How to Break Up Without Breaking Down

May 27, 2010
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Okay all you frustrated girls out there, it’s time you got an inside look at breakups from a guy’s perspective. I feel like you really need to understand what goes on on both sides in a situation when you break up with someone. I’m giving you this DL-advice mostly so that you stop being a heartbreaker TO boys, but I also need to give you the WHOLE truth, and I need to save you from having YOUR heart broken. You might be thinking, ‘Why would I need to worry about my heart being broken if I’m the one breaking up with them?’ Well ladies, even though you don’t want to admit it, us guys know that 99% of the time, breaking up hurts you, too. So, in order to spare his heart, and yours, try these tips whenever possible during a breakup.
First off, ladies, whenever you break the news to us that the relationship “isn’t working out,” we usually try to save ourselves by, or at least to take comfort in, asking for specific reasons why. It is very important that you prepare yourself for this first line of defense prior to the breakup. Some guys might fall for less significant reasons, such as annoying habits, or behaviors of his. However most guys will get smart and catch onto what you’re trying to do, so be prepared also for, “I can change.” We mean that when we say it a large percent of the time; however at this moment, we’re just floundering over anything to say to you to save ourselves. So if you didn’t fall for the promise of change, you probably need to move on to more significant, and/ or permanent, details. You are going to need to use some pretty concrete reasons, though, so that another “I can change” is not in your near future. So quickly sidestep that excuse with things that he really can’t change, or are at least harder to change. Good ideas include his overall personality, his friend group, or his extreme likes, or dislikes. Avoid stabs at his physical appearance, though, because the idea is to make this breakup efficient and as painless as possible, not to just tear each other down. If he thinks that you are trying to deliberately be mean, or majorly disrespect him just to hurt him, he will get angry. Fast.
So, to avoid this anger and/ or hostility, at least give him the respect to break the news to him to his face. As awkward and/ or uncomfortable this might feel for you, trust me he feels the same or worse, and you do owe him this much. Try your hardest to make this uncomfortable encounter in person, and talk to him face-to-face. This seems more sincere and respectful than other means of breaking up such as written notes, text-messages, phone conversations, facebook chat, instant messages, and so many more. When you use those, we usually feel like you girls are just blowing us off, not to mention it’s really emasculating.
So, you don’t want to be mean, but at the same time, you need to be firm in order to execute this breakup efficiently. Avoid the use of “wishy-washy” words like kind-of, almost, sometimes, maybe, and so on. Also, try not to over-explain, or to sound like you’re making excuses. DO sound sincere, and try to make your point clear, but DO NOT ramble. It makes you sound unsure of yourself and your decision, giving us guys the perfect opportunity to pounce. We immediately gain confidence when we see this moment of apparent indecisiveness.
In other words, as soon as you have made your point RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN, and I mean BOOK IT. Don’t give us time to process a come-back that could possibly sway you in your decision to break up. TRUST ME, if you’re trying to break up with this guy in the first place, then this definitely IS what you want. Anything that he might say to make you feel any differently is just basically brainwash: do your best to stay focused and to not give in.
After you finally end things with your guy, make sure you keep your distance from your ex, and let him cool down as much as he needs to. Do your best to avoid any kind of contact with him. After about a week or so, depending on how badly he’s taking things, you may want to gradually ease yourself back into his life in small ways, so that he becomes used to the idea of you having a life without him. However you need to be careful about how you do this, because if you remove yourself completely, then suddenly reappear on the dating scene, it could be counterproductive. Good ways to do this are: hang out with your friends, stay in contact with your mutual friends, be seen hanging out with other guy friends, appear to be okay with the breakup, be friendly, and give him his space. Some horrible ideas would be: appear lost without him, hog his best friends, get caught hooking up with random guys, brag or even joke about the breakup, completely ignore him, or cling to him, because that would only confuse him more.
So depending on how well you two are dealing with your breakup after about a month, you may want to try to start a friendship. If you are going to try this, do so VERY CAREFULLY, and only if both of you are comfortable and accepting of what happened in your relationship, and with each other, and neither of you guys are bitter. In order to get a functional friendship going, do everything in your power not to flirt, or to use nicknames of bring up inside jokes from your past relationship, because it will just hurt you both more. On a similar note; don’t bring up the breakup. It will make you both unnecessarily bitter, and it will cause you both emotional pain. Just don’t do it. Also, try to keep a safe distance to maintain a healthy, casual friendship and steer clear of any conversations about either one’s sex life. Keep the same group of friends, and its dynamic, that you had before, and try not to seem too protective, like you would if you two were still together. The best tip I can give you, though, is: even if you think it feels awkward, don’t let yourself show it. The more confident you girls seem, the more confident us guys feel.
So, girls, to avoid unnecessary pain for you and your guy, just think about everything you’ve just read, and try your hardest not to be a heartbreaker.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

alwayskelley This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 10:46 am
hey thanks this is really helpful! cuz im gonna break up w my bf and i really dont want to hurt him and this really helps me out so thanks!(:
Liz P. replied...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 9:30 am
yeah this is written from personal experiences.. I'm glad I could help!
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