Sometimes when someone isn’t totally ready to write off a relationship just yet, they will say that they “just want to take a break” rather than saying that they want to break up. When a guy does this, it can be super confusing. How is a girl supposed to know if he is serious about working on himself and then getting back together eventually, or if he is just keeping her on the back burner while going after other girls? She will end up going over all of the possibilities in her mind, wondering if she should give him some time and wait for him to make up his mind, or if she should just say goodbye to the relationship and find a guy who is willing to be more committed. It can be so frustrating!
The truth is that it can be hard to tell what a guy’s motives are when he says that he wants a break. But there are a few clues that women might be able to pick up on to find out what’s going through his head. Here are 20 things that he might really mean when he says that he wants a break.
20 He Has No Time For A Relationship
According to Cosmopolitan, one of the most common reasons why a guy will say he “just wants a break” is because he simply has no time at the moment for a relationship. Now, this problem might be resolved in a few months, or it might not be—if the guy is constantly busy with his job and has no intention on slowing down, the issue is not going to just go away.
But, if he is just very busy for one semester because of his course load, there might be a chance of reviving the relationship in the future.
19 He’s Dealing With Personal Problems
Every once in a while, a guy will say that he wants a break when he is dealing with personal issues that he doesn’t feel super comfortable opening up about yet. According to Allure, this can happen even in long-term relationships if something really heavy is weighing on him.
Remember, guys are not always encouraged to talk about their emotions. So, sometimes instead of opening up and admitting what’s going on, they will distance themselves from their loved ones and try to avoid talking about the issue. This could even cause them to take a break from a loving relationship.
18 He Doesn’t Feel Butterflies Anymore
According to Psychology Today, that feeling of “butterflies” that people get early on in a relationship is actually a chemical reaction in the brain. The feeling naturally fades after a year or two—it varies for each individual—but that doesn’t mean the relationship has to be over!
Those fuzzy feelings might just not be as strong. However, some people, guys included, think that once the butterflies fade, it means something is totally wrong. A guy might think that it’s time to take a break from the relationship if he doesn’t feel those butterflies anymore—but really, that’s just how relationships work.
17 He Wants Something Different For His Future
Sometimes, two people will get together and feel like they are on the same page about everything. But as time goes by, one of them will realize that they actually have a different future in mind—one that might not be compatible with this particular relationship.
According to Cosmopolitan, it is very common for a guy to bring up the idea of taking a break if this is his mindset. He might not be ready to let go of the person he once envisioned being with, but he knows that he needs time to think about what he really wants.
16 His Family Is Pressuring Him To Break It Off
Every once in a while, there is some family drama going on behind the scenes in a guy’s life that his girlfriend doesn’t get a front-row seat to—and she may not realize there is even a problem. According to Seventeen, sometimes a guy’s family will pressure him to break things off with a girl, even if he really likes her, simply because they do not approve.
He may not feel comfortable explaining that to her, and since he doesn’t want to say goodbye in the first place, he doesn’t want to call it a “breakup,” so he asks for a break instead.
15 His Friends Don’t Like Her
Ouch, this one is no fun to deal with! According to Seventeen, sometimes pressure from friends can also be the reason why a guy asks for a break. Let’s face it, as much as everyone would rather not admit it, a guy’s friends do have a big influence over his decisions concerning relationships.
If a girl doesn’t fit in with his friend group, he might be left feeling confused about his feelings. He may not want to call it quits and totally break things off, but at the same time he needs to take a step back and reconsider his decision.
14 He’s Too Nervous To Officially Break Up
If this is the case, it means there is essentially no way for the relationship to bounce back. According to Cosmopolitan, sometimes a guy will say that he just wants a break, when really, what he wants is a real breakup—but he’s too nervous to admit it.
Maybe he keeps hoping that his feelings will change, maybe he is scared of hurting the woman he is dating, or maybe he is doubting his decision. Whatever the case, it’s important to be aware of the fact that sometimes a guy will say that he just wants a break when he actually wants to end things for good.
13 He Feels Like Things Are Moving Too Fast
Sometimes, one person in a relationship will feel way more prepared to take a big step than the other. For example, one might be ready to get an apartment together, while the other might not feel like it’s the right time yet.
According to Psychology Today, this can cause one party to take a step back and put the breaks on everything—literally. When one partner is ready to move faster than the other, or falls in love faster, it can make the other partner nervous, and they might overreact by asking to take a break for a while.
12 He’s Scared To Get Too Serious
Lots of guys out there are scared of commitment. When a woman is totally ready to commit but he isn’t quite feeling it, he might even be scared to commit to an official breakup! According to Cosmopolitan, sometimes a guy will say that he wants to take a break just because he has commitment issues.
He tells the girl that he wants a break, but he’s not being fully honest—really, he is not ready for a relationship at all, and he should just be real and walk away if it is not what he is looking for right now.
11 He Fell For Someone Else
If a guy develops feelings for another girl while he is already in a relationship, he might be conflicted about what’s going through his head. According to Cosmopolitan, it’s not unheard of for a guy to ask for a break rather than to simply break up with his girl in these situations.
He is probably wondering if he is just wanting what he can’t have and feeling restless, or if he actually has a real connection with this other girl. If his girlfriend suspects this is the case, moving on is her best option—a guy who does this is fickle.
10 He Misses The Way Things Were
Sometimes, both people in a relationship stop putting in real effort. Both of them just sort of become complacent after a certain amount of time, and things don’t feel as magical and romantic as they once did.
According to Cosmopolitan, when things feel this way in a relationship, this is when a lot of guys will start to wonder if taking a break might be a good idea. And every once in a while, this is the right decision to make in the situation. Spending some time apart can remind both people why they love each other and how they can change.
9 He Just Wants To Be Friends
Some couples will start dating only to realize that they may have simply been better off staying friends. According to Seventeen, sometimes when a guy has this realization, he will ask to take a break to see if he feels differently about the girl once they have spent some time apart.
Does he actually miss her in a romantic sense? Or does he miss the friendship that they once had? Sometimes, a couple will need to spend some time apart in order to really be able to tell. The answer is not always obvious, but some friends don’t make great couples.
8 He Misses Being Single
When a guy is in a long-term relationship, he will sometimes start to miss those days of being single—no matter how good things have been since he committed himself to one girl. According to Allure, some guys just always seem to think that the grass must be greener on the other side.
They miss being in a relationship when they are single, and they miss being single when they are in a relationship. It’s impossible to win with these guys! And they are the type who will ask for a break just to experiment with being single again.
7 He’s Curious About Dating Again
There’s a certain rush and thrill to casual dating. Meeting new people, going on adventures, even telling funny stories about dates gone wrong—it’s easy to see why some people miss it after they get into relationships.
According to Glamour, some guys will ask for a break because they want to casually date again and see who’s out there. They get bored of staying with the same woman, they miss the excitement of new flings, and they feel like they have already checked out of the relationship. But, they think that if dating is a flop, they can return to the relationship.
6 He Feels Tied Down
When a guy feels tied down but he’s too scared to totally let go of the relationship that he has and just admit that he wants to fly solo for a while, he will typically ask to take a break rather than going through with a proper breakup.
According to Seventeen, some guys don’t have the guts to admit that they would rather just be single and that being in a relationship isn’t right for them right now—instead, they will take the halfway measure by asking for a break. They’re not ready for a relationship, but they don’t feel independent.
5 He Can’t Figure Out What He Wants
At some point in their lives, everyone has felt confused about the direction of their relationship—or whether they really want a relationship at all. Yes, sometimes it can be quite confusing to decipher what a guy wants when he says that it’s time for a break—but according to Allure, it’s possible that the guy is just as confused!
Sometimes, a guy will ask for a break just because he genuinely has no idea what he wants out of life at the moment. Is it a break up? Or just some “time off?” Only time and distance will tell.
4 He Feels Too Guilty To Really Say Goodbye
Look, it’s true that there are some guys out there who don’t really care if they break a girl’s heart or not—but there are plenty who do feel guilty when they call things off for good. According to Cosmopolitan, a guy might ask for a break because he wants to let a girl down easy.
Just dumping her out of the blue feels too harsh, and saying goodbye for good feels like too much, so he thinks that taking a break is a way to ease out of the relationship. Unfortunately, taking a break can be just as difficult sometimes.
3 He's Grown Bored Of The Relationship
This is one aspect of long term relationships that nobody likes to talk about—the boredom that can set in when both people stop trying to keep things exciting. According to Glamour, this is one major reason why a guy might ask for a break.
He might miss the way things were when everything felt exciting, but now that the excitement has died down, he is simply bored, and he’s not as “into it” as he once was. He might think that taking a break could help bring back the spark, but unfortunately this is a hit-or-miss strategy.
2 He’s Trying Not To Hurt Her
No one wants to hurt someone they care about. And just because a guy isn’t enthusiastic about a relationship anymore, it doesn’t mean that he has ever stopped caring about the girl he’s with.
According to Cosmopolitan, sometimes a guy will ask for a break because he doesn’t want to face the inevitable—the relationship is done, and the girl is going to be heartbroken over it eventually, no matter what. It’s not an easy thing to do, so it’s clear that some guys would rather stall that real breakup by simply “taking a break” for a little while.
1 He Doesn’t Know If Trying Again Will Be Worth It
This is one of the hardest truths to face in a long-term relationship that is on the rocks—sometimes, no matter how hard two people try to hold things together, it’s just not meant to be.
According to Allure, a guy might say that he wants to take a break because he is tired of fighting, tired of disagreeing, tired of pretending like everything is okay in front of other people when both parties know that behind the scenes, everything is far, far from okay.
He might not be ready to say it’s over, but deep down, he knows it.
Sources: Allure, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Psychology Today