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.


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Jessiejames July 27, 2013, 5:47 pm

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.


rose17 December 13, 2012, 11:20 am

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.


that_girl December 12, 2012, 12:26 pm

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.


Miranda December 6, 2012, 10:27 pm

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.


Amanda December 5, 2012, 9:04 pm

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.


Marie December 5, 2012, 10:36 pm

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 :-)


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