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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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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.


Join The Conversation
rossinaross rossinaross 8 years
Hun I'm sorry this is happening to you, but Dear is 100% right. He just wants you to wait around just in case he doesn't find someone else by Christmas!!! And to tell you the truth, I don't see him showing up with an engagement ring, I see him showing up with some other chick. Move on, it'll be better, and if things are meant to work out HE will make them work out. Good luck!
lovelee lovelee 8 years
have to agree with everyone else. let it go. if he wants to be with you he will come back. dont wait around. he'll respect you less and think he can do whatever he wants. by sticking around your basically telling him he CAN do whatever he wants. is that the kind of girlfriend you want to be. a door mat?
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
in my head, if someone says that they want to take a break, that means that they are looking to see if there's something different/better out there than what they have. i get frustrated to when the person who's at the 'receiving' end gets strung along too. if you say that he's got this new life that you're not really a part of yet he talks to you every day - it makes me wonder what his deal really is. you deserve better than to be with someone that says they want to be with you eventually - since that means that he's saying that he wants you to sit around and wait for him to sow his oats. if he has this new life then you need to do the same - it's not fair for him to expect you to stay in the same place and wait for him to figure it out.
kristyy kristyy 8 years
I'd take this situation and turn around and break up with him for good. Remember Ross and Rachel's "on a break"? That's what's going to happen - with him being stupid like Ross and sleeping with someone else. Tell him that it's best if you guys break up now and let him go do his thing and you go do your thing. Then neither of you would have to feel guilty about it. I think since you guys have been together since HS, he just wants to explore - which you should too. If fate brings you back together, fine. But you're still young and shouldn't be sitting around waiting for someone who isn't ready to commit to you.
Vsugar Vsugar 8 years
What he wants is permission from you to sleep with other people before he commits completely to you. Who CARES what he wants - what do YOU want???? Do you want someone who wants to be with you? Do you want someone who wants to build a life with you? Do you want someone who thinks you are the greatest thing since sliced freakin' bread and isn't interested in seeing other people? Tell him you love him, tell him in no uncertain terms what you want, and then say, "If you don't want that, that's fine, but that's what I'm interested in and nothing less. Take it or leave it." I think that even if he says he wants you and renegs on the "plan", I would drop him. This is a guy who obviously wants to sow some oats - it's not your problem if he regrets it later - you know what you want, and you will have found that with someone better in the meantime - it's HIS problem. DO NOT LET HIM TALK YOU INTO THIS - YOU WILL REGRET IT.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
SELF-ESTEEM. You're not a piece of luggage, you're a woman. Keep your head high and tell him you are such a great gal you deserve to be with a guy who wants you 100% and all the time; not "wishy washy on a break he can screw other people if he pleases" - WTF? and you're happy you're finally rid of him to be free and look for that great guy. It will hurt, but please revel in your pride and your awesomeness, and drop him like an old sock. For one, he'll come back running (men like proud, independent women who don't let themselves be jerked around) and in the end, you'll be happy you've moved on (when you have. First it will be hard and sad, but you will survive. Promise!) Good luck!
lovelie lovelie 8 years
Hey darling, I'm so sorry that you are going through this. It is agony, I know. My advice, salvage your pride and your broken heart, and cut off contact completely. Lay it out and tell him that he is free to do what he wants. In the meantime, focus all of your attention on yourself. New hairstyle, new exercise routine, just change it up. That is how I grieve, and it always helps. You will get through it, it won't be tomorrow, but someday you will look back at this time in your life and be proud of yourself for taking the high road, and you will be a better person for it.
subtleheights subtleheights 8 years
I say agree with him. go along with it. Yes it is going to hurt like hell but this is all part of a process. in the meantime, you are going to get yourself caught up and busy with other people in your life and some fun guys also. go online and hook up with someone new. not sex but just fun. get into you. find out about you. when agreeing to this, have a smile and let him see that you are going to enjoy this. it is not a game, but he just might get jealous instead of annoyed at you being clingy and whiny. this will leave him wandering about you and your whereabouts at all times even when he is out there. when you do communicate be the happiest ,most busy ,cant talk-too-long-ive-got-plans, ignore the calls, can't be reached, wont text back. cause he will be wandering about you. trust me. dont seem bothered. relish in the arrangement. good luck.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
it's so hard to be YOUNG and in love these days. the whole world seems to revolve around SEX and TEMPTATION, wanting more more, better and seeing 'what you can get'... back in the days people in relationships like these stayed together and weren't as sex obsessed. there days everywhere you turn, affairs and forbidden sex is the only thing that's selling. monogamy is made to feel shameful or silly. sigh.... then again if it was like that again we'd be sitting in the kitchen right now making boxed brownies. you'll get through this, i had the same situation with my 1 st bf from highschool/college and now i'm happy as can be with THE ONE. just think about the fact that once you get over this you'll be on the road to meeting guys that will only get better and downgrading!
bluestar bluestar 8 years
He wants you as a back up. He wants to go screw around with other girls, but in case that doesn't work out you'll still be there, waiting. Why waste your time with someone who is not sure he wants to be with you? That's BS!
Lele777 Lele777 8 years
He doesn't want to be with you! Walk away.
bbkf bbkf 8 years
He wants to have sex with other people. If that doesn't work out, he wants to have you to fall back on. Plain and simple.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
he's trying ot let you go but feels bad so he's telling you he sees potential in the future whether or not he means it. i think what he wants is to date other people and still have you as an option just in case he can't find someone else for when he moves back and in saying that he just wants a break he can still keep his options with you open if you continue to have hope that he will come back to you. HE WON'T. i definitely wouldn't wait around for this guy because its clear he's not waiting around for you.
stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
I would take this opportunity to dump him and move on. If you two were really meant to be together, his feelings for you should have gotten stronger after 5 1/2 years of dating, not weaker.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
IMO, he wants to have sex with other girls while he's away but realizes you're marriage material so wants to keep you on the back-burner until he's finished sowing his wild oats.
Miss-Metal Miss-Metal 8 years
Yeah I agree with the people on here . It sounds like he just wants you for backup and you know what you deserve better than that . As far as what you can do to get over him I would just say like the time you would normally call him call a friend instead or actually just go out and have fun with your friends and pretty soon you will start to forget about him . Who knows while you are having fun with your friends you might meet other new and interesting people which could lead to you finding the guy that's right for you .
baybelle baybelle 8 years
Kimmay18 - the people here are right. I'm sure you're hurting right now and can't stop thinking of him, but you gotta realise that this is a normal part of the grieving process and it WILL get better as you start moving on. Trust in that, and even if you do have (really) rough days, you'll be looking back at it in time and thinking it wasn't so bad...
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I realize that you probably don't want to hear this, but I agree with the other girls. He basically wants to bang other women while he is away, but have you there when he returns. I think that you are allowing him to have all of the power in this situation and that is not fair to you. I don't think that he would make seeing other people as part of the guidelines if he didn't intend on doing this. I just don't think that he sounds like good marriage material, he does not want to be loyal to you and it doesn't seem like he is very honest either. You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you and only you. There are many men out there that are loyal and honest, trust me I know because I dated a bunch of losers before I found a good one. I think that the break is basically his way of screwing around without it technically being 'cheating'. Take back your power, tell him in no uncertain terms that it is not ok with you for him to date other people, and then end it with him. It's not going to be easy, but I suspect things will be a lot more painful if you just wait around for him. You do not deserve to sit around and wonder what girls he is having sex with. Don't contact him at all. Every time you get the urge to do so, have a friend on back up that will allow you to phone her instead. Call block his # and have his email go to trash. Do some of the cool things that you wanted to do but never did while you were with him. Use this scenario to your advantage by helping yourself decide which qualities you will and will not accept in a future mate. The guy for you is out there, it is just that the timing is not right. In the end, you will be soooo happy that this relationship never worked out, because you will find someone wayyyy better. Realize that you love yourself more than you love him. All of the love and energy that you directed on him, direct it on yourself and your happiness. Things will get better, I promise. Good luck to you and hugs. :) P.S. Is it possible you can date one of his friends? I don't normally endorse taking revenge, but this guy sounds like he needs a taste of his own medicine! Also, be prepared for him to phone you back in approximately 6 months, saying that he made a mistake and he wants you back. Men are stupid and never realize what they lost until it is gone. But you will have moved on by then, and will laugh in his face!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
If he really wanted to be with you, he would! He'd ask you to move with him, or to try long distance or whatever other option to keep things going. But he hasn't! This is a no brainer woman, end it before you get your heart completely trampled on. What happens if Christmas comes around and next thing you hear he's brought some other girl home for the holidays? End it.
looseseal looseseal 8 years
Do a little something everyday that you can't do with him in the way. Just little pleasurable things that won't take up too much of your time. Maybe some foods you enjoy but he can't stand to even be around? Maybe a style of clothing you like but he hates? There's a world of possibilities here, have fun with it. Enjoy your new douchebag-free life.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Don't serve as his golden parachute. If he's old enough to make important decisions, he should also be capable of handling their consequences.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
you can't blame the guy. he wants to see what's out there. in highschool and college he had a GF...i had the same issue with my first BF. you gotta let him go and see what's going on in the world otherwise he'll grow to resent you. at the same time, you should too! that doesn't mean you can't still hope to one day be together but at the same time don't be surprised if you meet a guy who makes you forget about all that. and don't be afraid to use that to make your ex/bf jealous. it's going to be tough. but you can do it dude.
Kimmay18 Kimmay18 8 years
thank you girls for all your advice! it definitely has me thinking. my problem is that no matter how much I want to move on from this and think about myself...I can't. I keep thinking about him and what he's doing, why he feels like this and that after 5 and 1/2 years...I'm forgettable all of a sudden. I want to know how can I move on and not think about him anymore?. I'm so busy with school and work right now that I don't have time to join a club but my distractions with school isn't enough to make me forget about him..........and it hurts to know that after all this time he wants this freedom because I wouldn't have guessed up to the few days he left to move away. :(
sigmalove sigmalove 8 years
yeah dearsugar is 100%. this personally happend to me during the summer (july) with my bf of 2.5 years and I basically told him that it was not fair for him to have me in his life when he wanted and then when he needed a break or time to think he could pull away. it just isn't right. he can not have his cake and eat it to. i guess after putting it that way to him he realized what he wanted which was to be with me :)
CYL CYL 8 years
...hhahaha Blackwood!
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