People have strange rules involving break-ups: You can’t break-up with someone within 72 hours of having sex, 7 days before or after their birthday, during the month of any major holiday, by text message, and never in the seasons of winter, spring, or summer. Given all these rules, you can technically only break-up with someone on Thursdays in September. Stop making excuses.
Let’s be clear, break-ups are never easy but they are a necessary evil. If you’re not putting a 110% into a relationship you are doing yourself and your partner a disservice. I have found that men employ five primary break-up techniques. I will discuss these below in the order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest, and hopefully provide some insight on why a man might have chosen a particular method in your past.
1. The Houdini: He disappears.
The easiest of the methods, all a man has to do is fall off the face of the Earth. He doesn’t have to explain himself. He doesn’t have to have any awkward talks. He doesn’t even have to come up with a good reason. This is reserved for women he does not care about: jump-offs, side chicks, [garden tools]. It may also include women he is confident he can avoid running into for the rest of his life (or at least 6 months), such as: out-of-towners, one night stands, girls he met at a wedding, friends of friends of friends who don’t run in the same circles. You may disagree but he has decided you are not worth the hassle of the break-up discussion. This is the most low-class disrespectful move a man can pull, yet it happens every day.
2. The Illusionist: He remains only in form.
Rather than formally break-up, he slowly withdraws from the relationship mentally, physically or emotionally. He wants out but he is not man enough to end it. Instead, he lets the relationship die a slow painful death. There will be no mercy kill. A coward, he might break-up with you over text or via a surprise Facebook status update to ‘Single.’ He really wants you to break-up with him. However, if you are equally weak willed or too stubborn to accept it’s over, this pathetic excuse for a relationship might last forever.
3. The Tiger Woods: He cheats.
Cheating is easier than remaining faithful. The Tiger Woods doesn’t respect you enough or have the courage to break up. He is, by far, the worst. He endangers you emotionally, physically and mentally because of his own selfish pursuits. In his mind: Me > You.
4. The Good Guy: You love him almost as much as you hate him.
You hate him because he uses you in the nicest way possible and you can’t do anything about it. You love him. He knows it. You know it. Most women prefer this break-up even though it is not the break-up they need. In fact, it is one of the worst. What women overlook is the fact that The Good Guy is inherently selfish. While he appears to have your best interest at heart, he actually puts himself first and always.
He is so fearful of being labeled a bad guy by you, your family or your friends he rather mislead you than accept this title. Since he never cheats physically, he avoids drawing accusation from you and eases his own subconscious. However, he mentally and emotionally gets a head start on checking out of the relationship before you in order to make his own transition easier.
After the formal “break-up,” he will still make love to you. Sure, you told him you can handle it but you’re lying. He knows, through sex, you are trying to lure him back or at minimum, keep him around. Regardless, he still has sex with you because he places his best interests before yours.
He feasts on your emotional and physical sacrifices until he is gorged but offers you nothing of substance in return. He leaves you feeling empty. He’s honest without ever telling the truth. He doesn’t lie, but he tells you want you want to hear instead of what you need to hear. For instance, when you ask if there is a future for you in his life he gives you an ambiguous response when he knows the clear answer is no. He uses you like a pit stop between serious courtships with other women but assures you his future is with you.
He uses your hope to keep you paralyzed while he uses the fact that you’ll always be there for him to propel himself forward. You’re left waiting, often in vain, as he gives the love you long for to other women until one of those women finally becomes his wife. Even in marriage, given the chance, he continues to let you believe there may be a future for you two if things don’t work out. Deep down both of you know this day will never come because, unfortunately, you were never anything more than his back-up plan.
An excerpt from a song by Alicia Keys, Lesson Learned, summarizes the “Good Guy” experience:
You give it one more chance
Just like the time before
But he already knows you’d give a hundred more
Until that night in bed
You wake up in a sweat
You’re racing to the door
Can’t take it anymore…
5. The Man: He performs the most taken for granted act there is: He tells you the truth.
Some men will never be The Man because it is the hardest break-up. The Man doesn’t bullshit a woman. He doesn’t wait until he has a back-up relationship. He knows you are worth more than a callous text message. Out of respect, he chooses to tell you in person. He is not cruel but he doesn’t lie. If he realizes the relationship is not heading in the direction you both agreed to he tells you.
The hardest part is the responsibility. The Man must step up and end the relationship even if she thinks it can be salvaged if he knows in his heart it cannot. When things get emotionally heated – and they will – he cannot engage in the same hurtful rhetoric she uses on him. Emotion, pride, and defense may make her attack and seek to inflame the same response in him. He knows that in order for her to cope she might need to hate him temporarily or forever.
Her friends, by obligation, must take her side; make him out to be the bad guy. The Man does not manipulate her emotions to save face like The Good Guy. He puts his pride and ego aside because he realizes it’s not about him.
Even in break-up, a man does what is best for the woman even if that means putting her needs before his own. He must look into her tear-filled eyes and continue to tell the truth. If there is no future for the relationship when she asks, he responds “No” and does not waver. He doesn’t encourage false hope. The Man realizes that just because she will settle for a part of him rather than none of him does not mean she doesn’t deserves a man who will give her his all.
The Man’s burden is the most difficult. It’s possible all he will have left to comfort himself is the knowledge that he told the truth. Having remained faithful in principle and in practice during their relationship, he will have to start over…alone.
This is why most men never use this technique, preferring combinations of the above rather than ever shouldering the full responsibility of being a man. They know being the man she wants is easy. Being the man she needs is difficult. Given the choice to end the relationship a falsely glorified Good Guy or living long enough to see himself labeled a villain, he chooses villainy if it will benefit the woman he cares about more. A real man recognizes that she deserves happiness even if he is not the man to inspire it.