My boyfriend wants a break. How do I keep him?

“I can’t do this anymore” or “this isn’t working out for me, I’m sorry.” 

They’re the words no woman wants to hear from her partner.

Breakups tear your heart out like nothing else. But there’s something else which is almost just as bad — and in a way, it’s actually worse I would say.

That’s when your boyfriend starts emotionally drifting away from you and then says he wants a break. Because we all know that a “break” can very easily turn into a full break-up.

Relationships are one of the toughest — but potentially most rewarding — things in life. 

The American musician and actor Henry Rollins has a great quote about this:

“Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted.”

So if you’re reading this and wondering what to do, I’m going to write down my thoughts and give you the tools you need to salvage your relationship.

My boyfriend wants a break. How do I keep him?

If your boyfriend says he wants a break the first thing to do is don’t panic. Not to be too dramatic, but:

If you handle this the right way, it can be the start of a new chapter in your relationship.

If you respond in the wrong way, it can be the end of everything as your love story goes down in a ball of flames.

So, you need to know how to keep him in the right way. Here’s how to light the fire back up emotionally, physically, and mentally with your special guy.

How to find a way back to love…

1) Play the cards you’re dealt

Your situation and relationship are unique and it requires unique solutions. I totally get that.

But one solid rule I can promise you is true is that you have to play the cards you’re dealt.

If your boyfriend is saying he wants a break, I’m guessing your first reaction is resistance.

“Hello no!” 

“Why?” 

“How long?”

“Is there another woman?”

You want to shout it in his face and stare him down. And maybe you have.

But it takes two to tango and if he says he wants a break, you can’t talk him out of it (and even if you do it will go horribly wrong and come back up eventually, trust me). 

So… You have to deal with the situation as it is. Not what you hoped for, but something that you must — at least for now — accept. 

2) Appearance matters

I’m going to put on my shallow hat here and tell you straight up: appearance does matter.

The love you have goes beyond the surface, absolutely, but how you look and how you carry yourself makes a big difference. 

This isn’t about slathering on a lot of makeup or putting on a show. I’m just saying to look after yourself.

Take some spa days. Go to the salon. Pick up some snazzy new outfits — they often cost less than you think and there are even some amazing finds in the back of thrift stores, let’s not forget!

You can also start hitting the gym and doing more jogging and calisthenics if you haven’t been. Don’t do it for him, do it for yourself with the lucky side effect that he’s also going to notice how smoking you look.

PsychCentral emphasizes the importance of physical attraction.

“Being attracted to someone sexually happens for a variety of reasons. It’s not only about the way they look. But there is no getting around the fact that sexual interest starts with finding someone attractive physically. 

This is only slightly truer for men than for women — women are drawn to attractive men as much as men are drawn to attractive women.”

3) Stay true to your standards

One of the biggest temptations, when you feel your boyfriend disconnecting, is to run after him. 

You promise him the world — if he’ll just stay. He uses the break as a bargaining chip and you throw your heart and soul — and sometimes dignity — on the funeral pyre trying to chase after him.

It’s a fucking disaster, I’m sorry to say. It also never works.

If you lower your standards or try to trim yourself to fit the world — and your boyfriend — he’s going to lose respect and attraction for you, guaranteed. This goes for the small stuff and the big stuff. 

If you want kids and he doesn’t, don’t lie to yourself or backtrack frantically.

If he wants to move for work and it’s far from your family and a dealbreaker for you, then be straight up about that and do not back down — at least not without him also making some compromises with you.

Don’t lower your standards to get him back. And remember that in some cases, fighting can actually be a good thing.

Jessica Estrada says:

“Although it may sound counterintuitive to fight if you’re trying to heal and strengthen your relationship … arguing can be a perfectly healthy thing to.

This looks like communicating in an open, honest way that will bring you closer together versus lashing out and blaming each other, which will only drive you further apart.”

4) Sex it up

“I am woman, hear me roar!”

Make him take notice by your sheer sexiness and if you’re comfortable with it then think about opening your mind to some new sexual experiences.

You should never do adventurous new sexual things because you think he wants it, this is actually a lot more about doing what you’ve always wanted to do — and inviting him along for the ride if he so chooses.

Bondage, role-playing, new positions, even just a reinvigorated sexual appetite can restimulate a sex life that’s gone comatose.

Want some advice from relationship writer Sara Berger? Make a list of bucket list fantasies!

“If you come up with something that both parties aren’t into, put it on a ‘maybe’ list, and revisit it later, she suggests. Not only is making a list together fun, simply talking about desires can keep things hot.”

Is it just me or is it getting hot in here?

5) Innovate

Innovate your life in every way. Because you can. 

If he wants a break, fine. Use that as a chance to take major action in your life. Renovate your apartment. Plant a garden, become a master chef.  Hell, you can do just about anything you want to do. 

Your boyfriend might not care at all but you’re going to be feeling damn good about yourself and that’s extremely important!

If you’ve always wanted to try something, now is your chance.

If there’s a part of yourself or some inner problems you’re looking to face then go for it.

“For you to be a better woman, you have to know what you really want. What are your short-term and long-term goals? Do you want to be a full-time mom? Do you want to be a career woman? Do you want to travel the world? Do you want to stay single?

Whatever path you would like to take is the right one for you. Never be afraid to be different and to want different things.  Focus on what makes you happy, and take the necessary steps to achieve it.”

Check out the rest of the 11 ways to be a better woman for yourself from Airyl Dadula.

6) Open communication 

Keep the lines of communication open. Think of you as two countries who were allies and now you’re on shaky terms. 

The last thing you want is a major diplomatic crisis or war, so keep the phone lines open and let him know that you’re open to hearing him out. At the same time, do your best not to pepper him with calls, texts, or things that ask for his attention. 

You want to give him a chance to miss you and in order to do that, you need to allow emotional space to grow so that he feels your absence and actually misses you, not just feels like he should miss you as some kind of obligation or norm.

Nobody falls in love because they should and the same goes for falling back in love. Give it time but don’t be afraid to communicate.

Listen to Lindsay Hamilton when she says that:

“Using words to communicate feelings is hard for many people, and it’s not the only way to engage in communication. You don’t always have to use words. 

According to Dr. Michele Kerulis, a professor of Counseling at Northwestern, what good communication does is give us a space to express our wants and needs and provide opportunities to grow in love, romance, sexuality, and even conflict resolution. Both people in the relationship should speak and be heard, and finding that balance is the crucial element for good communication.”

7) Never give up

The night is often darkest before the dawn.

There are times that even getting up to face another day is an accomplishment and I really mean that.  There will be days that you call in sick to work or just wallow. But do your best to keep that shred of hope and dignity alive in your soul.

Your boyfriend does not determine your worth. His issues with himself or you are not insurmountable and they don’t reflect a lowering of your value.

Many times there may also be an external situation you’re dealing with that’s hit both of you such as illness, tragedy, or life changes and this can feel like destiny just smacked you in the head and denied you the love you always wanted.

But it’s going to get better. I absolutely believe in you and promise you that you can get through this and come out a better woman on the other side — with or without him.

The road to inner peace has plenty of twists and turns, and the perfection lies in the imperfection.

Ghanian author and preacher  Israelmore Ayivor is somebody whose words can boost us up in these difficult times. He reminds us that:

“You can dance in the storm. Don’t wait for the rain to be over before because it might take too long. You can can do it now. Wherever you are, right now, you can start, right now; this very moment.”

That’s absolutely it right there. 

Bringing passion back!

If your boyfriend wants a break and you’re wondering how to keep him, don’t lose hope. Things can still work out if you tackle this the right way and keep your cool.

The spark might feel completely snuffed out. It’s a horrible feeling!

You seem like you’re in the dark and dawn will never come. But you need to be willing to face the possibility that the relationship really is over before you can have a strong chance of bringing it back.

Olivia Surtees advises:

“If he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings and you decide to walk away from him, he will most likely not come running back into your arms, simply because that’s not where he wants to be.

This sounds awful and I understand that it is not what you probably want to hear, but I think it’s important to warn you that if he doesn’t like you, having you walk away won’t change that for him.”

Exactly correct.

Don’t plead, don’t flatter, don’t cave in:

Strike a balance and trigger his hero instinct while living your own life and leaving the door open for him to walk back in.

Give him space and let his attraction grow for you while making it crystal clear that you are willing to walk away for good if necessary.

He’ll see your strength and lack of dependence combined with your appreciation of him and wonderful qualities and he’ll want back in…

So he says he wants a break?

He’ll be counting the days until it’s over if you follow the steps above, believe me!

The real reason why men pull away

Want to learn the real reason why men pull away from emotionally committing in a relationship?

It’s not what most people think.

We reveal all in our free eBook Attraction Triggers.

This eBook has everything you need to know about the predictable patterns that make a man fall in love.

Most importantly, it will teach you practical techniques to activate those triggers in your man so you can build a successful long-lasting relationship.

Check it out here.