dependent on your relationship for happiness. Just about the time that you start to realize that you are fine without him, he will probably come running back. That’s when you’ll have to make the important decision of trying to rebuild your relationship or moving on for the better. Do not beg him to come back to you. If he doesn’t come back to you by his own decision then move on! You will already have started the process of building a happy life without him, you just need to follow through. Best of luck to you!

Reply May 27, 2014, 7:10 pm

PW

Well said. Thank you!

Reply September 17, 2014, 12:45 pm

Jessiejames

After almost two years, I was given the break suggestion by text today, it hurt, it was very cowardly way to do it. I do believe he is going through some soul searching as to how serious this is or does he want it to become more. My friend believes he is going through a “smothering” moment and he will be calling when he goes through a “lonely” moment. But by that time will I want him back or feel the same for him? I’ve been torn today as I feel no matter which way this goes it will be for the better. I do care for him an will miss him and the friendship but I will not convince anyone to be with me, for that’s not fair for me. I’m glad I know who I am an what I deserve in a relationship.

Reply July 27, 2013, 5:47 pm

rose17

This article makes sense, but ive read tons of articles like this, and everywhere it sais the same thing about breaks. People have different opinions on this subject, and that is a good thing. Not everyone will go through the same things, not everyone have the same relationships.. This is why people cant date just anyone, because then well wed all be the same. anyways.. iam currently on a brake and the hardest part is that we live together. YES, we live together… in separate rooms, and with minimum contact, and it hasnt been that long, and it was awkward at first but now, i just dont let it bother me. It is extremely difficult for me to do, because weve been together for 5 years, and this brake thing ( his idea) came out of nowhere… and it has alot to do with commitment. he thinks he should be able to propose to me by now, and because he cant theres something wrong. maybe…. anyways so i realized i need to give myself space and him of course but mainly me, so i can “move on”… i dont know whats gonna come out of it, im hoping for the best but iam also tired of chasing after someone that doesnt want me. he knows i love with him all my heart and id do anything for him, and maybe thats the problem. haha… so i guess im just going with the flow, as he was for the past 5 years and well see what happens, but i will be sure to follow up on this, maybe i can help some other people out with my experience.
This site is amazing, it has lots of articles that are worth the read, but i wish i could just know exactly what to do !!!!!! ugh! :)) but i believe everything happens for a reason, and we live and we learn, i just hope i could have gone through these problems with somone else so that i could have this relationship last. maybe im crazy lol.

Reply December 13, 2012, 11:20 am

flywheel

Hi there, thanks for sharing. Would you mind following up on your situation with him now? I am going through this and would love to hear any advice. Thanks.

Reply September 17, 2014, 12:53 pm

that_girl

This is a great website with good articles but I gotta say, the constant pop-ups to join the “dating decoder” email list are becoming a nuisance, especially if browsing on mobile. Please don’t turn off ur fans with cheap gimmicks. It’s fairly easy for anyone to find the sign-up link if anyone wants to get the newsletter. No need to shove it in my face every time I visit any of your pages.

Reply December 12, 2012, 12:26 pm

Miranda

This article came just in time for me. My boyfriend just said we needed a break because he needed to figure himself out and what he wanted (he’s been getting VERY close to this other girl, but he said it was nothing so I trusted him..Turns out he definitely did some bad stuff from what he implied to me). I had no idea what to do. I remained poised throughout most of the conversation. He said he wants to still be friends in the meantime, but I don’t think I can handle that. I know he’ll probably break up with me. Prior to the break, he didn’t talk to me for 10 days .. including my birthday. We’ve been dating 6 months and have been best friend for over 4 years.

Reply December 6, 2012, 10:27 pm

Amanda

Breaks are definitely a sign of trouble. I’ve been through a couple, and I don’t want to sound negative, but things are never the same afterwards…or maybe its that things are too much the same. If you don’t put in some SERIOUS “you time” to get perspective on the situation, then the same issues that caused the break will still be there. Sometimes even when you do make the effort, it can’t be helped. A break is a sure sign that maybe its just not meant to be. I could say that I wish I had learned this a lot sooner to save me some heartbreak…but the truth is, if I hadn’t have been through those rough times then I wouldn’t know what I know now. The sooner you learn that sometimes things just aren’t meant to work, and that you have to go through crappy times to get to happier ones, the better off you will be.

Reply December 5, 2012, 9:04 pm

Marie

I whole heartedly agree with your comments. If someone asks for a break I think the best thing to do is remain calm and tell them ok sure no problem and don’t push it. As hard as it is I believe if you remain poised it may come as a shock to the other person but it’s in your best interest to be composed. I also think you should consider it a break up and start the moving on process. Give them 100% space and engage in no contact. If they do come back and reach out at any point in the future you have the power to decide whether you’re willing to take the risk again and give it a chance. I actually consider it a positive as in you have the power to either give it a go again or walk away. I try to look at things in a positive light and this shifts the power your way. Give them all the space they want. See it as an opportunity for them to miss you and if they don’t then you were never meant to be anyway. It really hurts at first but you just have to press on. I haven’t personally gone through a break. Either I was with someone and we broke up or we were together. I will say if someone asked for a break I would absolutely receive that as a breakup and would seriously need something special to happen to let them back into my heart. I wish everyone all the best in their relationships. We all deserve wonderful love :-)

Reply December 5, 2012, 10:36 pm

yourluckystar

I think the two comments before me are the best advice for this situation.
The article itself is way off, the last thing i want to read is “Confidence is a huge turn on for a guy” when he just asked for a break, why the hell would i try to turn him on? Very insensitive.

Reply April 29, 2014, 9:08 am

Leave a Comment