What It's Like To Suffer From Premature Breakup Syndrome

It's not healthy to always break up with someone before they break up with you.

woman drinking coffee sitting near window unhappy DimaBerlin / Shutterstock

Have you ever broken up with someone long before you should have?

Maybe you thought the person wasn't good enough for you or that you could do better.

Perhaps you broke up while the relationship still worked, but you decided that since everybody left you at some point, you might as well make a preemptive strike. 

Dump them before they get a chance to dump you.

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If that's your thought pattern, you may suffer from premature breakup syndrome (which isn't an official disease, but hey, it works).

While you don't want to rush into a relationship, you don't want to rush into a breakup either. If you're too hasty in breaking up, you may find yourself regretting it for a very long time, and you may never actually get any closure.

I had a bad case of pre-mature breakup syndrome (PBS) that lasted for many years. I was so terrified that any boyfriend would eventually leave me, so I'd end things long before they became stale-dated.

My first real boyfriend was in college. Gerry was funny, sweet, cute, and loved me, but his love scared me. 


I was constantly testing him to see how much he'd put up with for my love; I danced with another guy in front of him, which caused him so much anguish that he broke a glass during my jealousy-making pas de deux. I began a relationship with his friend before breaking up with him. (Yeah, I was an idiot.)

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Although Gerry had proven his love to me over and over again, I couldn't believe that it was real and broke up with him ... and started seeing his friend, Steven. Steven wasn't quite as into me, or at least he wasn't obvious in his love for me.

So, obviously, we thought it was a good idea to move in together and begin a dysfunctional relationship. Again, I broke up with him before he had the chance to break up with me.


After Steven, I dated a man named Ashraf and broke up with him after a short period of dating. 

None of these relationships were allowed to come to their natural conclusions. There are good reasons to break up with someone — like abuse, lack of trust or respect, or general lack of things like values, interests, and morals in common — but most times I didn't give the relationship enough time to even discover the ways it had failed.

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The wrong reasons for breaking up with someone include:

1. You believe you should break up with them before they break up with you, no matter how good the relationship is.

2. Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend bruised your ego.

3. They disagree with you on a few topics.

4. They like/love you too much.

5. They're going through a tough time such as losing a job, illness, or the death of a loved one.

6. They changed their appearance — shaved off a beard, gained a few pounds, got glasses, etc.

7. You think you can do better.

I'm willing to bet that pre-mature breakup syndrome is the primary reason behind ex-sex, and becoming obsessed with an ex. If you don't give a relationship the time it deserves, you won't be satisfied with its ending. Having a relationship drag on and on after the time it should've ended isn't good either.


But like a fine wine, you can't rush a relationship to end. Some relationships need to be ripe, or you'll never know what might have been.

Disengage when it's the right time — but not because you're scared of being dumped. You'll never get to the sweet spot of a relationship if you don't hang on during the challenging parts.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and frequent contributor to YourTango. She's had articles featured in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Woman's Day, among many others.