1. Through a text message.
Though this is perhaps the most frequent offender on the list — it’s just so easy to text a not-so-serious significant other about the impending end of your relations — it is by no means the most damaging. The unwritten statement included in any breakup text is “You are not important enough to dedicate a real, face-to-face discussion to signify the end of what we had together. Instead, I’m going to use the same medium I do to lie about how far away from the party I am and confirm that Domino’s received my order.” You’re treating the breakup with all of the care and respect of a particularly well-used Kleenex. Come on, no one needs to be hearing that shit. It just erodes the self-esteem.
2. By cheating on them.
Whether you’re the proverbial husband who will “never leave his wife” whilst carrying on a years-long affair with his 25-year-old mistress, or just a random skeezer who can’t take their significant other to the Dairy Queen for five minutes to tell them you’re boning other people already, it’s uncool. It’s just so uncool. You basically scar this person for the rest of their life, and turn them into the kind of human being whose natural response to a moment of suspicion is to go through every text message their partner has sent or received in the last six months. Like, that shit just doesn’t happen organically. It happens because someone has loved hard and been proven very, very wrong in the past, and aren’t looking to make the same mistake again.
3. Saying you “need to be alone” when you actually intend on dating someone immediately.
I think the general theory is that if you say to someone “I just need some time to be alone right now,” the overall blow of the breakup is softened. You are saying that it has nothing to do with them, or anything they’ve done, or anything they could offer you — it’s just you and your selfish, weird need to go do peyote and walk through a home furnishings store or something of that nature. It couldn’t be helped, you just need your alone time. But the problem with this arises when it is actually total bullshit and is simply your easy out to enable you to get to that hot new person you’ve been itching to get with for several weeks now. Because the second your ex sees you all of five days out of the relationship using your precious “alone time” to zestily bang what is clearly now your new significant other — it is going to be crystal clear. You didn’t need to be alone, you just needed to be an asshole.
4. Deleting it on Facebook.
I had a girlfriend recently whose boyfriend left her by changing his relationship status to “single” overnight and deleting his profile picture of the two of them. This woman is 26. This is not the kind of shit that should be occurring in our day-to-day lives at this point — it is only the most infinitesimal step up from putting up a buddy profile on AIM saying that you’re looking to collect some fresh A/S/Ls when your girlfriend had an away message up. These are not post-puberty shenanigans.
5. Treating them so badly they are forced to dump you.
How is this okay? I mean, seriously, not only do you now have to live with the whole “I broke their precious little heart” angle over your head, you also have managed to convince them in the process that they’re actually the dumper and should therefore feel terrible about things. You’ve taken the only part of the breakup process that is most difficult on the one doing it — the actual moment where you work up the courage to break the news — and foisted it on the poor soul who wanted this whole thing to work out. I mean, when you want to quit your job, do you quit? Or do you just start stealing staplers and photocopying your genitalia until someone calls you out on it enough that you get canned? I would hope it’s the former. Please let it be the former.
6. Leaving a note.
Do you want to be Jack Berger? No, you don’t. That man was the romantic equivalent of a Tamagotchi that wouldn’t stop pooping itself, and none of us should stoop to his hijinks. We’re all better people for it.
7. Dragging it out forever.
You think they don’t know, but they know. They definitely know. And there is probably no feeling worse than laying next to someone in bed when you can feel in every bone in your body that they’ve already checked out. It basically feels like sleeping next to a corpse, except you’re stil in love with this corpse, and you want this corpse to magically wake up and be like “I AM STILL MADLY INTERESTED IN YOU LET’S MAKE THIS WORK.” Yeah, that corpse never wakes up. It just gets a little bit more of sex out of it then breaks up with you. Don’t be that corpse. You’re better than that corpse.