Advice | November 6, 2017 9:00 am

How to Break Up With Her Like a Grown-Ass Man

10 real, live, sex-having women on the art of breakin’ hearts

Let’s start with the obvious: there’s no easy way to break up with someone.

But there is a dignified way. Most of us just don’t know it yet.

So we asked 10 real, live, sex-having women to dish on the dos and don’ts of pulling the cord.

Hint: It ain’t via text message.

Andrea, 30, Producer
Wifed up
Do: “Grow a pair and say it to my face. I’ve shared a piece of myself with him, in more ways than one. He should respect my feelings and know that I deserve an in-person explanation and farewell.”

Don’t: “Text. Like, are you KIDDING me, dude? Such a slap in the face.”

Karen, 36, Digital Content Strategist
Domesticated to the max
Do: “If I’m the one that is being broken up with, there is NO good way. Period. Even if I’m not into you and I was going to do it anyway. If you end things first, I’m devastated.”

Don’t: “I’ve been ghosted before (way before it was dubbed ‘ghosted’) and it’s awful. A guy went from legit wooing me with flowers, dinners and two box-seat tickets to a baseball game to literally disappearing off the face of the earth to the point that I thought maybe he had died. It’s been 10 years and I’ve still never confirmed that … so maybe he did.”

Lily, 29, Marketing Coordinator
What is this new boyfriend doing here?
Do: “In person, in a direct fashion, somewhere neutral (not your favorite restaurant, home, workout studio, a place with shared memories). And also where it’s easy to leave and find solitude and not be stuck with them for hours after (i.e., a drive home from upstate New York).”

Don’t: “He drives up from a faraway state to visit for a few weeks before Thanksgiving. He stays in your three-bed apartment for over 12 days, doesn’t really hang out with you during that time and also doesn’t do anything productive in the home or for your roommates. He comes home excessively late multiple nights in a row when you have to work the next day until he finally decides he actually hates New York, doesn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship and breaks up with you in your bed on the day of a Friendsgiving you were supposed to attend together. Woof.”

Eve, 30, Real Estate Broker
This guy’s really growin’ on me
Do: “I think one of the biggest lessons in breakups is to make sure you address what it is and actually break up with someone and have the respect for both of you to do it in a kind, responsible way. That means that waiting for something to blow up or having a new relationship in the meantime isn’t an option.”

Don’t: “Be scared of the confrontation, because when you are, that’s when people get hurt the most.”

Bethany, 29, Model/Actress
Single. Awesome.
Don’t: “I think the worst way to be broken up with is to be ghosted. This happened to me after a three-month romance in New York City. Met the guy’s parents, lived with him and his brothers while I was there. Before I headed back to Australia, my intuition told me something was up with his ex, but I ignored it. I was absolutely smitten with him. We had this whirlwind romance, with moments that felt like they were out of a movie. Once I landed in Australia, he completely cut off communication. After almost two weeks of agony and confusion, one of his friends returned my message and let me know that he was back with his ex (who wasn’t even living in the same city when I had been in New York). The lack of closure and his selfishness caused me insurmountable pain. Six months later they were married. I didn’t date anyone for over a year. Eventually, time healed that wound. But I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I questioned my self-worth, my looks, my character … everything. For someone to be that cold after being so intimate was incredibly painful.”

Do: “My advice to men, on behalf of all women: Be honest. Communicate. Don’t be selfish. If you’re ending things for another woman, we want to hear it from you. Not from your friend, not in pictures, not on social media.”

Layla, 32, Graphic Designer
Living in sin
Do: “A face-to-face conversation, not in public. Preferably in my own apartment so I don’t have to cry in the streets heading home.”

Don’t: “Do it in public (like a restaurant), via text, social media, email, Post-it, ghosting. Especially the famous Sex and the City Post-it breakup. Cringe.”

Marion, 30, Tastemaker
On a Tinder rampage
Do: “Never forget to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. That’s a good exercise to perform semi-frequently, in fact. Unless you’re in some wild extenuating circumstances, try to go for the graceful exit, leaving things as intact as possible. It’s an emotional time, but cooler heads prevail, so let’s not say things we can’t take back.”

Don’t: “Word to the wise and decent: being overly specific if it’s not actually constructive in any way is just bad form. Don’t ghost. Be a damn adult and use your words. When it comes to dating, most women have seen it all, so we appreciate and can handle your efforts at transparency, fumbling or not. So make them.”

Allison, 29, Physical Trainer
A little bit of this and a little bit of that
Do: “In person is definitely the best way to be broken up with. It shows respect for the other person and the face-to-face allows for a sense of closure. The tricky part is where, though. Being in a restaurant or bar sucks because you feel stuck and like everyone is pitying you. A little over a year ago a guy I was dating decided to end things with me in a park, which was perfect (as perfect as any breakup can be). There’s always somewhere in a park where you can find some privacy to talk without strangers eavesdropping. You can walk away whenever you want and not feel stuck.”  

Don’t: “Via text message is the WORST way to be broken up with. It just leaves you pissed off and with unanswered questions. There’s no feeling of closure. I had a guy send me a two-paragraph text breaking up with me a few years back. We had been dating for about four months. The text message was a lot of ‘it’s me, not you, focusing on my career’ stuff. Found out months later he was actually in full-on relationships with multiple women. Classy guy. It’s much easier to move on when you can look the other person in the eye and discuss it.”

Frances, 33, Creative Consultant
Married and damn stoked about it
Do: “Dudes, if you want a clean break and a gold star, break up and send her on a spa vacation with a friend. That would definitely ease the blow. Complete honesty with a calm, clear delivery is best. In private. In person. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you, after all? So, be decent, be compassionate, but be clear. The worst possible way is to leave things unclear or left open for interpretation!”

Don’t: “At the end of a date or after a decent weekend: [that sends] mixed messages. After attending a wedding: don’t even GO to the wedding, duh. With no explanation: thanks, now I can spend my time over-analyzing this, and torture all my friends. In a really public place: cool, dick. After sex: possibly the ultimate way for a woman to feel worthless.”

Otto, 36, Magazine Editor
Mega love him
Don’t: “I’ve definitely had a broken heart, but I’ve never been broken up with. And it’s not that I’m a siren — I think it’s more that some of these dudes were too much of a p*ssy to be the bad guy and sort of muscled me into doing the dirty work. That’s bad form.

Do: “I handle all break-ups in the same manner … in 15 minutes. State the reason. Make the decision clear. Don’t leave room for waterworks. I like to think that I would appreciate the same treatment. Some have found my method to be a little cold, but I’ve found that by the time the actual breaking up comes to the surface, the relationship has likely been over for ages. No need to draw this debacle out any longer.”