On Breaking Up

Sometimes I wonder.

Maybe it’s better if a guy/gal breaks up badly. Then, in the coming weeks while you mourn the loss of your relationship, you can keep telling yourself how lucky you are to find out what a huge jerk (s)he really is, before it was too late.

But is that really better?

For me,  no. Because there are really two basic ways to react to a breakup. You can feel sorry for yourself, or you can feel angry at the other person. Personally, I can’t feel sorry for myself for more than a week or two. It just feels stupid and self-indulgent. Tearing up in public, losing my appetite, flopping on the couch doing nothing all evening… Surely my life isn’t that damaged by this guy’s exit from it? Am I really sad for the loss of him, or am I indulging in some self-pity? That is a path I fear to tread so much it can shake me out of sadness.

But being resentful? That, I’m sorry to say, lasts somewhat longer. As Congreve says, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

So, for me at least, it’s better for a fellow to break up like a gentleman, with a prepared telephone speech about how it’s not me it’s him, and he’s really enjoyed all our time together, or whatever other true-but-still-trite platitudes he chooses to apply to our situation. Because in a week I’ll be wishing him well, albeit regretfully. Whereas the alternative is that in a month I’ll still be stewing over how obnoxious he was and how could he say that?


2 thoughts on “On Breaking Up

  1. But one’s ego is in so much better shape if he is obnoxious. After all, then there is nothing wrong with you, and then one doesn’t spend time obsessing over him, and wishfully hoping he’ll suddenly realize his folly and appear at one’s doorstep on his knees.

    Or is that only my fantasy? No one else?

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