We’re on a break. Can I check in?

Hey Meredith,

I've been spending time with a soon-to-be-girlfriend for about two months. We've been getting to know each other, going on dates, and having an amazing time together. Unfortunately, she had a very close family member pass away. This has really given her a lot of grief and pain, and it kills me to see her this way.

About a week ago she sent me a big text saying that she was sorry she didn't text me for a couple of days and that she is going to therapy. I was shocked at the next sentence: "I need for us to take a break." She said she needs time to get back on the right track, and she hopes I understand and am not angry with her. My response: "I completely understand. I'm still going to care about you no matter what. Do not think for one second that you are making me angry. If this is something you need to do, then do it." She told me I was the best and she thanked me for everything.

Meredith, I care so much for this girl. Even though we weren't officially exclusive as a couple, we were together like a couple. I know she needs her space but I just want to call her and text her to see if she's OK. How should I go about being there for her but not pushing her or scaring her away? I'm not trying to win her back because to me, that is a selfish thing to do. I just want her to be happy. I would love your feedback.

– Concerned

Breaks are confusing. We learned this from a popular sitcom.

Sometimes they're a nice, less direct way of moving toward a breakup. They can also be about a good way for people to clear their brains to make better decisions.

Breaks can mean a bunch of things, which is why I recommend coming up with some boundaries and terms when they begin. Like, "Don't call me, I'll call you." Or maybe, "Of course we can check in, but not in person."

If you have no idea what your break is about – what rules are in place – you can ask. You don't have to be a boyfriend to get answers. You can text, "Hey, sometimes I think about checking in with you to see how it's going. What's appropriate? I never asked what's best for you." Whatever sounds honest. You care about her well-being and want to respect her boundaries. Maybe she can reciprocate by giving you some clarity.

Now for the tough love paragraph. The woman you described doesn't sound like a soon-to-be-girlfriend. At the moment, she's out of your life. It sounds like she has a lot of work to do on her own. Do not wait for her. You say you're not trying to win her back but let's make sure that's true. Stop thinking of her as your endgame and spend time with others.

– Meredith

Readers? Soon-to-be-girlfriend? Check in during this break?