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December 4, 2009

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December 4, 2009

An open letter to anyone who knows anyone who’s about to end a relationship

December 4, 2009
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Dear everyone who falls within the above category and/or the actual people contemplating ending whatever you have going on with someone:

First – really sorry to hear that and hope you slash this friend of yours learned something valuable from the relationship and well done for getting into one in the first place and etc.
Second and more importantly – if you are a person someone seeks counsel from before ending their relationship, as in – if you find yourself on the other side of the table from someone going, “so…yeah…I think I need to take a step back from it…probably end it. It just isn’t there. Not sure why, but it’s not happening for me…” I on behalf of all man-kind am begging you to make them do so in a respectful manner (we’ll get to what that means).
Samely (whatever, it should be a word) – if you are the breaker-upper, I am doing the same degree of begging for you to man up and end it in a way that is as least hurtful as possible.
To take a step back – I get it. It sucks to end it with someone. It’s awkward. You know you’re hurting their feelings a little slash a lot. You know it’s going to be a really uncomfortable conversation. You don’t want to lie, but the truth sounds so mean and dumb. You’re like – shit what if they cry!? Oh my god I cannot handle it if they cry… It’s just this annoying, miserable thing that there doesn’t ever seem to be quite the right moment for, and so you put it off a week or a month until the person you’re breaking up with goes, “so, hey, is something wrong? you seem…different…” And even then you’re so consumed with all the shit they’re going to say about you after you end it that you let it go a few weeks more. I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve done it wrong, too.
But here’s the thing(s):
  • Their feelings will be infinitely more hurt if you pull the one-week disappearing act blow-off (working title)
  • It’s going to be a waaaay more uncomfortable conversation if it starts with them saying, “hey, so I got your text saying you think we should stop seeing each other, but I wanted to talk that through over the phone seeing as though we’re adults…”
  • Whether you tell the truth or tell a little lie it’s not going to sound nearly as dumb as, “sorry I know I should have addressed this instead of just ignoring you for two weeks but, well, I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
  • And trust me, they’re going to talk considerably more shit about you if you do it like a dick versus a sincere person.
I know it’s hard to see the forrest through trees on this one – especially if you’re ending something that wasn’t really official, or ending something with a generally great person, or ending something because – bottom line – you met someone better. There is no great way to go about it. But – and here is the crux of my point – there are really, really shitty ways. Don’t do those.
So to the friends on the other end of the table I’m saying push hard and use threats if necessary. Because remember, you are closely associated with this person, so this stands the chance of making you look really bad too.
And to you, if you so happen to be in this situation: again, I’m sorry. But I’m not sorry enough to excuse you from treating someone you dated like someone you barely know and definitely don’t respect. So if you’re really that incapable of dealing with this like an adult, please see the below email template. Good luck!
Subject line: (ed note: this part’s on you…)
Hey _______,
Listen, I’ve been giving some thought to what we’ve had going on for the past few (choose one) months/weeks (ed note: if this is years you close that email and go do this in person, asshole), and I realize that I (choose one): need some time to myself/don’t have my heart in it/am in a place where I don’t want to be in a relationship/feel like we have a lot of differences, so I think we should stop seeing each other.
I’m incredibly sorry to say this over email, but I can’t handle telling you in person or over the phone. Please know that I really respect you and enjoyed the time we spent together, and that I realize it’s lame for me to communicate this in this way, but I can’t do it any other way because I just can’t. I’m sorry, and I wish you all the best.
Take care!

10 comments

  1. I call this one “Death by Silence.” It shows a complete and utter lack of character…but I’ve done it to people myself, so am never surprised when someone does it to me. Karma’s a bitch.

    But I will say I don’t think it’s fair to let a dick’s dickmove reflect onto his friends, ie let his cowardice make his friends “look bad.” Chances are, if he’s an asshole enough to pull a Death by Silence his friends know to stay out of his relationships altogether, since he’s not mature enough to take their advice. And no one can force someone else to pull the trigger…we can all give advice (“Girl, that guy’s a player, don’t go there.” And then there she goes, chasing after him anyway) but that doesn’t mean they’ll listen.

    And, in my experience, the types who go all silent and just disappear? They’re not sharing much *truthful* information with their friends because deep down they know its wrong, and are probably ashamed…

  2. good post.

    having gone through this very recently (as the actual breaker upper, not the friend being consulted), i can relate to a lot of what you’re saying jessie. but while i think you pretty much nailed the template, email really shouldn’t be an option. obviously it depends on how long you’ve been together with the person, but at least (wo)man up and either read that to them over the phone or memorize it for when you talk to them in person.

    but i couldn’t agree more about not letting it drag out. it really will only get worse for everyone involved.

  3. From a guy’s perspective, you can’t expect his friends to get involved. That’s how it becomes a bigger mess. His dick move is his and his alone, and his best friends will know him well enough to step away from the blast radius of the inevitable disaster.

  4. Breaking up is hard to do but there def is a right and wrong way to do it. A guy that I was with for 6 years (yes, 6!) and was engaged tried to do the fade away and when I finally talked to him after a week, he said he wanted to see other people . . . but not break up. (so one dick move to another) and finally after telling him that I did not want to date him if he wanted to see other people even if I could too, and that if we were going to be together in the long run, we had to work on it, I found out that he cheated on me by making out with some 19 yo (he’s 32) in the middle of one of his friend’s (who is a perv and i didn’t really care for bc he kept causing probs with the boy & me for 6 years) parties.

    I am happy to be done now and should have learned my lesson when he broke up with me after two years via txt only to beg for me back a couple weeks later. What a douche. But then again, he said it was my fault for traveling to Italy for my best friends wedding during this time even tho he could have came if he wanted.

  5. What if it is years and you have no idea what you’re still doing and what to say? And you can’t do it in person because that’s impossible at the moment…

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