How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

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Want some space? Not sure how you feel? Or maybe the relationship is just moving too fast and you want to take a step back for a little bit? Whatever the reason, here’s how to tell your boyfriend you need a break. So let’s start from the top.

Why Do You Want a Break?

Did you know that, estimates suggest “around 6% to 18% of married couples have separated at some point in their marriage”? Uh huh – it happens.

But the most important thing to know is WHY it is happening for you…

So in order to know how to tell your boyfriend you need a break, you need to first establish where this is coming from. Why do you want a break? 

  • Are you not happy in your relationship? Or unsure about how you feel?
  • Are you doubting whether you’re with the right person?
  • Are there things that you’re not happy about with the relationship and you don’t know how to fix them, or aren’t confident that they’ll change?
  • Has the relationship turned toxic? Do you feel like your partner doesn’t respect you? Isn’t treating you right? Is difficult to be around?
  • Is it that things are moving too fast and you’re starting to panic? Or you want the relationship to slow down?
  • Do you want to focus on other things in your life? Have you got other priorities right now?

Really dig deeper to determine: where is this coming from? And write it down if you need.

Writing always helps to get your thoughts out of your head and on paper – where they’re easier to understand and digest.

Recommended Read: 10 Signs Your Relationship Is Broken Beyond Repair

What Are You Looking For It To Achieve?

Once you’ve established why you want a break, then look at if it’s a break you really need. For example:

  • Are you wanting to go on a break if – really – you know you should leave, but you just can’t muster up the strength to do that?

If so, you’re only really prolonging the pain, in which case – would it be better to just have an honest conversation with your ex, see if you can work it out, and if you can’t, part ways?

In which case, yes, taking a step back probably would be a good idea.

But how do you go about this without damaging the relationship? How can you do it in a way that it will work?

If you want to know how to tell your boyfriend you need a break, you need to be confident that a break will actually be beneficial – and what exactly that means.

What are the new “rules” or “guidelines” for how you see this implemented? What will it look like and how long will it last?

Your boyfriend is going to have questions. So make sure you’re clear on that before you raise this with him – to ensure it’s not only expressed in the right way, but also implemented in the way you see it best working. In fact, let’s explore that further…

How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

What Do You Mean By “A Break?

Typically, going on a break means that you and your partner haven’t broken up, but you are taking time away from each other and the relationship.

However, this is a very loose description. I mean:

  • Will you be dating other people?
  • Do you still have the same relationship boundaries even if you’re taking time apart?
  • Again, what is the intention? What is the end desired outcome?
  • How long are you looking for it to last? Is there an “end date” or will it just keep dragging on?
  • Can you still speak to each other?
  • Will you see each other at all in that time?

These are just a few of the questions that you have to get clear on, or at least have an idea about in your head, before you discuss it with your boyfriend.

The clearer you are, the easier the conversation will be.

Just bear in mind – this may be difficult for them to hear. They may not like it, especially if they don’t agree that it’s the best thing, or the best way forward.

So – if you want to have a chance of this break working and only bringing you closer – make sure you’re willing to listen, and compromise. 

How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

Don’t compromise on what you want or need, but do compromise on how the two of you go about it, because you are – after all – still together. This isn’t a split. Or if it is – that’s a different conversation.

Just Need a Little More Time To Yourself?

Now as you’re reading this, maybe the reality is starting to sink in. Maybe you don’t need to “go on a break”, you simply need a bit of a break, a bit more time to yourself. 

That’s different. And so it’s important to determine. If that’s the case, a big conversation isn’t required about the relationship and changes to the relationship.

You simply need to talk to your partner, express how you feel and tell them what you need to do – for yourself.

They’ll still be there to support you. It just means that you maybe won’t see them as much or speak to them as much. But the two of you are still just as strong.

How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

So now you’ve established what exactly you mean and what you want from all of this, you can then better determine how to tell your boyfriend you need a break, and the best way to go about it. A few key pointers however:

1) Pick Your Moment

This is going to be quite a difficult conversation.

And the chances are – if you’re having this conversation – there’s also a certain string on your relationship and it’s not quite where it should be.

Communication is key. But it may not be a strength for the two of you. So to give it the best chance of playing out how you want it to – pick your moment.

Don’t try to tell your boyfriend you need a break the minute he’s got in through the door from a stressful day at work. Also don’t try to tell him mid-argument. That’s likely to then come across in the wrong way.

Instead, tell your boyfriend you need a break through a calm conversation – when you’re both relaxed and comfortable.

Sit down with him, hold his hand, show him that this is coming from the right place and that it’s not necessarily the end – you do still care.

Need Some Time Apart

2) Start With What You Do Like

Always try to ease into the conversation softly.

If you’re going to tell your boyfriend you need a break – and this is NOT you breaking up with him – tell him that you still love him, that you do want to be with him and you want this to work out.

Depending on the new boundaries you’re going to set and how serious this break really is, will vary the things that you say before it.

For instance, you don’t need to pour your heart and soul out to him if you’re only looking for a bit of a break that week.

Likewise you’re not going to tell him you want to spend the rest of your life with him if you’re in a seriously bad place and this break COULD lead to a breakup if things don’t change.

You see? So make it relevant. Match it properly. But make sure you are expressing that love and care initially – if you feel it of course.

It sets the conversation up nicely, and ensures he doesn’t put his guard up straight away. He’s more likely to be open-minded then.

3) Make It Clear and Simple

When it comes to how to tell your boyfriend you need a break, the best thing you can do – like we touched on above – is get clear on what exactly this means, and communicate that in the simplest, easiest way.

Understand that your boyfriend is likely to have questions. Maybe he won’t like it. Or maybe he’ll be more “okay” with it than you expected. In which case, don’t take it to heart or think that he doesn’t care.

This is still open for discussion, it’s not a totally one-sided thing of course, and depending on how much this break will switch things up, again, as we said, you may have to compromise.

But the clearer you are on what’s involved, the easier the conversation will flow. Also make sure once you bring it up – that you:

  1. Stay focused. Don’t let the topic stray off too much.
  2. Get to an end outcome. This shouldn’t just be discussed but some action should be taken from this moving froward. You wanted some sort of change, you feel like you need a break – so make sure you get that.

4) Acknowledge How Your Boyfriend Feels

Now, you may be driving this conversation. You may be driving this break. But don’t discount how your boyfriend feels – this is vitally important if you want to keep him as your boyfriend!

Manage his reaction, hear what he’s saying, make it clear you hear him and you care about him and this isn’t you just pushing your demands on him – the two of you are still a team.

How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

When you do this, you’ll be far more likely to get the outcome you want from all of this, and that break that you need – it’s going to work far better because your boyfriend feels like he’s been taken into consideration in all of this and it’s about the two of you – not just you.

Also let him know that you’re thankful for him, you appreciate him and you appreciate his care, understanding and support in all of this.

How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break

Ultimately when it comes to telling your boyfriend you need a break – just be honest.

Tell him how you feel, tell him why you think you need this and how you think it will help.

Make sure you set the guidelines with what exactly this means and what changes you need from here, plus – where relevant – how long you think you need it for and how you hope to see things unfolding.

Be willing to listen – make sure you take his side into things too, and his suggestions. Because it may be that things can improve when your communication improves too.

There could be other ways around this – depending on why you need a break.

When the break does then go ahead, make sure you assess it.

  • Is it working how I thought it would?
  • Are the boundaries being stuck to?
  • Now I have some space, how do I feel?
  • Is the break bringing me closer to my boyfriend or pushing me away?
  • How do I feel about him? Do I still want to be with him?
  • What happens from here?

Remember, if you need a break from your boyfriend, that should be a temporary break.

In most cases it also won’t be a COMPLETE break. You’re likely to still speak to him and see him – just not quite so much.

Regardless of this, make sure you assess to see how it’s going. The break can’t be forever – otherwise it may as well be a break up.

So really make the most of the time and space that you do have to get clearer on how you feel and where to go from there.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


How To Tell Your Boyfriend You Need a Break
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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