- Gender and Relationships
How to Break It Off
Left Field Is Not a Great Place To Be
This is one of the many reasons why it’s really best to be honest with your partner about what’s going on in your head. Letting things build to an exploding point is not good for either of you. And if it does work out for you that this relationship isn’t the one you want to be in, it’s going to hit your partner like he’s out in left field when you tell him, if he had no idea you were upset in the first place.
We don’t always know ahead of time something isn’t going to work. I’m not saying be honest now for a smoother break up later. Well, maybe I am in a way. But what I’m really saying is communication and honesty are essential to any relationship. Even a broken one.
When you look back on relationships passed, think about what you have to say in retrospect. Is there someone you recall with the sentiment, well at least this person was honest with me. Is there someone you remember and think, what the hell happened there!
Take a lesson from those experiences. Obviously you don’t want to spend your relationship complaining, nit-picking, and making everything all about you. But when the right opportunities arise, be honest with your partner and yourself about the things that aren’t working.
I say, get in and get out. Don’t do this where you’re trapped, like during a long car ride home, or in the middle of dinner. Some people say doing it in a public place avoids a scene. Some people haven’t met me.I think the public place thing shows disrespect if you think your partner is going to take the ending hard. You know it yourself – if you had to deal with some upsetting news, wouldn’t you rather be in the privacy of your own home where you are free to let your emotions go if you can’t control them, without the embarrassment of strangers looking, and without having to worry about driving or getting yourself home?I remember this one ex I had, dumped me at night, in a rain storm, about 90 miles from where I was living. I had to drive home in the dark in the rain, trying to see through the tears, trying to hold it together. It was horrible. I’d never do that to anyone.If at all possible, I really think the best thing to do is show up at their house. Not when you are expected for a date; that only adds the difficulty of your bombshell news with the blow of letting down their expectations of a date. At their house you are also in control of when you part ways. Break up in your own house, and you’re there in it until they relent and leave. It’s better to be in control. Get in and get out. Don’t let it linger. “Look, I am sorry but this isn’t working for me. I don’t want to see you anymore.”
It’s Not About Winning
It would be really nice if everyone were mature, responsible, thoughtful adults. It would also be nice if twenties fell out of trees and Cheese Doodles made you skinny. But here in reality, the world doesn’t work like that. People aren’t always mature. And when dumped, they can be really nasty.If that’s where your soon-to-be -ex takes it, so be it. Don’t turn it into a “match.” Let it be an attack. Think about it this way: people fight FOR something. He is fighting to keep you, or she’s fighting not to feel so rejected and hurt. When you engage in the fight you are challenging her, you are only encouraging her to fight back and work harder toward that goal. You’ve already had your way. You broke up with her. You are getting what you want. No matter how low they go, it’s really the better thing to do to just let them get it out. Anything you say at this point is only going to make it worse, and it isn’t going to change what’s happened. It’s only going to make the hurt worse. It’s only going to make the memory of this break up harder.
It Might Be Mutual
Your partner may be as done with you as you are with him. Sometimes you have no idea how breaking up is going to go until you’re right there doing it. He may sigh, smile and say, “I know this isn’t working. I was trying to figure out how to tell you.”
Your partner may however be so taken aback that they feel compelled to drill you for answers. “Why? What happened? How long have you been planning this? Is there someone else? What about when you said I was the best kisser ever? Is this because I forgot your birthday?”There are people that will disagree with me on this one, but I say sidestep. Don’t answer these questions. Don’t get suckered into a conversation. Not now.If your partner has been that confused by your ending it, he really isn’t going to be able to listen to the answers. She isn’t going to hear you. She is not in the headspace for it. Addressing the questions is only going to make things worse right now. You can give a few comforting blanket responses: No it wasn’t that. It’s me. It’s just where I am right now. You’re a great kisser, it’s not you. And I really have to go now. I’m sorry.”If you say you’re going to call next week, mean it. Don’t say it if you really don’t think you will. Don’t give false hope about anything. It’s not fair, and it’s mean. It may feel like the easier thing to do. But doing the right thing isn’t always easy.If there really are things you want to talk about, or if you feel you are willing to talk to him because he really wants to talk, wait a week. Give it a week. What a difference a week makes.This gives him a chance to get used to the idea, and to get rid of those initial reactionary emotions. This gives him back a little dignity.Now is when I think the public place thing is a good idea. Not because it avoids a scene. But instead because it creates a neutral feeling. No one has the upper hand. And again I reiterate, if it happens in your home you have no control over when it ends. It’d be nice if this after-the-break-up meeting goes smoothly, questions are answered, and well wishes are expressed. But there’s a chance it won’t be smooth, and you’ll wish you could get away.
Say Anything - Lloyd Dobbler
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