The One Thing Women Wish Guys Knew About Breaking Up

What one expert tells all her male clients and friends.

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Ending a relationship is profoundly difficult and something no one wants to do. I find this to be particularly true for my straight male friends and clients. Why? Because men hate hurting women. They hate tears. They hate drama. As a result, taking the steps to break up with a woman is something that paralyzes them. And so they don't. Instead, they hold on to a woman longer than they should.

One thing I wish men knew about breaking up:

 If you want to break up with us, just do it.

I have a male friend who has a hard time committing to relationships. Once he realizes he wants to break up with a woman, he can't do it. He's afraid he will hurt her. He is afraid she will cry. He is afraid of the drama that will happen if he says the words. So, instead of being brave and speaking his truth, what he does is he pulls away. He stops texting or contacting her. When they are together he is remote. He gives her crumbs of himself. And he does this every time. I always want to reach out to women he is dating and warn them.

@tonightsconversation Is this why some men “stay” even tho they are cheating? 👀 #dating #relationships @trippfontane @Kita Rose @Ace Metaphor ♬ original sound - Tonight's Conversation

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What my friend doesn’t seem to realize is that by bread-crumbing her, giving her ever-decreasing amounts of himself, he is causing her way more pain than a quick breakup would do. His inability to act makes a woman start questioning herself. It damages her self-esteem. She wonders what she has done wrong. And, more often than not, after dragging this out, he ultimately has to do the breaking up anyway, usually in a way that is disdainful and disrespectful and causes her more pain.

Getting her to dump you is weak 

I have another male friend who, even though he knows it’s time to break up with someone, he never does. Why? Again, because he doesn't want to hurt her. Because he is afraid of how she will take it. Because he doesn’t want to watch her cry. So, what does he do instead? He starts acting like a jerk. He ignores her. He stops having sex with her. He does things without her.

His goal with this ungentlemanly, unkind behavior? He wants her to break up with him. 

That way, he won't have to hurt her and won’t get blamed for the breaking up. And guess what? This just causes the various girlfriends more pain. They get clingy because they know he is unhappy. They always want to “talk” about the status of the relationship. They stop trusting him and question his actions. And, usually, what ultimately happens is he has to break up with them anyway because he has destroyed their self-esteem and they can’t take action themselves.


He wants to breakup but she has to comfort him Just Life via Shutterstock

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Give it your all or get out

One of my clients is always worried that he's making a mistake by breaking up with somebody. The women start doing things that make him cringe which makes her less attractive to him but, at the same time, he likes all the things she does for him and the easy access to sex. As I tell anyone, somebody who wants to be with somebody gives them their all. If they can't do that, the relationship is dead.


To be fair, for all of these guys, the goal is to not hurt a woman. And one has to respect them for that. Unfortunately, by not speaking the truth, whether it's around something else in a relationship or during a breakup, a man is not protecting a woman. A man is causing her more pain, the exact thing he is trying to avoid.

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The thing men often don't understand is women don't want to be protected. They would rather know the truth than be lied to. While they might cry, they will survive. It is this crying that makes it easier for a woman to move on.

So, men, it's time to learn how to rip off the break-up Band-Aid, something that causes sharp pain, as opposed to taking it off slowly and dragging out the hurt.


The best way to break up with someone is to do so as sure as you want to. Do it openly and respectfully. Sit your person down and tell them the truth. Whatever your truth is, be honest and kind. Don't gaslight them fool around on them or make them feel bad about themselves. If you don't want to hurt them, treat them like a person.

There is one more thing every woman wants a man to know about a breakup — they will be fine. Yes, a woman might cry or cause drama or make it difficult for you to speak your words, but she will be fine. You aren’t the only fish in the sea. Life goes on. She will find someone else who can truly love her the way she deserves.

So, guys, step up. Be brave. Have the respect to break up with her and let her get on with her life and find someone who can truly love her.


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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.