Breakups 101: How not to be a 12-year-old

Breakups suck. Regardless of your involvement- whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, it’s all around pretty awful. I have gone through my fair share of breakups- on both sides- and have suffered through some pretty awkward moments.

First of all, I know what most of you are thinking: Who in their right mind would dump you? Thank you, I know. It hasn’t happened incredibly often, but when it does, it’s just downright memorable. Sometimes I feel like God is sitting up in heaven with popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, and a diet coke and just watching as I endure the most awkward, cringe-inducing, just-plain-weird breakups known to man. Can you even blame him? Any opportunity to eat both popcorn and Sour Patch Kids and I’m there. 

I write about singleness a lot, and so I recognize that this might be a weird topic to write about. It might be a little odd for a woman who wants a relationship (not desperately, but ya know, a healthy amount) to be giving advice on how to dump somebody while displaying some essence of adult-like behavior. Or forget adult behavior, how about just dumping somebody differently than a junior higher would. What a shocking concept! I know, I’m such a revolutionary.

I want to preface this by letting you know that these relationships that I am going to mention were doomed to end. These two poor guys who so awkwardly ended things with me and who are now so awkwardly being featured on my blog weren’t perfect. But, I wasn’t perfect, either. So this blog isn’t intended to bash them, only to bash the way that we, as a culture, handle breakups. So keep that in mind as you’re reading. I’m a nice person. I’m not a savage. If I were, you would have heard about this when it happened, not ages later.

I want to start by telling you about my most favorite breakups. There are two that stick out. The thing about me sharing this with all of you is that I am going to be shattering the pedestal that you have put me on as this perfect woman. I am capable of being dumped, guys. Like I said earlier, I know that it’s shocking, but it happens. Are those guys morons? Maybe. But then again, sometimes I can be a moron, too. I mean it’s rare, like a lunar eclipse or something, but it happens. So if you know these guys that I am describing or think you know them, this isn’t to put them down as much as it is to tell you about behavior that can be hurtful but also so, so, so, so blog-worthy.

This first breakup I want to chat about was one that was really earth shattering for me. I had been dating a guy for about a year, and I was ready for him to take it to the next level. After dragging his feet for a few months, my brother in law took him out and had a conversation with him, found out that he had no intention of pursuing anything with me, that he had known this for a few months, and just hadn’t found “the right moment” to tell me. My brother-in-law basically told him, “You tell her or I will. “The fact that he even needed to say this to a grown man was insane to me for one simple reason: there is no right moment to shatter someone’s soul and make them want to throw themselves into Lake Saint Clair and float to Canada a.k.a. hell. You just need to do it.

So this guy sits in his car with me outside of a Joe’s Crab Shack (we had a really fancy relationship) and tells me that I was his best friend and nothing more. To which I said, “Yeah, I’m not your pal.” Apparently he didn’t hear that part because he also told me that he would still be down for hanging out the following weekend if I wanted to. Probz not, not-pal. I’m acting like I am tough, but I was actually sobbing. It was like a tough sob, though. Like, there were definitely no weep-hiccups or nose bubbles, but still, streams of tears.

While that was probably the most brutal relationship ending that I’ve endured, I would say my favorite one was probably getting dumped via email. No need to reread that, you read it correctly the first time: Email. Apparently people still use email for more than, “Tina, can you stop by my desk when you have a second to look over these numbers” or, “I’ll be out of the office for 3 weeks. Cabo here I come!” Who knew.

We were at the beginning of a long distance relationship, and he had just been to Detroit to see me for the weekend. So in case you are confused, he was with me the day before. In person. Not even 24 hours earlier. We weren’t like face timing or something, he was there, holding my hand and telling me I was the “cutest girl in the world.” We were face-to-face, ya know, just in case you are still confused what “in person” means.

He went home on a Sunday, and on Monday, he was acting weird. I asked him if he needed a breather. We had spent the whole weekend together, and I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed, so the idea of taking a minute or two to catch our breath wasn’t weird to me. We decided to chat the next day on the phone. That same night, he shot me a text that said, “I just emailed you. I’m going to bed.” (So basically, “I’m going to sleep so we’re not gonna talk about this.” 

He started the email by calling me “Beautiful Leah” which, yeah okay, is an obvious nickname. But come on. I’m not some fragile flower blowing in the wind of your indecision. I know I’m a babe, so next time somebody dumps me via gmail, can we make sure it starts with something like, “Kick-A Leah” or “Fighting-for-Social-Justice Leah?” I like those more.

In the email, he laid out the reasons why he liked me so much. Ya know, basic things that everybody thinks about me: I’m hilarious, smart, kind, have perfect eyebrows, yada yada yada. He then went on to say that he felt no connection to me, which was so ironically and weirdly satisfying considering how his hands were connected to my body all weekend. But the best part? He told me how special I should feel that he emailed me because he will only take the time to write out his feelings for the truly important people in his life. And that was me, apparently.

I mean at that point, obviously, I felt incredibly special. Why would I want to have a conversation about why this was ending and bid each other farewell like normal people when I could get an email that was jumbled in with other emails from Walgreens and my boss and coupons for tampons? I was at my best friend’s house for the night, and we sat together reading the email. I had a beer. We read it again. She said, “I’m sorry.” I said, “An email?” She said, “An email.” And then we both simultaneously started that weird giggling that comes out when something kind of awful takes place but it’s also kind of hilarious. “You’ll write about this one day,” she said. She’s smart.

So fast forward, and here I am giving you advice on how to dump someone. Yeah, you’re right, it’s a little odd considering I’ve just told you about 2 guys that, all humor aside, did something pretty darn hurtful. Why would I do that? Why would I give you advice on how to essentially hurt someone? Because I think that sometimes staying with someone will hurt them more than letting them go.

Listen, sometimes somebody is a jerk and you need to brutally and dramatically dump them. That’s fine. Let your crazy out. But I would say 90% of the time, you just stop liking someone, and you need to end it. That’s where people make it trickier than it needs to be. Instead of just telling them that it’s done, we create this emotional maze that leaves them wondering if you’re still on for next Friday or if you should block them on Facebook. Let’s stop doing that. How? Well, I’m gonna tell you.

Don’t use God as an excuse

“I just need to focus more on God.”

Or, you need to focus more on not being a ridiculous moron. Using God as an excuse is exactly the same as using your mom as an excuse. “My mom says I can’t.” Grow up- both mentally and spiritually. And even if God is your excuse, like maybe you’ve stepped away from your relationship with him and need to reprioritize, then don’t blame him for it. That’s your fault, homie. Don’t let that person think that God ruined their chance for love.

Don’t feel the need to be BRUTALLY honest

I once dumped a guy because he had really thin and dainty fingers. Petty? Probably. I was also like 16 so spare me your judgment. I didn’t tell dainty-fingers that he had dainty fingers, I just let him know that our relationship was ending because I didn’t have the same feelings for him as he did for me.

Unless they are going through some major life crisis that needs to be addressed, like a drug addiction or an anger problem or an unhealthy obsession with gym-mirror-selfies, keep your word vomit in check and just keep it simple.

Don’t put it off when you know it’s over

The only reason why you’re putting off a breakup is for own selfish reasons. There’s never a good time, a good place, or a good moment to dump someone. There’s never a time when I’ve been like, “Hey, you know what? This moment- this moment RIGHT HERE- would be a good moment to let someone know that I don’t love them.” So stop saying that you’re looking for one. You’re being selfish and immature by letting them believe that it’s working when it’s not.

Don’t pull a Houdini

If you know that you want to end it with someone, don’t just disappear. Are they a terrorist? Are they trying to kill your dog? Do they listen to Nickelback? No? Then why are you hiding from them?

It’s so cowardly of you to just drop off the face of the earth and let that person, “Take a hint.” Why don’t you take a hint that you are a major buttface, and, not to psychoanalyze you, buttface, but obviously there are some deep-rooted issues that don’t allow you to be honest with people. Or you’re lazy. FYI, neither are flattering. So really, just don’t be that person that makes somebody wonder what they did wrong when you’re the one who is doing it all wrong.

Once it’s over, let it be over

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT be that person that casually checks in with the person that you dumped. “Hey, just wondering how you’re doing,” is the meanest, greediest text that you can send to somebody that you’ve ended it with. Let them heal. Every time you check in with them, whether or not your intentions are pure, you give them hope that maybe you’ll come back.  When somebody consistently sends these texts, I think it’s safe to assume that they’re selfish. Why? They are feeding their emotional twinge of guilt that feels bad for hurting you. If you’re sending these texts, stop now. Let them do life without you in it.

So here’s the thing: I’m not saying that I’m good at dumping people- it’s awkward and tough to do, but I am saying that I hope that I can treat people with the same amount of respect at the end of a relationship that I did in the beginning of one. And you respect people by treating them how you would want to be treated. It’s not rocket science.

Also, if you do want to get dumped via email, I have a guy you would love.

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