Often the longest part of a relationship is the time between realising it’s over and doing something about it. All those weeks, months or even years of energy you pour into trying to make it work could be so much better spent on cultivating your next big romance. So if you’ve come to the conclusion that the ride¹s over, don’t sit around waiting for her to push you off the carousel. Pull the trigger now before it ruins your life… and hers! Here’s how…
RECOGNISING IT’S OVER
Reasons to split come in a thousand shades of grey. So how do you know when to pull the plug? Do any of these ring true?
- There isn’t a fixable problem
Perfume that burns your nostrils, talking in a baby voice, the way she twirls her hair incessantly, these are infuriating problems that can be fixed. But if just thinking about your girlfriend makes you feel like faking your own death, it’s time to find the nearest exit.
- You get a thrill from arguing with her
Don’t be fooled by people who proudly describe their relationship as “tempestuous”- it’s actually a cry for help. If your girlfriend makes you want to scream, you are probably going out with the wrong person.
- You’re fine with her sleeping around
Close your eyes and imagine she’s going at it hammer and tongs with another dude. If you¹ve just punched the wall, she’s the one. If it made you feel really happy, it’s basically over. If it turned you on, the local swingers are always looking for new faces.
- Sex is the only bond you share
Sex is great, but there is much more to a relationship than brainlessly rubbing each others’ genitals in a bid to ease awkward silences. If that describes you, sorry, but it isn’t going to work out.
- She wants marriage and you don’t
Only a complete bastard would allow the carrot of official union to dangle in front of a smitten girl who thinks you¹re moments away from popping the big question. If she wants a wedding and you don’t, get the hell out of there – fast.
- She’s got an unbearable habit she’ll never break
The spectrum of bad habits is infinite, ranging from rampant alcoholism, to occasional nail-biting. If she¹s guilty of something that makes your blood boil and her promises to “do something about it” have led to nothing, you have exactly one option left: dump her.
- You just know. God, how you know…
If your inner voice is shrieking that this isn’t the girl for you, don’t ignore it. Do what it says – it speaks the truth.
- She can’t stand being around you
Traditionally, relationships take place between two people who love each other. If you suggest a romantic dinner and she is visibly sick into her mouth, it’s not a good sign.
TERMINATING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH RUTHLESS EFFICIENCY
You’ve decided to do the deed, but how to go about it? Follow these rules so you don’t end up having to surgically remove her tiny fist from your mouth…
- Plan what to say
For heaven’s sake, man, don’t try to wing it – a good dumping demands meticulous attention to detail, because one word out of place and the whole system can break down. You don’t need to put a suit on, make a PowerPoint presentation and say things like, “We now turn to slide three,” but carefully choose your wording beforehand and do your best to stick to it.
- Decide how to do it
Your dumping method really depends on how long you and your girl have been together. As a rule, if you’ve been together for more than a few months, you should man up and do it face to face. Less than that and a phone call might just suffice. Email or text is frowned upon and allowed only if you¹ve been out a handful of times and she’d probably prefer that to wasting hours getting dolled up only to be greeted with a monologue about how dreadful the experience has been. Also avoid dumping someone on a group night out, and certainly do not announce your impending singledom on Facebook in advance.
- Prepare for the worst
Remember, you’re dealing with a complex human being and chances are you’re delivering news she doesn’t want to hear, so her reaction will be unpredictable. Some girls get angry, some cry, some remain calm and understanding throughout your brutal little speech and then launch at you. Prepare yourself for the worst and make a deal with yourself to see it through. This isn’t going to be fun in the short term, but everyone has to go through it at some point.
- When it’s over, just walk away
Possibly the hardest part of the dumping experience is turning your back and walking away from a beautiful girl who can’t stop blubbing – your urges demand you comfort her, but don’t. It’s too much of a risk, and could end with you undoing all your good work for a tearful sympathy shag. The old adage about being cruel to be kind has never been so appropriate, so, as much as it pains you, get the hell out of there. She’ll be fine… eventually.
DEALING WITH THE AFTERMATH
So you’ve ripped off the plaster. Follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth post-dumping ride…
- Never go back for more
Tempting though it might be to instigate some notoriously mind-blowing sex with an old flame, it’s worth keeping in mind that unbuckling your belt is tantamount to opening the gates of hell. It sends out totally the wrong message and will just get her hopes up.
- Don’t try to comfort her
In the same way it’s important to walk away at the end of a dumping, it’s just as important that you stay away. No matter how close you used to be, you are not the person to help her navigate through this choppy ocean of relationship grief.
- Leave her your shared friends
Don’t rub salt into the wound by lolloping off into the sunset with all your mutual friends in tow. She has first dibs, because you did the dumping. That’s just the rule.
- Don’t feel too guilty
However you try to dress it up, for a while you’re going to feel like an arsehole. But chances are you did the right thing, so go easy on yourself, big guy.
- Keep moving forward
Don’t bottle up any leftover post-relationship frustration - it’s not healthy. Let your fury out at the gym and shed some kilos gained while you were getting too comfortable. Join a boxing club and punch other men in the kidneys or go to a rugby match and scream your head off at an unfortunate linesman. Anything is better than leaving 25 consecutive phone messages that start off furious and then descend into blubbing self-pity and apology. This is something you will definitely regret.
- Don’t hit on her mates, even the hot ones
There’s a whole galaxy of women out there, so don’t chase after her nearest and dearest. It’s not only really cruel, it also shows an alarming lack of imagination. Even if they make the first move, try do the right thing.
HOW YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL CHANGE AFTER DUMPING
It might be over but that doesn’t mean you can never speak again. Just be wary…
- She’ll be deeply hurt
“Who wants to be friends with someone who rejects them?” says relationships expert Rhonda Findling. “A guy says, ‘I don’t want you any more, I don’t want to have sex with you, or take you places, but I want you to be available when I need someone to talk to.’ That is so insulting.”
- She won’t speak to you for ages
“It needs to be at least a few months before you can be friends,” says Jean Hannah Edelstein, author of relationship bible Himglish And Femalese. “And even then, you probably shouldn’t initiate it – if you’ve rejected someone and you come back six months later and say, ‘Let’s hang out’, then there’s a danger the woman will think you want a reconciliation.
- Your friendship will cool considerably
“It’s not really possible to have that level of intimacy and then dial it down to friendship,” says Edelstein. “You’ll have friendly contact on Facebook and maybe you¹ll see each other once in a while, but it’s unlikely to be an intimate friendship again.”
- Crap relationships may force you to consider rekindling “the magic” with each other
“That can be really sticky,” Edelstein cautions. “Women don’t consider those thoughts to be technically cheating, but it’s still a betrayal. Be upfront, because your new girl will find out – and she’ll be pissed off.”
- At some point, you may wish to give it another go
“Have the issues been resolved? Otherwise it’s not going to work,” Edelstein says.
WOMEN, WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING DUMPED?
Some beautiful women lift the lid on how it feels to be on the receiving end of your rejection skills…
It’s just embarrassing! Criticism doesn’t get much more personal!”
“My pet hate is when they say, “I’ve just fallen out of love with you” – men have realised it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
“The hardest thing about being dumped is that the person you love doesn’t dig you.”
“You feel sad and confused. I remember walking around and feeling like a lost child.”
“The best thing you can do when you¹re breaking up is to be as honest as possible.”
“I felt like my heart had been ripped out. I fell to the floor and wept for hours.”
“I felt sad that things had dissipated, but impatient to move on.”
“I’d been so in love I just couldn’t bear to end it even though I knew it had gone rotten.”
“You increasingly disclose all the things about him that you can’t stand, just to vocalise it.”
“I felt so, so desperate and frustrated. It was like watching a natural disaster unfold.”
“It’s really physically draining.”
“When it’s been a long time coming there is no more liberating feeling than becoming single and discovering your newfound freedom.”
“My pride isn’t hurt at being cheated on, or being dumped, but at not listening to the voice in my head, which all along tried to tell me he wasn’t worth it.”
“I heard recently that he got married, and I genuinely feel happy for him and wish him well – maybe if I was single I wouldn’t feel so generous about it!”
“I hated thinking how much I’d invested into the relationship – time, emotion, money – and the fact that it’s just wasted.”
“You feel really good because you’re surviving and you have new freedom as a single person. You don¹t have to compromise; you can do what you want.”
First published in the FHM January 2012 issue.