You may not really be happy to discover that your girlfriend needs a break. No guy is ever ready for that, really.
So, if that is happening to you, just know that the unpleasant feelings you are experiencing are normal.
First of all, you should know that this is a common situation – albeit not a fun one – and that a lot of relationships go through these “breaks” and recover just fine.
That being said, it is also important to take a step back and not do anything too rash. You might not be happy, but now is not the time to panic or act irrational: you might do or say something that just ends up pushing your girlfriend away even more.
You will also probably have quite a few questions, like: “Why does my girlfriend not want to be with me?” or “What does it mean if she wants a break?”
In this article, you are going to hopefully find a few answers to these questions, but also how you should react to the situation.
So let’s jump right into it.
“I just need some space right now,”
“Sorry, I want to focus on myself at the moment,”
“I need time to think,”
“It will be good for us to put this relationship on hold.”
The first thing that is likely to pop into your mind when you hear those words is: WHY?
Why can’t we work out another arrangement, like seeing each other less often, but still going on dates? Surely, she could think while next to me? Would being apart really be preferable than working through our problems together?
You are going to have a pretty frustrating time trying to figure this one out, because there is not one single reason why your girlfriend wants a break.
Instead, there are many different possible scenarios here. Sometimes more than one.
Here are the five most common reasons your girlfriend says she needs space:
When your girlfriend says she wants to take a break from your relationship, she might simply be trying to soften the blow of a full-on break-up.
Maybe because she is not confident enough.
Or maybe she abhors conflict.
Perhaps even, she is simply too mad at you to talk.
This is the same strategy that companies use when they reject a job candidate: you only get a message saying “We’ll get back to you,” and so you remain hopeful at first, but as time goes on you quickly understand that you have been rejected.
Maybe your girlfriend hopes that you will reach that conclusion yourself, without her having to do the work of breaking up with you.
This is the less extreme version of the previous point.
Basically, your relationship with her is on the rocks:
But while all that is enough to make your girlfriend want a break, it is not enough for her to completely burn all bridges yet.
Maybe she still likes you. Or she could be genuinely unsure whether she wants to break up or not.
Another common situation is that she wants to move on, but still keep you around just in case things don’t work out the way she is hoping.
Everyone can see their life get busy sometimes. That’s just part of life in this modern world.
There is family commitments, old friends who want to hang out, trouble at work and big projects for school that eat up all her free time, etc. To put it simply, she has no time and no energy to deal with all of that.
And that is where you come in.
If your relationship has not been great lately, she might just decide that the easiest way to free up some time and have a chance to catch her breath is to remove you from the equation.
Temporarily, at least. She might not truly want to lose you forever, so she tells you that she wants a break instead.
This could be anything: travelling the world, passing an exam, studying abroad, getting a promotion…
In the end, the result is the same. Your girlfriend will be gone for long periods of time – be it physically or mentally. She needs to dedicate her time and efforts to something that she finds truly satisfying. Maybe even something that she has dreamed of for a long time.
And that happens to be conflicting with dating and spending time with her boyfriend – you.
So, as a result, your girlfriend is asking for a break. It does not necessarily mean that she doesn’t love you anymore. But for now, she will focus on her goals, and will want to revisit your relationship once she has achieved them.
Life got in the way of your relationship.
Routine set in, the initial spark you felt is gone, the pace of your relationship has slowed way down… She just is not feeling it anymore.
Yet, she really would like it not to be the case.
She wants to feel all that excitement, she wants to miss you.
When she asks for a temporary break, this might be her attempt to recreate the passion you had in the first months of dating. She is hoping that putting some distance between you two will end up bringing you closer together.
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Now that you have seen the most common reasons why your girlfriend wants a break, you are better equipped to respond.
Understanding a problem is the most important step towards solving it.
To be fair, though, there could be other reasons she feels that way. But, as you will see, what you should do once she tells you she wants a break will be pretty much the same in every situation.
Here are the 13 best ways to respond when your girlfriend asks for a break from your relationship:
What was the first thing you thought when you heard your girlfriend wanted a break?
Did you feel sad? Angry? Confused? Or maybe just… relieved?
Some people love solving problems – maybe you are one of them. So, when your girlfriend asked for a break, you might have viewed this as another challenge, another problem to solve.
Going into problem-solving mode has its advantages, but you might also miss a bigger question: asking yourself if this is a problem worth solving.
If your immediately felt like a weight had been lifted from your shoulders, or happy to have some time alone, some freedom to hang out with your friends or play your favorite video games… then maybe this break is just what you needed too.
Another important question you should ask yourself is this: is this the right problem to solve?
Hearing your girlfriend ask for a break is an unpleasant experience. You are absolutely allowed to have unpleasant feelings regarding it. Maybe you feel sad, disappointed, frustrated… those are all valid feelings.
But there could be something deeper and more important going on too. Especially if you feel stronger emotions that seem disproportionate to the situation you are in:
These types of emotions are linked to insecurities and past traumas that have not been properly addressed.
That is why it is crucial that you take a step back to really try to understand how you feel about your girlfriend’s request for a break.
If you think that something is going on under the surface, the problem would not really be “How do I get my girlfriend back?” but “How do I deal with my issues first?”
If your girlfriend wants a break, two main outcomes are possible:
Of course, there are always complicated situations full of uncertainty, miscommunications, and on and off relationships. But realistically, in the long-term, these are still the two major results. You will either break up with your girlfriend, or you won’t.
The thing is, though, that you do not need to decide right away what is best for you.
There is no rush to get her to talk to you. No necessity to make the separation official and irreversible.
Those options will still be available to you in a week or two, or however long the break is going to be.
You may feel like it is too hard to wait right now, but you might also regret not leaving yourself any option to reconnect with your girlfriend if she comes back.
On the contrary, you might feel like you want to do anything in your power to be with your girlfriend, but with time, you might also realize that you like being single.
So, what do you do?
Your girlfriend and you are on a break now. That leaves you time – for both of you – to think, to re-evaluate your relationship, and to take care of yourself.
In short, don’t hurry to choose a path, and leave your options open.
Whether it is via text, email, or a face-to-face conversation, if your girlfriend really wants a break, she is going to have to communicate with you and announce it. Otherwise that’s just ghosting.
That leave you with one opportunity to say something to her… but what?
Before getting to that, here are some ways you should not respond:
None of these things make you look cool in her eyes.
To start with, your girlfriend might not even know how to respond to your requests. She is not sure of what she wants: that’s why she was asking for a break in the first place!
But also, the more you chase after her, the less likely she is to feel a need to make an effort. If you are definitely going to be there, no matter what, waiting on a sign from her, then what reason does she have to even try?
Instead of that, in that last conversation before the break, you should convey two things:
And that’s it.
Here are two examples:
“Well, I would have preferred to stay together and work things out as a couple, but I understand. Let me know when you are ready to talk again.”
“I agree, the way things are going is making me sad too. Let’s just take a step back for now.”
Now that you have clearly stated where you stand, the ball is in your girlfriend’s court. You do not need to contact her, check in on her, send her a funny meme or let her know that you are thinking about her.
Stop all communications and let her make the first move.
She is the one who asked for a break, so it is reasonable to expect that, if she wants to get back together, she will have to make the effort.
Yes, this is going to be hard.
You will be tempted. So, try to be patient and wait things out. Remember that if you contact her first, you might just lose some respect and make her even more distant.
Sometimes the best way to solve a difficult situation is to do nothing. Of course, you would like to be more proactive, and you could be tempted to believe that if you actively contact your girlfriend, you are actively working on a resolution, but in most cases, this is counterproductive.
Now that you have chosen to go no contact, does that mean you should be a jerk and ghost your girlfriend?
This is different from a real, full on break-up where you have no reason to really keep talking to your ex girlfriend.
In this situation, while you are on a break with your girlfriend, you are technically still a couple.
Feel free to respond to the text messages she sends. There are just a few things to keep in mind:
If you follow these rules, you will do fine in most cases.
But what happens when your girlfriend contacts you constantly?
That situation is less than ideal because:
When you notice that the frequency of contacts is getting too high for your comfort, you have the right to let her know.
Again, no need to get mad or seek conflict, just a quick message. For example:
“I’ve noticed you are calling me every night. It makes it a little hard for me because technically we are on a break and not dating, and I am receiving conflicting messages. Can we slow down a bit until you are ready and have time to sit down and talk face to face?”
Something like that. Just make it your own of course.
With your girlfriend is taking a break, you have lost someone with whom you spent most of your time.
This is a big void to fill.
Not only will it take some time to adjust to it – so be prepared – but also, you might feel lonely. This is uncomfortable.
To counter that, try to reach out to some friends. Even if you have lost touch with them, now is a good opportunity to reconnect with people you like and might not see as often as you would want.
You also have more time for your family. If you are on good terms with your loved ones, they will definitely help you in some way:
Another way to stop thinking about your girlfriend while you are on a break is to get busy. Find something you enjoy doing and that you can really get into.
Ideas are everywhere:
Now that you do not have to worry about what your girlfriend thinks, and you do not have to plan for activities that she enjoys, you are free to devote yourself completely to your passions and hobbies.
This is a rare opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: making you happy and helping you forget your girlfriend (temporarily, for the time being), at least enough so that you are not too tempted to contact her.
There are things you know would be good for you, but that you resisted or found excuses to avoid:
All those things that would really improve your life, you know.
Do them now.
The first – and main – reason for that is that you will benefit from it personally:
To be frank, that should be enough to motivate you to take action. But there is another big reason for seeking challenges that make you grow: you will make an impression on your girlfriend.
Indeed, if she comes back after wanting a break and sees that you kept developing new skills and getting better in general, that might be enough to convince her that you are a great guy for her. The kind of man she would be looking for if she was single.
Conversely, if she decides to sit down with you after your break and sees that you have done nothing to improve your life, that you just stayed at home waiting for her to come back, would that make her want to chase you?
If you are not sure what kind of self-challenges will improve your life, make you happier, and increase your confidence, a good place to start is to either try something new or meet people who can introduce you to their hobbies.
You can find people who share your interests and affinities right here, on Vidamora. You can even sign up today: it’s 100% free!
One of the top reasons to increase your confidence when your girlfriend wants a break is not necessarily to impress her, but to feel better by yourself.
Indeed, when you learned your girlfriend wanted to spend time away from you, that might have stung a little. This usually feels a little bit like a rejection, and your ego takes a hit.
To preserve your confidence, you need to remind yourself that your value does not come from her.
Your “self-worth” is not something that your girlfriend bestows upon you. Nor is it derived from your status, job, money, grades, or anything external, by the way.
Self-worth is intrinsic to yourself. The only person who builds it and maintains it is you.
Of course, there is no magical process whereby you simply choose to feel confident and to value yourself, and the job is done.
It is a combination of learning to love yourself and forgive your shortcomings.
Too often, when things go wrong, your first instinct will be to blame yourself, with thoughts like “She wants a break because I’m not good enough. That’s my fault. Why can’t I be the man she expects me to be? What’s wrong with me?”
But is that really helping you?
You would not talk to your friend like that if his girlfriend asked for a break from their relationship, would you? So why shouldn’t you be nicer to yourself?
Again, this will be a long process, but every time you catch yourself being too harsh or too mean towards yourself, take a step back, and remind yourself that you are still a valuable, worthy, individual. What your girlfriend – or anybody else – thinks is none of your concern.
As far as you know, you are the coolest guy in the world!
When your girlfriend needs a break from your relationship, things can get difficult on your side. Even more so when this comes as a surprise to you or when you do not want to break up.
Your first instincts might tell you to fight for this relationship, to show her that you can change, and to go and get her back.
But the truth is that she might not.
She may even have decided from the very beginning that she doesn’t love you anymore and that this break is her way of breaking up or to force you to break up. Just like we saw at the beginning of this article.
Waiting for her, changing for her, and hoping that things will get back to normal with her is setting yourself up for disappointment: You will either get what you expect, or you will be tremendously disappointed.
It doesn’t mean that you should completely consign your girlfriend to oblivion and never even think about her. No. You are allowed to consider her “your girlfriend” as long as the breakup is not official, if that’s what you want.
But you should still enjoy being alone and start building your life again. Just make sure you build your life around yourself, and not your girlfriend.
This is easier if you have already started to revisit old hobbies, get in touch with your friends, and challenge yourself to improve your life.
That way, you do not condition your future happiness to whether or not she will come back.
You will be in charge of your own happiness.
Just because your girlfriend decided to take a break from your relationship does not mean that you have to wait for her decision before doing anything.
At any time, all options are available to you. You can:
In the last situation, the uncertainty is what is making you have these unpleasant feelings. The way to resolve it is simply to let her go.
Granted, that is going to be tremendously hard to do. You will always have a little voice in the back of your mind telling you: “What if she still likes me? She might want to date me; I should not burn bridges.”
In the end, it all comes down to how much self-respect and self-love you have towards yourself. Your girlfriend put you in a difficult situation, but you can still stand up for yourself if you find it unfair.
Careful though: if you do decide to break-up permanently, be sure that you are doing it for yourself, and yourself only.
Specifically, you are not trying to manipulate your girlfriend into giving you an answer that she is not ready to give – if she does not know whether or not she will get back with you, it is her right. She doesn’t know, that’s it.
Also, you are not trying to get revenge or punish her. Being fixated on your ex like that would not help you recover or feel better, quite the contrary.
In light of everything written above, you might have a good idea already of what to say to your girlfriend if you want to end the break.
A couple of rules to keep in mind:
Start by sending her a quick message: “Just checking in with you to see how you feel about the current situation.”
If your girlfriend wants to break-up, that’s going to be hard to hear, but the decision will be made for you. Even soulmates break-up sometimes.
She might also want to get back together, or to talk face to face. If that sounds good to you, then go for it.
And then of course, she might ask you for more time or tell you to wait.
When you hear that, do not negotiate, no matter how tempting this will be. Simply let her know that you respect her needs, and that while you wished things had gone differently, you would prefer parting ways to preserve your mental well-being.
If you both are mature enough, there should not be too much drama by that point.
You should treat getting back with your girlfriend after a break like a new relationship: yes, you are with someone you know and dated, but things are going to be different.
Specifically, try to keep in mind:
This is your chance – both for you and your girlfriend – to build a new relationship that feels more satisfying and fulfilling.
Actually, you have another lucky factor, since you already know each other’s likes and dislikes, character flaws, and where conflict is likely to come from.
With some good planning, an open-mind, and a willingness to have difficult conversations, you can nip a lot of future problems in the bud.
If you or your girlfriend decides to end things and not get back together, you might not find it easy.
Even if the breakup is amicable, you will still feel it.
Behind the title of “girlfriend” there is also a companion, a best friend, a confidant, and someone to talk to.
With all of that gone, you will need some time to adjust.
Just take it.
But at the same time, understand that you will probably be dating again at some point. So, as soon as you get enough energy and mental capacity, start rebuilding yourself. Specifically, start acting like someone who will be on the market for a date soon:
Who knows where your soulmate is right now? Perhaps she is a friend of a friend. Maybe she is an old friend you have lost touch with.
She could even be right here, on Vidamora!
So, don’t stop looking, someone is out there looking for a man like you.
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