What should you do if your boyfriend or girlfriend tells you they want to take a “break” from the relationship?
It turns out when your ex asks for a “break” or some time apart, their motivations may not be exactly what they seem.
I’ll tell you exactly what to do if you don’t want the “break” to turn into a permanent breakup.
So whether your boyfriend or girlfriend told you they want to take a “break” or just asked for some “time and space” to “think things over”, it’s the same fundamental situation: you’re not together, but you’re not officially broken up.
When Your Partner Wants A Break: Relationship No Man’s Land
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that this type of situation is very, very common. Many of my coaching clients ask me about what their “break” really means, so I figured I would cover it in more detail here.
First off, there’s one thing you absolutely should NOT do if you’re facing this type of situation…. And that is to fight back, and try to talk your ex out of taking a “break”.
If your ex is telling you they want some space, you need to give them space… period.
No matter how much you may disagree with the idea of taking some time apart, it’s never a good idea to push back and try to resist. Doing so is literally ALWAYS going to make the situation worse, trust me.
So, here’s what you say in response:
OK, yeah. Some time apart would maybe be a healthy thing for both of us.
Why go along with an idea that you don’t agree with? Because anything you try to do or say to change your partner’s mind is only going to reinforce their belief that they need a break from the relationship.
The harder you resist their suggestion, the more they’re going to feel claustrophobic and desperate for time apart. It also makes you look weak and needy when you really want to be showing your ex that you’re not scared of some time on your own.
Let’s move on now and talk a little bit about what it MEANS when your ex suggests taking a break from the relationship. There are 3 main reasons why a person would ask their boyfriend or girlfriend for some time apart:
Reason #1 – They’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by some recent drama or problems in the relationship, or they’re stressed out by life in general.
To some extent, when your partner asks for time apart, it’s always because they’re feeling somewhat frustrated or fed up with the relationship recently.
You know that feeling when you get so sick of something or someone — like, when you’re struggling to assemble a new piece of furniture, and sometimes it gets to the point where you just have to put down the tools and give up for a while.
It’s possible your ex has had the same experience, only they’re fed up with how things are going in your relationship rather than an IKEA bookshelf.
It’s also possible your boyfriend or girlfriend is just stressed in general lately… maybe they’re feeling overwhelmed with work, school, family, etc… and they just can’t handle the responsibilities of being in a relationship along with all the other stressful things in their life.
This is more commonly used as an excuse to cover the REAL reasons your partner wants some time apart… but, general life stress can definitely be a factor that leads to people to take a break from the relationship.
Reason #2 – They’re not happy with how your relationship has been going recently, but they’re also not ready to commit to a real breakup.
This is by far the most common reason that couples take “breaks”: it’s because one or both partners feel like the spark is fading, and they’re losing interest… but they’re also fearful of committing to a real, permanent breakup yet.
So, taking some time apart is a way for them to “test the waters” and decide whether they still want to be in the relationship at all.
Maybe they just wanted to see how it felt to be “free” and “on their own” for a while, or maybe they wanted some time apart to think clearly about whether your relationship has a real future.
Remember: most people are very, very frightened by the idea of being single. This is especially true when you’ve been dating for years, and your lives have become heavily intertwined.
The thought of not having someone around anymore… of waking up alone every day… that’s really scary when you’ve become accustomed to being in a comfortable relationship.
As a result, people try to find a middle ground that will allow them to experience the freedom of being single without committing to a permanent breakup.
They’ve probably been feeling restless recently, or unhappy with how your relationship has been going, and they want to see if a bit of time apart will provide clarity and help them decide whether it’s time to end things.
Reason #3 – They are really using the “break” as a way to slowly end your relationship without dumping you out of the blue.
Unfortunately, sometimes people will suggest taking a “break” knowing that it will eventually turn into a permanent breakup. This can be because they’re a coward and too scared to face a real breakup, or it can be because they still care about you and want to avoid breaking your heart by dumping you.
Basically, it’s a way to slowly break up with someone over the period of a few weeks rather than in a single conversation.
Don’t panic, though, if you think this is what’s happening with your boyfriend or girlfriend right now…. you likely still have a good chance of changing their mind and stopping the “break” from turning into a “breakup”… IF you take the right steps in the next few days while there’s still time.
Start by watching my full tutorial video. In it, I explain the 3 key steps to changing your ex’s mind about breaking up… and, if you apply my advice in that video exactly the way I describe, your ex is the one who will end up begging you to take them back.
How To Handle Your Partner During This Break
First, let me explain something really really important: what you do and say during the “break” from your relationship is going to have a huge impact on how the situation plays out in the long run.
As I already mentioned, trying to resist the idea of taking some time apart will always backfire on you. You need your boyfriend or girlfriend to think that you’re FINE with the idea of taking a “break.”
In fact, you can even go along with it and say things like “I actually need to really focus on that work project in the next couple of weeks anyway.” This type of statement — and that attitude in general — will achieve two things:
1. It shows that you’re confident enough in your own value and self-worth that you don’t fear being alone for awhile.
2. It gives them exactly what they’ve asked for, without any unnecessary drama.
That first point is critical. You need your boyfriend or girlfriend to understand that you are NOT going to wait around twiddling your thumbs until they finally decide the “break” is over and reach out.
They should think that you’ve accepted the situation and decided to use the time apart productively… and that you’re absolutely not afraid that the “break” might become permanent.
Ideally, you want to convey a sense of confidence about your own self-worth, and appear to everyone around you as though you’re not worried about the future or what may happen with your relationship down the road.
This is honestly basic psychology here, folks: if your partner sees you thriving and embracing the idea of some time alone… if they expect you to fear a breakup, but instead you act confident and upbeat… they can’t help but change their perception of you and your value as a boyfriend or girlfriend.
To sum things up, here’s the key things you need to remember if your significant other wants to take a “break”:
Do not resist the idea. Instead, embrace it and go along with it.
Employ a period of No Contact and give your partner the time and space they’re asking for.
During your time apart, focus on bettering yourself, being social, and having fun. Do not, under any circumstances, sit at home alone feeling sorry for yourself.
Get in touch with me for more personalized 1-on-1 help with any kind of unique or unusual situation you may be facing. Visit my coaching page right now to learn more.