I thought up a useful (of sorts) followup to this post, though it really can apply to anyone who wants to break up with someone, regardless of what their gender/gender preference is. When reading, feel free to swap genders in your head if need be.
This guide is designed specifically for dumping someone who is still in love with you and NOT expecting a breakup, i.e. possibly the scariest sort of dumping. This will not be relevant for any breakup where the two parties calmly and mutually decide to end it.
The number one rule, the one most important here, the one YOU MUST FOLLOW IF YOU ARE A REMOTELY DECENT HUMAN BEING, even if you discard all other advice after this, is simple:
1. Make sure you TELL the SO that you are dumping them.
As you can tell from the previous post, the worst and cruelest way to dump a person is to give them an ambiguous/silent dumping, that forces them to "get the hint."
Now, I know you don't want to have to tell them. Some of y'all REALLY don't want to tell, don't want to deal with the consequences, etc. Tough titty. You want out, you let the person know.
But. I am fairly lenient as to how you do it.
Once upon a time, I purchased How To Dump A Guy. (I don't know why, considering that to this day I never HAVE.) That book was adamant that the one and only decent way to dump someone was to take them to dinner and dump them in public. I disagree. I say the important thing above all else is to TELL THE PERSON. Doesn't matter HOW so much as they KNOW.
If you can't bear to do it in person, do it over the phone. If you can't bear to do it over the phone, do it in e-mail. I think text-message dumping (what does one say, anyway? "U N ME IS NO MORE?") is incredibly fucking tacky, but if that's the ONLY way you are going to get the words out to the SO, then so be it. Whatever way gets you to JUST SAY IT. If you can't deal with her reaction, delete her number/block her calls/block her e-mail after you do it if you must. JUST SAY IT.
I don't think it matters HOW you do it. In person versus the phone versus whatever- either way you're going to inevitably hurt someone. One method over another doesn't really make that any better. Yeah, your soon-to-be-ex can gripe, "OMG HE DUMPED ME OVER E-MAIL, HOW TACKY," but hey, AT LEAST SHE KNOWS SHE'S BEEN DUMPED.
As for long-distance relationships, there's different schools of thought on that. Some folks prefer to get dumped in person, even if one has to travel to the other in order to do the dumping. Others (myself among them) think an LDR might as well be ended over the phone so as to save money and travel. I think it's bloody horrible to have traveled to see someone and then get dumped. You're then stuck there for awhile, probably with nonrefundable, nonexchangeable plane tickets, with someone who doesn't want you any more. In other words, total hell. For a more graphic example of why you DON'T want to do this, read this travel saga.
And now that we've covered the most important part...for those of you who are dumping in person, or still having contact with an ex post-dumping, please read on for further points for your consideration.
The rest of this can be boiled down to the following:
2. Don't be mean.
3. Don't give her ANY hope.
4. Don't ask to be friends.
5. Perform the exchange of stuff as soon as possible.
6. Don't lead her on with your actions post-breakup.
When it comes to #2, Don't Be Mean, don't do any unnecessary insulting of her unless she REALLY screwed you over. Be polite. Okay, this one's fairly easy.
#3, Don't give her any hope, is fucking CRUCIAL. Remember in the first post how I talked about a really bad method of dumping? Let's look at that again.
He tells you that due to some "good excuse" or other, he can't handle being in a relationship "right now." Tells you that you're a wonderful person, but you deserve better than him. He may even say that he loves you WHILE saying the rest of this to you.
The problem with this one is that it gives a desperate girl in love hope that some day, you will get back together with her. A girl being unwillingly dumped will look for ANY sign of hope that this isn't happening or that this relationship can be saved. Let me give you the worst example of this: one of my exes telling me that our chances of getting back together were "microscopically infinitesimal." Some people would have realized this translated into "I'd rather have my balls set on fire than be your boyfriend again," but not I. Oh noooooo, I took that remark as a sign of HOPE.
THAT is the kind of mindset you shall be dealing with. You must thwart it. It's for her own good. If you ever loved her, you won't encourage this with your actions.
EVEN IF IT'S TRUE, don't tell her that you still love her. Don't tell her that you want to be single for "right now" or "for awhile" or that you want time apart in order to deal with a situation, because she'll interpret that as "later on we'll get back together." Even if YOU ACTUALLY THINK that someday you and she will get back together, DON'T SAY THAT TO HER. Make sure she gets the message right now that this is a permanent breakup. (You can change your mind later.) And don't give her reasons (other than "I don't love you any more") for why you're dumping her. If you say stuff like "You don't get along with my mother," or "I always wanted a stay-at-home wife and you love your career" or "You're too messy for me," if she wants you badly enough she'll try to turn herself inside out to jump through your "hoops" so she can get you back.
If you really want this relationship to be over, make the dumping as final as possible. No hope. No arguing. Don't be outright mean and hurtful (#2), but don't give her anything she can latch on to. Okay, the really crazy ones might make up hope in their heads anyway, but most chicks will benefit from a full-on cutting of the cord. You don't want to leave her in a Nearly Headless Nick-type situation here.
Then there's #4, Don't ask to be friends. I don't care if it's your personal policy to befriend every ex of yours, asking a girl who's just had her heart broken to be your friend immediately is all kinds of mean. It'll be an unequal friendship at best, with her hanging on in hopes that you'll change your mind and take her back, and you wanting to chat with her about your new girlfriend and wondering why she just started crying during lunch. You really don't want a friendship with your new ex until she's not in love with you any more. Until then, you can't have one. Break off contact until then, for both her sake and yours. Perhaps the only time being friends immediately after a breakup works is when BOTH parties wanted to break off the romance part. If only one of you wants to be broken up, it doesn't work. Be friends with her in a year when both of you have new SO's, but for right now, leave her alone.
#5, Perform the exchange of stuff as soon as possible, should be done with speed and finesse. If you are going to dump the girl in person, perhaps pack up her stuff and bring it over in your car on the way over, and bring it in to her after the deed is done. After that point, or if you dumped her via phone/e-mail, either return her stuff by mailing it to her, arranging with a friend to have the friend take her stuff over, or drop it off at her place when you KNOW she won't be home. The sooner you cut all ties, including ties of stuff, the better off you and her will be.
And finally, we're at #6, which along with #'s 1 and 3, is downright crucial as to how to treat someone. Don't lead her on with your actions post-breakup. What I mean by this is to NOT do any of the following sorts of behavior:
- Hearing "your song" on the radio, feeling mopey, and calling your ex to talk about how you heard your song.
- Drunk dialing the ex.
- Sex with the ex.
- Telling the ex you still love her.
- Telling the ex you miss her.
- Flirting with the ex.
- Giving the ex major flattering compliments, like that she was the best girlfriend ever.
- Seeing something your ex would love, buying it for her, and giving it to her.
- Giving her any kind of gift or card, even if it's her birthday/Valentine's Day.
- Getting back together with her for any length of time and then quickly bailing out again, a la Getting Over John Doe.
- Acting like your ex is still your best friend (see #4).
Why are these acts a problem? It all goes back to #3, because behavior like this will give the girl hope. If you keep treating her, on any level, like she is still your girlfriend and/or you still love her, she will think you want her back, or at least be monumentally confused. For example, the gift thing. You think you're just being nice by giving her a gift, but she's thinking, "Exes don't give you gifts. He gave me a gift. Does he want me back? He still loves me..." And the more evidence you give her that you still feel something for her, the more confused or unreasonably hopeful she will get.
And if you are acting like this AND YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO BE HER BOYFRIEND AGAIN, what you are doing is akin to torturing a kitten. Don't do any of these things in the post-dump period. When she's over you and you're friends FOR REAL and everything you do doesn't have some kind of romantic significance, THEN you can get her a dang present without it being an issue. But for right now? DON'T SEND MIXED MESSAGES. Remember, YOU are the one who wanted her gone from your life. It's up to YOU to maintain that wall you put up between you, because you're the one that wants it.
Thus endeth the lesson.