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She Says, A Girl'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:
This is a classic case of a person having their cake and eating it to, and you’re spoon-feeding the cake (a.k.a., you) to him! Give ME a break!! No matter what he calls it, right now the two of you are not a couple. I don’t care how much time you spend together or how much it seems like old times when you do hang out this guy has broken up with you, plain and simple. He may really mean for it to be a temporary break but as things stand right now until he says otherwise you are both single and free to be with other people. In fact, my advice to you is that you make a real effort to date somebody else. You would not be cheating if you did and it would likely give you a new perspective on the situation. One you seem to desperately need.

Let me ask you; why do you think he wants to take a break as opposed to break up? If you answer this question honestly there is only one reason and you know it! The reason he wants to take a break is that he’s not quite ready to let you go but he wants to be able to date other girls without resorting to cheating on you. Admittedly not wanting to cheat is an admirable trait, lots of guys would just cross their fingers and take a chance, but the bottom line is that he wants the freedom to be with other girls. I’m willing to bet that he has already dated another girl (maybe more than one) and that his desire to take a break was prompted by his feeling an attraction to another person while he was still with you. Good on him for calling it quits before acting on the attraction but bad on him for stringing you along. That is what he is doing and I think you know it.

He has it made right now. You still spend time with him and let him feel as if he has a girlfriend when he wants to but you are also allowing him the freedom to find someone new. Ouch! While this works well for him it totally sucks for you. So here it is, the no-holds-barred lowdown on the situation: you are broken up! Start acting accordingly and open yourself up to other guys. If he comes back to you some day, great, but if he doesn’t (and there’s a real possibility that he won’t) at least you won’t feel played. Let him know in no uncertain terms that by taking a break he runs the very real risk of losing you forever. If he is at all on the fence about getting back together this may bring him back to your side and if it doesn’t what have you really lost? Nothing! But you will have gained the certain knowledge that things are over between you for real.

When people want to take a break what they are really doing is taking time to see if there is somebody more suited for them out there. No matter how they act during the break, no matter how much they claim to still want to be with you, they are keeping their options open by keeping you in limbo. Take back your heart and your pride and start letting go of your feelings for him right now. It is the only way you’ll be able to move on with your life and if by some chance the two of you do get back together some day it will be on your terms. Take this time to grow, don’t stagnate waiting for him. Any future relationship, with or without him, will be the better for it if you do.

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