Hearing your boyfriend say that he needs a break to decide if you’re “the one” can be confusing. You may question your relationship and wonder how to handle the break. While your boyfriend’s actions can be upsetting, trying to understand the way he handles his emotions is an important way to help ensure your break doesn’t turn into a breakup.

He Needs Physical Space

Guys who feel smothered often resort to creating physical space by not seeing you as often. If he’s operating under the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mindset, he may request a break in the hopes that not seeing you will confirm to him that you’re the right girl. Taking a break also gives him a chance to catch up with friends and family he doesn’t see as much as he’d like. If this break is about physical space for him, respect his wishes by not asking to see each other. Instead, let him close the distance by coming to see you.

He Needs Time to Think

Guys often pull away completely when they’re stressed, according to Dr. John Gray, psychologist and relationship expert, in the Your Tango article, “Man Speak Vs. Woman Speak: 10 Common Misunderstandings. While you might see a break as counterintuitive to being together forever, his view of the break could be that he needs time away from the current situation to relax and to think about things. If this break is about needing time to think, do not add additional stress by constantly asking him to explain his thoughts. Instead, give him time to process his feelings and emotions in his own way.

He Needs Something New

Couples often fall into routines, and he may perceive this routine as a boring rut. Taking a break could be less about a break from you and more about a break from the daily habits of your relationship. Once the new feeling of a relationship fades away, it can also mean that the desire to invest energy fades, as well, according to Randi Gunther, Ph.D. and author of the article, “What Causes Boredom in Intimate Relationships?” He may need this break to make things feel new between you two again, as well as determine if your relationship can continue to be enjoyable throughout the years. If this break is about getting out of a rut, don’t reject his suggestions for trying new things or stick to your comfortable habits. Instead, be willing to try new things or even revamp some of your current favorite activities to do together.

He Needs to End Things

Saying that he wants to take a break to figure out if you’re “the one” could also be your boyfriend’s way of slowly breaking things off. There’s a chance he’s no longer interested in being in a relationship or he’s developed feelings for someone else. He may consider the break an opportunity to end the relationship without causing a messy fight. If this break is about him ultimately trying to find a way to break up, don’t push him to stay with you or try to find hidden meanings. Instead, remain patient and understand that being too pushy could only confirm his fears that you aren’t the right one for him.