Whether you are doing the dumping or getting dumped, breaking up is never easy. No one can totally eradicate the inherent sting of rejection, the disappointment of unrealized dreams, or the pain of a bruised heart. Still, breaking up need not be the messy, uncomfortable, no-win situation most women and men say it is.

I doubt that it is out of meanness or a lack of caring that you or others fail to do a better job at calling it quits. You simply haven’t been shown how. That is about to change!

As soon as internal rumblings or external signs suggest a breakup may be lurking, stop whatever you are doing. Go no further. Gently unlock that embrace, carefully listen to the mind’s whispers, and silently evaluate the evidence around you. If you don’t, runaway emotions and an out-of-control libido may take charge. The result could be anguish and discomfort that cannot easily be wished away.

Unfortunately, the stop, look, and listen three-step won’t solve the problem. Clues are camouflaged by gender and muddied by biology and personality.

good bye photo

Chances are until you meet that one true love, there are numerous beginnings and endings yet to be experienced. To prepare for the ups and downs, test your current level of breakup proficiency as the dumpee and the dumped. It’s never too late to improve your breakup skills.

Don’t Break Up Without Forethought

It’s relatively simple to use logic in our work, in the purchase of a car, and in the choice of a home. These activities are void of the strong emotional component that characterizes our love relationships.

But take the administrative assistant out of the office, the corporate executive out of the boardroom, the surgeon out of the operating room, or the teacher out of the school. Put these same level-headed individuals face to face with a love interest and what happens? Their logic goes on the fritz.

Fortunately, the short in your reasoning is not permanent. But to react or make decisions when emotions not reason do the thinking leaves too much room for error. Wisely waiting for the return of your good sense prevents premature action and subsequent regret.

Practice using control and wait for objectivity to resurface. This is a prudent practice to employ in all aspects of your romantic relationships. The more you use it, the more automatic it becomes.

How Most People Break Up

Unfortunately, if you look at the way most people break up, it isn’t hard to see they are caught in the throes of emotion and self interest. Their power of logic cowers in the shadows. The emotional overload of anger, pain, or fear thrusts them into thoughtless action. Consequently, they either:

Procrastinate, hoping that the problem will resolve itself

Break up hastily, trying to quickly rid themselves of discomfort

Play silly, superficial games, sabotaging the relationship in order to cause a mutual split

Prefer deserting, thereby avoiding a confrontation

That’s not the way you want to break up!

Key Factors That Inhibit Sound Decision Making

Sound decision making is at bay with a number of factors that clutter logic’s pathway. Before you advance and investigate your own unique set of circumstances as they arise in each relationship, pay attention to the most common factors that affect each of us. Contending with these elements first clears the way for your final decision.

Men and Women at Odds

We’re at it again. That old argument over the male and female species has reared its ugly head. Only this time it isn’t a battle about superiority. Nor is it about equality. It’s about differences. And scientists have discovered exactly what they are and why.

Research has proven that the two sexes see the world differently due to distinguishing characteristics in the male and female brain. The hemispheres of a woman’s brain are less specialized than that of a man’s, enabling women to display greater ability to think cognitively, deal with a number of thoughts simultaneously, fuse ideas, see beyond the periphery, and be generally intuitive. Consequently, women are more prone to describe their feelings and emotions with language than men. The more specialized male spheres of the brain, however, dictate that guys focus on one idea at a time. They rarely combine the elements of language and emotion. Unless women are aware of this scientific explanation, a man’s seeming unwillingness to voice his feelings and emotions is often interpreted as a lack of interest, commitment, or caring.

The converse is true with men. The open gesturing and verbal display of female emotion may confound, confuse, and frighten men.

Even without the normal conflicts and fluctuating passions, the sexes stand at odds. Toss sexual and raging emotions into the mix, and no wonder misinterpretation and misunderstanding run rampant when dealing with matters of the heart.

Uncontrollable Body Heat

Long before recent studies at Ohio State University revealed that the desire for sex was one of 15 basic human motivators, Freud proclaimed it the number one driving force. Sorrylogical thinking did not make the list.

the hug

But despite the pleasures of immediate sexual gratification, practically nothing gets you into hot water quicker. We’re not talking diseases. (Hopefully everyone is aware of the deadly penalty of unprotected sex today.) What we are addressing is entrapment.

More often than not, women view sexual intercourse as a sign of commitment by the man she frolics with under the sheets. Her expectations of the relationship immediately rise to new heights. But according to the guys, that’s not the message they intended to send. They simply can’t stop thinking about getting a woman into bed when they start dating her. It doesn’t have a thing to do with how they see her fitting into their future.

Sex has complicated enough liaisons that you won’t have trouble finding men of all ages with healthy libidos who now forego the premature pleasures of intercourse rather than create the wrong impression.

Evidently, Freud didn’t realize how his libido could result in sticky breakups.

Too Much Romance.

Passions rise, lights dim, music flows. You both say, I love you. The loud thump, thump, thump of your hearts drowns out the whisper of sense that asks, What does that mean?

The reality is, it can mean any variety of things. You mustn’t take it for granted that the two of you necessarily share the same concept of love. No one has yet come up with a universally accepted, concrete, definitive definition of love.

Love, whatever it is, can be:


Of short duration

A state of friendship

An unsuitable foundation for an enduring relationship

An addiction

An expression of sexual attraction

A pledge of undying devotion

An inexpressible connection that makes you feel complete

While it lasts, love makes us feel good enough to say and promise things we ordinarily would not. We imagine all sorts of things we can do together tomorrow, next week, and next year that will be enhanced by one another’s presence. The implication is that there is a future together. But love if it isn’t the real thing is moving you to speak out of turn.

In the throes of passionate love, Ken bought tickets for himself and Kelly to go to Acapulco and gave them to her for safe-keeping. Their departure date, unfortunately, postdated Ken’s announcement that he wanted to break up.

Furious that Ken’s pronouncements of love turned out to be empty vessels, Kelly was determined to strike back. She never handed over the tickets that rightfully belonged to Ken. Instead, she tricked the airline and used them for herself and a substitute beau. Ken knew he had treated her poorly, so he did nothing. Ken and Kelly both would have been better off saving the love word for later. It raised Kelly’s expectations and caused a hard fall.

Failing to Exchange Shoes

The sizes of women’s and men’s shoes are as different as their perspectives. That’s why it’s so hard to step into them. Still, it is a worthwhile exercise, especially when dealing with the subject of breaking up. Without developing empathy the attempt to emotionally and intellectually share someone else’s feelings you are likely to miscalculate the affect of calling it quits.

Men automatically assume that women will be sad and cry when they try to extricate themselves from her life. Because they can’t stand to see those salty tears run down her cheeks, men often forgot the truth. If they would wear her slippers, they might realize that women are quite capable of dealing with the facts. There is less potential for havoc and damage to a woman’s self-esteem and ego when she is confronted with the problem maturely rather than later realize she was deliberately maneuvered out of love.

Despite women’s gift of intuition, rarely are they aware just how fragile men’s feelings are. Behind their hearty male exteriors lie emotional scars from previous relationships. Once men have been dumped, they stockpile true and false notions of being misunderstood, unappreciated, and betrayed.

alone man photo

They won’t tell you any of this, but in private interviews with me, many men admitted they feel sorry for themselves, suffer diminished self-esteem, and question their worthiness as a potential mate after women send them on their way.

Before You Bail Out

When you utter the phrase I think it’s better if we stop seeing each other, or whichever version of this you choose to verbalize or act out, a mix of volatile emotions are sure to erupt. Failure, disappointment, sadness, fear, rejection, guilt, resentment, ambivalence, disbelief, and anger head straight to the heart.

While some measure of these emotions is bound to strike, the intensity and the duration can be minimized by thoughtfully answering the following questions. Failure to sufficiently answer them could result in aftershocks down the road.

Ask yourself four basic questions:

1. Have I considered the consequences of breaking up right here and now?

2. Do I have damage controls in place?

3. Do I have a plan of action and a firm conviction?

4. Can I part without burning bridges?

Potential Aftershocks

Aftershocks are negative repercussions of breakups. Just when you think it’s safely all over, something happens that rocks the landscape. Everyone is bound to experience some form of aftershocks; however, they aren’t entirely predictable. They may be highly personal, internal shock waves or directed from the outside. The best way to lessen the impact is to engage in calculated behavior and adequate forethought both of which you will learn how to do in this series of articles. For the moment, here are some aftershocks that you should be on the lookout for:

1. Suffering through lonely nights, freezing in an empty bed, concluding a good one got away.

2. Acquiring spots on your reputation as an unfair and dishonest romantic player.

3. Damaging relationships with mutual friends or coworkers.

4. Inviting the wrath of your ex.

5. Facing recurrent recriminations and pangs of guilt.

6. Losing the opportunity for a potential future relationship.

7. Experience a change of heart and no way to rekindle the romance.

8. Recklessly lying in bed with the same partner.

Your Breakup IQ

Answer each question truthfully with a yes or no.

1.Did you ever simply not call back?

2.Did you ever not show up at an appointed time and place?

3.Did you ever lie to get out of a relationship?

4.Have you continued to tell someone you love him or her when you no longer do?

5.Are you unable to refrain from having sex with an ex-partner after the relationship is over?

6.Are you addicted to love?

7.Are your perception skills weak?

8.Do you easily get tired of someone of the opposite sex?

9.Do you engage in fantasies?

10.Do you stay in relationships long after the interest has declined?

11.Do you fail to respect your partner, or even other people in general?

12.Do you opt not to take any responsibility when a relationship doesn’t work out?

13.Do you refrain from knowing others intimately?

14.Do you prevent others from knowing you intimately?

15.Are you afraid to hurt someone’s feelings?

16.Are you fearful of making a mistake in a love relationship?

17.Have you purposely confused and mislead a boyfriend or girlfriend?

18.Do you question your own judgment in matters of the heart?

19.Would you rather walk down the aisle than back out?

20.Have you taken a vacation with a love interest with whom you planned to break up?

21.Do you display little patience getting to know how someone else thinks?

22.Do you think the best way to break up is the quickest way?

23.Do you dwell on the pain caused by past lovers?

24.Are you prone to making promises you cannot keep?

25.Do you easily feel rejected?

26.Are you quick to form new love attachments?

27.Have you canceled an engagement more than once?

28.Do you have a pattern of dating old flames?

29.Do you frequently act impetuously?

30.Are you desperate for love?

If you have answered all 30 questions yes, then you have done the impossible failed the Breakup IQ Test. A true sign of a high breakup IQ would be in the range of at least 25 no responses. Do not expect a perfect score. We all make mistakes in love’s wake. The object is to begin making less of them when cupid retracts the arrow. This quiz lets you know how much work is ahead of you.

high breakup IQ means you have displayed enough correct answers on the quiz to demonstrate at least a moderate level of intuition when it comes to soundly severing relationships. Fortunately, your intuition can be supplemented by solid information and sound insights.