How To Break up Like a Real Men
December 11, 2015 For Guys
We’ve all heard the incredulous conversations, “can you believe he broke up with her on Facebook?” Or, “What a dog! He broke up with her by texting her!”. This is the kind of behavior you might expect from the under-16 crowd.
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you are one of those people who care enough to do it right, and, while you can’t erase the pain it will cause entirely, you at least don’t want to cause additional pain by callousness or cruelty.
Why go to so much trouble?
While your feelings may have changed, the woman you are leaving is someone’s daughter, someone’s friend, someone’s future wife and mother. I realize that it’s hard to care about those things, when all you want is the light at the end of this troubled relationship tunnel. But just think for a moment. Someday, you may have a daughter, if you don’t already. As a father, how would you like your daughter to be treated by someone who is leaving her? Envision that, and be that.
You don’t want to be that guy who tells 150 of his buddies before sending her that “We’re finished! LOL!” text. How you behave, and how you treat her, will impact how quickly she bounces back from this, and it may even impact how she expects to be treated in the future. You want to leave her self-esteem and her self-respect intact, so that she won’t be afraid to open herself up to a better relationship in the future. Real men don’t leave total destruction in their wake.
Tips for doing the deed
You have not been happy in a while. You are fighting all the time. Your feelings have changed. Whatever the reason, a real man is never deliberately cruel, and always takes responsibility. No finger pointing or blaming. Below are some guidelines for acting like a man during a break-up, and not a pimply-faced young pup.
A real man is self-aware and mature. A break-up is not an impulsive act, but something he has given great thought to. So spend some time reflecting. What is the reason for your break up? Did you even try counseling with a REAL married professional before you quit your relationship?
If your feelings have changed, examine them. Know them. Real love is not infatuation. If you are concerned that the shiny, newness has worn off your relationship, or that your relationship fits like a well-worn shoe, that could be exactly where you need to be for the relationship to become something more.
Love is choice. Not a feeling. You need to take this time to examine your feelings and understand what it is you truly feel. A break-up shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to losing that feeling of being “in love”. It’s a sign of respect for your girlfriend, and yourself, that you take the time be sure and decisive. Nothing is worse for a woman and her self-esteem than the boomerang boyfriend who keeps coming back because he doesn’t know what he really wants. So know for sure that this is the end.
2. Don’t have one foot out the door
Don’t go trolling for a new girlfriend before you have even told the last one goodbye. Don’t be extra flirty to the female server and slip her your number right in front of your girlfriend. For your own self-respect, and in respect of your girlfriend, let her know that your relationship had your fullest attention right up to the bitter end.
If you are hoping boorish behavior like this would drive her away and make her break up with you (saving you the trouble), it probably won’t. A woman in love may make allowances or justifications in her mind, which is ultimately detrimental to her. It may make her double down on attempts to win you back. In the end, your girlfriend’s self-esteem will be on life-support. Respect her enough to end the relationship BEFORE you plan the weekend getaway with the lovely barista at your favorite coffee shop.
3. Don’t make it a surprise
One of the worst break-up scenarios is when the woman has no clue at all that anything is wrong, and BAM! Out of the blue, the man she trusts and loves rips her heart out. If you are having any reservations at all about the relationship, or your feelings, or whether you have a future together, then you should be talking about them, listening to her ideas and opinions, and even inviting her to share her own misgivings or issues.
Be prepared that this could have the opposite effect of actually deepening your relationship! If not, and you ultimately decide to end it, then involving her in conversation prior to the final break-up will leave her feeling like she was a partner until the end, and had some input.
4. Do it in person
This doesn’t really need to be said. OK…well maybe it does. DO NOT break up via text, over social media, or send a friend to tell her (really? Is this the elementary school playground?). This is the cowardly way out, and real men aren’t cowards.
It leaves the woman with questions, and she deserves answers. It leaves the woman feeling like she is worthless, carelessly thrown away like yesterday’s coffee cup. And honestly, it does you no favors, either. As the word spreads among your friends, her friends, and everyone you know, people will lose a bit of respect for you.
5. Be kind
Now is not the time for blame. She may fight like a shrew, or is unimaginative in bed (which would be partially your fault, by the way), or maybe you hate her mother. But don’t use the break-up to unload all the things you don’t like about her. A break up causes raw insecurities to bubble to the surface, and the last thing the woman who was once the love of your life needs to hear is that her morning breath could peel paint. Be kind. Don’t lie, but it’s OK to take the edge off the truth a bit. Give her the one or two top reasons, and leave the laundry list at home.
6. Be firm and decisive
It may be very temping to ease the sting of a break-up with indefinite language. Leaving that little bit of hope for a future together seems like a sensitive option, right? It’s not. For a few days, weeks or months, this break-up is going to leave your girlfriend in shock and alternating between sadness and anger. Any drowning man will latch on to a life-preserver and never let it go, even if all he needs to do is put is feet down to touch the bottom.
Your girlfriend has to find her feet, not latch onto false hope. Don’t say things like “we’re just taking a break” or “the timing isn’t right”, or “let’s see what happens in a few months.” It will do more damage. Don’t be mean, either. See Number 5.
In the end
No matter what you do or how you prepare, things could get ugly. Your girlfriend will be dealing with a firestorm of emotions. That doesn’t make her a horrible person, it just makes her human. She could withdraw, cry hysterically, throw things, beg. Don’t try to change her feelings. Let her have them and own them. Let her maintain some control.
Let her cry it out on your shoulder if she needs to. Be there for her. If she asks you to leave, do it (but depending on her state of mind, you may call a friend or sister to come sit with your ex for awhile). Be classy. In time, as wounds heal, she will remember that you treated her with respect and dignity. If she doesn’t, at least you know you did your best.