Should I wait for my boyfriend to come back?

General, Romantic Relationships / Monday, May 14th, 2018
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Hey, Alana!

What are you supposed to do when your partner asks for a break to focus on himself? He promises that he’ll come back to you, but he just needs time to work on himself.

Do I wait around? What do I do?

Hey, there!

You are in a really tough and confusing spot. Here are five tips to help you decide how to move forward:

1. Focus on what you can control.

You probably felt incredibly disappointed when your partner asked for space. You might have wondered what you did wrong or what you could’ve done better. But, it’s likely that your boyfriend’s need to take a break has little to do with you. He probably just wants some time to figure out who he is.

Whatever his reasoning is, it’s not in your power.

Because of that, I encourage you to keep your eye on what you can control. For example, you can’t control if he will keep his promise to come back to you, but you can control how long you choose to wait for him (if at all). You can’t decide whether or not he needs a break, but you can determine how you react to the situation.

A lot more is in your control than you think. Keeping your attention on those things will help you keep perspective.

2. Figure out if you want to wait around.

While you can’t control what your partner wants, you have the power to decide whether you stay with him or move on.

Be honest with yourself. Figure out what you want. Try to block out the opinions of your friends and family and tap into what feels most authentic to you.

Here are some questions that might help you:

  • How invested are you in the relationship? Do you see a future with your partner?
  • What are the boundaries around the break? Will you be dating other people?
  • How do those boundaries influence your decision to stay or go?
  • What does his timeline look like? Was he vague or did he give you a specific idea of how long he needs?

The answers to these questions might help you determine if you really want to wait for him or not. Explore them. After you do, ask yourself again: is this a relationship that I want to continue to participate in, or should I move on?

3. Set a timeline.

If he didn’t give you a specific timeline for how long he needs, set your own.

You said he promises to come back, but if you just wait and wonder when he’ll be ready, that’s going to be really stressful for you. He could need a month or a year. Again, it’s not in your control, so don’t sit around and torture yourself.

Set your own timeline. Decide how long you’re willing to wait for him. After that time period, you can give yourself permission to move on. You can’t control when or if he decides to come back, but you can choose how long you stay.

Also, you don’t need to let your partner know about this timeline. Let him come to you when he’s ready. Giving him a deadline to return will make him feel suffocated, so just let him be.

4. Take advantage!

Once you set your timeline, enjoy the time that you have to yourself.

Set up a movie night with your friends, spend time with your family, take an entire day (or week!) and dedicate it to pampering yourself. This would be a perfect opportunity to focus on you. Your partner wants a break to concentrate on himself, so take advantage of that and do the same. If you decide to get back together after the break, you can use the time to figure out what you can do better in the relationship. If you move on, take the time to be with yourself and grow before you start dating again. Either way, I encourage you to utilize this opportunity to connect with yourself and discover who you are.

5. Let it be.

I wouldn’t beg him for reassurance that he will come back to you. Don’t text or call him during the break to “check in” or see what he’s doing.

Let him do his thing.

It sounds like he needs some space to figure out who he is. Who knows, he might return feeling more ready to be in a relationship than ever. Either way, let him be. Give him space. Don’t take it personally or be afraid that he doesn’t care about you anymore. Chances are, he just wants time to hang out with his friends, play video games, go to the gym, and do other guy stuff guys do. Respect his needs. If your relationship is meant to be, it will happen.

I hope these tips help you come to a decision that is right for you. No matter what happens, you will be okay. You are wonderfully capable of making the right decision.

Your friend,


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