Most of the time we're so consumed by how to snare, keep, or please a man that we never learn one of the most important aspects of dating—how to break up with him!
Ever heard the phrase 'write what you know?' Well, I don't know how to make relationships work. I don't know how to maintain love after all these years or how to take a bad relationship and turn it into a good one. What I do know is how to break up with a guy. I know enough about breaking up with guys to write The Book on it. Or, at least, write an article on it. Like any skill, I learned through a very extensive trial and error process, leaving a wake of bruised egos, uncomfortable situations, and most depressing, months of prolonged, mediocre relationships. So, fear not, I learned how to do this gracefully—you can too.
Here are dos, and don'ts for breaking up at any stage in a relationship.
1) Recognize when it's time to end your relationship.
While this may seem obvious, it can take a very long time to become self-assured enough to realize that you don't have to go out with any and every guy who asks you. Don't forget you have choices! At any phase in a relationship, you know when the spark is there; conversely, you know when it's not. It is impossible to force yourself to like someone. Believe me, I've tried.
No longer attracted to him? It's a pretty good indication your feelings are waning. If he's mean to you, takes advantage of you, has crossed the line from having fun-on-the-weekend to being a drug or alcohol addict, or just isn't giving you what you need and deserve, it is time to move on. Some relationships are worth working on—recognizing when they're not is more important than trying to fix something that's worthless. Stay Together or Break Up? How To Decide Now
2) Don't go to extremes.
We've all experienced it—the guys who don't return calls or emails, leaving you wondering just what happened and if you'll ever hear from him again. The post-it note explanation or the non-confrontational route can leave you confused and full of questions. That's why you shouldn't phase him out by ignoring him.
There is only one acceptable time it's OK to not return his call or email or text (however the two of you are communicating): if you've only had one date. If he knows your cat's name, that you like to be bitten, or that you like ketchup on your eggs, it's gotten too involved to abruptly cut him off. If he has no indication that the relationship isn't progressing as well as he thinks it is, it will be confusing and hurtful when he receives no closure and no attempt at an explanation.
It's the other extreme—when your partner has too much to say—that is often more painful than being ignored. After a whirlwind month-long relationship, my friend sat through a four-hour explanation about why her guy no longer wanted to see her since she "sucked the life out of [him]." Another friend woke up after a first date to find a pages-long email detailing why, exactly, the guy could never go out with her again. This method is overkill. No one needs to be punished with too much information, making their head spin and their tears flow.
Both of these extremes methods are unnecessarily mean, violating the third rule.