Today’s guest essay comes from “His Take” contributor, Dennis Hong.
I hate breaking up with someone. I really do. Call me spineless, tell me to grow a pair, I get it. I just have this need to be the “good guy” (or at least deceive myself that I am). I feel better when I’m the poor sap who gets broken up with, rather than the a-hole who dumps an awesome girl.
To that end, I’ve come up with some pretty devious ways to get a girl to break up with me. When I’m ready for the relationship to end, but don’t want to pull the slow fade or stop calling altogether (remember, I’m trying to be the good guy here), these devastatingly effective strategies get her to do all the dirty work for me:
1. I “become” excessively busy at work.
All of a sudden, my workload surges exponentially. I’ve been given a new project. Or, I’m the newly-appointed office firefighter. Either way, I have to start working late most nights. After a few months, she starts wondering if work matters more to me than she does. It does, of course. What she never realizes is that I don’t actually have to do all this extra work. I only take it on to get out of hanging out with her. In some cases, I don’t even have any extra work. I simply spend my late nights getting reacquainted with WebSudoku.
So, she breaks up with me. And I get to be the poor overworked sap, unreasonably forced to choose between career and personal life.
2. I “become” stressed out and moody.
This one works great in conjunction with the first strategy, especially if I’m dating a particularly supportive woman who understands the importance of career. For her, being busy may not be a good enough reason to break up. Annoying, right? How dare she be so considerate! In any case, with an increased workload comes increased stress, and with increased stress comes a decline in my overall demeanor. I’m not my usual cheerful, upbeat self. I become withdrawn and unpleasant. Yeesh, who in her right mind would want to date someone like me?
3. I “become” opinionated and argumentative.
I am a naturally opinionated person, but I’m also good at letting the little things go. With the exception of a few “hot topics,” I generally don’t care too much if someone disagrees with me. That is, unless I’m trying to break up with that someone. Then, I let nothing go. Every single opinion she expresses is met with an opposing viewpoint, whether or not I actually disagree. What’s most powerful about this particular strategy is its permanence. With the work or the stress, the girl may still have hope that my change in behavior is temporary. With the argumentativeness, though, she’ll hopefully figure that that’s just how I am. So, she has to decide whether or not she can live with it. Of course, I do everything in my power to make sure she can’t.
4. I “become” a social butterfly.
A group of friends have invited me to their weekly poker night. At the same time, some coworkers want to start doing happy hours every other week. Also, my community service organization has elected me the new social chairman. Oh, and a bunch of old fraternity brothers are planning a trip to Vegas next weekend. Quite simply, my social calendar fills up, and I have less and less quiet time to spend with her. So, she wonders what she’s doing with me. Then again, if she’s a social butterfly herself, this strategy flops big time.
5. I “become” flakey.
This one is probably the most frustrating, but it’s also perhaps the most effective. I start forgetting about plans that we’ve made. I plan a day trip with her, but forget to ask for the day off. Worse yet, I forget her birthday. This strategy does have a drawback, though, in that I make myself look pretty unattractive. If the girl I’m dating complains about me, the flakiness strategy (along with the moodiness strategy) may hurt any potential chances I might have with her friends. Yes, this is how devious I am. Even as I’m breaking up with a girl… or, ah, being broken up with, I’m thinking of how I can get in good with her friends afterwards.
See? Getting a woman to break up with me isn’t really all that hard.
And now that you all think I’m the biggest douchebag in the world, I want to clarify that this is not a how-to column. I’m offering these strategies so that you can recognize if someone pulls them on you. Passive-aggressive behavior is deplorable. If we’ve simply lost interest in the relationship, we owe the other person the respect of being honest.
For what it’s worth, I’ve personally apologized to the women I’ve done this to. I’m certainly not proud of myself for having behaved like this, and honestly, I don’t do it anymore. I can’t defend my past actions, but I can share what I’ve done in the hopes that others won’t fall prey to similar tactics.
So, who here has been a victim of these strategies? I have a nagging feeling that I’m not the only guy —or woman — who’s pulled them.
*Dennis Hong is a teacher of troubled youth, freelance comedy writer, blog overlord, and internet entrepreneur. His personal mantra is: “Always stay positive in life (except when taking a drug or STD test)!” Check out his group relationship advice site here.