Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sliding Scale of Breakup Suckitude

Even when a relationship doesn’t fit or isn’t for the best, breakups suck. Nobody enjoys being rejected. So, here are a variety of ways in which you can experience having your ass kicked to the curb. I’ve ranked them from least to most painful:

The Mutual Breakup: Yeah, right. Now let me hop on my purple unicorn, ride through this wardrobe over here, and spend the afternoon in Narnia. There’s no such creature – often, both parties want to break up, but there’s always one person who wants out more than the other.

The Preemptive Breakup: Your partner senses the giant cartoon anvil hovering over his head, and decides to bolt before it drops.

The So Very Mature Breakup: Both of you make a herculean effort to be happy about everything, when secretly you want to kill each other.

The Epiphany Breakup: Your partner dumps you, and you feel a (perhaps unexpected) surge of relief.

The “What Just Happened There?” Breakup: The conversation is so incredibly vague that you have no idea whether you got dumped or just bought swampland in Florida.

The Neverending Breakup: They. Just. Won’t. Stop. Calling. In an attempt to assuage his/her own guilt, your ex will call, ask for coffee, check in, and hook you in every time you’re just about to get back to normal.

The Breakup Sex Breakup: On the surface, this looks like a Neverending Breakup. The difference is that your ex is looking for a bit more than absolution: they want ex sex.

The Backdoor Breakup: Your partner acts like such a you-know-what until you finally dump him or her, thereby sparing them the pain of actually speaking up for once.

The Hypocrisy Breakup: You get dumped for having an annoying habit, not being attractive or not being ambitious enough. The funny part is that the very sort of person who does this is usually an annoying toad who lives at home.

The Double Standard Breakup: This is a particularly insidious form of the Hypocrisy Breakup, mostly conducted by men. The naked parts happen, and then you get dumped because your partner believes you are not up to his moral standards. Never mind that, uh, he was there too. Knuckle-dragging alpha males call this a “pump and dump” and beat their hairy chests in pride. Women respond by posting said male’s photo on Don’t Date Him Girl.

The Custody Battle Breakup: Before you know it, friends, hangouts and possessions are being carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

The Trade-Up Breakup: You’re swapped for someone younger, more attractive, richer, more successful, etc. You’ve been traded in for a newer model.

The Trade-Down Breakup: This is worse than the Trade-Up, because you’ve been replaced by someone truly dire. Cackling laugh? Stupid hair? You’ll spend hours trying to figure out what in hell this person has that you don’t. The most likely answer: they’re not as threatening and your ex has a fragile ego.

The Amelia Earhart Breakup: This is a specialty among the nonconfrontational (cowardly) type. The phone calls and emails dwindle to zero, plans become fuzzy, and, eventually, you’re single by default.

The Radio Silence Breakup: This is the most painful kind of breakup. Instead of dwindling contact, there is simply no contact at all. Eventually, you file a missing persons report and look like a total idiot for doing so. This is also the kind of breakup where your spouse goes out for a quart of orange juice…ten years ago.

In the comments section, tell me a breakup story.


DCRes said...

Sadly, I pulled an Amelia Earhart breakup in college. I still say to this day that it's the worst, meanest thing I've ever done.

My excuse is that I was 18, young and stupid. Not a very good excuse, I know.

Shannon said...

I once pulled a mutual Amelia Earhart, in high school. I was dating this guy who went to another school, we got in a fight and then never called each other back. So we never technically broke up.

I ran into him a few years later, when I was home from college. He said, "Hey! It's my girlfriend! I'm sorry, baby, I cheated on you once or twice." We decided to just never break up, so technically I've had the same boyfriend for 14 years.

dcnative said...

You left out one important type of a breakup.

The I'm-an-illegal-and-the-INS-wants-to-deport-me-so-I-need-some-space Breakup.


dcnative said...

that last word up there in the third line got cut off in my above, it should read "space". LOL

Margeaux St.Croix said...

I'm 17, and I pulled an Amelia Earheart breakup (seems to be a trend in us younger girls) less than a month ago on my boyfriend of over a year...

After about a week of ignoring him I called, though. And we attempted to talk it out, but I really wasn't feeling it. So it turned into a Neverending breakup..he'd call, I'd feel bad, he'd show up with flowers at my singing lesson asking me to hang out, I'd feel bad, I'd feel obligated, beat around the bush some more, eventually I ended it for good. Or so I thought, until about an hour ago when I received an email from him begging to see me.


Reggie said...

There's another possibility to consider when you're the victim of a trade-down breakup: You may just not be as awesome as you thought. Of course, most people have far too much self-regard for this to occur to them.

Anonymous said...

You missed the breakup by email, voicemail, or note left on kitchen table, as well as the Vanishing Sweetie routine, most effective with live-ins: you come home and your honey is gone, along with a varying percentage of your favorite possessions and most compromising photo albums.

A friend of mine mentioned the "left at the altar/commitment phobic" breakup and the "You're too good for me" dump.

But worst of all may be the proxy breakup, when you hear from your friends, national TV, or your lover's spouse, secretary, or lawyer that the relationship is over. Extra points for announcing the breakup with a protection order.

(Sometimes these strategies are necessary; once in a while they're a sadistic game.)

Anonymous said...

Having been victim of a various breakups I hgave to say that the Amelia Earhart is the worst. I was strung along for months wondering if I could turn that thing around. The Amelia Earhart is cousin to the Backdoor Breakup.

Shannon said...

DC Native, you can't drop an opener like that and then NOT tell us the full story!

Margauex, the first step to it being over is acting like its over. Don't accept the gifts, and explain to him that you regret not being more forthright, because it made things worse. Then cut off contact for a while so he can get his head straight. If he continues to pursue you, involve your parents or teachers.

Wordweaverlynn, I consider the email or phone breakup a form of Amelia Earharting. I've never experienced a proxy breakup, yow!

Anon, it was a tossup between Amelia and Radio Silence for worst breakup. Radio Silence won out by a hair, because you worry about their safety.

Kristen S. said...

I experienced the Peace Corps Breakup once. "Well, they told me it's best if I'm not in a relationship when I go...". Except he didn't go for anotehr 9 months after the breakup. And a plague of locusts hit Madagascar when he was there.

Shannon said...

Kristen, I think the Peace Corps breakup is like the AA breakup. "Well, my sponsor says I can't date for a year...whatcha doing in August?"

dcnative said...

Long story, don't even know where to begin. Brazilian, illegal immigrant, but stayed in this country for 15 years despite a little grumbling from the INS. Dated 8 months, was great. Then she goes home, 1000 miles away, for a month - longest month of my life. She comes back to town, pulls out this excuse to break up with me. She tells it as a sob story with real tears about how the INS is after her and if she doesn't graduate after the semester, she'd get deported back to Brazil where she has no hope for a future.

Took me an entire week to figure it out and see through the BS. Meanwhile, she's out partying... and few months later, she gets engaged. Two months later, engagement gets called off. She disappears from this city, apparently is back home with her mother.

Two YEARS later, I'm buddies with the guy she was engaged with after she broke up with me.

Crazy, eh?? Hahah, I know! :)

Shannon said...

Well, sounds like you dodged a bullet. A bullet of crazy, plus you have a story to tell and a new friend.

All in all, you came out ahead.

Margeaux St.Croix said...

Lol oh no, he's harmless. I didn't mean to make him out like a stalker. Did I?

Anonymous said...

Similar to the email/voicemail/note breakup is the text message breakup. After being together for a year.

Shannon said...

Anon, ouch. Just, ouch. Did he/she at least write stuff out, or was it: "I wnt 2 breakup w u"?

SlyGly said...

This list is brilliant! I'm keeping this link around for the next time I start whining about never having a date. (Found you via )

Juan Galt said...

Margeaux St.Croix, you are the reason many men such as myself refuse to officially "date". Sure, go ahead and ignore us. We are already ignoring you AND talking to other girls.

CunningLinguist said...

This sums it up almost perfectly. I added a few more to consider, from personal experience.

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