Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How I Get A Girl to Break Up With Me

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 I become withdrawn and unpleasant.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.



115 comments… add one
  • Jiggs March 28, 2012, 1:07 pm

    Haha, I love that you think this is being the “good guy”. “Oh I’ll just act like a total d-bag to make her hate me and she’ll dump me!”

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    • Matcha March 28, 2012, 3:44 pm

      Wait, did you read the end where it was satire and he called himself a douche for doing those behaviors in the past?

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      • 6napkinburger March 28, 2012, 3:57 pm

        It isn’t satire. It’s self-awareness. And the fact that he apologized to some of those women doesn’t absolve him from being the douchebag that he was/is. Especially regarding the fact that he did this consciously. It is one thing when people find themselves making plans with others or at work, getting frustrated more easily, bothered by what their partner says, does, breathes, walks, etc. That is a sign you should break up. It shouldn’t be the means by which you do it. Which I get that he recognizes.

        But the weird, fake, tongue-in-cheek way he went through this and then quasi-self-redeemed himself just screams that he wants to be thought of as douche and wants to be considered the kind of guy who has girls who would put up with things like that so they could be with him. It is a headfake towards contrition but is really an exercise in trying to convince himself, and us, that he is way more successful with the ladies than I’m guessing he really is.

      • Matcha March 28, 2012, 4:11 pm

        Okay, self-awareness, then. But it doesn’t seem like he really considered himself a ‘good guy’ for being so passive-aggressive, more like he’s rolling his eyes at his past self who justified those behaviors that are obviously not okay.

        I saw some joking but it didn’t really seem like he wanted to be taken as a ladies man (I thought he posted an article before about how he had a hard time dating before, but I could be wrong.)

      • Matcha March 28, 2012, 4:12 pm

        *presently considers, not considered

      • Budj March 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Yes – I don’t think Dennis has ever feigned George Clooney status.

      • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 4:27 pm

        Well, yeah. I prefer to claim Jackie Chan status, anyway.

      • acastil5 March 28, 2012, 6:29 pm

        Sooo…what do you do when you get a girl the same way? “Dammit he’s not breaking up with me even though I’m being a total bitch!” “Dammit even though I’m being a total douche she’s not breaking up with me!” I think that should be the plot of a rom-com sometime soon. Wait, DIBS, my idea!

        Oh, btw, if someone can write a rom-com based on your romantic life, you seriously need to start evaluating your style.

      • Jiggs March 28, 2012, 7:32 pm

        That rom com exists! It’s called How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It’s awful.

      • acastil5 March 28, 2012, 10:16 pm

        Dammit. Well my lead will be Asian. THERE.

      • 6napkinburger March 28, 2012, 6:35 pm

        No, you are not wrong, that is exactly my point.

        You can’t post an article about how girls don’t like the “good guys” and all they care about is money and cars (while not having money or cars) and then post this essay, pretending to be a reformed douchebag. That’s the front I’m talking about — I don’t think he is a douchebag for dumping many girls this way because I dont’ believe he HAS dumped many girls this way. But it’s that he wants us to believe that he has that makes me grimace when I saw this article.

        It’s kind of like when your playing “I never” at college with a new group of people and you’re intimidated and want to look cool and more experienced than you are and you make a big to-do about putting fingers down for making out in a pool, making out with your parents home, and skinny-dipping — when it was all the same occasion but no one else knows that. You feel all bad-ass but you are really just being a poser, and most people grow out of that.

        So that was my issue with this article. Wanting to be thought of a douchebag might be even more douchetastic than actually being one.

      • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 6:54 pm

        What article are you talking about where I wrote that girls only care about money and cars?

      • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 4:01 pm

        You’re free to interpret this piece however you want.

      • dandywarhol March 28, 2012, 5:58 pm


      • Jiggs March 28, 2012, 7:35 pm

        It’s not satire – he only says he doesn’t do it ANYMORE, not that it’s all a hilarious joke and only written to make fun of people who do this stuff.

        And it’s still funny, whether it’s past or present, for someone to go to such pains to preserve their self-image as a good person by acting like a total dick.

  • kerrycontrary March 28, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve had men become huge douches in the past because they were too afraid of breaking up with me (its not like I was gonna punch them in the face if they did!). Thankfully I learned from it, but I think a lot of letters could be saved from DW if women just recognized these behaviors and realize “oh yeh, he just doesn’t like me anymore.”

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  • bek7bek March 28, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Oh this is appalling. Dennis I thought better of you lol.

    I have been the victim of some of these in the past. It takes so much more effort to plot and act out a scheme like this …than just telling the poor girl that its not working out anymore. I hated this. Because I always felt like there was always the chance that the d-bag might come back.

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    • Lili March 28, 2012, 1:30 pm

      AGREED! These tactics are absolutely horrible for gals with low self esteem because they put up with absolute crap thinking they deserve this and only this. I know its how I felt. Or when it appeals to women who internalize his distance and think its because ‘oh maybe he can’t tell I love him and I just need to SHOW him I love him by helping him with all these issues.’

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    • CatsMeow March 28, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Yeah, honestly, in a situation like this, I’d rather be formally dumped. That way it feels more final and I don’t have to keep wondering if I made the wrong decision by breaking up with the guy who used to be so sweet but turned into a jerk out of nowhere.

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      • Lili March 28, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Finalty-a concept that I think a lot of manchildren are afraid of.

        BTW how are you doing? Was the weekend better than you expected?!

      • CatsMeow March 28, 2012, 2:38 pm

        My weekend was boring, but in a good way.

        This coming weekend will be more eventful, though…

        Also, tonight is “DW” – who’s in? 😉

      • Lili March 28, 2012, 2:46 pm

        ME! And I just saw that i’m getting a documentary called Love and Cheating in the mail today, so you can bet I’ll have wise ass remarks to make while I watch. It has dan savage listed as well, should be interesting!

      • Will.i.am March 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

        I’ll probably be, but I won’t be drinking tonight. I had a rough one on Saturday night so I’m staying coherent the entire week. Also work is busy this week, so I day slightly hungover early in the morning would not be best. How’s the week so far for you two?

  • Kate B. March 28, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Thanks, Dennis, for your always intriguing look at the male mind. It’s like having a spy in the other team’s locker room.

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 4:04 pm

      Thanks, Kate! Although… I do try not to give away EVERY male secret. 😉

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  • Iwannatalktosampson March 28, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Ha this is hilarious and oh so true. When this happens I’m always shocked at how long people will put up with it.

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  • Will.i.am March 28, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Option 5 I’ve seen the most. I generally make time, even if I’m miserable, and I rather flake out and be a douche. For me, the relationship would always end in due time anyways.

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    • CatsMeow March 28, 2012, 1:54 pm

      I usually turn flaky right before I break up with someone, but not as a conscious “strategy” or “tactic”… it’s usually because I’m trying to sort out feelings and make a decision.

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  • AKchic March 28, 2012, 1:50 pm


    Hate to say it bro, but what you’re doing is just chicken-shitted. It’s manipulative and the women who do figure it out won’t think kindly of you, and yeah, we do talk. And compare. And pass on the message.

    You would come off better as a “good guy” if you were just honest and forthright (with tact) than pussy-footing around and making a female come to the conclusion through manipulation and lowered self-esteem that she needs to leave you for her own sake/sanity. How many wasted weeks/months would you save per girl if you were just honest?

    Too many mindgames. Why does anyone bother with it?

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    • CatsMeow March 28, 2012, 1:53 pm

      To his credit, he said that he’s recognized it’s wrong, apologized to the girls, and no longer does it.

      Ugh, it’s all too common, though.

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      • Jiggs March 28, 2012, 7:37 pm

        I don’t know that I give much credit for that. Dickery is dickery, straight up.

      • Ravage Maladie March 29, 2012, 6:31 am

        ‘Dickery is dickery, straight up.’

        That deserves a t-shirt.

    • lets_be_honest March 28, 2012, 2:24 pm

      I think its a no-win situation though. Remember not too long ago when an LW wrote in saying how the guy she dated for a couple months told her he was honest and upfront saying he didn’t see it becoming serious and she was all heartbroken and esteem-shattered?

      Im with you on who has time for mindgames, but I read this as it was inteded…honest and funny. If you are dumb enough to tolerate this behavior, then that’s your fault.

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      • Iwannatalktosampson March 28, 2012, 2:28 pm

        “If you are dumb enough to tolerate this behavior, then that’s your fault.”

        Harsh, but true.

      • convexed March 29, 2012, 11:24 pm

        I don’t know. The whole point is for the guy to behave badly, but with (fake) justification of stress, work, etc, so the woman will not want to be with him, but also not blame or dislike him. If relationships weren’t based on trust, yeah, the woman would be dumb for showing patience and support for those months it could drag on. But these tactics abuse and manipulate trust. Dennis depends\depended on them trusting his honesty in order to ditch them and keep his reputation. Women who fall for this the first time or two aren’t dumb; they’re trusting someone who is tricking them…but yre supposed to be able to trust that yr bf isn’t up to games this childish or spineless. also, not sure how much I buy the personal aaplogies all around narrative. Its a nice attempt to get it both ways…to write this kind of confession, keep yr nice reputation, since you called yourself out first, redemption, etc. This article is the same kind of gameplaying and passive aggressive blame-dancing as the behaviors it describes.

      • *HmC* March 31, 2012, 9:12 pm

        I wish I could like this comment 100 million times. Well, maybe not THAT many. 😛 But yeah, I agree with you. Loving someone, or even just dating them, is a blind leap of faith. You take in as much information as you can and try and make the best choice possible with the information you have, but sometimes fortune just sticks you with a dud (like Dennis here) anyway. And unless you’re a completely jaded, closed-off person, you don’t cut people off right away if they are giving you a legitimate reason to trust them for now. So yeah, all of Dennis’ apologies notwithstanding, behavior like that is disgusting. Even if the people are “dumb” to trust you (which I assert they wouldn’t necessarily have to be to fall for tactics like these, at least for a little while), that does not exonerate you from acting like a douche in the first place.

      • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 3:47 pm

        Thanks, LBH. The piece is tongue-in-cheek, but I did purposely write it to make people feel uncomfortable. Like I said, I don’t want people thinking this was intended to be a how-to column.

  • FireStar March 28, 2012, 1:56 pm

    It just seems so exhausting!
    And do men really try and get with an ex’s girl friends post break-up? If you pissed the first girl off enough so she broke up with you – how could you ever have a chance with the friends? My friend circle used to have a one-kick-at-the-crew rule. You better pick the girl you like most because everyone else was going to be off limits until the end of time.

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    • Muffy March 28, 2012, 2:06 pm

      I was wondering that too – both my serious relationships never talked to my friends afterwards. In fact one went so far as to not invite some of his friends out because they were dating a close friend of mine (even though he dumped me! )

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    • Will.i.am March 28, 2012, 2:21 pm

      If one of my buddy’s hooked up with my ex, there would be some furniture moving. The only way I could see it being allowed, is if we talked and they were just a fling and never anything serious. But if they were together, she’s kind of off limits unless he dies. I have a stricter than most guy code, and I follow for myself and for friends.

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      • iseeshiny March 28, 2012, 4:07 pm

        But what if you only think he’s dead? And it turns into a Pearl Harbor type thing?

      • Will.i.am March 28, 2012, 4:11 pm

        Touche. I guess I would have to say, “come at me bro!”

      • Brad March 29, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Just because your friend dated her in his past doesn’t mean he has any claims on her still. You wanting to date your friend’s ex has nothing at all to do with your friend. Your friends should be mature enough to recognize that just because their relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the option to try it if you think you’d be compatible with her. You’re an adult so you can date whoever you want. The only justifiable exception is if she did something really cruel to your bro, such as cheating.

        I find the whole concept of ex’s being off limits to friends as a little immature (not saying you’re immature mind you). To each their own though.

  • Muffy March 28, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I think a lot of guys do these things so that they can keep having sex with the girl until A. He’s found someone else he can start dating and then he will formally dump her B. She dumps him.

    I appreciate your honesty Dennis. If my bf ever starts pulling this crap on me I’m going to dish it right back. Also I’ll put NAIR in his shampoo so he thinks he’s losing his hair.

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

      Bahaha, that’s just evil!

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  • MissDre March 28, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Sounds exactly like what my ex did to me. Except I hung on and he ended up breaking up with me anyway!

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  • dez March 28, 2012, 2:15 pm

    wow, this is disgusting. this is also why i gave up on relationships and dating. if my current relationship (a good enough man to make me break my no-dating rule) doesn’t work out, i fully intend on becoming a spinster to keep myself away from things like this.

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  • That's_Bananas March 28, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Mine too! I knew exactly what he was doing, but I made excuses even though I was miserable. He eventually broke up with me a month later. Facepalm.

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    • That's_Bananas March 28, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Whoops. This was supposed to be in response to MissDre.

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  • Michelle.Lea March 28, 2012, 2:17 pm

    yeaa.. you are spineless, and an ass. After pulling it multiple times, does anyone here actually believe that you’ve ‘stopped doing it’?

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    • FireStar March 28, 2012, 2:32 pm

      Was this sarcastic? Sorry I can’t tell – I want to assume it is but I must be missing something…

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 3:49 pm

      And I’m supposed to care if you believe me?

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    • Maynard March 30, 2012, 7:37 pm

      Did you never do anything “wrong” when you were younger that when you grew up you realized was horrible? Or were you always perfect?

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  • Will.i.am March 28, 2012, 2:25 pm

    I don’t see how you could do this in a relationship. I’ve never done the fade out in a committed relationship, but it has happened if I was just casually talking to someone. It’s happened to me too, so I’ve come to excpect it. Relationship wise, for me, it’s always been the arguing or the not getting along has become too much and it’s time for us to end. What was done above is too exhausting for me and would seem to drag out the end far too long.

    Glad you have learned from your mistakes, made peace with yourself and others, and have become a better person because of it. Manipulation is hard to get over and it attacks you where you think you know yourself most. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

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    • cporoski March 28, 2012, 4:16 pm

      I could see this working in a LDR. But not in one that you are close to each other.

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 3:50 pm

      Well, for what it’s worth, I never did this in my *serious* relationships. That would be too obvious, I think, if I became a completely different person all of a sudden…. 😉

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      • savannah March 28, 2012, 4:27 pm

        My last ex did this to me and we were in a 2+ year relationship. Beyond how outrageously of a wimp and straight up coward it showed him to be it was just really disrespectful to the time and energy we had both put into the relationship. It was super obvious and that was part of the issue because he acted like I was insane to suggest it. So now I’m the crazy mean ex who broke his heart and he gets to be the nice guy…when in reality he was playing all of these mind games with me just so he didn’t have to actually articulate any feelings or emotions because, no that would be too much. He was so much of a chickenshit that instead of actually sleeping with someone else and then telling me about it, he just lied to me about doing it but actually did absolutely nothing.

      • Lili March 28, 2012, 4:35 pm

        Oh God- the ‘but you’re the crazy one’ mindfuck is seriously devious. I had to read and share the article about women not being ‘crazy’ and gas-lightening over and over until I FINALLY started to see what had happened to my mental state during the very ends of that relationship.

      • lets_be_honest March 28, 2012, 4:39 pm

        You know the last letter’s first comment? From BGM? It said Just Walk Away, seriously, Walk Away, Now. (or something to that effect)

        That should also apply to the mindfucking issue.

      • Lili March 28, 2012, 4:44 pm

        Totally! 2012 Lili is NOT putting up with any BS from manchildren this year. I just wish I’d had DW when I was in the midst of the soul sucking relationship, I would have gotten out sooner–maybe. Anyways, I can’t thank Wendy and the whole DW community ENOUGH regarding how helpful y’all have been in my MOA process 🙂

        DW LOVE! YAY 🙂 Gah, I’m so going to be a sappy drunk tonight on-everyone be forewarned 😉

      • lets_be_honest March 28, 2012, 4:46 pm

        If we had DW sooner, DW wouldn’t have needed to exist! (I just hope its still around when my daughter’s old enough to need it!)
        While I’m not in the MOA process, I can’t thank DW enough for opening my eyes to being an adult, and acting like one.

      • savannah March 28, 2012, 4:50 pm

        I feel like I didn’t put up with his shit..once I actually figured out what the hell was going on. In between periods of little communication and bizarre behavior I wasn’t going to leave 2+ year relationship with no answers. Once I figured out he didn’t have any I hightailed it out of there. But yes, in hindsight you always feel like you should of left sooner.

      • call-me-hobo March 28, 2012, 11:46 pm

        LBH…are you AGREEING with BGM?? I think I need someone to fetch me my smelling salts- lol

  • Fabelle March 28, 2012, 2:27 pm

    All of these things are super shitty to do to somebody, and with that said, I’ll admit I did similiar things in the past. It’s usually just because I’m not feeling the relationship anymore though, and those are the results. The whole “well, maybe he’ll just break up with ME! wouldn’t THAT be nice!” is the throwaway thought– not the plan. If that makes any sense.

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  • Suzanne March 28, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I learned a looooong time ago to just ask “Does this person want to spend time with me”? The answer is usually pretty obvious. It’s actions, not words, that give it away. If the answer is no, it’s time to find someone that does.

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    • Muffy March 28, 2012, 4:29 pm

      or mess with their heads right back! don’t show up for plans either and cancel things. While at the same time looking for someone else to date. I very much believe in tit for tat.

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    • dandywarhol March 28, 2012, 6:18 pm

      Yes! This is my new go-to advice. Don’t sit around and question for hours on end if this person wants to hang out with you. If its not obvious, buh-bye!!

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  • Budj March 28, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Quick – somebody grab the chill pills.

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    • honeybeenicki March 28, 2012, 4:30 pm

      We’re all out!

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      • Leroy March 29, 2012, 2:30 am

        I’ve got em, and I feel f-ing terrific!

      • Brad March 29, 2012, 6:00 pm

        The ABC store is open til 9.

  • iseeshiny March 28, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Hey, Dennis, thanks for sharing! I’m sorry so many people are hating on you for this – I’m sure we’ve all done things we’re not proud of, but not all of us have the guts to write an essay about it and stick it on the internet. It’s kind of depressing how people are trying to kick at you for something you’ve already admitted was wrong. So if you wanted some support, here I am, supporting!

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 4:10 pm

      Hey, thanks. Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me. This is republished from my blog, actually, and people here are actually quite civil compared to the trolls I got when I originally posted it.

      At least no one’s resorted to taking stabs at my last name… yet. 😉

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      • iseeshiny March 28, 2012, 4:19 pm

        Hong on a sec, I’m sure it’ll happen.

        Ba dum cha?

      • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 4:25 pm

        That works. :-p

      • Fabelle March 28, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Wait, how would they even do that? Hong? Do they change it to Hung? Like, well-hung? (or did I just make this dirtier than it needed to be & also, that wouldn’t even be a stab)

      • Lili March 28, 2012, 5:06 pm

        Hong is well hung-say that 10x fast. what a tongue twister (see what i did there, i made this DIRTIER) HELLS YEAH to D(runk) W(ednesday!). And I’m not even drinking yet.

      • Addie Pray March 28, 2012, 5:14 pm

        that’s my girl.

  • cporoski March 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

    There was a guy that I dated and we both knew it was over so we just stopped talking to each other. It was a long relationship too. I think we didn’t want to have that messy conversation about what was happening. It was really wierd and childish…but so were we.

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  • Pinky March 28, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Dennis, did I date you?

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  • Sara March 28, 2012, 4:59 pm

    Listen, I hate when guys do this passive-aggressive stuff. I’m being faded-out-upon as we speak by a guy I saw a lot of promise with. It sucks! But women do this shit too. Own up, ladies. We don’t give a guy our phone number and then ignore their call because it’s “nicer” to be dishonest and not reject them to their faces? We don’t go out on an expensive date and let the guy pay when we have no intention of going out with them again?

    Men AND women pull some pretty terrible crap when they date. Let’s put on our big boy underoos and big girl panties and actually say what we mean to each other, eh? Practice good dating karma.

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  • Addie Pray March 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

    Super funny, Dennis! And I good how-to guide after all — a “how-to know when it’s time to move on from your non-interested boyfriend.”

    I’m about to stick up for the douchey boyfriend who pulls this move on his girlfriend — and I really don’t know why I’m taking this position, but here goes: I think a lot of boyfriends (and girlsfriends) do suddenly *become* busy at work, etc. because they are unhappy in their relationship — but I bet 99% don’t do it on purpose with the intention of avoiding a difficult conversation. It’s probably only until *after* they’ve suddenly *become* busy with other things that they realize why — that they want out of their relationship. So for even those guys (or girls) who are guilty of this, I’m sure it’s unintentional. That’s what I think anyway. I mean, geez louise, who upon having the first inclination that the relationship is not right discusses that inclination with the SO right away and breaks up? It’s not like one day you’re in love and the next day you fall out of love and that you recognize that right away. I dunno, I’ve been single for too long; I shouldn’t be allowed to comment on relationships other than the ones people have with inanimate objects.

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    • CatsMeow March 28, 2012, 5:22 pm

      That’s how I saw it too. I’ve been guilty of doing these things not because I’m *trying* to get a guy to dump me, but because I’m trying to make up my mind about what to do.

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      • slamy March 28, 2012, 6:40 pm

        I’ve done that. I was ready for my last relationship to end, but I loved him, and wasn’t ready to break up with him. Basically, I subconsciously became very annoying and argumentative and he broke up with me. I was sad, but relieved.

      • dandywarhol March 28, 2012, 7:59 pm

        Wow you just described exactly how I broke up with my first boyfriend. not meaning to sound offensive, but really those were my same thoughts/actions. Weird.

    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 6:20 pm

      Exactly. Not that this is going to sway the disbelievers at this point, but most of these behaviors actually came about subconsciously because I was having doubts about the relationship, but wasn’t sure how to articulate them, or hadn’t had sufficient time to process what was going on. It was only later on that I realized what I was doing.

      I just figured I could send a stronger message if I wrote them as purposeful things.

      And, as I implied previously, people can choose to believe this or continue thinking I’m a douchebag. I really don’t care. Either way, I got the point across that I was trying to make.

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      • Addie Pray March 28, 2012, 6:47 pm

        People are stupid. (Can I say that here?)

      • GMS March 30, 2012, 7:49 am

        If you don’t care then why are you still responding to all your negative criticisms?

    • *HmC* March 31, 2012, 9:16 pm

      I actually totally agree with your assessment of these types of behaviors, but Dennis’ actual column didn’t touch on any of this at all. He wrote it in terms of being purposeful and deliberate behavior, which is exactly what I take issue with.

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  • britannia March 28, 2012, 4:34 pm

    The one thing I don’t understand is that this method requires men to spend multiple weeks/months providing excuses for themselves and expending emotional energy… Why not take the dignified/lazy way out and just dump her, face to face? That way the breakup takes maybe 2 hours, tops. These methods take months, months you could be spending playing xBox guilt-free or going out looking for a new girlfriend. It seems illogical to me.

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    • Budj March 28, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Because as one person said more gracefully than I am….a vagina in hand is worth two in the club….

      These guys want to enjoy the benefits while being emotionally checked out and making the gf dump him and in the process make her look crazy because he is being a turd.

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      • lets_be_honest March 28, 2012, 4:42 pm

        Do you really think these guys set out thinking ‘I’m going to make her look crazy?’ I don’t. I think they have checked out of the relationshup and could give a shit about how she looks, feels, etc.
        I kind of said this above, but if your guy starts treating you like crap and attempting to play mind games, its your fault for playing along. And honestly, I think the girl manifests this idea of the guy playing mindgames because its easier to say that which acknowledges he cares at all than it is to acknowledge that he actually just doesnt give a shit about you anymore.

      • Budj March 28, 2012, 4:48 pm

        The crazy is a byproduct of the scheme…the turd behavior while spewing b.s. out of their mouth is confusing and frustrating.

        Actions speak louder than words is the essence of the point Dennis was trying to make here (I think). And he was trying to point it out with specific examples so that people don’t fall victim to not realizing the ship has already sank.

      • Muffy March 28, 2012, 6:02 pm

        Meant as a reply to LBH: maybe they don’t set out thinking they will play mind games with someone so they can have sex with them but it’s definitely what they end up doing. Any guy who continues to do what Dennis mentioned but still sleep with you knows that he doesn’t care about you anymore but also knows that your vagina is warm and friendly to his penis whereas other vaginas out there might not be.

        They’ll give you just enough to keep having sex. That’s why when someoneo does this stuff you keep your cool and do it right back to them. And also don’t have sex with them. Just pretend they’re your friend who you sometimes hang out with if you have nothing better to do.

      • Muffy March 28, 2012, 6:06 pm

        Oh I should add before people think I’m a complete psycho who is carving her name into his leather seats as we speak (write)…I would never pull passive aggressive stuff on someone until I had it done to me first. I always believe in treating people with respect until they give you a reason not to – ie: flat out disrespecting you

      • Lili March 28, 2012, 6:09 pm

        But…Did you take a louisville slugger to both headlights? Inquiring minds want to know?

      • Muffy March 28, 2012, 11:43 pm

        Haha no, never done anything like that to anyone. Don’t plan on it either. I prefer the subtle sneak attacks 😉

  • rob ottapocalypse March 28, 2012, 6:05 pm

    How many people here have tried to use honesty to break up with a woman? I’ve seen Dennis’ methods work far better than honesty on multiple occasions. I have tried honesty, and honesty almost always brings with it the “I can change….” or the demand to pretend that the woman doesn’t suck because she’s trying not to suck.

    My favorite examples of breakups involving dumping by being dumped often involve the man imitating the woman’s behavior until she dumps him for being a douche. I’ve seen quite a few of those, and I often give that as advice.

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    • Fabelle March 29, 2012, 8:35 am

      Yes, yes, yes, to your first paragraph. I mean, although you’re referring specifically to women, men I’ve dated have done this as well. The times I have tried to be honest and clear telling somebody I don’t want to be with them anymore, it becomes a bargaining thing– “I can change” or “We just need to work on stuff”

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      • dandywarhol March 29, 2012, 9:05 am

        For sure! I tried this with a guy recently, told him clearly I didn’t want a relationship and didn’t want to be serious. He proceeded to make out with me later. I guess some people just don’t hear it or refuse to hear it.

  • EmFerg March 28, 2012, 6:18 pm

    what i’m wondering is, why does he go through all this effort? Take approach #1 for example: “After a few months, she starts wondering if work matters more to me than she does”. Uh if you are ready to break up with the girl when you devise this plan, why go through another few months?! Seems more exhausting than just being a flat out douche. Plus I know a lot of girls with staying power, that is, they may be “wondering” this after a few months, but they’re not going to pull the trigger for at least a few more. Seems counterintuitive to me.

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  • acastil5 March 28, 2012, 6:34 pm

    Ha my ex was seriously underwhelmed by my response when he said we were over. He was like, “I thought you might cry or hit me or something. I didn’t know what to expect” Me: “Umm, no. I understand where you are coming from, and you’ve convinced me we are not good for each other.” What crazy bitches has he gone out with in the past where hitting was involved? This is really an ego thing, thinking you are so wonderful that a person is just going to fall apart without you.

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  • bittergaymark March 28, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I’ve done this. Though sometimes — it backfires. I was dating this very nice guy once I simply found frightfully dull. But he was so enamored with me, so damn devoted, I didn’t want to break his heart. So I decided to just become insanely unpleasant. I was a bitch. About anything and everything. I even was rude to waitstaff at restaurants, something I simply never, ever do.


    It seems he was totally attracted to bitchy asshole types and I had now made myself even more attractive to him. 😉 Anyway, eventually, I had to break up with him. So in the end all my bitchuousity had been for nothing. Heck, there was even a restaurant or two that to this day I would be embarrassed to revisit… Although, really, I probably wasn’t that bitchy in hindsight to the waitstaff — especially considering that they had seen it all before and then some from real assholes who weren’t trying to ditch Mr. Dullsville.

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  • dandywarhol March 28, 2012, 7:06 pm

    Hmmm I must’ve read a different article than some of these people hating on it. I thought it was funny and honest…it’s not like you’re advocating this for goodness sakes! You have to be able to laugh at your past mistakes and I appreciate you can, Dennis. And really, who hasn’t messed up in dating?? No one here is perfect, no one has been that perfect boyfriend/girlfriend all the time. I know I’ve effed up enough haha.
    Bottom line that I got: if someone isn’t making an effort to see you, then they’re basically on their way out. Sure, life happens, but if its constant and you don’t see them trying to fix it, then MoA.

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  • Francine March 28, 2012, 7:12 pm

    Any one of those would probably work on me but your plan isn’t fool proof. Karma doesn’t care that you’ve apologized and will see to it that you hook up with a drama loving woman who wants to be treated badly. She’ll be determined to fix you and promise never to leave you no matter how bad it gets. Of course, your reformed self will just break up with her but she’ll have none of that. You’ll come home one night to find your bunny in a pot on the stove. Yep, she’s comin’ and you’ll never get rid of her. 😉

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  • Samantha March 28, 2012, 6:32 pm

    This was funny. And brutally honest. I’ve totally had this happen to me. And done it – not with romantic relationships, but with people that I just can’t be friends with anymore. The funny thing is, outside of romantic relationships, in other relationship contexts, a lot of these behaviors would get a pass. Some, like filling up your schedule, are actually recommended (not by Wendy, certainly, but in other advice columns) for getting rid of friends with whom we no longer connect.
    Point is, thanks Dennis, for this. It’s a good guide for helping to identify when we should jet from a bad situation.

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    • Muffy March 28, 2012, 10:38 pm

      I never thought of it like that but you are so right! It’s often recommended to do the slow fade out with friends

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  • feelingroovy March 28, 2012, 8:50 pm

    Dennis, I always love reading your essays. Thanks for sharing this one; I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of these passive-aggressive non-breakup strategies so this was a great read. I’m not terribly proud, either, but I’ve never broken up with a guy if we were just casually dating. I get busy and flaky until I disappear altogether.

    I don’t get why everyone is so angry about this. I see no signs of disrespect, chauvinism, or misogyny in the piece at all–it’s just abundantly clear that you just get nervous and kinda cowardly when it comes time to break someone’s heart. Most of us do.

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    • Dennis Hong March 28, 2012, 10:17 pm

      Thanks. My guess is that the people who get angry about this are the people who’ve had these shenanigans pulled on them that they may just now be realizing. And in that case, I become an easy scapegoat.

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  • ele4phant March 28, 2012, 10:40 pm

    You know, you can be the good guy and also be the one who instigates the break up. Be kind and considerate to her feelings, but be honest that you just don’t feel about her the way she deserves to be felt about.

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  • LaRouge March 29, 2012, 1:55 pm

    It’s always better when they just end it, instead of dragging it out! Thanks for the insights.

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  • Nalah March 29, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Doing these things to a person is fucked up. It just is. Break ups are bad enough but this is horrible. People need to grow up and just say the truth.

    Stuff like this is why we have women destroying mens cars with bricks, throwing their clothes all over the lawn. The recevier of this crap is then seen as the crazy one because he or she questions what/ how the relationship ended and then her or she feels used and gets psycho pissed off.

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  • Sabrina March 29, 2012, 10:55 pm

    Thanks for the candor, Dennis! Having been on the receiving end of most of these…. it hurts but it’s also just a part of dating. I just hold onto hope that the right guy won’t pull those tricks, because he’ll just be dying to hang out with me 🙂

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    • *HmC* April 1, 2012, 1:27 am

      A good person wouldn’t do this to you even if he wasn’t into you. This should not just be “a part of dating” that people roll over and accept. It’s bullshit that adults should not engage in.

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  • Nadiya June 13, 2018, 4:16 pm

    Thank you, this is exactly what mine is doing to me. I got the point. Now to find a new place to move and begin the break up. 🙁

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