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How Not to Break Up And a Personal Break-Up Story From a Woman’s Perspective

Break up from a woman's perspective Break up from a woman's perspective

Note from Alex: Today Katie will share a story on a break-up and a little lesson on how not to break-up….

There is a well-known episode of “Sex and the City” where the current boyfriend of Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) gets dumped by her boyfriend via a Post-It note. One minute he’s there in her bed and everything is seemingly fine, and the next morning he is gone replaced with the lone post-it note offering some lame excuse about not being able to do this anymore. The reason this particular episode sends shivers of fear down the backs of women everywhere is that it rings true. How many of us have been down that road before?

Nobody likes confrontation

Nobody likes confrontation.  And it was always very amusing to me when my ex-boyfriend used to tell me he hated confrontation.  I think there’s a difference between confrontation and communication.  I’m all for communication and when things aren’t running smoothly in a relationship, obviously communication is essential.  My ex didn’t break up with me via a post-it note, but he did do something which in my opinion was just as cowardly.  My break-up came in an email message.

It wouldn’t have been such a harsh blow if I had realized he was unhappy or there were problems.  Certainly we had issues in the past as every couple inevitably does, but we were always able to work things out by talking and communicating with one another face-to-face.  When everything is going seemingly well, you never expect to receive one of those “Dear Jane” emails.  I thought we were doing okay, back on track, working together for the common good and all that jazz.  I am not a mind reader and I had no idea he wanted out. Until I received that dreaded email…

The Email

“Dear Katie, I am ending our relationship.  I’m no longer happy with the way things are going.  We had some good times together but it’s time to move on now.  I’m sorry things didn’t work out.”

And that was that.  I was blind-sided.  And I had no choice in the matter.  He had decided things between us were over and it was done.  Needless to say I wracked my brain trying to figure out where it had gone wrong.  We had seen each other the day before and there was no trace of the impending storm approaching.  He had been jovial, affectionate and I had no idea he was about to drop this bomb.  In an email!

Didn’t see it coming!

It’s a horrible feeling when you have no control over a situation, especially when you never saw it coming. After my initial shock wore off, I phoned him, but he meticulously avoided all my calls and proved once again that he was a coward.  After almost two years together, I expected a little more grace in the final days of our relationship.  But obviously he wanted to avoid the drama, the confrontation, and of course the inevitable show of emotion and tears.  He couldn’t handle it.  So he slunk away like a thief in the night by removing himself from any responsibility to end things like a gentleman.


Breaking up is hard enough all on its own.  And no one wants to be the bad guy by telling their partner it’s over.  But taking the easy way out by texting or emailing is simply not the right thing to do, especially if the two of you have been together for awhile.  If you want out of your relationship, step up to the plate, take responsibility and tell your partner to their face.  You can do it as gently as possible; it’s going to hurt no matter what.  But at the end of the day, your ex will have more respect for you if you end things civilly and not with some tossed-off message sent through cyber space.

Katie Michaels is a veteran of dating online, and her advice is sought after by friends and strangers alike. You can read more of her advice at her blog, Dating Online!

Thanks to the image by xlordashx.

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8 thoughts on “How Not to Break Up And a Personal Break-Up Story From a Woman’s Perspective

  1. Joyce

    Wow, Katie…. Strange timing, I just got dumped by my boyfriend through a short email. Well, it’s only forward from this point.. Thanks for the post!

  2. jake

    Wow, this happened to me in reverse. we had rough times before that we were working past. we were going through and amazing period of time lately. The girl i was with for two years stated that she wanted to keep being with me and keep trying to make things work. two days later, she had a new bf and i was completely lost.

  3. John

    The one thing i’ve realised when there is a break up whether it be either sexes is that there is always someone else in the picture guaranteed. most likely this guy had his eyes on someone else well before your break up.my last break up was because she wanted her old ex back from a year ago there was nothing i could do to stop it.

    Just remember both people have to be on the same page, but it would be nice to know which page they’re on.

    on the face to face break up just make sure its done in public, a friend of mine did it at her house and she threatend him with scissors so its good to do it in a public area.

  4. Kelly

    I’d add only one wrinkle to this: if the relationship is abusive.

    Obviously physical abuse falls into this caveat, but so does emotional and mental abuse. While physical abusers are oten men, emotional abusers are very often women. I just ended a years-long relationship that involved emotional abuse that I didn’t want to face because hey, I’m a man; men don’t get into abusive relationships, right? When a friend (who happens to be a psych) finally helped me see that yes, it was abusive and toxic, the first thing he said is “do NOT announce you’re leaving beforehand.”

    If the way she acted when I left without a word is any hint, there is no doubt in my mind that telling her beforehand that I had to go would have resulted in a total meltdown that risked violence.

    I would venture to guess that the person who leaves as you describe simply doesn’t love his/her partner anymore and is looking for the easy way out for themselves. But sometimes love is still there when leaving becomes necessary and a quick, clean break is the only way.

    Just my two cents. :)

  5. Stevester

    Thanks Alex and Katie. To me it happened three months ago. She told me through a telephone conversation that we are breaking-up just after a misunderstanding. I couldnt believe it at first. When I requesting to see her, she avoids me at all cost. I have now taken it as a man,by accepting the breack-up. But then, I still wish to see her face-to-face and tell her that I am also very much breaking-up with her because she can not forgive after a quarrel.

  6. Ella

    I got broken up with via text message. This was a day after we had a discussion about a friend of his that was using him. He didn’t want to be friends anymore because of the constant using. I told him, that maybe he should tell her that he didn’t want to be friends anymore, and explain why. He said he would never do that to a friend over text, or a phone call. The next day I get a text message that says “Maybe we should just be friends.” I was completely heart broken. I called him and asked him what was up. He told me he didn’t have feelings for me but he still cared about me. I forgave him for texting me. I said that we could meet for coffee so we could talk about it and possibly be friends. He refused to come for coffee but still wanted to be friends. I told him that if he couldn’t make the drive, to give me the respect I deserved, I couldn’t be friends with him. He said “I just want to be alone tonight. can we do this tomorrow?” I said “absolutely not it’s today or never. He said “goodbye” and hung up the phone. I cried to my roommate who later told me I was a basket case.

    I texted him mean things, things that bugged me during the relationship that I made him completely aware of at the time. He said that he disrespected me because he didn’t have those romantic feelings for me. that hurt me even more. He then said that I tried to change him. I never tried to change him, I only told him about things he did that were disrespectful to me during the relationship and I asked him not to do them again. then he said I was bad at giving back massages, ate like a hamster, he hated my laugh, and I gave terrible head, and hand jobs. I told him that I wasn’t a mind reader and if these things bothered him he should have told me instead of pretending to like them. (He had mentioned my annoying laugh before. I was pretty offended.) He told me that he told me about my laugh, I said that that was hurtful because it was something I couldn’t change. Anyways we had a few days of texting mean and awful things to eachother before we both apologized and started to become friends. Then I told him I needed 25 days of no contact. He said he would be fine with that if that’s what I needed. 10 days in he texts me. I tell him not to text me anymore that I would text him when the 25 days are up.

    The 25 days are not up yet. I am over him completely. I don’t want to be friends with him. I will meet him for coffee, and explain this to him.

  7. Mike

    Wow. Online dating seems to be a progressive step in a potentially good direction. But breaking up online, that’s a good 2 steps back. That’s not a kind way of saying goodbye to someone you care about. Perhaps he had no good reason to leave, no excuse.