Girlfriend Wants a Break? What It Means, Her Reasons & Expectations

If your girlfriend wants a break from you, what does that mean? If you are confused, don’t worry. Here is what you need to know.

Girlfriend Wants a Break

It’s hard to figure out what you need to do when your girlfriend wants a break. You’re probably not prepared for it, and worse, you probably have no idea what to say or do next! But before we get to that, let’s rewind for a moment here.

So, you meet a girl, fall in love, and you think everything is great! That’s how it usually happens for most couples. The infatuation stage is powerful – in fact, researchers have found that being in love affects our brain in almost the exact same way as if we were on cocaine. Crazy, huh?

But, as we all know, the newness wears off eventually. And then real life sets in. All the things that used to be cute about your partner become annoying. Then conflicts start happening. The fighting ensues. And then you stop to wonder, “Hey, what happened to my perfect relationship?”

But maybe that wasn’t your experience at all. Maybe you thought everything was good between you and your girlfriend. You were satisfied and thought things are great. But then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, she drops a bomb on you – your girlfriend wants a break!

And you’re thinking, “What? Where did that come from? I thought everything was fine!”

I’m here to tell you that girls are very complex beings. They see a lot more nuances and intricacies in relationships than guys do. That’s why a lot of guys are blindsided when their girlfriend wants to break up, or at the very least, when they bring up some problems that need to be fixed.

So, that leaves you thinking, “My girlfriend wants a break… but why?”

[Read: What taking a break really means and how does it really work?]

What does it mean when your girlfriend wants a break?

First, let’s start with talking about what it actually means if your girlfriend wants a “break.” If you have ever seen the popular TV show from the 1990s, Friends, you may remember a very popular episode *and recurrent theme in the show*.

The scenario happened when the characters Ross and Rachel were dating, but they were having problems. As they were trying to work it out, Rachel exclaimed, “Maybe we should just take a break!” Ross misinterprets what she means by “a break,” and as a result, he says, “Yes, great. Let’s take a break and go get some ice cream.” He thinks she means a “break” from the fight, but she responds with what she really meant: “No, I mean a break from ‘us.’”

Ross was very upset, thinking that they had just broken up. As a result, he gets drunk and goes out and sleeps with another girl. Meanwhile, the next day, Rachel has regrets for suggesting “the break,” and she wants to get back together. Of course, she finds out that Ross cheated, and as they say, the rest is history.

But the moral of the story of this scenario in Friends is that not everyone knows what a “break” really means. And, as you can see, it means different things to different people. Ross thought they were broken up, and Rachel just wanted to hit a pause button and not talk or see each other for a little while – not break up permanently. [Read: How to move on from a break up]

So, how do you know what your girl means by a “break?” Well, since it means different things, you are just going to have to ask her. Language is a funny thing – each word can have different definitions and meanings to different people. So, the only way to really know what your girlfriend means by a “break” is to ask her to define it in very specific terms.

Some questions you could ask are: “Are we permanently breaking up?” “Are we taking some time apart?” “If we’re taking time apart, how much time? And should we text or call each other? Or go no contact?”

You should try to define the limits and expectations as clearly as you can, so you both know exactly what is going to happen during your “break.” And when you do that, there will be no more surprises. [Read: How to stop caring about someone]

Does this mean the end of the relationship?

I know that the word “break” sounds a lot like “break-up.” I mean, it has the same word in it, so it’s not surprising if you think that this is the end of the relationship.

But that’s the thing – you may not really know right away. Depending on how the two of you defined the terms of the “break,” you will probably have a better idea of what she’s thinking when she asks for a break.

One thing you need to know about girls is that they like to beat around the bush. They use a lot of indirect language to convey what they are thinking and feeling. [Read: How to get a girl back]

For example, if she says, “I’m really thirsty.” What she might really be saying is “Would you go get me something to drink?” In her mind, she’s asking you to get her a drink. But all you really hear is that she’s thirsty – and you don’t pick up on the fact that she expects you to get her something. Instead, you just expect her to get her own drink to quench her thirst.

This may be the case when she says she wants a break. Maybe, just maybe, she really does mean “break up,” but she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. So, to soften the blow to your feelings and ego, she decides *whether consciously or unconsciously*, to say “break” instead – because it sounds nicer and less sad.

That may be what she’s doing. It may be difficult for her to bring herself to tell you that it’s over, so she uses indirect language instead – and she hopes you get the hint.

Or, she may really mean that she just wants to not see or talk to you for a little while so she can think about things. Or she could miss her friends and want to just make her life a little more balanced, and not spend every waking moment with you.

Regardless, I am going to go back to the fact that you need her to define it for you. Don’t let her get away with ambiguous and indirect language. Because if you do, you will be living in a world of uncertainty – and no one likes doing that. [Read: How to break up with someone you love]

What does she expect from you?

Again, expectations of your behavior will have to come from her. But you are not a mind reader, so you need to ask her!

This can be done as a part of the process of defining the break. The best way to do it is to just sit down logically with her, and have her give you the parameters of her wishes during the break.

Keep in mind that she may not even know herself. She may have just blurted out “we need to take a break!” like Rachel did in Friends, without really knowing what she means by that.

But don’t let her get away with it. When you both are in a logical state of mind, you need to ask her pointed, specific questions about her expectations from you. She may not be able to come up with them herself, so that’s why you may need to lead the conversation.

You can start with questions like, “Do you want me to call or text you? If so, how often?” and “How long do you want to go no-contact? A day? A week? A month?” and “If this is the start of a breakup, can I hang out with or date other people? Are you going to date other people?”

You may have to dig for what her expectations are, but it will be worth it. [Read: How to stop thinking about your ex]

How long is a typical break?

I’m sorry to say that there is no “typical” break. It’s different for each couple.

A break could range from a couple of hours to several months, depending on the couple and the situation. However, what you need to keep in mind is that the longer the break goes on, the less likely it is for you to get back together. Not that it can’t happen, but it’s not a good sign if she wants to go a long time without talking to or seeing you.

If that happens, you may have to take matters into your own hands. You might have to take control of defining the break, and even do a final break-up yourself if you feel like your needs are not being met. [Read: How to forget someone you love]

Possible reasons your girlfriend wants a break

Before you read these possible reasons your girlfriend wants a break, keep in mind that not all relationships are the same. Some might apply to you, but others may not. But even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, think about it a little more. It might.

Sometimes we are in denial of our own actions, so you need to take good, long, hard look at yourself and see how your actions contributed to why your girlfriend wants a break.

1. She’s not sure about the relationship

I know you think she is. She might still seem like she’s really into you. But sometimes people have doubts about the relationship and are reluctant to tell the other person. Maybe she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, so she thinks taking a break will help her figure things out. [Read: How to fall in love again after a breakup]

2. She is interested in someone else

Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear this one. No one does. But guess what? It’s life. It happens. Maybe your girlfriend wants a break so she can sort out her feelings for you… or for someone else.

3. She wants to break up but doesn’t have the guts to do it

This is horrible, but there are lot of people out there who don’t have the courage to actually face the person they’re dating and break up with them.

Instead, they think it’s easier to slowly distance themselves until either the relationship fades away, or you give up. Or they completely ghost on you. That’s the worst. But it happens all the time, unfortunately. [Read: Got ghosted? 10 clear signs and ways to deal with it]

4. You’re selfish

No one wants to admit that they are selfish, but let’s face it, many people are. And there are a lot of girls out there who think their boyfriend is selfish. They think they are giving everything to you and getting nothing in return. So, look at your behavior and see how maybe you’ve been selfish with her. [Read: 12 clear signs you’ve been really selfish in the relationship]

5. You don’t give her enough attention

A lot of guys like their space. They might not like texting all the time and keeping up the connection that needs to happen for a healthy relationship. As a result, she feels neglected and distant from you. You might not even know you’re doing this if she doesn’t tell you.

6. You don’t give her enough affection

Most girls like affection. They want you to hold their hand, cuddle with them, hug them, and sit close. And this goes beyond the bedroom. They want daily physical affection. And if they don’t get it, then they feel distant and neglected. Are you affectionate with her? Or not? [Read: How to keep a girl interested – 13 exciting ways to keep her happy]

7. You don’t talk to her

A lot of guys don’t like talking as much as girls do. Some guys think that what girls say is boring or repetitive. Or they only want to listen if she has a problem that needs solving. But she wants you to have an actual conversation with her. So, put down the TV remote, turn off the game, and talk to her!

8. You don’t care about her feelings

This one belongs to the “selfish” category. If every time she shares how she feels about you or something else you brush it off or say she shouldn’t feel that way, well, she’s not going to like it. [Read: 25 biggest dating deal breakers for women]

9. You hang out with your friends too much

We all like to hang out with our friends. But if your socializing with the boys has gotten out of control and to the point where you are seeing them more than you see her, then that’s a problem.

10. Or you don’t have anyone else to hang out with

On the flip side, if you have no friends, she might feel smothered. If you feel neglected every time she hangs out with her friends and you complain about it, she’s going to get annoyed after a while. [Read: Bros before hoes – Why this brospeak needs to be put to rest]

11. Your relationship has gotten boring

Maybe you’ve gotten lazy and lay around on the couch all the time. Or you’re not romantic anymore. Let’s face it – relationships do get boring, but they don’t have to. You need to put in some effort! If you don’t, she’ll leave you and/or find someone else to make her life more exciting.

[Read: 15 reasons why your girlfriend’s totally bored with your relationship]

I know you’re bummed that your girlfriend wants a break. But it’s really important to take a look at yourself and see what you might have done wrong. That way, you might be able to get her back and keep her happy.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...