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He Says, A Guy's Perspective

"We need to take a break!" What does it really mean?

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Q:
A few months ago my boyfriend of just over a year told me he wanted to take a break. He claims he still loves me and that he wants us to be together some day but says that right now he needs some space. We still hang out and when we do it’s as if nothing has changed and this makes it hard for me to open up to other guys. It feels like I’d be cheating if I made a date with somebody else. So now it’s like I’m just waiting for him to come around and tell me that he’s ready to recommit. Is he just trying to let me down easy? Am I crazy thinking we’ll ever get back together for real? How long should I hold out for him? Just what does it mean to “take a break” anyway?

Signed,
Heart Break

A:
I hate it when guys play this card. It is just cowardly. Take it from me, a former teenaged guy, if I want to take a break I don’t want to be with you. I may still like you. I may still be attracted to you. What I don’t want is to be your boyfriend and that means we are broken up. It is done. We are kaput. Relationship over! Even if a guy still hangs around it doesn’t really mean a thing. All it means is that he’s 99% sure he doesn’t want to be with you instead of being 100% there. He keeps you around as a back up plan; if he doesn’t find someone better he’ll come back to you but if he finds a girl whom he likes more he’ll easily and without guilt let you go. When a guy wants to take a break what he really wants is to know that you’ll be waiting with open arms if he wants to come back. That’s what makes it so cowardly. He doesn’t want you right now but he also doesn’t want to risk losing you if he has a change of heart.

Sure, some people take breaks and get back together. It does happen but you shouldn’t be holding out for it. You ask if he is just letting you down easy and my answer is, “yes, definitely!” He is letting you down easily but more importantly in his mind he is keeping the door to your relationship open by giving you a sense of hope that the break is only temporary. This is only a temporary break if he doesn’t hook up with someone new and he starts feeling lonely. He’ll only come back to you if the loneliness gets the best of him and there are no other prospects. If he meets a new girl the break will be for real. If he’s loving single life the break will last a very long time, at least until he tires of flying solo, and still then there are no guarantees that he’ll land back with you. He may opt to settle down with the first new cute girl he meets. Then how will you feel?

By now you’re probably thinking, “so how does that differ from a bona fide break up?” Exactly my point; whether he leads you to believe it’s a temporary thing or comes clean and tells you it’s indefinite your guy doesn’t want to be yours any longer. Accept this and live your life as if you were broken up for good. Date other guys. Don’t hang out with him so much and consider not hanging out with him at all. If you do hang out keep things strictly as friends, don’t play boyfriend/girlfriend. If he’s not willing to be with you the way you want him to be don’t be with him at all. This is the only way you’ll stay sane throughout “the break.” Treat it as if it were a break up and consider any future reconciliation to be a new and different relationship rather than an extension of the one you used to have. Who knows? Maybe once you see this break for the break up that it really is you’ll find that it is you who doesn’t want him anymore. Either way, this guy has cut you loose; it’s about time you did the same.

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