How to Break Up Gracefully

How to Break Up Gracefully

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The year: late 2006. The time: some random weeknight. The girl: we’ll call her Kim, a spunky chick with an amazing body and an obsession with ultimate frisbee.

Kim and I had been seeing each other for maybe two months. It wasn’t serious. Although she had been dropping some hints, hints of both her long-term interest in me as well as her complete lack of emotional stability.

But I was less experienced back then. All I knew was she was hot and there was sex involved. Ignorance was bliss.

So on that random weekday night, she calls me. I answer. “Hey.” She says she has some friends over. They’re just hanging out and having drinks. Do I want to come by?

I wasn’t doing anything particular that night but I told her no. Why? To be honest, I can’t remember why. I just didn’t want to. Didn’t feel right.

She says “Cool.” No problem, talk to you later.

Maybe an hour later she calls back. “Yeah?” You should really come she says. We’re having a lot of fun. “No thanks,” I say. Tonight’s not a good night. “Are you sure?” Yeah, sorry, I say. I’ll call you this weekend. “OK.” She sounds dejected.

Thirty minutes later she calls again. I consider not picking up. I sit there staring at my phone as it rings, rings, rings.

I finally pick up. She’s crying. Why won’t I come see her? I’m embarrassing her in front of her friends. “You can’t be serious,” I find myself saying. She’s drunk. I tell her she’s drunk. She insists she’s not and that she misses me a lot. “You’re saying things that you’re going to regret saying tomorrow. I’ll call you this weekend.” The teary drawls go on. My God, get off the phone I think to myself.

I hang up.

Minutes later she calls back. “Fuck this.” I let it ring. She leaves a voicemail.

A few minutes later she calls again. And then again. Another voicemail. And another one.

I text her and tell her if she wants to see me again, she should stop calling me right now. She calls six more times, six more voicemails. I turn the phone off.

The next day I wake up to 43 voicemails and one text message. The voicemails are from the night before. The text message is from early that morning. I read the text: “I’m really sorry. I was drunk last night. I don’t know what came over me. Please don’t be mad at me. I’ll make it up to you tonight. Deal?”

I reply, “I think we should stop seeing each other.” I delete her number and the voicemails without listening to them.

It’s the only time I’ve ever broken up with someone over text. And it felt completely justified.

Is there a right or wrong way to handle a break up?

Yeah, we've all been there... not fun.

Yeah, we’ve all been there… not fun.

There’s that old saying that “breaking up is hard to do.” Well, not only is it hard to do, but it’s hard to handle the aftermath and the emotional complications that burp up out of us when we’re in such a vulnerable state.

Break ups are also difficult because they’re as unique as the relationships that spawn them. Giving advice on break ups can be complicated because break ups are contextual. For instance, I would never advise to break up with someone through text message, but at the same time, I’m completely content in how I ended things with our bat-shit lady friend, Kim.

The key to a graceful break up and a healthy recovery depends on a variety of factors. Are you the dumper or the dumpee? Did you break up over a singular issue or was the chemistry and excitement gone? Were things emotionally turbulent for a long time or did things just suddenly ‘snap’?

And then there are the more permanent questions: Do you want to stay in contact with your ex? How do you get over missing them? What if they want to get back together with you? What if Steve was more your friend than her friend even though she thinks he likes her more but he really likes you more?

These are all good questions. And they deserve answers. So I’ll do my best. Below are some guiding principles on how to handle a break up gracefully.

10 Principles For Breaking Up Gracefully

1. Always do it in person and if possible, don’t do it in public. Unless they did something totally out of line like scalp your cat (or leave you 43 tearful voicemails in one night), and if you have any respect for them at all (often a legitimate question), then always do it in person.

Yeah, it’s harder. But suck it up. And if possible, don’t do it in public. Being in public makes people feel limited in what they can express, whether it be final words they’d like to say to you, or dishware they’d like to break. Which brings us to principle number two…

2. Never make a scene and keep your batshit to a minimum. Feeling distraught is OK. Being torn apart from the inside out is fine and expected. Wishing fiery hell and brimstone onto your ex and feeling the urge to dismantle their life and everything they hold dear piece-by-piece isn’t totally out of the ordinary either. But any attempt to do so is going to just make you look like a child with down syndrome throwing a tantrum. Control yourself. Grieve and express your pain, but don’t do anything stupid. Do it in private and do it with someone you trust.

And this goes double if you’re in public. Here’s a good example how not to deal with a bad break up, as demonstrated by a Brazilian woman here in São Paulo:

3. Do NOT try to make the other person feel better. This goes particularly for the dumper (cue Beavis and Butthead laugh). Once the relationship is severed, the other person’s emotions are no longer your responsibility. And not only is it no longer your responsibility to help them cope, but comforting them will likely make them feel worse. It can also backfire in that it will just make them resent you more for being so nice (while dumping them).

And for God’s sake, don’t have sex with them. Seriously, you just broke up. They’re crying and saying how much they’re going to miss you. You hug them to make them feel better. You start getting upset because you wish things could have worked but this is for the better. Suddenly you’re tearing up and wondering why you’re dumping them in the first place, because god, remember when things were good? They were great, right? Then her clothes are off and she’s crying and smiling and suddenly the sex is more passionate than it’s been in a year and a half and what the fuck, what are you doing, man? No, really, what are you doing!? Stop!

4. After the break up, respectfully cut all contact for a short period of time. This is the second thing that many people don’t muster the courage to do. A lot of people get hung up on remaining friends and actually force contact when it’s causing them more emotional stress.

Research on relationship break ups finds that people who limit contact with one another emotionally recover much faster.

Not only is it totally reasonable to refrain from seeing/speaking to each other for a brief period of time, but it’s healthy. The more contact you’re in, the more risk you run of setting off a emotional time bomb, relapsing, and ending up in that messy no-man’s land of “we’re not together but we’re still kind of together but she’s definitely not my girlfriend but I really miss her I’m going to call her really quick and ask her to pick up some more Coke Zero before I come home but seriously she’s not my girlfriend — bro, why are you looking at me like that?”

6. Allow yourself to be sad/angry/upset but don’t judge or blame anyone. Emotions are healthy and normal. Even negative emotions are healthy and normal. But judging and blaming people, whether it’s them or you, doesn’t get you very far.

Should probably keep the cookies to yourself.

Should probably keep the cookies to yourself this year.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t distinguish good/bad behavior or good/bad choices. Learning from your errors and what went wrong in your relationship will go a long way to helping you move on. I was really messed up about my first serious relationship. I harbored a lot of resentment because she left me for another guy. I didn’t really start to get over it until I came to terms with all of the ways I wasn’t that great of a boyfriend. Once I realized that I wasn’t such a perfect angel and that I wasn’t completely the victim, then it was easier to come to terms with what happened and let go of them.

Start by recognizing that maybe she wasn’t as great as you thought and there were some things you didn’t like about her. Recognize the things you didn’t do well and how you could have been a better boyfriend. But don’t blame them or trash them as people. Everyone goes into a relationship with the best of intentions. Most people come out of them feeling hurt and betrayed in some way. Most people come out having messed up royally somewhere along the way. There’s nothing uniquely horrible about you or that one person. Just learn from the mistakes and move on.

7. Recognize that the break up itself is a sign of your incompatibility and you’re both better off. Here’s something that grates on me: people who just got out of a relationship and lament that “he/she and I were perfect together.”

Obviously you weren’t. Otherwise you’d still be together.

For some reason when it comes to judging someone’s compatibility, people suddenly excise out the fact that they aren’t together anymore. Oh yeah, even though we were clawing at each other’s throats for the last six months, that first trip we took to Florida was magical; we were just so right together.

While we do all have perceptual biases for remembering things better than they were, it’s important to remind oneself that you broke up for a reason. And often that reason is a very good reason.

And for those of you still holding onto that one special someone months or years later: stop. If they were right for you, they would have realized it by now. You’re deluding yourself. Move on.

8. Invest in yourself. The longer you spend in a romantic relationship, the more your sense of identity melds with theirs. Being together with someone in such an intimate space for so long creates a third, overlapping psychological entity that comprises both you and them.

And when that entity suddenly dies, not only is it painful, but it leaves a temporary void in who you are.

This is why the best and most important post-breakup advice on the planet is to invest in rebuilding your personal identity. Rediscover your old hobbies. Focus double on work. Start that new project you’ve been putting off for months. And most of all, spend time with your friends. Your friends will not only reassure you and make you feel better in the moment, but they will also help you reinforce your own personal identity again. Friendship is the best medicine for heartbreak.

9. Only start dating again when you’re legitimately excited to. A lot of people break up and enter a “rebound” period. They’re immediately back on the market and throwing themselves at the first thing that comes by. The problem is this is more coping mechanism than genuine enthusiasm for the new people one’s meeting. You can tell because the new connections you make feel complicated and lacking. Anxiety and desperation come back with a vengeance, and overall the process of meeting someone new is far less enjoyable.

After your break contact and invest in yourself, don’t pressure yourself to meet someone new until you’re legitimately excited to do it. There’s a difference between excitement and desperation. Desperation is feeling alone and incomplete without dating someone — like you need to be with someone to be happy. Excitement is being genuinely excited to discover what’s out there and feeling fine regardless of what happens.

Besides, when you’re excited to meet new people and are in a good place emotionally, you are far more attractive anyway. It’s worth it.

10. Only attempt to be friends with your ex again once you’re over the idea of dating them. Some people have the admirable goal of remaining friends with their ex. Other people have the admirable goal of breaking the kneecaps of their ex with a tire iron.

Whatever the goal for your future relations with your ex, they need to happen organically. Forcing a friendship enters into testy territory as it can make the other feel person obligated to you and that can kick up a lot of the negative feelings leftover from the break up.

What I’ve found is that if you had a strong friendship within the relationship, that friendship will naturally emerge outside of the relationship once you’ve both moved on. In a lot of cases, it takes dating new people for both parties to relax enough to form that bond again. Other times it takes a lot of time. But if that friendship is there, it’ll eventually sprout up. Do it a favor and don’t force it.

Is Trying to get back together really That hopeless?

broken heart

I often get emails from people with their break up situation asking if it’s hopeless. Is there any chance they may end up back together?

Here’s the deal, if you get back together after one break up, it can work. But that’s assuming that one or both of you genuinely learns from the break up and alters the course of their behavior or their perception of the relationship. There are plenty of examples of couples who needed some time apart to gain perspective on the relationship and learn how to make it work. And generally only one catastrophic break up isn’t too much to heal.

But if you’re going through break up after break up after break up — or what I sometimes refer to as the “emotional boom/bust cycle” — where you’re either in bliss or in hell, depending on which month it is, then I hate to say it, but you should probably just end it permanently.

Imagine your relationship as a beautiful china plate. If you break it once, you can put it back together with some care and effort. If you break it a second time, you can still put it back together but it takes a lot of extra time and care. But if you break it again and again and again, eventually you end up with so many pieces that you can’t put it back together. And no matter how much you liked that plate, you’re better of going and finding another one.

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57 Comments

Leave a Comment

  • Reply

    Russ_Garcia

    2 months ago

    great and hugely insightful post, thanks for writing.

  • Reply

    ChiomzieChifrost

    2 months ago

    your writing is really nice and i hate to say this but they are quite lengthy, too lengthy as a matter of fact.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @ChiomzieChifrost Impossible!
       
      I’m REALLY bad about being long-winded…

    • Reply

      Dan Wagner

      2 months ago

      @ChiomzieChifrost I completely disagree.

    • Reply

      yournotwillersreally

      2 months ago

      @ChiomzieChifrost
       
      “I hate to say this” and “really nice” is the give away here. Damning with faint praise much?
       
      Haha! Hey Mark your writing is pleasant! Is that any good to you? I like how you have gaps between words! I’m sure if I met you I wouldn’t want to just walk away your probably an ok guy!
       
      Its like someone saying my crushing cross court top spin forehand is pretty. Cheers!

    • Reply

      Steezy

      1 month ago

      @Chiomziechifrost – Disagree as well. I love to read these articles. Very insightful.

  • Reply

    crossFit_Al

    2 months ago

    @postmasculine  typo in #10. the first sentence is missing the word “goal.”<quote> Some people have the admirable [GOAL] of remaining friends with their ex. Other people have the admirable goal of breaking the kneecaps of their ex with a tire iron. </end quote>Longer comment later… gotta get back to work.

  • Reply

    Liz Lemon

    2 months ago

    I have to admit that I laughed at the picture of the gingerbread cookies. Great article!

    • Reply

      Ben

      1 month ago

      I liked that photo so much I almost posted it to Facebook. Then I realized my wife might wonder if I planned divorce (which I don’t) or had a girlfriend (which is unthinkable). Still, a great photo.

  • Reply

    Glaube

    2 months ago

    That opener brought back some memories.  I broke up with my first via instant message.  I didn’t want to.  I really didn’t even want to break up with her but she forced my hand.  She wanted to be so serious and was talking about us like we had already been together for years.  It was kinda nasty.

  • Reply

    ayjay

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark… 1.)  Typo on pronoun usage here: “What if Steve was more your friend than her friend even though she thinks he likes her more but he really likes you more?”  — I think you just made Steve gay (not that there’s anything wrong with it.)2.)  Since you shared your story about your first love, would you take her back if she wants to be with the “new” you now?

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @ayjay Not sure if you’re American or not, but the usage there in the first sentence could be used to denote that Steve is better friends with me than he is with her. 
       
      And no, I would not take my original ex back. I realized that one night when I saw her again in 2009. She’s a beautiful girl and not a bad person, but if I met her today I would definitely not date her.

  • Reply

    travelsick07

    2 months ago

    Been waiting for this article. Don’t think it’s long-winded. You had stuff to say.

  • Reply

    Joao Antunes

    2 months ago

    When my ex broke up with me, even though i got in some serious pain, it was the best thing that ever happent to me. I can see that after a year. It taught me how to cope with deep, sudden suffering. It was one of the most traumatic experiences i had in my live that made me grow up and a so much better person. I would add something to this article i consider very important to this article.  I call it the “broken heart syndrome”: When someone has a broken heart, and didn’t cope with it the right way,  there’s a chance that person will develop beliefs like “Fuck love, that’s for suckers! Feelings? ewww! Emotional connection!? Gay!”… Every time i hear this kind of speech i always seat back and ask them when did they get hurt. Because they surely did! Coping with break ups by repressing feelings like connection, rapport or love is surely unhealhty, primarily because it’s being done out of a place of  rage and ressentment (and because there’s massive research on the benefits of developing feelings for other people). An healthy coping with heartache means realizing that life goes on and not being afraid of getting into a new relationship just because one got hurt in the past.I would also add some references of the post “Forgiveness” as that’s GOLD and i kinda feel it’s a very underrated post in this community, as it doesn’t really get the credit it deserves.And by the way… BIG L is a really funny rapper LOL!

  • Reply

    crossFit_Al

    2 months ago

    Breaking up with my girlfriend last July was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t feel that way at the time. At the time, it felt natural. It felt easy. It was the right thing to do; and, we both knew that. We both still loved each other but we realized we weren’t compatible as lovers. At the time, I intellectualized the breakup and buried my emotions. 
     
    We both followed most of your “rules” but not all of them. For instance, we didn’t give each other enough time off before hanging out again.  And we were still having sex for another two months. And yes, the sex was great. Being free from our relationship allowed us to be happier people, which meant that when we hung out together we were more alive and had more fun together. 
     
    It was in October that things changed. We were hanging out one night–we’d been hanging out about once a week since the breakup–and things got emotional. To make a long story very short, we went through a few months of trying to decide if we wanted to get back together. We’d been having so much fun together as friends (?), casual-dating-partners (?), or whatever it was that it was easy to ask “why not?” But we had made the right decision in July. It just took some time for us to find closure.
     
    At this point I can say that the best part of the whole breakup experience is that it made me examine the emotions I had buried from the breakup, examine emotions and experiences from the relationship, and even parts of my childhood that have shaped who I am. I’ve always been a bit of a self-improvement junkie; but, it’s been a tremendous period of self-growth and self-investment these last 3-4 months. 
     
    As of today, we haven’t talked in about 3 weeks; and, I’m completely comfortable with it. I think she needs space with who she’s dating now and I need space to enjoy actively dating. So, #10 on your list really speaks to me. I’d love to re-ignite our friendship again but understand it may not happen. Your article strengthens my conviction to give our space more time and see if we reignite our friendship organically in a few months.
     
    … just my $.02 as a long-time reader.

  • Reply

    ayjay

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark, what books do you recommend the most regarding self-esteem?  I kind of feel some of the items you listed are directly related to one’s self-esteem.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @ayjay Nathaniel Branden’s “Six Pillars of Self Esteem” is the definitive work.

  • Reply

    BradJohnny

    2 months ago

    Great article.  I was only thinking the other day that there wasn’t any break up advice articles on this sight.  You are correct when you say that it is extremely difficult to give advice on things like this because everyones situation is extremely unique.  I’m going through something like this at the moment, was seeing a girl whom I dated a couple of years back and then got into contact with again.  To cut a long story short, she is moving away and we haven’t seen each other in person for a month or had any contact for nearly 2 weeks.  I’ve been through breakups a couple of times.  The hardest part I find is letting go, even though deep down you know the person isn’t right for you, you stil miss them, the familiarity of having them in your life. 
     
    I’m coping much better now.  Been seeing a psychologist so getting more comfortable confronting my emotions and dealing with them.  In the past I’ve gone out to search for someone else right away, which isn’t good.  You need to give yourself time to grieve and mourn the relationship.  Doing new things and meeting up with friends is good, but being so busy you don’t have time to think isn’t good either.  This is known as avoidance coping and only represses issues further, forcing them to come up later and cause problems.  You need a happy medium of giving yourself time out to grieve and catching up with friends and pursuing hobbies.

  • Reply

    lyserra

    2 months ago

    Speaking of immature, maybe you should reconsider using Down Syndrome as an insult? I think you’re better than that, man. Come on.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      2 months ago

      @lyserra What are you talking about? Down Syndrome children throw the BEST temper tantrums.

      • Reply

        magneticperson

        2 months ago

        @postmasculine  @lyserra 
        I was actually going to say the same thing as lyserra. On a personal level I don’t have any reason to take offense to the quote AND I really get irritated that modern society has become over sensitive to everything. HOWEVER, using Down Syndrome as an insult did rub me the wrong way. All children have tantrums.
         
        I’m not saying that I am personally going to get upset over this – but what you said seems far more offensive than what most consider offensive these days (the uproar over the last SI swimsuit issue as example).
         
        I understand the idea of being polarizing by having strong opinions, but having strong boundaries with your beliefs and being blatantly mean are two different things.

        • Reply

          redcali

          2 months ago

          @magneticperson  @postmasculine  @lyserra 
           
          As soon as I read that line, I KNEW that someone was going to complain about it. People are so sensitive and love to be offended. It’s funny.
           
          Loved the article Mark.

        • Reply

          lyserra

          2 months ago

          @redcali  @magneticperson  @postmasculine  @lyserra 
           
          Oh I’m not offended by it at all.  I couldn’t care less what words you choose to use or not use.
           
          But it says something about one’s character if you choose to use words like fag, nigger, retard, etc. to attempt to make a point.

        • Reply

          postmasculine

          2 months ago

          @lyserra  @redcali  @magneticperson It says little.
           
          Words, by themselves, are neutral. It’s the social context they’re used in and the motivation in which they’re used.

          • Floyd Earl Smith

            20 weeks ago

            Hey, writing the Down syndrome comment in the first place was sophomoric at best. Keeping it in after having had it pointed out to you is reprehensible. Making fun of retarded people to make some minor point in a long article is just low. Be a mensch and edit it out. And I for one would enjoy it if you then wrote a separate post about what you were trying to do with the remark and how you feel about the comments about it.

  • Reply

    Sandro Milano

    2 months ago

    Please make a post about how to screen girls to know who is emotionally balanced and who will end up another “Kim”.

  • Reply

    manuel_v

    2 months ago

    Hi! Since it’s the first time I post a comment, although I read your blog for quite some time, I want to say how much I love reading your blog!! Your Articles are very helpful and fun, and I am really gratitude for having found this site (actually, a good friend of mine introduced me to this site)! :-)
    I post cause I want to inform you that the print pdf function is not working properly in this articles and some others. From time to time it’t not working at all, or changing the fonts or whatever… So, please check it out! :)
    Anyway, I am posting this cause I like to print your articles and then read them while I drink my coffee or chilling out, I enjoy it much more like this! ;) Although I am into minimalism, books and paper is something I still can’t live without!! :P

    • Reply

      manuel_v

      2 months ago

      Print pdf was fixed in this articled but it doesn’t work on any other… :/

  • Reply

    Patrick

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark!

    Which books do you recommend for getting through a breakup? Right now I’m reading “too good to leave, too bad to stay” and it looks like i’m going to break up. I’m still hesitating and so i wondered if you have some book ideas, “too good to leave, too bad to stay” was I think from your old site and it’s awesome.

    Greez Patrick

  • Reply

    Josue Reyes

    2 months ago

    It’s always a great lecture.

    I broke up with my long term girlfriend about 6 months and it’s still kind of hard to feel excited to go and meet other people. Although I’ve dated some, it was more of “getting back to my feet” rather than looking for a relationship (and my main motivation was to know interesting people, so i guess it was worth it).
    What I found out is that, sometimes, therapy and “trips alone” are very good tools that can help to gain some perspective and to heal some emotional wounds that many places, situations and dates represent. Granted, It’s never easy but it’s an experience that we all go trough and we better make the most of them.

  • Reply

    fleeter

    2 months ago

    breaking up has always been difficult for me. I have always been afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings, so usually I just misbehave or ignore the person until they are fed up enough to end things with me. This is good advise though.

  • Reply

    gfurtado

    1 month ago

    Principle #5 is missing…

  • Reply

    kiranruled

    1 month ago

    This is soo helpful…glad i found ur post…also found dis blog that says the DO’s and Dont’s of breaking up…
    myt help a few

    http://monworth.blogspot.in/2013/08/how-to-get-over-recover-from-bad-break.html

  • Reply

    K

    1 month ago

    Great article, as always.

    You are so right when you say it is difficult to give advice on breaking up because every situation is so different and so many variables are involved. Some of which people may never mention to you when seeking advice. An example would be mental health disorders. What is the relationship is going poorly, and then it arises that one person has a mental health disorder. How are you supposed to handle something like that? On one hand, you care for the person and don’t want to abandon them, meanwhile the relationship started going south before this came up…

    Some insight would be much appreciated!

  • Reply

    Steve

    1 month ago

    I am exiting a long term relationship, and it’s pretty rough. We were together five+ years. We married three months ago. She left me two weeks ago. She believes she was pressured into the marriage. Anyways, I have a lot of questions. There are a lot of things I want to say to her and I want to know if it’s worth it. Should I let her know how I feel? How do I separate the things I need to express from that which is simply blind hatred? What I want to say varies. What type of stuff should I include, and what should I leave out? Is there anything to be gained from letting her know? When my friends start saying nasty things about her should I buy into it, how much should I allow? It’s really satisfying to hear them go off about her in my defense, to see their passion on my behalf. Most of them are telling me that I was wronged, but your article stresses leaving things blameless, that it was no one’s fault really. Please help. Thank you.

  • Reply

    Duncan

    1 month ago

    Excellent article Mark. I’ve been reading a lot of your stuff recently and I appreciate your hard work and enjoy your insights and writing style. As someone doing some much needed self-renovation, it’s nice to find material that finds the middle ground between scientific and relateable while being entertaining.

    This article is especially useful to me as I have a friend going through a messy breakup. I’ll be sending this to him as I feel he will be able to benefit from your points.

    One critical note I did want to bring up is your analogy of a “child with down syndrome throwing a tantrum.” I felt the down syndrome part was unnecessary and in poor taste. All kids throw tantrums, and incorporating that element is counterproductive to the progress we’ve made in our attitudes toward mental health. I’m sure this doesn’t reflect your personal attitudes on the subject. You clearly enjoy educating yourself and I hope you’ll take some time to refine your knowledge on something that can always use more attention and care.

    Looking forward to more of your thoughts Mark. Keep up the outstanding work!

  • Reply

    Celeste

    1 month ago

    It might be a good idea to reduce a voicemail storage capacity on one’s phone )))

  • Reply

    Andrew

    29 weeks ago

    I broke up with my ex 3 weeks ago. She demanded and I agreed to 60 days for her to get a new place and move out. Any advice on maintaining sanity for the duration?

  • Reply

    Torn in Chicago

    29 weeks ago

    Thanks for this write up, really insightful and comprehensive. Helping me with a tough time.

  • Reply

    Aakaanksh

    21 weeks ago

    Brilliant article. Your prose and ability to keep the reader enthralled the entire time is a skill. I hope to be able to write like you one day. More importantly though, your article was pure class.

    You’re a smart person who understands the way the world works, something I’m finding that not a lot of people in this world know how to do.

    I’ve also come to the realization that despite how it may appear, a lot of people are going through the same life experiences when it comes to relationships and the associated struggles with being in a relationship. Most people don’t know to verbalize what they feel, or they aren’t able to take a step back and assess their situation in an unbiased and apathetic manner.

  • Reply

    Geez

    20 weeks ago

    Good grief! Pardon me for using your kickass term. People need to keep clownshit crazy tucked in. Why are there people criticizing and correcting. Stay off the Internet and keep your criticisms to yourself. I detest reading someone’s hard work, feeling happy, to find people with such low self esteem that they have nothing but crazy shit to say. If you don’t have something nice to say…stfu.

  • Reply

    Floyd Earl Smith

    20 weeks ago

    Good and helpful article. Especially the part about taking a break from seeing each other; reinforces an instinct I had and didn’t stick with.

    Yesterday, me and the ex agreed to not have contact for a week. Today she had a good-ish reason to stop by and she did. We argued right away, and I told her, sort of politely, to go. Dumb of me to agree to it in the first place.

  • Reply

    Hanaiah

    20 weeks ago

    Hello! I searched high and low for How-To’s and essays that talk about getting over a break-up and coping (a lot I read were from Shine or some other similar-sounding website) but your essay has to be the most enjoyable and most touching that I have read thus far.

    I really found my situation in this, whereas I only found generalizations in other essays. If I might add, I take particular interest in 9 and 10, which I don’t find often in all that I’ve read. So thank you for adding those :)

    - Hanaiah

  • Reply

    nononono

    20 weeks ago

    Would you recommend breaking up with someone by sending them this article?

  • Reply

    Erin

    20 weeks ago

    Pointing out typos? Really? Who cares! Stop focusing on minute flaws and just enjoy his articles. Why do people always have to find something negative? Didn’t Mama ever teach you if you don’t have anything nice to say, to keep your pie hole shut? Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Unless you are perfect, don’t throw stones.
    Typos or not, I say Bravo. I enjoy reading your blog and your insight. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Please keep ‘em coming.

  • Reply

    Erin

    20 weeks ago

    P.S. I also enjoyed the irony of this article being posted on Valentines Day :-)

  • Reply

    Vyre

    19 weeks ago

    My ex broke up with me via a phone call, he was too chicken to tell me in person that he met someone else.
    And then on the anniversary of our break up, he started sending me txt messages to try to justify why he broke up with me a year ago.
    It was so sudden and unexpected, that it felt like I was reliving the breakup all over again. A lot of the feelings I had at that time seemed to come back, even though I had gotten over it all and had even started a new and happier relationship by that point. Ugh. Can honestly say that’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced..

  • Reply

    Kay

    19 weeks ago

    Hey Mark! Really enjoyed your article, it made me laugh, while at the same time made a lot of sense. Thank you for your honesty!

  • Reply

    Ann Morrison

    19 weeks ago

    Harsh dude. Bat shit crazy? Have some empathy please.

  • Reply

    Craig

    10 weeks ago

    There’s no number 5!

  • Reply

    breakupsurvival

    5 weeks ago

    Talk out your feelings with close friends. Get everything out so that you won’t hold it inside. Your friends may get sick of hearing you talk about the situation but you need to let out all your feelings and thoughts or they may come back to bite you later.

  • Reply

    Breakup help

    5 weeks ago

    out your feelings with close friends. Get everything out so that you won’t hold it inside. Your friends may get sick of hearing you talk about the situation but you need to let out all your feelings and thoughts or they may come back to bite you l

  • Reply

    Christoph

    2 weeks ago

    I broke up recently with the “soul vampire” and materialistic person. She tried to reduce me and betaise me in every possible second. At the end of it I was like a guy from the movie Wanted (“I am sooooooorrry”). Now after one month, she understood her loss and messaging me every day, telling me she is better person now and “that she spend the night with her boss was a mistake” (they didn’t do anything even they didn’t kiss) all this crap.

    Now re point 9>
    I am meeting a very beautiful 19teen years old French girl now. It is quite nice to know that the other people are actually nice and giving. I didn’t put myself to the market again but I just want to take a fresh breath.

    @Mark it will be nice if you could write sth about Materialistic women… also about betaising. What is interesting in it, that whenever I meet a girl recently they ask as the third question. How much do you make? … Maybe I just meet wrong woman. (My reply is usually I don’t talk with my girls about business).

    (subject is even deeper… They are of course looking for a prince and they are princesses (DISNEY here) but now they are 30, 31, 32… and time for them is an essence. I WANT A BABY!! So NOW they are looking for a guy who has a JOB. They even admit openly that they are looking for a guy for her baby and a guy to “give” them money. They actually say literally say “he gives me money and I go shopping cooking etc… he will just be there”. They are not pathological people in the sense of poor drunks. I live in Berlin. We live in nice clean flats. My friend uses MiniMorris Limited Edition to go to her work 700 meters yes she drives her car 700 meters to her work…) this story never ends….

    Another thing would be interesting for you to write how to have a quality time with your girl. (ie Skype – some ppl have distance relationship so just give me hour of your time and dont chat with David at the same time).
    No iphone, FB when you have a coffee… “Baby leave your phone. You can call your friend later”
    (somehow this subjects are endless).

    Ch
    PS sorry for a bit chaotic message

  • Reply

    samantha

    2 weeks ago

    A facebook friend reposted your advice from 30 and went on to read your advice for 20 and found the line “learned to judge people not by who they are, but by what they do” relevant for ages. Some of us (self) are… duh .. a little bit slower than others. Then clicked on this article: funny and good insights! Thanks for doing this.

    On breakup. I’d probably add some advice on how to get over them – again dependent on dumper/dumpee position. A wise guy friend gave me his best guy advice, he said when he got dumped by the person he perceived as the love of his life he spent 2 weeks holed up smoking weed and listening to the best music. He’s since totally happily married etc. I translated that for girl scenario when it happened to me, so I spent 2 weeks watching every version of Pride and Prejudice from Lawrence Olivier, the BBC series version, to the 2005 movie then moved abusively to every Jane Austen story made into a movie,.. all the while doing aerobic exercises (go figure). 2 weeks later I had a really toned body and was fedup with rom coms. Worked great.

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