You have met someone! You are happily in the first flushes of love or lust. It feels as if it was meant to be and will last forever. Hurrah for love!
An indeterminate amount of time later you realise it isn't meant to be and it won't last forever. It's time to break up. Break ups tend to fall into one of four categories. They can occasionally blend from one category into another, but most break-uppers or break-uppees will identify with one of these. I present: The Clean Break; The Beat a Slow Retreat; The No Fault Clause; The Ghoster.
The Clean Break
Characteristics: ending the relationship with a definite statement of breaking up, often accompanied by a tactful-or-not reason that also precludes any notion of reconciliation, for example: "I have met someone else / this relationship isn't working for me / I don't want to date you any more but good luck for the future, I hope you find the one for you."
The break-upper: knows exactly what they want, is courageous enough to say it, is decisive and looks to the future.
The break-uppee: gets closure, a short sharp shock, moves on, and gets over it. Next!
The Beat a Slow Retreat
Characteristics: continues to date, only spacing dates and communication further and further apart, effectively managing down the other person's expectations. This can turn a relationship into a friends with benefits scenario, and is often the forerunner to the No Fault Clause.
The breaker-upper: gets to not feel bad by breaking up a relationship that was probably going OK, just with no real intensity of feelings or passion. They avoid the awkward Clean Break conversation, and it's much easier to break up a friends-with-benefits-occasionally-seeing-each-other relationship than a full on relationship with dates several times a week. They also get a back up partner, if they are not ready to be single just yet. They may even be seeing someone else, and hedging their bets.
The break-uppee: Feels confused and lonely, unless they can fill their schedule with friends and other dates. They sense that something isn't quite right, and wonder if the relationship is heading towards failure, but don't have anything concrete to go on. Even if they asked, they would inevitably be fobbed off. If it feels wrong, it is wrong, Take back the power, call it off, and move on.
The No-Fault Clause
Characteristics: The relationship is officially ended due to external factors such as work is too busy, they don't have time for a relationship, they are not in the right place emotionally for a relationship right now, they are not over an ex. There is usually an implicit or explicit suggestion that a relationship may be on the cards at some point in the future when the external factors are no longer there. This is never the case. It's just an exit cushion.
The break-upper: is too weak or lazy to end it properly. They don't like confrontation. They may actually want to keep you on the back burner in case a new relationship doesn't work out. They want to remain the 'good guy' both in their own minds and yours.
The break-uppee: Hopefully doesn't believe it for a minute. They know that it's a break up, and think less of you for being so wet about it. But they do get closure and get on move on with their lives. You dodged a bullet there!
Characteristics: The silent break up. One half of the relationship goes quiet completely out of the blue, and is never heard from again. No messages, calls, emails or dates. No warning is characteristic of this break up. One day everything is hunky-dory, and the next they have vanished off the face of the earth. Until one day they inevitably pop back up on social media and dating websites, but never respond to any communication ever again. This can happen days, weeks months and even years into a relationship.
The break-upper: unable to handle confrontation, weak, selfish. No regard for the feelings of the other person.
The break-uppee: emotional turmoil, self-blame, confusion, self-doubt. No closure, weeks of wondering what happened and why. Temptation to repeatedly contact and stalk - don't do this! Maintain your dignity at all times and move on. This person isn't worth your time or energy.
Which breaker upper are you?
This article also appears at www.lovedoctoruk.com, where you can find free online dating advice and support.