The SW Experts | Dear Sybersue: My Boyfriend Wants to Take a Break in Our Relationship After 3 Years!
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Dear Sybersue: My Boyfriend Wants to Take a Break in Our Relationship After 3 Years!

Susan McCord - Dear Sybersue - taking a break

Dear Sybersue,

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. I am 26 and he is 34. Last month he told me (by an email) he wanted to take a break in our relationship. He said he needed a month so he could work on his future, where he wanted to settle & eventually find work as a financial planner. I have been supportive with his schooling and living separately for all this time we have been together so I must admit I was pretty shocked when he made this announcement out of the blue!

We are very compatible and have a decent sex life when we see each other a few times a week when he has time, and I drive out to see him. We live about 40 miles from each other which isn’t a huge deal in travel time but it does make it less spontaneous to meet up for coffee or lunch dates. It always has to be planned out which can take away from some of the natural benefits of living closer to each other.

I asked him why he wanted this break NOW after 3 years and he said he just wanted to be alone to decide without any interaction with me or have any other distractions. He is not exactly sure what he wants. He said he wouldn’t date anyone else and that’s not what this break is all about. I am not sure I believe him though as he has been checking out other women lately when I am with him and tells me when girls hit on him.

This break really hurts me and now that 6 weeks have passed, it hurts even more. I told him I would give him the month but now that time frame has come and gone. I am sure that he is going to keep this break going until I question him about it again. There has been no contact other than the original email and my return email to him. I did try calling him once about it but he didn’t call me back.

Am I a fool to keep waiting for him? He has a lot more time now that he has finished school so I don’t understand why he needs a break to feel things out? Shouldn’t he know by now what he wants in his life?

Thanks and I will be waiting for your response.

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your question! This is one of the reasons I am against “taking a break” because it always ends up being one sided. You have invested 3 years into this relationship and I completely understand why you would be hurt about his decision to have a break after all this time! I hope you asked him why he didn’t tell you in person and why he sent you an email regarding this news flash he threw at you! He is 34 years old and should know better than to take the coward approach of not meeting you in a face to face scenario regarding this decision.

He has not contacted you in all this time which is an indicator that he is probably moving on. I am sorry to be blunt about it but he should be missing you at this stage and wanting to talk to you if there is a strong connection between the two of you. I have had quite a few emails over the years regarding relationships ending after someone in the partnership finishes school. It can be a big comfort to have a non demanding partner to cuddle with during those busy years. In reality if you are honest with yourself there were probably some non committal “red flags” shown on his part throughout your 3 year relationship.

[Tweet “When you truly love someone there aren’t that many tough questions #relationshipadvice”]

We all need to have boundaries in our partnerships and if we are too compliant and accommodating with them in the beginning we set a precedence for the long term. Before we know it we are in unbalanced relationship making it all about them. If you think about it you always went to see him, you let him call the shots when you got together and you sat quietly being OK with him making all the decisions regarding the future of your relationship. He is now deciding where he wants to live without even discussing it with you. You were so soft hearted about everything but believe it or not, most men do like it when a woman stands up for herself.  It adds equality and respect to the partnership.

There was nothing in your email to me about how you feel about your boyfriend so I have to ask you these questions:

  • Do you love him or did your relationship become more of a comfortable and convenient friendship over the years. (Many women would not be happy seeing their guy only a few times a week for that length of time.)

  • Do you really miss him right now or is it a rejection you feel because he initiated this break.

  • Do you visualize yourself with him forever?

  • Could you live with him and see him on a daily basis?

  • Do you like his character and respect him?

  • Is he capable of making you his number 1 priority?

Regardless of your answer to the above questions, the best thing to do at this frustrating stage is to start living your life without him. He should have honored your one month deal. If he contacts you soon saying he still needs a break, I would tell him you’re moving on. He should know where he wants to be after 3 years with you so don’t wait around any longer if he still doesn’t know what he wants. When you truly love someone there aren’t that many tough questions. It just flows into a natural loving progression.

The very odd time taking a break can make a couple see things clearly but you should never be put on hold while they get their sh*t together. Live your life without them and if they find their way back to you at another time, maybe things could work out.  Chances are that you may not want to return to the relationship because now you have had time to re-evaluate things yourself and are also seeing things clearer. Sometimes we forget it’s not all about them.

By respecting yourself first, you will always be guided to a happier place 🙂

Sybersue <3