9 of the worst ways to break up with someone

Sometimes relationships don’t work out, and when that happens somebody has to step up and give the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech or the “It’s definitely you and if you don’t pay attention to this restraining order I’m going to mace you” speech. Of course, there isn’t really a good way to break up with someone – it’s always awkward, somebody is going to get hurt and there is at least a small risk that somebody is going to end up with swollen testicles following a swift Street Fighter II combo move. But you can minimize all these risks as long as you do the responsible thing and break up like a mature grownup and don’t do one of these, which are nine of the worst ways to break up with someone.

9. Via Text

Don’t be this guy. It’s cold and it’s impersonal and while sure, it means you don’t actually have to deal with any of the fallout face to face you just end up looking like a huge coward and an asshole. It’s a little different if you’ve only been casually seeing someone and your entire relationship to date has consisted of late night texts and sloppy booty calls followed by some more “hey, that was fun” texts in the morning. Then, a text might very well be an appropriate way to hit the eject button, but if you’re in a serious relationship, like “Hey, come meet my parents” kind of serious, then texting has to be out. Unless you’re Stephen Hawking and can only speak via some weird text box thing then you’ve got no excuse for this, and I bet even he would roll up and do it face to face.

8. By Changing Your Facebook Status

This is just a seriously dick move. Changing your Facebook status from “In a relationship” to “Single” just because you know that eventually they’ll see it and take a hint is some shameful shit. I mean, come on, you’ve already progressed way past the point of needing to have that conversation face to face if your relationship is seriousness enough to set it as “In a relationship” in the first place. You don’t do that if you’re just messing around, not unless you’re a clingy psychopath anyway. So grow up and let your human mouth do the talking instead of hoping the machines will rise up and do your dirty work for you. This also applies to Twitter and any other form of social media. When it comes to breaking up, go low tech.

7. Have a Friend Do it For You

What are you, in fourth grade? I mean, you might as well just run over and pull her hair while you’re at it and maybe call her a poopy-head or something. Grow up. Besides, getting a friend to break the bad news not only makes you look like a coward, it also violates the Bro Code by putting your bro in harm’s way. You’re making him catch all the flak that you’re too scared to deal with. He’s out there on the front lines fighting your battles for you while you’re hiding at home playing your Xbox like a scared little boy. But fear not, if you get a reputation as the sort of dude who pulls this shit you’ll have plenty of time to sit home and play Xbox all by yourself. And yes, that is a euphemism.

6. In Front of a Group

Sure, by breaking up with someone in a crowd, you lessen the risk that they’ll make a scene, but that is manipulative and cowardly. At least give them the dignity of expressing their feelings when it’s over, otherwise you rob them of closure which is just petty and cruel. Also, this is just uncomfortable as hell for everyone involved, from the breakuper to the breakupee to the people forced to sit around and watch this human train wreck. It’s bad enough to do it in a public place where you’re both stuck and with strangers watching, but it’s absolutely horrible to do this in front of a group of friends. That shit is just humiliating and everyone there will think less of you.

5. After Sex

I guess it’s better than during but Jesus, have at least a modicum of decency, dude. You’re catching someone at their absolute most vulnerable. I mean they’re literally naked. If your goal is to make someone feel like a prostitute and to associate pleasure and sex with heartbreak then by all means proceed, Patrick Bateman, but just know that you are an awful, awful person and you’ll deserve it when she goes all Lorena Bobbitt on you.

4. By Avoiding Them

Yes, it’s easier. It’s also cruel. You leave the other person in a sort of Purgatory. They’ll be constantly trying to figure out where you stand and crying to their friends, wondering what they did wrong. Sure, eventually they’ll get the hint – probably, anyway – but you’ll just end up feeling bad about yourself and you probably should. Again, it’s one thing to just never return any calls if it’s super-casual and you never set any expectations for a genuine relationship, but if you’ve gotten serious or if even only one of you thinks there is something real going on that you at least owe a quick conversation. Hell, even a text message is preferable to total avoidance.

3. Getting Them to Break Up With You Instead

This is straight out of the Asshole Handbook. It’s ultra-passive aggressive and you should feel really, really bad about yourself if you do this. Acting like a total jerkoff, messing with her head, being mean to her in front of her friends, sleeping with her best friend… come on, you’re better than that. Just tell her “look, it’s over.” You don’t even have to be that nice. Just do it quick and clean. Don’t torture her and put her through hell just because you’re too much of a coward to confront her directly.

2. In the Car

Just think about this for a second – there is nowhere to go when it’s over. You break up, and no matter how nice or relatively painless it was you’re still stuck sitting next to each other in a confined space with nothing to talk about. You might as well just dump her in an elevator during a power outage. Look, one of three things can happen here – one, you just sit there awkwardly and hope an asteroid crashes into Earth in the next two seconds, two, one of you flips out and you end feeling like you’re wrestling an angry cheetah after she tries to claw your eyes out, or three, she jumps out of the car and runs away screaming and the car behind you calls the cops because it looks like you just tried to kidnap a lady. This is just a loser scenario all around, man.

1. While On Vacation

This is pretty much the same as in the car only on a grander scale. But even if you manage to pull this off without anything horrible happening to you, you’ve just basically stranded someone hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles from home with no way out. That is just unfathomably cruel. You’re not only breaking someone’s heart, you’re marooning them like a mutinying ship’s crew. And even if you somehow both agree that you should both stay, then you’re stuck with someone who you can’t stand so much that you were willing to dump them on vacation and they’re stuck with someone who just tore their heart out of their chest. Sounds like a dream come true to me! Look, at least wait until the plane lands and you’re shoving them into the back of a cab. Nobody deserves to get their heart broken while waiting in line for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Couple breaking up image by Shutterstock
After sex breakup image by Shutterstock
Couple breaking up image by Shutterstock
(Previously published on August 23, 2013.)