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.

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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

{ 11 comments… add one }

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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

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

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

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