Is It A Break-Up If She Wants to Take A Break?

Question: We’ve been together for more than 3 years. We had miscommunication problems, but I always felt like we understood each other. That’s why I was shocked when she called me with “lets take a break”. I didn’t see it coming at all. I have emails from her from 2 days earlier saying how much she loved me, so how did she suddenly fall out of love when we did not even have an argument or fight?

I’m trying very hard to just give her space but I keep going from feeling really sad and crying a lot to feeling a lot of anger towards her. Please don’t tell me to forget her and move on. Everyone is telling me to cut her out of my life but no one knows what we‘ve been through together. I still feel that we are meant to be. I just don’t understand why now she’d walk away from us.

Yangki’s Answer: It’s not my intention to sound mean here, but relationships don’t just end (please see my post: Why The Man or Woman You Love Doesn’t Want You Pt. 4). There are always clues before a relationship actually ends, but either you didn’t pick up on them early enough to try to stop the break-up or you were in denial. Some people get caught up on the “feel good” aspect of the relationship not wanting to deal with the underlying problems until one day it just blows up in their faces.

Did she fall out of love? I don’t know, only she can answer that. What I do know is that men and women can and do go from saying “I love you very much” one day to “I don’t want to be with you” the next day because someone can love another very much but feel that the person they love is not meeting their needs, wants or desires, or does not share their beliefs, interests and life goals.

It does not necessarily mean she stopped loving you, it just means she does not want to be in a relationship with you because 1) she’s not happy, 2) she’s lost that “in love” excitement, 3) she met/is interested in someone else 4) she does not see the relationship going anywhere, or 5) something else she feels is not right about the relationship.

Instead of focusing on “…but she said she loved me”, I suggest you sit with yourself and re-examine the relationship in totality. What were the problems in the relationship? What did she want, need or desire but felt that she was not getting? What do you feel that you could have done but didn’t do to make the relationship better? Etc.

Looking at the relationship as “we had miscommunication problems” alone is not enough. Usually, “miscommunication problems” is a symptom of something else not right in the relationship.

If you’re going to make this work, you’ll need to demonstrate that you “get it”, you have figured out how to make the relationship better and you have what it takes to create a relationship better than the one you had. Anything else is a waste of effort, time and energy.

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  1. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Patricia

    Very good post on a complex topic. What stands out most to me is “It’s not personal”. Just reading that “it’s not personal” is helping me start to release the anger I feel towards my ex for walking out after 7 years together. He said he wasn’t happy. I’ve been angry at him for not trying harder to make it work, but now I look back and see that he did try. Even after the breakup he tried to keep in touch to make sure I was okay, but I was taking it personally and told him not to contact me. Almost 3 months and he hasn’t made any attempt to initiate contact. Do you think he is not contacting me because I told him not to, or because he has moved on?

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      You told him not to contact you…

      There is only one way to find out if he’s respecting your wish, or has moved on.

      Reach out.

  2. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Vanessa

    Yangki, don’t you think that if a person just wants to have a good time and not ready to commit, he/she should at least let the other person know so he/she doesn’t feel lead on or get caught up.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      Yes. One should at least communicate his or her intent from the beginning or when one senses that he or she is not into the other person as much as the other person is into him or her.

      But there are also men and women who even when told insist that it meant more because the other person said “I love you”, or treated him or her a certain way, or did certain things that prove that the relationship meant something serious. It’s hard, understandably so, for them to believe it was good for a while, but it’s now over.

  3. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Carrs50

    Acting like I don’t care and convincing myself it was her loss doesn’t work for me. I still love her and it’s taking me a very long time to get over her. I’ve tried moving on but have no motivation to seek out other women. That may make me pathetic and weak but that’s just how it is with me right now. Hopefully I feel differently soon.

    1. Love Doctor, Yangki AkitengLove Doctor, Yangki Akitengsays: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      I don’t think you are pathetic and weak — I actually think you are being authentic and true to yourself and your emotions. That’s strength! Not many people in this world are emotionally honest enough to show up and say… this is who I am and this is what I truly feel.

      Take as much time as you need, everyone grieves their loss in their own way and time. Grief over loss only becomes problematic if over time there is no slightest change in how you feel, the emotions get more overwhelming and unmanageable, or actions and reactions become problematic/destructive. When that happens, one needs help dealing with the emotions and moving past the event causing them. Other than that, take one day at a time… one foot in front of the other.

  4. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Venus

    Yangki, my situation is different in that my ex and I are not broken up, we’re on a break. He freaked out and said he’s confused and doesn’t know how he feels about us. He wants space to date and see what else is out there. I fear that the more we don’t talk the more we grow apart.

    1. You’re right to be concerned, but if you discussed the break and part of it involved not talking for a period of time, you trying to get him to talk isn’t going to help. It might even take him go from feeling confused to being sure he doesn’t want the relationship.

      Let him date and see what else is out there. In the meantime, you might also want to try dating to see what else is out there. Both of you might find that there is someone else out there for you, or find that you don’t want anyone else. The decision is yours just as much as it is his.

  5. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Sadsad

    I think it depends on the reason for the break. Mine wanted to have some space to figure out what he wanted. It turns out he just wanted to sleep around. I should have known, we were together 5 years and have a 1 year old son, and he still was not sure I was what he wanted.

  6. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Eliza

    My ex and I are on a break. We live 6 hours drive away from each other but text and talk on the phone every other day, and when we see one another it’s obvious that we still are in love. The break was initiated by him but being apart has helped me see we were in a toxic cycle. It’s not easy but the break has really matured both of us.

  7. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Shayne

    I wish I has found this site earlier. It’s probably too late for me. She says she wants to remain friends and only talk online. Earlier when we started chatting after 2 months of no contact, she has said she was sorry she broke up with me. There were many changes going on in her life at the time and although she didn’t want to breakup with me, she felt it was what was best because it was not fair to me. She did try to contact me 4 times during no contact, said she felt really bad and wanted to talk. Now it seems that she’s completely changed her mind and just wants to remain friends. Is it too late?

    1. I don’t know if it’s too late or not. What I do know is that it’s possible to work your way to a reconciliation starting with talking online only, if that’s all you have to work with.

      I suspect that when she tried to contact you, she genuinely felt bad about the breakup especially because her reason for breaking up had very little to do with some thing you did or didn’t do. After trying to contact you 4 times with no response, she may have started second guessing herself. What she is doing may just be self-protection.

      In short, don’t get hang up on the words “remain friends” and “only talk online”. If you really want this woman back in your life, give things an honest try.

  8. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Nick

    I’m 41 yo old male and I think this is the best relationship advice site on the internet. I’ve had problems with relationships ever since my 1st gf and almost all of the advice I’ve read on the internet and in books is very superficial and designed to encourage those fearful of a genuine approach to maintaining a close relationship to be even more fearful. The more I read the advice here the more I understand that respect is at the heart of all good relationships. If they don’t respect you or if you cant honestly share feelings, then all else is secondary.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. “If they don’t respect you or if you cant honestly share feelings, then all else is secondary”

      That just about sums up my advice… (:

      As you so rightly note, respect and true closeness or emotional intimacy are closely linked. Yet the word “respect” seems to be disappearing from our vocabulary, relationships and lives; and fear in the name of self-preservation has replaced love, caring and true intimacy.

      This is what I’m trying to remind all of us of. It’s not the most popular or mainstream approach, but it resonates with some people, and they are the ones I try to reach out to… remind them of what they already in their heart of hearts know to be true and real…that is all I can do. The rest is upto the individual.

  9. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Leslie

    Me and my ex restarted contact after 10 weeks of no contact initiated by me. I texted him one evening and he responded immediately asking me if I want to go see a movie. He said he missed me very much and went on and on about how hard it was for him when we were not talking and how he wants a fresh start. The next day we went out again and three days later he asked me out a gain. I haven’t heard from him in over a week and don’t know what to make of it. It just seems so odd that he would ask me out, tell me he missed me very much and he needed a fresh start and then disappear.

    1. It’s so confusing, but unfortunately this happens a lot more than you know. Unless you have other sources that tell you he is okay and just not contacting you, why not contact him and find out what’s really going on? It may be that he is going through some personal stuff that have nothing to do with you.

      If on the other hand you know for sure that he is okay and just avoiding you, and nothing happened between the two of you in the days before he disappeared that would explain why he’s gone AWOL, then you have to assume that he had no intentions of getting back with you. He just wanted to know that if he wanted to have you back, he could.

  10. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Foxx

    I have been accused of being “emotionally unavailable.” Yes, I am emotionally unavailable to any woman who assumes that because I’m not rushing into a serious commitment, I must be emotionally unavailable. I am also emotionally unavailable to any woman who assumes that “all men” are the same.

  11. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Jonas

    I can appreciate the truth this article offers. I have struggled with being emotionally unavailable and I can say people can change if they want to. I’m doing the work, asking the tough questions and really looking at my patterns of behavior.

  12. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: John-John

    Thanks Doctor, I needed to know these things and hang in there guys you all are not alone, we all have our Love one not with us right now for reasons that are unclear, but it feels good to know that I have somewhat of a guideline and something to follow by you all’s advice, give her time and work on me so that if she really does come back, I’ll be able to keep her this time around… Thanks John=John

  13. AvatarAvatarAvatarsays: Caleb

    It has not been easy especially because I never saw it coming. I thought things were really good then one day she said was in love with someone else and moving out. I’ve been heartbroken for a year. After reading your comment, I realize that both of us share the blame. If I had put in some effort in trying to make her happy, she would not have left me for someone else. I am still sad and still think of her but glad that I had the opportunity to have this person in my life. Thank you. It’s just what I needed.

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