Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How Do You End a Relationship?

I was looking around on AskMen.com the other day and found this article about how to end a relationship, in which some of the suggestions included: Gradually move away from regular communication; Don’t give in to sex once the process of ending a relationship has begun; Surrounding yourself with female friends will make her feel like she’s not “the one.” I’m not sure if it was tongue-in-cheek or what, but it got me wondering about how people typically end a relationship. Answer the poll question below and share your best and worst breakup stories in the comments

[polldaddy poll=”4856751″]

48 comments… add one
  • spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 12:04 pm

    I usually fake my own death, move to a new town, and start over with a fake identity. I’ve done it four times so far and it gets pretty easy once you know the drill.

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    • Rachelgrace53 April 6, 2011, 1:04 pm

      Totally using this if my current relationship ends.

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    • Chaotonic April 6, 2011, 1:59 pm

      Funny story about faking one’s own death. A guy I work with (we’re all military) decided he just couldn’t break up with this girl so he told her he was deploying to Iraq and about a week later had one of his buddies call her and tell her he passed away. Amazingly this ruse worked, she stopped calling, and asked around about his funeral before eventually disappearing back into the wilds of the interwebz.

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      • sweetleaf April 6, 2011, 2:29 pm

        Are you serious?! What a douche!

      • SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

        I hope he bumps into her randomly on the street one day and has to explain how he came back from the dead. This is a really awful thing to do. It probably hurt her way worse to think of her dead boyfriend than her jerk ex.

      • slamy April 6, 2011, 5:55 pm

        Yeah…. what a jerk. That is really sad. Hopefully he has grown up into a man – because those weren’t manly actions.

      • Chaotonic April 6, 2011, 6:54 pm

        Nope, he’s still a whiney pathetic know it all, who has resorted to craig’s list to fill the void in his life.

    • TheOtherMe April 6, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Yes but it gets expensive to constantly terminate your cell phone contract before the plan is over πŸ™

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      • Emsz April 6, 2011, 5:20 pm

        That’s what pay as you phones are for!

      • Amy April 6, 2011, 5:37 pm

        You can always ask to change your number! Just say you’re being harassed! If they need proof of the harassment… well, get one of your friends to “harass” you!

    • TheGirl April 6, 2011, 2:33 pm

      My husband had a stalker when he was in high school (used to tell lies to his girlfriends to get them to break up with him, follow him around – even came to our college town and followed him around one day) and he eventually had his mom tell her that he died in a king crab fishing accident. She apparently bought it because he hasn’t heard from her since!

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    • PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 2:34 pm

      Hm, notice that there are four of us commenting under you? Maybe you’re not as clever as you believe yourself to be.

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      • PFG-SCR April 6, 2011, 2:36 pm

        Ahhh, there were only three comments ahead of me before I started that post. I need a delete key. πŸ™

  • missmolly April 6, 2011, 12:17 pm

    That sounds pretty consistent with most AskMen advice: CUH-RAZY.

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    • Kate April 6, 2011, 12:33 pm

      I was thinking the same thing: Askmen.com sucks (to me, anyway).

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      • spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 12:56 pm

        Where do you think I got the idea to start faking my own death?

  • silver_dragon_girl April 6, 2011, 12:24 pm

    It’s kind of weird, but I’ve never actually been the one to end a relationship. First boyfriend pulled the disappearing act (literally), second cheated then dumped me, third will be moving out of state in two months. So, they have all ended before I have wanted/needed to break up with anyone. I like to think, however, that I’d do the “sit down and have an adult conversation” thing.

    I will say, however, that I tend to use the “let’s just be friends” a lot if I don’t want to see someone after a first or second date. And it’s usually via text or IM. πŸ™ Is that acceptable before the third date?

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    • spaceboy761 April 6, 2011, 12:38 pm

      She’s not kidding about the first boyfriend… I was there! This big smoke bomb went off, he ducked behind his cape and shouted “MMMMUAHAHAHA!!!”, and when the smoke cleared he was gone! The entire bar was like WTF.

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      • silver_dragon_girl April 6, 2011, 12:44 pm

        That would have been WAY more fun πŸ™‚

    • Kate April 6, 2011, 12:41 pm

      I think it’s perfectly acceptable.

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    • elisabeth April 6, 2011, 2:39 pm

      I’ve left a voicemail. Same thing. WIthin the first couple of dates, it makes sense, because you’re not invested and it *shouldn’t* be that personal yet. I see it this way – if it’s an opportune moment, take it. If he initiates conversation, be it by IM or text, on the phone or in person, and you all ready know you’re not going to take it further, let him down easy. If you get to choose, though, I’m all for the face to face encounter. It’s difficult and scary, but it’s more real and gives more closure and is more human in the end, I think.

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  • eel avocado April 6, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Only been broken up with. Once was when my then-boyfriend of 3 years went abroad for the summer. We were on a break for that period, but he began dating someone else within a few weeks. His Facebook status never changed from “In a relationship,” so I thought we were totally getting back together when he got back. Wrong! Instead of a happy reunion, I got a talk about how he met someone else. Second time was at a Johnny Rocket’s over french fries with my boyfriend of 2 years. I got back with him. Then he broke up with me again the night before college graduation. I had heard from friends that they had spotted my boyfriend strolling around town with another girl. Then we had a talk and he broke up with me. In all of my graduation photos, I look like I’m about to start crying. Though…right after the breakup, I went on an extended trip to Paris/London and ended up making out with a cute, Scottish lead singer of a band. It all worked out for the best, haha!

    I’m not sure if there is a best way to break up. It’s hard to be broken up with, but I’m sure it’s just as hard to break up with someone because you would be the person making the tough decision.

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  • plasticepoxy April 6, 2011, 12:38 pm

    I’ve been broken up with way more than I’ve been the one to initiate break ups. I think I’ve broken up with three guys in my entire dating history.

    The first time I broke up with someone it was so awkward! He called, said he felt like he was ready for a more serious relationship to which I responded I felt like we should break up. Not my most considerate moment.

    I’ve had guys pull the disappearing act, treat me like shit in the hopes I would break up with them (but when I didn’t notice he wasn’t calling for days at a time, he broke up with me. He was actually upset with me that I wasn’t upset with him for “ignoring me”. I thought he was just busy, I was!), as well as the pull away. I think the pull away was the toughest to be on the receiving end of.

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    • Kate April 6, 2011, 12:40 pm

      I agree. I’d rather someone be upfront (not mean, though). The “pull away” leaves me wondering too much.

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  • applescruff April 6, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I always seem to be the one to break up. I usually build up to it for a while until I get up the nerve to actually say what I need to say, but the breakup talks themselves (I think) have generally gone well. My worst breakup was right after my boyfriend of two years and I took a trip with his parents. I had decided a few weeks before the trip that I needed to end the relationship – we just weren’t happy anymore – but because there were hotel reservations and plane tickets involved, I had to wait. So the weekend after the trip he came over to celebrate my birthday, and we had The Talk. Or…I started crying and blurted it out. That wasn’t my favorite birthday.

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  • Betsy April 6, 2011, 12:55 pm

    The only been broken-up with, but one of them did the mature thing and had a serious conversation that ended in “this just isn’t what I want.” The other pulled some 6 month “I’m not happy and we really need to fix us” b.s. while he was falling in love with a coworker behind my back. Towards the end, he just did everything in his power to make me leave him, so I don’t really count that as being my decision.

    In every instance where I have only seen someone for a few dates and it’s not working out, I have just come out and said that.

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  • NolaGirl April 6, 2011, 1:03 pm

    I was dumped a lot early on. Once I tried to breakup nicely with a guy in college, but he started crying begging me not to do it, so I gave in and kept dating him for another 2 months until he dumped me *stare*

    I’m actually a terrible breaker-uper. I generally pulled the “let’s take a break…” then I disappeared. Bad I know!

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    • Kate April 6, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Haha! Honest, though.

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    • Holly April 6, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Ah, the “please don’t leave me” cry followed by the being dumped two months later thing is my favorite. *stares* That’s how my last one happened. Not a fan.

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    • Eljay April 6, 2011, 4:29 pm

      I’ve had that happen to me too! The guy cried like a newborn baby! What do you do with that??? And I’m STILL in my situation! I don’t know what to do!

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      • Holly April 6, 2011, 6:55 pm

        If you want to dump him, do it. Be gentle, but be firm. It’ll only be worse (for you and him) if you prolong it, honestly.

      • NolaGirl April 7, 2011, 7:58 am

        I agree, just break up with him gently, tell him it’ll hurt less now than later.

  • Lindsay April 6, 2011, 1:10 pm

    A few of my relationships ended for geographical reasons or something fairly mutual, so there was no one breaking up with the other.

    Otherwise, I accidentally pulled a fadeout on a guy because I didn’t realize we were dating seriously enough to warrant a “breakup.” He apparently called me his girlfriend to other people but hadn’t informed me that we were anything more than casual. So, when he texted me one night about how I clearly wasn’t into the relationship, I called him and told him a relationship wasn’t something I was ready for.

    The time I was dumped, my boyfriend insisted that we go to a truck stop cafe to eat (I realized it was because he was high) and then we went back to his apartment. I mentioned that his schedule was going to get busy with his new job and wondered aloud about how we’d work out seeing each other. So, he took that time to inform me that we should break up. Would have preferred that BEFORE the truck stop.

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    • SpaceySteph April 6, 2011, 2:09 pm

      Hah on the accidental fadeout.
      Actually I accused a guy of fading out on me, hoping he would take that as an indicator to dump me. It was totally stupid. Also it backfired on me, because he was like “no I was backing off because I thought you wanted me to, but I can come over if thats what you want.” Then I didn’t have the nerve to tell him (for 2 more weeks) that actually I did want him to.
      I still feel kinda badly about that, but I just didn’t like him like that and couldn’t make myself want to kiss him. That would have been a meaner thing to say, right?

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  • Rachelgrace53 April 6, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I’ve usually been pretty mature about breaking up. I ended it through text once but only because this guy had totally withdrawn into himself (he had serious depression issues), so I feel like that was fair since he wasn’t calling me back or doing anything except smoking pot and sleeping.
    I had a guy pull somewhat of a disappearing act, but then a few weeks later actually ended it pretty nicely and we stayed friends. The disappearing sucked hardcore especially since I was 16 and pretty insecure.
    Also want to give Wendy props for the sex and the city post-it reference.

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  • MellaJade April 6, 2011, 1:50 pm

    I ended my first relationship with a face to face conversation. I felt he deserved it after 2.5 years together but I had to pull out the ‘it’s me and totally NOT you’ line (even though it was him). My second relationship ended was a face to face conversation but it lead to honest conversation and then an amicable divorce. Heck, we’re still friends even! Now, back to single life, my first post-divorce ‘relationship’ ended with a phone call from the guy saying ‘I just want to be friends’ followed up a few hours later with ‘but please send me nude photos of you’….eh, no. More recently another ‘relationship’ ended with us enjoying a night away in Atlantic City, followed 2 days later by being stood up and him leaving town. Great part was, he kept playing Scrabble with me on FB as if nothing had ever happened. AFTER I massacred his ass in the game, I deleted him from my friends list. So, in my experience, I respect the person I’ve cared about by dumping face to face and the guys I’ve gotten together with recently are either too inconsiderate or just plain ole chickensh*t to do the same. *sigh*

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    • Heather April 6, 2011, 2:07 pm

      Hey, at least you did the right thing by kicking his ass in scrabble THEN unfriending him. rofl.

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  • SGMcG April 6, 2011, 1:58 pm

    The only serious breakup I did involved me writing a long ICQ message to him on the night of his last final. What I did was nothing short of a total bitch maneuver. We eventually did get back together after that, only to break up in truly dramatic fashion a year later – this time on his initiative. It’s a wonder why we’re still friendly – we let each other have access to one another’s lives via FB.

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  • Heather April 6, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I recently had an on again off again long distance with a guy from my hometown. We’re both in school and working, so we didn’t sit on the phone for hours every night or anything, and we texted when we could and skyped when we could. He would visit me and I would visit him about once a month. Because of the long distance and our busy schedules, I thought that him wanting to talk about important things via text message was not out of the ordinary, and perfectly acceptable…

    fuck was I wrong. he’s a good guy, but his communication issues lead me to end things for good. he came to visit for the last time and was just distant, I tried to make conversation and just got rebuffed. This is how the breakup conversation went:

    Him “I felt like you were interrogating me the other night.”
    Me “I’m sorry you felt that way, but I was just trying to make conversation. You know, since we never really just talk.”
    Him “But Heather, we text all the time,”


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  • Jessica April 6, 2011, 2:21 pm

    My first two serious boyfriends broke up with me. after that i learned the right way to break up.. or “right way” for me.
    when i was dating this guy for about 6 months when i decided i was over it.. started the phase out which lasted like two weeks. called him up and said i can’t do this anymore because of x y and z. and then he told me he was about to tell me he loved me. sad. i felt really bad. but thats the only way it works for me.. phase out over a week or two to get MY emotions in check.
    luckily i’ve only done that twice in my life.

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    • elisabeth April 6, 2011, 3:03 pm

      This sounds familiar to me. It’s a process. When I made the choice to break up with my last boyfriend (1.5 years, long-distance virtually the entire time), I guess I did “phase out” for a month or so prior. I started pulling back, because I was really examining what I felt vs. what I wanted vs. what was. It felt deceptive to try to act happy around him when I wasn’t, but I wasn’t yet ready to share my thoughts. When I was, I called him and let him know I needed to talk to him face to face, so we drove to a half-way point and sat in his car as I tearfully explained all the reasons why.

      Each breakup I’ve been through (three out of four, I initiated), I’ve done the “grownup” thing and sat down to a face-to-face discussion. It never gets any easier, and I still can’t control the tears, no matter how sure I am of my decision and how intelligent my discussion points. Bah.

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  • TheOtherMe April 6, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Best breakup ever : ( text message )
    Me: ” I won’t be calling tomorrow, or any other day after that, I can’t do this anymore ”
    Him: ” Ok, I understand. Can I call you next week ? ”
    Me: ” Un, no ”
    Him: ” I will call you next week but we are still broken up ok ? ”
    Me: ” ok ”

    Worse breakup ever :
    After learning that he lied, ( about something big) in a split second I grabbed all my stuff, shoved it in a bag and ran out into a snowstorm. He ran after me and there was so much snow it felt like we were running in slow motion. He caught up, pulled my arm and I turned around and pushed him off me. I kept running until I got home. He tried to get back with me for a year, spying on me from across the street & leaving notes on my car window.

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  • Shell April 6, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Last week, my long distance boyfriend (who was in for a week on vacation) sensed that I was coming to a decision to end things and MOA. We had planned on meeting at my place after I was done with work to have the grown-up discussion that I desired, and he had packed up and taken all of his stuff with him, no note, no goodbye. So ended in a lovely 5 minute phone conversation with no goodbye, while we were for once in the same city! My primary reason for getting ready to MOA (immaturity/ignorance) were plainly stated in the way he chose to disappear.

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  • Kerrycontrary April 6, 2011, 4:00 pm

    This seems like a list of how MEN end relationships, besides the first option. Anyone else who doesn’t have the respect to talk to you is a coward.

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  • DramaQueen224 April 6, 2011, 4:35 pm

    In college, I had to break up with a guy twice. We were hanging out one day and I realized pretty suddenly that I wasn’t really into him and was more into the attention he gave me, so I stopped what we were doing, had a conversation that included the words “only friends” a lot and left. The next weekend he called me asking if I wanted to do something together. Oops. In my defense, it was my first time I had broken up with someone and I was trying to let him down easy. I’ve now learned my lesson give the relationship a little bit of time to “drift apart” (don’t hang out with them for a few days), have a meeting where the sole purpose is to break up and be sure to include the words “I think we should break up”.

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  • Laurel April 6, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Ugh my last breakup was such a long, drawn out terrible thing I totally wish I had pulled the plug sooner. I guess you could say I did a fade out, but we had been unhappy for more than six months. Ultimately, we had agreed to take “break” over Christmas (including concrete plans he knew I was making to hook up with a hs friend), that just turned into a complete break up when a few weeks before that we got into a long conversation that turned into a big fight and a middle-of-the-night packing all my belongings up from our apartment and me moving out. So… yeah. But for months before that, I had been fantasizing about sex with other people, actively flirting with someone else, and generally being pulled away / repulsed by my bf of the time.

    Honestly I’m not proud of how I conducted myself the last year we were together, but I’ve learned so much about myself and about relationships in general that I think maybe it was worth it. I wish we hadn’t put each other through all the shit we did but it was a good lesson.

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  • Woman of Words April 7, 2011, 11:43 am

    Most delusional: Months after a breakup due to him cheating, and no communication from me, I get an email to the ‘Silent Stranger’ asking if I wanted to meet him in London for 2 weeks. Apart from immediately suspecting I would arrive to find myself there on my own, I wondered what his current girlfriend would think of that situation? Umm, just NO.

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  • ss May 15, 2011, 2:08 am

    I can’t explain to you how much I hate askmen.com. Recently, I used it as an example of stupidity in one of my articles. I am going to write a new post about the site. I wonder what made it number 1.

    I read the steps you gave here from that site. Seems like they are asking guys to behave like little monkeys. I mean aren’t they saying not to bring up the words of breakup? Instead it would be better to wear the veil to hide the face while running towards opposite direction? Thats just unmanly, if you ask me.

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