This is a personal list of truly bad ways to break up with someone that are guaranteed to lead to a lifetime of resentment and over-analysis.
Because, as it turns out, if someone claims to love you, why not twist that knife just a little deeper as you’re on the way out? That’s certainly the way it seems to work.
1. Dumped Via Text Message Hit And Run
Nothing says I couldn’t care less like being dumped via text message. A hands off, cowardly and lazy way of burying your head in the sand and a surefire way to enrage dumpees for countless years ahead.
That’s right. Countless years. Because in the end the thing about being abruptly cut off isn’t the end of the relationship, per se. We’ll get over that. It’s the questions. Oh, the questions. Those will never end.
And that’s their parting gift to us, our dear, sweet, beloved ex. A ten second crying emoji and a decade of therapy.
2. Drowned By The Downward Spiral
If we love someone we’re going to try and soften the breakup blow as much as possible, both for our sake and theirs. This leads to a downward spiral that slowly cooks the unfortunate dumpee over time, evaporating what’s left of their peace of mind.
Mixed messages, crumbs and hot and cold behavior are the signs of an ex who is playing games. They’re also great ways to destroy someone from within without actually having to confront our partner. Which is usually the point of such shenanigans.
Please. If you love someone, give it to them straight. You have every right to ditch a sinking ship, but at least have the courage to point your ex in the right direction as you leave.
3. Suffocated By Social Media
How to make any interpersonal drama ten times worse than it needs to be: Play it out in front of the world.
Not only can social media make the act breaking up about as personal as smoke signal, but it also lays bare the worst of our nature. Pathetically transparent acts of petty revenge mixed with oscar-winning indifference, all carried out with the objective of winning the break up war. All studiously set in motion to save our own skin.
And it can get bad.
Really, really bad.
4. Caught In The Act
Yes, catching your partner cheating is brutal. But if you catch them in bed with someone it can, and this is what I call thinking positively, hasten your healing because at least your anger will sustain you for awhile.
You know what’s worse?
Piecing together a subtle patchwork of lies over the course of months or years. Slowly gathering all the evidence and then having a “usual suspects” moment when you finally piece it all together.
That’s when reality really comes crashing down. Not just the relationship, I mean everything.
5. The “None Of The Above” Breakup
Living in an unending grey area of doubt and over-analysis is worse than a clean breakup because while the relationship may end, the questions never really do.
Couple this with an ex who just wants to move on, who no longer really cares about negotiating any more, and you have the perfect recipe for enduring pain.
The none of the above breakups happen when you are dumped out of the blue without a reason. Or, similarly, with a hundred different ones excuses that make you convinced they are hiding the real reason for the breakup.
The moral of the story is that you are now left to make sense of your failings on your own. Given how broken our ability to be objective is during a breakup, this means closure isn’t on the menu for awhile.
6. Two Birds With One Stone
It amazes me how common this is, but perhaps it shouldn’t.
Getting dumped is bad enough, but being discarded for a mutual acquaintance is just pure evil (and why is it always your best friend?).
Not only do you lose a piece of your soul, you now lose your support network as well. Way to go team.
7. The Illusionist
The illusionist breakup archetype combines several of the above points into a single, rolling avalanche of agony.
Simply put: It’s all a disappearing act. The entire relationship was built on a house of cards. A pyramid of lies. One day you wake up and are confronted by someone you thought you knew, but obviously didn’t.
The game is up, for whatever reason, and the rabbit is now out of the hat and hopping eagerly towards the exit. It truly is one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve ever had to face. Realizing that my entire relationship was an idealized fiction that my partner only existed as a character constructed for my entertainment.
And when I say bizarre what I really mean to say is, you guessed it, painful.
Les jeux sont faits, but the confusion and betrayal have only just begun. That much I can assure you.
8. TKO By Laughably Bad Breakup Excuse
Bad breakup excuses are more than just a transparent and pathetic attempt to escape conflict, they are insecurity-breeding parasites that delay our healing.
If you’re coming off the tail end of a long term relationship, chances are you know your ex well enough to know that what you’re being fed isn’t quite cooked.
So, given the fact that they’re avoiding being honest with you, it must mean that they’ve judged the truth too tough for us to bear. Right?
Maybe. Maybe not, but we’re going to think the worst of ourselves anyway, because that’s amore.
Worst Ways To Break Up With Someone Who Loves You
A clean break is what we all seem to fear, but I’ll take it. I’ll take it every damned time.
No, what I fear is the soft letdown. The coward’s curse. The never-ending confusion and anxiety that stem from never really knowing where you stand.
Look, if you love someone, letting them go doesn’t mean drifting silently off into the murk and hoping they kind of get busy with something else. It means providing at least a measure of clarity.
It means confronting the fact that relationships don’t work for a reason. And it isn’t always personal.
In short, the worst way to break up with someone who loves you is to not breakup with them. It’s to keep them dangling and feeding their sense of false hope (which will balloon at every mixed message or crumb you feed them). That’s where the real torture lies.