I read Not a Mean Guy's letter [Dategirl, Dec. 28, 2005] and am astounded that men continue to be complete retards when it comes to breaking up with a woman. I swear, the guy who wrote that letter has to be the last guy I dated. We hit it off, had a great time with each other, then after about a month, I sensed that something had changed. I decided to not call him for a while to see if he would call me. After 10 days of being blown off, I called him, only to have him (finally) tell me that he had started dating someone who, in his words, seemed really special. Although I wasn't impressed that he couldn't find the courage to tell me that right away, I appreciated hearing the truth.
Not a Mean Guy said he didn't know "the right thing" to do. Start with realizing that not all women are delicate/ unstable time bombs waiting to go off. Try saying, "I'm really sorry about this, but I recently met someone who I think is really meant for me. I wanted to tell you right away instead of leading you on."
Good God, Dategirl, why do men find this so freakin' difficult??
Fed Up With Dudes
I totally hear ya on being annoyed when someone treats you like you're going to turn into Stacy Stalker if he breaks up with you. But in the interest of fairness (being fair was Resolution No. 32 this year), I must point out that women aren't particularly gifted when it comes to doing the dumping, either.
Take my friend Chet*, for example. He had been dating Edna** for the past almost-two years. They had a long- distance relationship, but as both their jobs paid well and weren't overly taxing in the you-have-to-show-up department, they saw each other quite often. Edna was problematic in a number of ways (which I won't get into), but Chet seemed smitten, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Until she dumped him.
Now, while it's true that she did come out and tell him things weren't working out, she waited until two days after he had purchased a nonrefundable ticket to Brazil to do so. The idea was that they'd meet at an airport between them, fly south together, and ring in the New Year sipping caipirinhas and baking on a beautiful beach. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, she changed her mind. That's it. No big argument . . . no more red flags than usual. In fact, she'd purchased her ticket, too, and for all I know they were stuck sitting next to each other on the same flight.
As I've documented probably to the point of nauseating you all, I've been shown the curb on many occasions. And out of all those times, only once was it done with kindness. Probably because we'd only had one date and he didn't know me well enough to hate me. (Oh, crap! "Quit feeling sorry for myself" was Resolution No. 31!) This guy called me a couple days after our date and told me that while he liked me, he'd been seeing someone else and wasn't comfortable dating two people at once. This would've been good even if he'd been lying, but he eventually wound up marrying Bachelorette No. 2, so how bad could I feel?
I can't say I've always been the most diplomatic of dumpers, either. I'm thinking specifically of the time I emptied a pint of Red Bull and vodka over an ex's head. This in front of all our friends. If I recall correctly, I believe I also pulled the hat off his head and stomped on it for good measure. That he richly deserved it is somewhat beside the point. I'm also guilty of having dodged phone calls and telling some really bad lies, when the truth would've been much easier on all of us.
So yes, dumping can be terrifying, but my friend Chris reminded me of something vitally important for all us conscientious past and future heartbreakers to remember: As horrifying as it is to tell someone it's over, it's nowhere near as painful as being the one on the receiving end.
*Name changed to protect the wounded.
**Name changed because her real one's too pretty.
Don't know the right thing to do? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.