Is breaking-up going around or perhaps contagious?  Or is it that we jump into relationships too quickly and, as we come to know the other person a little better, flaws become less tolerable? It’s then that we begin to think of an exit strategy.

While I don’t often think of break-ups, on the train the other day, a young woman sat in the front car with a very large glitter pink and purple sign that read “BREAK UP.”

While other passengers got on and off at their stops, no one said a word to her. Finally as we approached the end of our route, I said:  “The sign is very dramatic.”  

“I’m glad you like it,” she replied explaining that it was a prop for her performance art group; the evening would culminate with her announcing that her relationship ending “really hurt.”

I wished her well and another young woman said, “I’m glad you talked to her. Breaking-up is on everyone’s mind,” she said. Indeed based on the response from 20 Thoughts on How to Say, “It’s Over” I can understand why.  

Different break up styles

Men and women have different break-up styles – men tend to slip away, whereas women try to analyze the problem. But emotions are not always rational.  And there is no easy way to say, “It’s over.”   Women who tell me about break-ups usually wish the man had the decency to appear in person on neutral territory. 

Today’s news was of a woman who discovered that her husband was a bigamist when she found an email from a band that had played at his recent wedding.

Time to say, “Good bye”

When you feel that the time has come to say “Good-by”, always do so with dignity, clarity, and firmness. Try to have the talk face-to-face.

  • Dignity - Never mind the rant that goes something like: "Look what you’ve done. How can you expect me to stay with you?" Just start by addressing virtues and expressing gratitude for the time you shared together.
  • Clarity - Point out that there is a problem that the two of you have been unable to resolve and it is best to move on.  
  • Firmness - State clearly, "I've made my decision and as painful as this is, I believe it is best for both of us."  However, do keep the option open for a continued platonic friendship if you share the same values.

The expectations problem

If it seems that more people today are breaking-up rather than making-up, the problem may be one of expectations. Mr. or Mrs. Right should also be “The One,” perfect in every way. Dr. Leo Buscaglia, the man who wrote the book called “Love,” has essentially reminded us: “If you are waiting for ‘the One’ you will wait forever.  We become the one.”

Then as we learned in a recent column by Dr. Craig Malkin, sometimes we don’t trust our own loving feelings. Are You Killing Your Hope for Lasting Love?

Classy break up methods and cheap ones

While break-ups are painful, I have written before about the colleague who received three dozens roses.  The card on the first dozen read: "I will always love you."  The card on the second dozen: "I hope you will forgive me."  The card on the third dozen: "This is the end for us. But always stay as beautiful as these roses."

Another friend received a cultured pearl necklace with the note, “Pearls mean tears. Don’t cry. Find someone who can love you.”

Then we all know the men who just fade away – these men are usually cheap and stingy -- with money as well as their emotions. When they go, women should be grateful. Love Good Kissing? Date Generous Men Not Cheap Ones

Seeking help

Breaking up is serious and painful. Guard yourself against depression by surrounding yourself with supportive friends.  However, if you find yourself crying uncontrollably and are unable to eat or sleep or leave your home, seek out a therapist who will help you move on to a more positive place.

A word on gratitude

Express gratitude always. Even if you initiated the break up, you will feel an empty place inside. But by expressing gratitude you remind yourself of the good times you shared and how you have been freed to find a love who values you. 7 Ways to Create an Abundance Garden

(Photo: Stranger on the train.)

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

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