Originally Posted by Anneintherain
I worry a lot about breakups. . . .
Will I be brave enough to break up with somebody in person? Should I do it vie email for ease . . .
. . . I do admit I worry about how to break up with any future relationships, how to decide if it is time, knowing how to do it in the least traumatic way...I think I know there will be people I learn to love that I don't want to stay with - and I don't know how to deal with it then.
Well, I am sure this is not the thing to be thinking about going into a relationship, LOL!!!
Seriously, I said earlier in this thread that I don't recall how a lot of breakups went, mostly because a large number of my relationships just fizzled out to nothingness without any formal ending to them. And when there was an ending, it was usually the guy breaking up with me, I think. Now, after my separation last Summer, I only started dating again last Fall and in that time, I've experienced three breakups. Two broke up with me, and one I did the breaking up. I think, for me, I must always take the approach of telling the truth in the most compassionate way, but with the added consideration of not providing more information than is needed.
I remember two long-ago incidents where I blatantly and unemotionally told the truth. One wasn't a break-up, but I had turned down a guy when he asked me out. I was about 23, and he was a year older. He used to come in and drink in the lounge of the restaurant where I worked in my hometown. He had always been somewhat popular in high school and somewhat good-looking, but I was never attracted to him. I thought he was there drinking every night, but it turns out he was there just on my nights.
So one evening he asks me if I'll go out with him, and I said, "No thank you." He asks, "Oh, you have a boyfriend?" I answered, "No." He said, "A girlfriend?" I said, "No." He persists, "Are you married?" I tell him I'm not. With a puzzled look on his face, he says, "So, why won't you go out with me?" And I said, "I'm just not interested." He sat back in his chair and goes, "Why not?" And I'm thinking, "Jeez, what's it gonna take for you to fucking leave me alone?" But I didn't say anything else other than, "I just don't want to go out with you, okay? Now can I get you another beer?"
Why should I make up some stupid excuse?
Then, sometimes too much honesty is hurtful. I once broke off a friendship with a woman, and I went into this long tirade of all the things I felt were toxic about our friendship and why I couldn't hang out with her anymore. I could see her eyes glaze over and she just cut me off and said, "Fine, I gotta go." I realized afterwards that I had been mad at her and wanted to hurt her, and that felt terrible. So I know that sometimes, it's okay if there is a lot of crap left unsaid. Unless it's a heartfelt discussion after the break up, where learning and self-growth is the other person's reason for asking me WHY, I don't see it useful to get into too much detail. That being said, it's more than acceptable to give a succinct and distilled-down reason. I think everyone wants to know why.
For example, I recently broke up with M., which to me was a relationship that was still just starting out but not really going anywhere (I felt we had no sexual chemistry, although he obviously thought we did, besides the fact that he is not poly and had already told me he wanted us to be mono - but was putting up with my poly "for now"). To end it, I called him and said something like, "I've been wanting to talk to you about our relationship. I really don't think we're compatible, and so I don't feel we should continue seeing each other." He got all bent out of shape and asked me numerous times why, to which I tried to say, "It's just my instincts telling me we're not compatible," but he was getting angry and insistent, which was pissing me off -- I just wanted to be done with it -- so I finally gave him a little feedback, and said, "Well, I don't think we're on the same page as far as what we want, and our conversations often seem to become a bit adversarial."
I knew it would just be mean to say it was the lousy sex. Even so, he started bitching, "What, do you think everybody always gets along with each other perfectly all the time?!!" Oy. It started to become an argument -- as if he could now convince me we should still see each other??!! -- but I didn't want to get into it, so I calmly reiterated, "Listen, you're a very nice person, but I just don't think we're compatible enough for me to pursue a romantic relationship..." >>click<< He hung up.
Now, even though it started getting heated, it really wasn't an anxiety-provoking conversation for me. I was over it about ten minutes later, and I guess that's because I was just honest. If I was into drama, or had worked myself up into a frenzy over what to say, or come up with some elaborate song-and-dance, then that argument might have escalated into something ugly. I think I managed to nip it in the bud without hurting his feelings.
As for those times when I've been dumped, I'd much rather have a direct honest conversation, like my first post-separation break-up did, than to get some vague and weird email ending it, like the one that happened after that. So, no, don't break up with someone via email - it feels so disrespectful.