When a girlfriend asks you for a break this can be a confusing situation, you might ask yourself if the relationship is over or just on hold.
Understanding why your girlfriend wants space is the key to preventing the situation from getting worse.
To help you salvage the situation this article is going to cover:
- What is a break
- The reasons she asks for a break
- How to handle the situation
What is a Break
A break is the term used to describe a period of time a couple spends apart from each other to reflect on the suitability of the relationship, this time apart can vary from days to months. When a couple take a break it might have an agreed endpoint or could be left open ended.
During a break individuals are free to date other people unless mutual exclusivity has been requested over the break period.
Tough times in a relationship are stressful and all people respond to stress in one of three ways:
Fighters are people who will strive to keep the relationship alive, flighty individuals are people who will bail on a relationship during times of stress, and finally freezers are people who go into a holding pattern until something significant changes- either you get back together or one of your meets someone else.
The way men and women tend to handle stress is very different, men generally prefer to handle stress on their own and fall into the fight and fight categories. Women however tend to be in the freeze group and prefer to have someone to support them whilst maintaining the status quo- neither making efforts to improve the situation nor leave it.
If a girl asks for a break then she is thinking about breaking up with you but currently is not brave enough to end things, this is why it is not a break-up yet. In doing so she is maintaining the status quo whilst neither fighting to save the relationship nor fully leaving either.
Asking for a break from the relationship has two secondary benefits in your girlfriend’s eyes:
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- It gives you one last wake-up call that you need to put in more effort
- It gives her time to figure out if she wants to be with you
Taking a break is a way of downgrading the relationship in preparation for a breakup. In doing this your girlfriend can slowly become accustomed to the idea of a breakup without the risk of confrontation. It also helps her to get used to life without out you in a gentler fashion, this allows her to go through the final breakup without missing you as she has weaned herself off your relationship.
Even though your ex has asked for a break, I recommend you handle the situation as though it were a full break-up. This is because much of the reason your ex feels this way can be attributed to a decrease in the level attraction she feels toward you since you have been dating.
The Reasons She Asks For a Break
You are in a Long-Distance Relationship
If you are in a long-distance relationship then it is possible that your girlfriend is asking for a break as she cannot handle the time apart. Extended periods of not seeing each other takes a huge toll on a relationship and long-distance relationships have the extra level of difficulty as they require a greater level of time, money, trust and patience.
If a girlfriend feels that she isn’t suited to a long-distance relationship, then she may ask for a break until you can be closer to each other, at which point you can review getting back together.
Wants to Date Other People
Another reason a girlfriend might ask for a break is that she wants to explore single life again and date other people. This generally happens when a girlfriend feels dissatisfied with the relationship she has with you; we call this the “Grass is Greener” syndrome.
If your girlfriend is feeling dissatisfied with the relationship then this is usually caused by one of the following reasons.
- She is bored with you
- You are neglecting her.
- You don’t listen enough.
If this is the case then your girlfriend is using you as a safety net in case she doesn’t find anyone new; you are the fall-back plan
If you have cheated on your girlfriend then she may ask for a break from the relationship. When infidelity happens the trust within a relationship is broken and your girlfriend will be both hurt and angry.
Asking for a break after you have cheated is a girlfriend’s way of taking sometime alone to evaluate how she feels about you. She will use this time to consider if she can forgive you and whether she can continue in the relationship knowing you have cheated. Rebuilding trust is a slow and difficult process and will need to be done carefully if you are to re-establish a relationship with your girlfriend.
If you cheated on your girlfriend this is a tricky time for you and under these circumstances I would recommend you do not date other women whilst you are on a break.
If we learned anything from friends, we know that the “we were on a break” defense rarely works.
Your girlfriend may ask for a break from the relationship if you are constantly arguing. Fighting with someone is a sign that you still care and feel passionate about a situation, after all if you didn’t care you wouldn’t bother arguing back. However constant arguments are a sign of underlying issues within the relationship that need resolving.
If your relationship has been plagued with arguments lately then it is likely that your girlfriend wants some breathing space. Taking a break gives you both time to let the emotions settle before deciding if the relationship is salvageable.
You are Insecure
Being clingy, jealous and insecure is a major turn off for a woman. Ask a woman what her ideal man is like and most women will mention the fact they want a guy who has confidence.
Are you constantly texting and calling her to find out where she is going, who she is with, or questioning her about her male friends?
Do you suffer from anxiety?
If so there is a good chance that this constant need for reassurance is what has pushed your girlfriend away.
If you are insecure or jealous in the relationship then this will leave your girlfriend feeling that you do not trust her. All relationships need to be built on trust, and if this is lacking between you then it will leave your girlfriend wondering why she is with you.
Holding down a relationship when your life is going well is easy, but remaining in a relationship when things get a little rough at home or at work takes real commitment.
During times of stress we can choose to the juggle priorities in our lives or streamline the demands on our time. Your girlfriend may be in a situation where she weighs up her personal life against her love life to see which gets culled.
If your girlfriend is choosing to take a break from the relationship rather than have your support during rough times then this is an indication that she feels inadequately supported by you or that you are not seen as a high priority in her life.
The “M” Word
The final reason a woman might ask for a break is marriage.
If your girlfriend has been making hints about wanting to get married one day and you have been dating or living together for a long time, then it is possible that your girlfriend doesn’t feel that your relationship is progressing in the direction she would like.
Getting married and having children is an age limited opportunity for women, if your girlfriend feels her time is running out and you are dragging your feet then she is going to reassess if your relationship is going anywhere.
Asking you for a break is a way to assess how she feels about you, whether she is prepared to continue waiting, how easily she could meet someone looking for a long-term partner, all whilst giving you a jolt to the system to step up or lose her.
How to Handle the Situation
The best approach to stopping the breakup with your girlfriend is to actually treat it like a breakup.
As mentioned earlier taking a break helps your girlfriend slowly ween herself off you, it has the same effect as slowly ghosting someone. By treating the break the same you would a breakup, you remove your girlfriends ability to get over you easily, and you are also able to reclaim the power seat in the breakup.
There are several aspects you are going to have to combine when to re-establish things with your girlfriend.
The first element I want you to focus on is a brief period of low-contact. This is to shock your girlfriend into reality that she could lose you, that the option to come back after the break might not stay on the table. You should let her believe you are unfazed by the break and keen to live the bachelor lifestyle again.
During your low contact period you can contact her to discuss paying bills if you live together, arranging childcare etc. Try to avoid reaching out to her for general chit chat and friendly conversation, only engage in conversation if you need to or if she contacts you first. This is really crucial as it boost the chances or your girlfriend missing you and helps to erase some of her memories of any insecure or jealous behavior that may have occurred.
Assuming your relationship break is relatively amicable I would suggest 21 days low contact, and 30 days if you have been having a lot of arguments. If your girlfriend has already set a time frame for when you will speak again then you should honor that prior arrangement.
When you are in your no-contact period spend the time wisely improving yourself as a person. I want you to turn yourself into the Alpha male whilst you are on a break.
Working on becoming an Alpha male will help you to seem more attractive to her and make her reconsider breaking up with you. The Alpha male is at the top of the pile, he gets any woman he wants because he is cool, in great shape and he is successful.
The areas you want to focus on are:
Health and Hygiene
Yeah I get it…. It’s shallow, but she cares about how you look just as much as your personality. Hit the gym and lose some weight if you need to, shave and get a hair cut. Invest in some new clothes and smarten yourself up.
You know her well, so consider what she liked about your looks and make the most of it- be the best version of that guy that you can be!
Go out and get a social life, quit the video games and Netflix and go mix with people. Hang out with the guys, catch some sports games. Go to that new club you heard about. Get out and do some adventure, sports, or outdoor activities like rock climbing or kayaking are going to make you look extra masculine in her eyes so I highly recommend it!
Women are more attracted to men who are popular so use this to your advantage and make sure you are seen to be leading your pack of friends. To do this, get some pictures up on Facebook or Instagram to give her a highlight reel of what she is missing out on. Try and get some girls into the pictures too, this will make her think other women are chasing you and time is running out to get you back. Creating this sense of urgency will increase her desire to chase after you and win you over before it is too late
I mentioned earlier that the alpha male is successful so get out there and start applying for a promotion if you can. Women find success highly attractive as it is an indicator that you are a go-getter in life and that you will be capable of looking after her in the future.
During your break you should go out on a few dates with other women. However there are two circumstances where I think you should skip going on dates:
- The break is because you cheated
- You have both agreed to remain exclusive for now.
Assuming neither of those criteria apply, then you should be going out dating as this will boost your confidence and make her jealous.
Studies have shown that women are more likely to find men attractive if they are already seeing someone, especially if that other woman is attractive. In fact the study showed that if a man dates a woman more attractive than he is, that his perceived attractiveness is raised significantly up to her level.
If you can add your dates or any new female friends on to social media then do it. If there is one thing I have learnt from Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, it’s that women are constantly looking at who you are talking to after a break or breakup and they get insanely jealous of other women. Generally speaking girls go into a meltdown when you add someone new and assume and start to assume you might be gone forever. – Use this to your advantage and get your girlfriend chasing after you again.
As you are in low-contact, texting is permitted under special circumstances but keep it brief and upbeat. If your girlfriend texts you remember to remain calm and listen to what she has to say.
Three of the most important qualities a girl looks for are:
- Good listener
- Someone who understands them
So, with this is mind, be someone she feels she can open up to without being judged.
A good rule to remember for your interactions is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.
What this means is that you should listen to her side of the story first, understand her perspective on things before wading in with your views.
When your low contact period is over you can transition into the standard Ex-Girlfriend recovery text messages outlined on the website.
What to Take Away From This
Your girlfriend could be asking for a break for any reason ranging from boredom in the relationship right through to wanting a greater level of commitment. Whatever the reason for the break, the key to preventing a breakup is increasing the level of attraction she feels towards you from this point. When this happens your girlfriend will feel more engaged and want to recommit to you.
To achieve this you should take a break from texting her, work on getting in better shape, go on dates, and aim for that promotion. Show her that by taking a break she is losing out and could potentially lose you to other women in the very near future.