I’m with this man who is ten years younger than me. He’s sweet, and we have such a great time, but he isn’t ready to marry or even settle down. I understand that, but that’s not where my head is. I want children (he has three) and I want something steady that I can really count on and call my own. After seven years it’s basically over, Will. I don’t want to be here anymore, but I don’t have the words to tell this man, who I know loves me, that he just isn’t the one. How do I tell him?
Hey Party’s Over,
Well damn. It’s a beautiful spring day, not a cloud in the sky. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and I was just about to go out and take over the world and then your letter comes strolling in and pees in my cornflakes. Oh well, I guess that’s just part of being the Good Enough Guy.
No matter how nice we try to make it, the only thing that sucks worse than dumping someone is being dumped. The ways to do it are as numerous as the reasons that we have to, but with a guy, there is really only one way to have it completely sink in, and that method is the clean-break. It’s no fun, but it works. Here’s how, and why:
BE SURE THAT YOU’RE SURE: Okay, there’s the age gap. And he doesn’t want to get married, and he probably doesn’t want any more kids, and after seven years of trying, it sounds like you’re just done. And you’re sure about this, right? I ask because, when a man hears “break up”, he immediately starts listening for wiggle room. Phrases like “it’s basically over” leave a gap that a lot of guys will try to squeeze through. You know him better than I do, so you’ll need to say the things that make him understand that it’s really, truly, completely, undeniably O-V-E-R. Don’t say wishy-washy crap that leaves the door open. For example:
Instead of this: Say this:
“I wish things could be different.” “Things were good, but now they aren’t.”
“It’s not you; it’s me.” “We want different things for ourselves.”
“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” “I still care, but it’s time we moved on.”
“Maybe we should see other people.” “It’s time to end our relationship.”
“I hope, someday…” “Thank you for what we’ve shared, but…”
While some of these may seem harsh, stringing him along with “maybe” and “possibly” is like poking little holes in the relationship and letting it bleed to death instead of just cutting off its head and being done with it. In this case, harsh is actually the opposite of cruel.
“MAN UP!” Don’t lie. Don’t make excuses. Don’t just start avoiding him. If you care about his feelings, than be respectful and responsible enough to give it to him straight, face-to-face. He’s younger than you, but not so young that he won’t understand plain English, even if he doesn’t want to.
THE EASY WAY: All men react differently to break ups. Some cry. Some beg. Some act as if they don’t really care; others may really not care. There is no way to know exactly how he’ll react until after it’s done. He may have seen the writing on the wall and be okay with it. If so, he can move right into the friend zone and tomorrow you two can have tea and crumpets and talk about old times. If not, read on.
THE HARD WAY: Because men are fixers, we usually at least try to fix things. If he does, you’ll need to explain that things aren’t broken; your relationship has simply run its course and come to its end. If he tries to call (drunk dial) you after the break up, answer the call… but answer one call and one time only. Explain that you are moving on and that he should too, and that the only way to do that is for him not to call anymore. Explain that if he does call again, you won’t answer, and then if/when he calls again, don’t answer; cold-blooded I know, but as long as you keep talking, he’ll think there’s still a chance. The same goes for him showing up at your door. Don’t accept gifts. Don’t re-hash the whole break-up. After you’ve told him not to come back, just don’t answer the door. After a few unanswered calls and a couple of unanswered knocks, most men catch on. If he’s a decent guy, and it sounds like he is, he’ll move on. Maybe down the road, you can be friends… but if the break up was rough, give the clean cut plenty of time to heal first.
IF IT BLOWS UP: This may be over-kill, but I’m adding it just in case. Normally guys get a little angry, maybe play the blame game for awhile, then just get over it. BUT there are some jerks out there that won’t let things go until they feel like they’ve gotten revenge by hurting you back, and there are FAR too many ladies who try to deal with that kind of crap on their own. Hopefully it never comes to that, but if it does, don’t blame yourself, don’t try to protect him, and don’t suffer in silence. Here in the good-old USA, no one is allowed to make you stay in an unwanted relationship, no one is allowed to harass or bully you, and no one is allowed to hurt you or damage anything that belongs to you just because they’re angry with you. If it comes to any of that, don’t hesitate to call the police and let them deal with it. You pay their salary, that’s what they are there for, and they don’t like those crud balls any more than the rest of us (just Good Enough Guy being over-protective).
Well, hopefully this helps. I hate to see a good relationship end, but that’s better than watching a bad relationship drag on in agony. Sometimes it’s better to let the old ones die and plant new ones. Good luck in the future.
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William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1