Breakups suck. There’s no way around it. But sometimes we wonder if guys are really affected by breakups as much as we are. Do they know what they’re doing when they piss us off and force us to dump them? Do they really like to be the ones who are dumped? And how do they break the news to their friends and family. For today’s Crushable Man Panel, we asked three guys — Abraham, Jason and Ryan — to tell us their thoughts on breakups. They dished on everything from their preference to dump or be dumped (“I don’t think anyone likes to be dumped”) to their breakup M.O. (“The goal is to not make her crazy so she comes after you with a large knife”).
Do you prefer to dump or be dumped?
Jason: I prefer to be dumped. I guess that comes from a lot of serial monogamy and just wanting to let the other person feel like they’re in control.
Ryan: I don’t think anyone likes to be dumped. I think pretty much everyone likes to be in control of the situation or at least be able to decide what’s going to happen. In most cases, either I was the person who decided to end things or it was a mutual decision.
Have you ever been guilty of ignoring a girl or making her upset in order to get her to break up with you?
Abraham: No. Never. How could you even ask me that? Of course! Breaking up with someone is kind of a vulnerable thing. It could be insulting. It can certainly be taken that way. Men do this all the time, women do this all the time, too. Rather than say, ‘I’m just not that into you,’ they’ll avoid them, be moody, sabotage themselves. It’s a lot of drama.
Jason: I’m definitely guilty of ignoring a girl so that she’ll break up with me or get upset.
Ryan: If you’ve reached a point where you’re at the level where you’re about to break up, there’s things that you do that are maybe not very nice. Frankly, I tend to be pretty up front about things and if I’m not happy in a situation I’ll let them know. Just because I think it’s more fair on all sides to just be upfront about things.
When you decide that you need to break up with a girl, what is your break up M.O.?
Abraham: If I’m going to break up with a girl, you really have to be direct about it. So if I’m thinking about breaking up, I won’t discuss it. I won’t say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about breaking up, let’s talk about it.’ That typically doesn’t work. It’s really very simple. You go to her house, you tell her there. No woman is going to leave her house to chase you when you break up with her. I like to be friends withe women who I spend time with, so I usually try to leave it at that. If you’re breaking up with someone, it’s not a reason to catalog all the things you don’t like about someone. It’s just time for the relationship to be different. Don’t do it in a public place, don’t do it at your house, keep it short and respect the person, and it should go well.
Jason: I don’t know that there’s a particular M.O. I think it’s different for every situation and the goal is to not make her crazy so she comes after you with a large knife. But there’s a tendency to decrease phone activity and try to take all the things that I’ve left at her apartment/house back home so that when the breakup happens I don’t lose any items of clothing that I so dearly love.
Ryan: I tend to be very old school about it. Let’s get together, let’s meet, let’s have drinks or coffee or something and discuss this and let our feelings be heard. Most cases, once you reach that point, there’s not a whole lot of reconciliation to be done. I tend to be upfront and let the other partner know that it’s not working.
What is your worst break up story?
Abraham: Breakups are funny because you don’t actually have to be seeing someone to go through a breakup. Breakups can happen after the first date. I went out on a date with this woman, it was a blind date. Over dinner she proceeded to tell me that she was barren, epileptic, abused by her ex-husband and suffered from depression occasionally. Outside of this, she was a really nice woman. It was clear she had issues in her life, she had things she was going through. So at the end of the date, after dessert, I told her I had a nice time and was interested in being friends, but I was not interested in pursuing her. She yelled at me in the restaurant and then asked me to leave so that she could “leave with her dignity.”
Ryan: I haven’t really had any really horrible breakup stories. Most of my breakups have been either mutual decisions or I’ve been the one ending things. But the one thing that really, really sucks is the fade out — the idea that you’re going to spend less and less time together until the other person realizes there’s no more relationship anymore. That drives me nuts. It’s really manipulative.
After you break up with someone, how do you tell your friends or family that it’s over?
Abraham: You just tell them. They’re friends and family, you don’t have to justify it. You don’t have to tell a dramatic story like it came from a movie. Just tell them.
Jason: The people who are most invested in my relationships beyond me are my parents. My mother, bless her soul, told me once, ‘I don’t care if you get married, I just want grandchildren.’ So I’ll break it to her slowly. I’ll kind of leave hints. Even if I’m already broken up with a girl I’ll say things like, ‘Oh, it’s not going so well’ or ‘There have been some problems.’ At least to my mother I try to make the girl out to be the villain because I can obviously do no wrong in her eyes.
If you could ask a woman one question and you knew she had to be honest, what would you ask?
Abraham: What makes you special?
Jason: How am I in bed?
Ryan: What is it about Sex and the City? I just don’t get it.
One of our man panelists this week was Abraham Lloyd, a relationship columist on marieclaire.com and yourtango.com. Read some of his marieclaire.com articles here.