There’s never a perfect way to execute a breakup. But there’s certainly things men do that make it worse. (Or the way women break up with us, for those of you who are Sapphic-ly inclined.)
For instance, I had a guy break up with me after I’d just had sex with him and paid for his takeout sushi. My most recent breakup happened over the phone, he lined up a date with another girl literally the next week using a gift certificate his father had given me for Christmas, and he removed all my things from our bedroom and piled them on the kitchen table to “help” me move out. Oh, and there was the whole threatening to throw my things in the trash thing! That was fun, too. Really, a lovely breakup it was.
I know women who have gotten dumped on or just before Valentine’s Day. I know women who’ve gotten dumped over IM. I know women who have been cheated on with other women in their office. There’s clearly a lot of foul play out there when it comes to breaking up … so let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
- The fadeaway: Instead of breaking up with you in person like a human being, he simply disappears from your life.
“I’ve had it happen a number of times where a guy I am dating just decides to stop returning my calls, emails texts, and never lets me in on the reason. One guy in particular was the worst offender. We started dating seriously and after a few months he ghosted me, with no explanation. When I tried to talk to him about it he refused to engage. I’ve never talked to him again. It’s emotionally abusive and confusing. At least have the decency to tell me it’s over! Anyone who can’t is a complete coward.”
- The fadeaway plus some douche-y justification: The only thing worse than the fadeaway is when a guy defends his indefensible behavior with a cold-hearted comment that makes you regret every second you spent stressing over him. Behold!
“I was in college, carrying on in a hooking-up-if-not-more relationship with a guy a couple years ahead of me. This continued for months, with some measure of exclusivity (if you can consider his telling me about his deeply noble sacrifices of not-hooking-up-with-other-girls as exclusive, which I assumed it was). Hell, he met my parents. (They didn’t like him.) He invited me to visit his far-away family the following summer. Then, as a semester was winding down, we both got busy with projects and didn’t see each other so much. But then he started ignoring emails and IMs and eventually started ignoring me in person, when we ran into each other at the gym and at the dining hall. Finally, I had enough and confronted him (via IM — this was the early 2000s and I am a coward). His response? “It’s not like you meant anything to me.”
- Breaking up over social media: You know that episode of “Sex and the City” where Carrie gets dumped by Berger via a Post-It note? Yeah, if you break up with someone over Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or God help you, LinkedIn, you’re worse than that guy:
“A girl I briefly dated back in 2007 dumped me via a Myspace message.”
- Breaking up over text message or email: Nope, you’re not in the clear if you break up with someone over email — you still didn’t do it in person, which is the only acceptable way (unless you’re stationed in Iraq and/or shooting a movie in New Zealand). Breaking up over the phone or via text message is just as bad — just ask Taylor Swift. Or my friend:
“Email or text break ups. I’ve been dumped by both methods. If I was 16, or went on just a couple of dates with the person, I would think it was OK. But after a month or two of dating, come on!”
- Projecting: I’m sure you’re confused right now — who isn’t during a breakup? — but don’t be all coo-coo-bananas and blame the other person for your problem. You know that Madonna song, “Human Nature,” where she sings, “I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your s**t on me”? Yeah, don’t be that guy. If you’re projecting your own problems onto another person, you belong in therapy, not the singles scene:
“A guy who called crying about his lifelong traumas for hours each week, while I listened and offered comfort, advice and support, broke up with me and told me I was ‘too needy.’”
- Breaking up after sex: Glad to hear I’m not the only one whose been dumped after sex. It’s. Just. Wrong. Don’t do it:
“Years ago, after the best (and the most emotionally connected) sex we’d ever had, while we were still naked in bed, a guy broke up with me after I said how amazing I felt, but that I was nervous that the other shoe was going to drop because whenever we got really close, he’d run away. So, of course, he responded by dropping the other shoe and dumping me.”
- Wasting someone’s time/money after they’ve traveled to see you: Dumping someone who hopped a plane, train or automobile (or taxi … or snowshoes …) to see you is the height of inconsideration. I could never forgive someone for doing this to me, but it seems to have worked out OK for one of my friends:
“I once had a boyfriend break up with me the night before New Year’s, after I’d flown to spend it with him. No fight or anything, just completely out of the blue. I had to fly back home the next day, and ended up spending my New Years Eve crying under a bridge and ruining the evening of the kind friends who took me out. Fortunately, he made it up to me by proposing on New Year’s Eve five years later, but it still makes for a pretty good ‘Worst New Years Ever’ story!”
Whoa, these are some pretty awful stories. Do you have any tales of back breakup behavior?