Break Up with Her in Style

“You’re selfish. And you don’t love anyone. ”

Lane Cummingsby Lane Cummings


These words are forever etched, engraved, cemented, and hardwired to my brain as they were the words of my first boyfriend, Matt, during his three hour long break up speech. 


I don’t know why I sat in his dorm room for three hours our first year of college to listen to that crap. I guess I thought it wasn’t going to culminate with, “And we’re done.”

Having lived through around numerous break ups, half of which guys have done to me, I thought it might be helpful to men-at-large to offer some parameters for doing the deed. And then you won’t have to live with the guilt of sending a woman to the ER for overdosing on Robitussin. Unlike my exes.

  1. It’s not you, it’s me. I know this statement is akin to leprosy during break up speeches, but if you can find a way to say that essential statement, without uttering those exact words, you’re in good shape. Trust me, I had to live with the words “You don’t love anyone” for a year, pondering and re-evaluating my behavior until I realized he was just angry (right? right?) For example, say you’re dating a self-absorbed slut. Don’t tell her you’re breaking up with her because she acts like Lindsay Lohan drunk with Georgetown rugby team, and that your friends call her “Bend Over Becky”. In this case, for the sake of being the better person, the Jimmy Stewart of your generation, tell her you’re “Just looking for something more serious.” Or, if you plain just don’t like her, and needed to shag her a couple times before you truly figured that out, just say something along the lines of “I’m consumed with work/my band/my dog/ my Chia pet/ the cleanliness of my stove top and I don’t have the time to give you the attention you deserve.” And then make it clear you’re ending it by saying, “So I think we should stop seeing each other.” It might sound shawshank, but it’s just one sentence that could save this woman a lot of grief and false hope that once the enamel on your stove starts flashing some pearly white, you’ll start seeing her again.
  2. DO NOT SUDDENLY JUST STOP CALLING HER. Men. Men. Men. This is cruel. This is like driving a dog out into the forest for abandonment. Picture a little terrier, waiting under an oak tree, hopeful its bewildering owners will come back to get it. Even if you think she wasn’t that into you, or she played it cool, if you’ve shagged her, you owe her a phone call. Okay, case in point, say you met some girl at a party, took her home, shagged her, and she said something crazy like,  “I think we’d be great living together.” While something that nutty might sound like she deserves to be ditched and forgotten, a text message with the words “Great seeing you last night. I had a lot of fun. You’re awesome. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve gotten back with my ex-girlfriend” truly does suffice. This leads me to my next point.
  3. Lying is okay. Lie. Lie to spare her feelings. Lie to cover your derriere. Lie. Lie. Lie. Lies are like the champagne of social interaction, toss a few drops in and everything feels better. For example, say none of your friends are all that impressed with her, you’ve come to realize she’s vapid and a general embarrassment or just needy and ready to shackle you in the chains of co-dependence.   A lie like “I need to find myself, or I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, and I need to complete that journey alone” is fine and believable (I swear) if you commit to the words with conviction. If you’re comfortable with lying, then something like, “My doctor says I’m not ready for a relationship right now” is a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card.
  4. Don’t offer to be friends or make any reference to friendship. Unless the girl you’ve been dating is dumber than a drunk rat on Sunday, she’s not going to buy it for even a heartbeat, and it’s just going to sound lame and insulting.
  5. Don’t break up with her at your place. Either go to her place so you’re free to leave anytime, or a semi-private table at Starbucks should suffice. Avoid bars as drinking could get you in the mood for one-last-shag and then you’ll be back in the same predicament.

And if you remember half of these points, her friends won’t all get together to pour grape juice over your head the next time you’re close and the time is right. Because women will do that. I have. I did. And I can’t ever promise I wouldn’t do it again.