DEAR HARRIETTE: I asked my boyfriend for a break so I could have some space to think. He has bad reactions when I tell him things, and he can’t control his feelings. I have been scared to talk to him, which has led me to hide things from him. I constantly feel like I am lying to him, all to protect his feelings and his mood. He just can’t handle certain information, and he doesn’t listen to me -- he just jumps to react. It has made me rethink how we communicate and whether we can connect in a healthy way. If we can’t, then should we even be in a relationship? After realizing this, I asked for a break, but I’ve heard that people don’t get back together after a break. Do you think a break will help? -- Pausing on Love
DEAR PAUSING ON LOVE: I would say that you shouldn’t pause for too long. Your chance at making this relationship work will come from the two of you working together on your bond. What do you want? What do you need? Get clear on the answers to those questions. The bottom line is that you need to decide whether you want to devote your life to being with him. Figure that out first. Then, ask your boyfriend to get together to talk. Be open with him. If you think you want to be with him, tell him what you want in your relationship. Explain how important communication is for you, and give him examples of your concerns about the ways in which he reacts to you when you tell him things and what you have been doing to manage those reactions. Tell him that this worries you. Suggest that he go to anger management classes to gain competence at handling difficult information. See what he is willing to do to work with you. If he seems unwilling or unable to make the effort, you may have your answer about your future with him.
If it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to have a healthy bond, cut ties. Since you have already separated, this may be the cleanest time to break.