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You Asked: Why Does he Want a Break?

Dear Sugar,
My boyfriend recently told me he needs a break. He told me it wasn't about me, but rather it's all about him. I don't understand how it's not about me. I feel like he doesn't want to be with me anymore. He says he loves me and no matter what, he always will. What is that supposed to mean?

I have tried to talk to him about it but every time I do I am just a basket case. I want to give him what he wants, but I am so afraid of the outcome. I don't know what to do. I know I need to just focus on myself and let him do his thing, but that is so hard when my heart misses him so much. Any suggestions?? --Is it me Margret

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Is it me Margret--

I am sorry that your heart hurts right now. Breakups are tough, especially when you are not the one who initiated the split, so it is important to lean on your loved ones and talk to your friends if you are having a hard time accepting your boyfriend's decision.

You're right, sometimes men use the term, "it's not you, it's me" as a cop out, as a way to ease the blow, but other times, they are being genuine. The only way to have a good relationship is to be comfortable with yourself so you can give love and companionship to your partner, so if he isn't ready to do that right now, he is making the mature choice to focus on himself. Has your ex been going through a rough patch? Is he changing his career or struggling with money? If he is working through some issues, has he reassured you that once he has sorted them out there is hope for your relationship?

If you are a basket case after talking to your ex, break the cycle and stop contacting him. Holding onto false expectations is only going to make your breakup process more difficult. If he can't give you an answer about your future right now, you have to respect his decision. Time is a great healer; before you know it you will be ready to move on. I hope this helps, good luck to you.


Join The Conversation
Vsugar Vsugar 10 years
Yeah, I think you need to let this one go. The thing about relationships is this: you can really, genuinely, in your deepest heart, care deeply for someone, even love them, have fun with them, and think highly of them, and just know that they aren't the one. And if you feel this way, you start to feel unhappy, you start to feel this sense of unnameable longing for something else out there - not necessarily another person, but just something out there that is different than the life you have. I think what he's trying to say is just that - he probably does genuinely care for you and will always have feelings of love for you, but just can't imagine you two being together for the long haul - and if he feels this way, chances are you would too eventually. Don't embarrass yourself by insisting that he give you a sense of finality about all this - been there, it sucks. The worst thing for me about breakups is the loneliness, but for me it was important to really be alone for a while. After the last one (the worst one), I spent a lot of time alone thinking about what qualities were important to me in a mate, and WHY they were important. The WHY was the most important part for me. If you can answer the Why, you will learn important things about yourself and what kind of life YOU want to live. Go find your best life, and live it as your best self. And as you do, you will find the best person to share it with. Sending you big hugs, VSugar
kittycat kittycat 10 years
yeah i heard this before, to me it means he's not sure what he wants, or he feels guilty about something he's not upfront with u, and ultimately he doesn't know if he wants to be with u. so leave him!
gossipqueen gossipqueen 10 years
I think is a BREAK UP...not just a break. I agree, most of the time people not you is me...just to make the initial break easier...after a while...they can just come up with something like..."I need to focus on my studies, career,etc"
blackjade blackjade 10 years
It may or may not end up being a break up but you should give him some space. I was on the "bad guy" end of this conversation once. And honestly, it really was ME! We were getting to a very serious point in our relationship - we'd both graduated from college and were in a "real-world" relationship, also, in retrospect I was going through a serious bout of depression. I told him I needed a break. I felt like a HORRIBLE person because he is such an absolutely wonderful man. That was about 2 years ago; we're coming up on our 1st wedding anniversary next month :-D
junebrug junebrug 10 years
Marci is right, try to forget about the reasons. He doesn't know why for one thing. To me, a "break" is code for "I want to see if I'm happier without this person, but I still want to hang onto them." It's definitely unfair and confusing (who can forget "we were on a break!" from Friends). Don't call, email, and pester him. He won't be able to miss you if you keep calling him! Let him have all the space he needs, take a step back yourself as well. There could be someone much better for you out there somewhere, or maybe you'll find the two of you are meant to be. This may wind up being a break up, but the best way to guarantee it is preach to him, call him constantly, tell him he doesn't really love you, etc. etc.
Marci Marci 10 years
It doesn't really matter why he wants this break. It just matters that he feels he needs it. So you have to give him that. Nagging him to find out why isn't going to make him feel any warmer or fuzzier towards you, so stop asking him why and let him be. He's entitled if he feels he needs it.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 10 years
Know the phrase if you love someone set him free? Live by it. If he comes back he was always yours and if he doesn't he never was. Don't call him or contact him during the break. Calling him is only making it worse. Just do what you say, concentrate on yourself and prepare for the worse...
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I agree with the no contact part. It is only making it worse because you are looking for answers he cannot provide you right now. I know it is really hard for you to understand this because you don't understand why. Let him have his space and the time he needs. If you two are both meant for each other, you will come back together. I believe in the saying 'distance makes the heart grow founder.' Try to get out with your girl friends and start working on you. You might find you will discover some new things about yourself now that you are single.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Why would you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you? Is your desire to be with him so strong that you want to make him stay against his will? Do you really want to force the issue? It's going to be hard, but you have to give him all the space he wants. He's asking for a break. so give him one. Don't call, email, text, anything. If he misses you or want to get back together, he'll call. But don't contact him because that a lot like begging. I'd even suggest you delete him numbers and email address from your phone/computer just so you aren't tempted. In the meantime, you should be looking for plan B. Go out with friends, have fun, meet new guys. You may find this break leads you to someone better.
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 10 years
I have been through this situation, but was the one who wanted the break. The thing is, I only asked for a break and not a break-up at the time because I wasn't strong enough to tell him what I REALLY wanted was to break-up (we had been going out for four years). So I went with the break route, and when I saw that he was fine without me and I was definitely fine without him I told him I didn't want to get back together. I think it is important that you sit down and talk to your boyfriend to find out what this break is for. Personally, I don't believe breaks work, ever. In my own experience and that of many others that I know, a break 100% of the time leads to a break up. I think you should talk to him and tell him that you should not need breaks from people you love, and if he wants a break then it is the end. It will be very painful, but it will be better than wondering what he is doing, thinking, feeling all the time. The bottom line is, break, break up, whatever, if the two of you are meant to be together you will, and if you're not, there's no sense in forcing it.
callmehoney callmehoney 10 years
i am actually going through this right now. however, i'm on the other end. i havent actually told him that i want a break yet because i want to make sure its what i want. i dont want to hurt him if i dont have to. but i think the only thing i can tell him is exactly what your boyfriend (ex) told you. it's not you, it's him. sometimes people need to be alone to focus on what they really want. maybe he's not happy right now and he needs to figure out why. i dont know if i can give you any advice, since break ups are always hard and there is nothing anyone can say to make it better, but just give him time. you dont want to be with someone who is not completely happy or has any doubts either right?
auddie auddie 10 years
Don't try and analyze what he said, it will only confuse you more. There is no way to determine what he means with wanting a break. Take time for yourself (even though it's easier said than done) and focus on what you want in your life right now. Don't worry about what he is doing, if you are meant to get back together you will.
jaxon jaxon 10 years
You just have to ride it out. At first you might be worried about the outcome but may realize the break could be good for you as well. Give him some space and see what happens. Take this time to chill maybe date a little, hang with the girls. In a little while send him a hey text or something. Break doesn't always mean break up.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 10 years
I had a similar breakup- but I was the one who initiated it. Most of the reason was becuase it really WAS me, I was changing careers, and I wanted to do things for my own. Plus, there were just so many things in my life that I wanted to do before I settled down, and I was also with him for so long and didnt really experience the world yet (we dated all through college). It was sad, but I really think it was the best decision for me. The best thing for you is to take this oportunity and do things for yourself too, I would not nag or plead with him becuase it will only want to make him run farther- just take the break for yourself too. It you are really meant to be with him, then you will end up with him- so dont worry about that :)
jmmst49 jmmst49 10 years
I think this is one of those situations where you have to ask yourself what you want for the final outcome of the relationship. Did you believe he was "the one?" If so then give him the space he needs, don't contact him like Dearsugar said. If he wasn't, then use this as the final break up before even more feelings are invested in the relationship. Also I really recommend reading the book "Its Called a Break-Up Because It Is Broken" It really helped me get my priorities in order when I went through a rough time with guys. I hope the situation works out for you!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Hmmm, sounds like he wants a break, not a break up. Have you been together for a long time? Have you been together since college or high school? Sometimes before making the big plunge guys and gals need to have some reflective time to see if they are going in the direction they want to be going in. I think that's what he's referring to when he says "it's me." I understand being afraid of the outcome. It's really hard to be in periods of our lives where we are unsure of our future. I think that if you guys get back together you could be even stronger. If you don't get back together, it will be hard for a while, but it's better to break up if it's not meant to be than to force it. Good luck.
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