Imagine two people who have dated for a year. They’ve had their ups and downs, but they’ve been deeply committed to making it work. They’ve talked about the future, agreed they want to be together, and started to talk about things like a mortgage and children.
Now imagine that one of the people in this relationship suddenly decides they don’t want to be with the other anymore. What would this mean? How would it happen? What would the other person do? There’s no one right way to handle it, but I’m going to propose one way that might be better than the alternatives.
Getting The News
How would you react if you found out your lover wanted to break up with you?
It was my second year in college. My girlfriend of two years called me to tell me she didn’t want to be with me anymore. It was pretty awkward. I had to walk across campus to her dorm room. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was reasonably confident I probably wouldn’t get punched in the face.
The conversation started off okay. She said she was sorry she hadn’t told me sooner. I was curious why she decided to tell me now, but I didn’t ask. I figured I probably didn’t want to know.
She asked me about what I thought our relationship was for. I said we had been dating. She said that was no longer the case. She wanted to be friends. She said she hoped that we could be friends. I was too stunned to speak. I mumbled something about how I didn’t think that would be possible. She said she hoped we could be friends later, but not right now. She didn’t see how that would work. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to take a break. I said I didn’t really understand what that would mean. She said she didn’t either. She said she thought we should see other people. She said she was sorry. I said I was sorry too.
And that is about it. The classical break up.
What can anyone do in this kind of situation? The best five rules of break up are:
- Identify the reason.
- Never make a scene.
- Try not to keep contact. In this kind of situation it is best to move on and focus on future mates after a period of recovery of course.
- Invest in yourself. The best investment: read some books.
- Don’t judge and don’t blame anyone including yourself.