Taking a break is relationship limbo.
You don’t quite know in which direction the relationship is going. All that’s for certain is uncertainty. Just because she’s putting the breaks on your relationship doesn’t mean she wants it to end. Before grabbing a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s and binging cheesy 90s flicks, let’s try to answer the question of, “why did she ask for a break?”
Understanding her reasoning will shed light on the trajectory of the relationship and what you can do to put it back on track.
How far along the relationship is helps indicate why she asked for a break. There are differences between asking for a hiatus within the first three months and while in a committed relationship. We’ll break down the reasons why she might have opted for a break into one of two categories.
First 3 Months: You’re Being Creepy
The first few months of dating are for feeling each other out, not eloping. Whisking her off to Vegas to throw a ring on it is something 2-bit pop stars do when they want to stay in the limelight because they’re worried their audience might come to the realization that their music actually sucks. Don’t be that 30-something-year-old dude that gets super clingy after a few dates. If she doesn’t reciprocate your infatuation, she might be put off and ask for some time apart. So what can you do to avoid being a clinger during the initial period of the relationship?
Here’s a helpful list:
- Delay having sex
- Continue to spend time with your friends
- Stop putting her on a pedestal
- Have your own life
- Don’t stalk her on social media
- Examine your feelings
If you have noticed that every time you start dating someone you become obsessed with them, you might have an attachment issue. Someone with an anxious attachment style grew up in an erratic environment that only occasionally sated their emotional needs. As a result, this person seeks validation in relationships, leading them to become clingy even after a few weeks of dating. Learn which attachment style you have so that you can combat your urges to cling.
First 3 Months: Did She Catch You With Someone Else?
If you’re adhering to the MegaDating philosophy it means that you’re dating more than one woman at the same time. MD isn’t a philosophy that everyone buys into, especially the person across the table from a MegaDater. Be upfront about your dating habits so as to avoid any awkwardness down the road. Inform her that you’re dating around because you’re expediting your search for Mrs. Right. Regardless of your explanation she still might not be supportive of your lifestyle.
If you’ve been on 4-5 dates with her, she might be expecting to make the relationship exclusive. It’s at this point that you’re promiscuous behavior will get under her skin. If she decides to take this slow, be upfront with her and voice your wishes. Be honest and say:
“Hey Brenda, I really like dating you, but right now I’m exploring myself and enjoying meeting new people. I’m not looking for a serious relationship right now but if that eventually feels right, then I’ll be the first one to say so. If that doesn’t work for you I understand. I really enjoy spending time with you and want to see how this goes but I would hate for us to be on different pages.”
First 3 Months: Vacation
Vacationing solo is apparently the newest travel trend. Should she have planned this single travel vacation months ago you’ve got little to worry about. But if it’s a more impromptu adventure, she might have a few thoughts on her mind. She needs time alone or with other single friends to unwind, to get her thoughts off her job, reflect on what she wants, and ditch the routine she’s become so accustomed to. We all need this. It’s understandable that to fully reboot she needed to sever ties, if only for a short while.
She could have also asked for space because while she considers you a serious romantic partner and would feel immoral about sleeping with someone else, even though the two of you aren’t an item. Whatever the case may be, there are a few ways to keep that flame alive even while she’s away.
- Give her space, but remind her that you’re still around. Sample text: “Still jealous about the awesome trip your own. Live it up!”
- Pull back. Annoying her with texts while she’s on vacation won’t serve you. Text her no more than once and show her that you’re okay without her. (See text above).
- Shoot her a text a few days before she comes home. Be the one that helps her acclimate herself to reality once again by easing that transition with an awesome, adventurous date idea that captures the spirit of vacation.
First 3 Months: Why Did She Ask For A Break? She’s Testing You
Some women can only take so much of their romantic interest dating around. Hell, not just women, men too. To get a little personal, after dating my current partner for some time, he gave me an ultimatum. I either had to commit to moving the relationship forward or else the relationship would end.
If she’s threatening a break or has already taken one, it might be because she’s deciding whether to continue with someone as wishy-washy as yourself. She understands and may even respect your desire to date multiple women, but that doesn’t mean she’s willing to not be number one in the romantic pecking order. She needs space to contemplate. Now would be a good time to make your intentions clear. Tell her how you feel about her and what your future looks like. If she’s not satisfied being just another woman in your life are you ready to become exclusive or at the very least stop dating around?
If You’re Exclusive: She Wants To Break Up
Now, on to when your girlfriend wants a break.
Whenever she requests a break from the relationship, ask her exactly what she means. Few people derive pleasure from breaking hearts. A break for her might be a euphemism for, “the relationship has expired.” Prod her with questions so that you have a definite understanding of why she’s asking for a break. If she has it in her mind to end the relationship, eventually she’ll pop. Should she be uncertain about ending it, respectfully peppering her with questions will fill in any gaps and clarify the situation for you.
If You’re Exclusive: She’s Testing To See If You’re All In
What in your behavior suggests that you’re not fully committed? Do you come home late, respond with two-word answers, or have stopped playing Jeopardy with her? These are all signs that you’re not in it for the long haul. If she’s pushing back it’s because she can’t be certain that you’re committed. In her mind, the easiest way to test your commitment is to voice her discontent for the current state of affairs by asking for a break.
If you care about the preservation of the union you’ll vehemently express your desire to change things around and get your relationship back on track. She’ll be examining how you respond to rejection. Don’t be afraid to be authentic even if it could mean total rejection. Love happens behind the walls we’ve put up to protect ourselves from getting hurt. You can’t be half in.
If You’re Exclusive: She Might Not See A Future With You
This isn’t the same as wanting to break up. Asking for a break when she really wants to throw oil over the relationship and burn it is different than being uncertain about the future. She’s been sailing on one boat for the last few years and wants to test the waters of romance on another ship. Can you blame her when marriage is a lifelong decision?
Just because your long-time partner wants some space doesn’t mean she’ll go sleeping around or engage in a bit of MegaDating herself. It only means that she’s looking to clear her head and find some semblance of certainty in her romantic future.
Give her space, hear her out, but also speak your mind. Are you the one for her? Why? Any lasting relationship is built on communication. Respect the space she needs to ruminate but also be forthright about what you both want.
One of the most popular reasons why long-term relationships fail is because of a lack of intimacy. If this might be your case, psychotherapist and love genius Ester Perel is willing to gift you the secret to desire in a long-term relationship.
If You’re Exclusive: Someone Has Changed Over The Years
It’s natural that you two have grown apart through the years. The way you joke, your hobbies, professional and familial aspirations have all changed. It seems like now’s the time to reassess the relationship. There’s nothing wrong with the relationship changing and thus organically coming to a close. She may need space to examine whether the relationship can and is deserving of salvaging.
It can seem odd that after all this time you have to ask the question of “why did she ask for a break?” It may seem out of step with the rhythm of the relationship. Use this time to figure out if you two are right for each other or if it’s time to say goodbye to the relationship you’ve invested so many years in.
That’s the tough part. Leaving a relationship that you invested so heavily in will often seem like the wrong decision. Even though it’s clear to all your friends that it’s not working out, you two continue to stay with each other simply because she’s so intimately woven into the fabric of your daily life. Breaking ties now would feel akin to losing an arm. Trying times aren’t always best dealt with alone. A dating coach can help answer your most significant romantic questions.
If you leave her you’ll have to start anew. Do you have any idea what the modern dating scene looks like? It’s freakin’ weird man. Don’t do it alone. Let a dating coach guide you through all the weirdness that is the modern dating landscape.
Book a 1-on-1 new client session where we’ll assess your current dating situation, create a quick action plan, and see if my Signature Program could be right for you. This program includes 12 one-on-one sessions that will teach you what it takes to become a modern Don Juan (sans all the immoral stuff).