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You Asked: What Does He Mean by "Break"?

You Asked: What Does He Mean by "Break"?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for five and half years. We've dated since high school and throughout college, but have also had some rough periods. This Summer he got accepted into a four-year pharmacy program in another city. Before he left, he dropped a bomb on me: He wanted to breakup. I was heartbroken but we talked before his move and he told me he always saw his future with me but wasn't sure if his feelings were strong enough presently to do long distance for the next eight months.

We decided to keep things open, but he's created an entirely new life and even though we talk every day, he says he feels single and he likes it. Still, he maintains that he wants to be with me eventually. His proposed solution was that we take a "break" until Christmas, when he will be home next, in hopes that he will realize that he wants to be with me 100 percent. He said that it would mean we would talk less and be able to see other people, which he said he had no intentions of doing.

I agreed on this break hoping that it would bring us together in the end. We decided to write a list of guidelines during this period in order to make the break work. When I mentioned to him one guideline I had — no fooling around with other people (going on dates was acceptable) — he became hesitant. I don't think that messing around with other people will solve our issues. So all this leads me to wonder exactly what he means by "break." Does he want to be single for now but knows that he will have me in the end? My definition of a break was to reassess our relationship and figure out if we want to be together in the future. I don't want to end up getting hurt in the end. Please help!

— Uncertain Ciara

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Dear Uncertain Ciara,

Although your boyfriend claims he has no intention of pursuing a physical relationship or otherwise with anyone during this break, it's clear to me that that's exactly what he has in mind. And even if he doesn't, I'm not sure how taking a break ruled by a set of guidelines rather than communication is going to help you two reevaluate your relationship. It sounds like your boyfriend is fairly certain that he doesn't want to be with you right now, and while he might see you in his future, if he's not willing to commit today or even tomorrow then I don't know how much that's worth.

Your boyfriend needs to understand that he doesn't get to string you along until it's convenient for him, and you're the one that's going to have to show him that via your actions. Don't be afraid to tell him that your not willing to wait around for him while he enjoys his freedom. It's important that he realizes what he's losing. If you've explained all this to him and he's still sure he doesn't want to be with you, then my advice is to take that for what it is and start moving on. Of course, things could work out later, but certainly don't count on it.


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