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A Story About Breakup Etiquette

A real story submitted by a reader who shares her creative response to an ex-boyfriend’s plan to breakup with her.  He likely thought his setup would stifle a potential emotional response from her…boy was he wrong.

I thought I’d share a story about breakup etiquette. I’ve noticed that sometimes men will take measures to inhibit a woman’s emotional response to a breakup which I think is neither appropriate nor fair to the woman. Here’s a story about this that I think you might appreciate.

I had been dating this guy for about a year and he decided to drop the bomb in the middle of a dinner date at a fine dining restaurant. I quickly realized how he had “choreographed” everything by choosing such a venue so that I would restrain my emotions, and even took additional steps, like picking a table in the middle of the room rather than a more private space.

So, I turned the tables on him in a big way.

First I ordered the most expensive desserts on the menu, one for each of us. Having a degree in the Theatre Arts, I figured I’d make good use of those skills by staging a dramatic exit complete with a fabricated scenario. I exclaimed “I can’t believe you’ve been cheating on me all this time!”  And then I stood up, reached across the table and delivered a hard slap across his face that was heard throughout the room. There was complete silence and all you could hear was the sound of my high heels hitting the hardwood floor as I stormed off. I wonder if he ever ate those desserts I ordered.

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Though I’m not supportive of laying hands on another person in an aggressive way, this story brought a smile to my face.  The point here is, if you want to break up with someone give them the respect of doing so alone, face to face and allow a full discussion of the reasons so they can have clarity and closure.  People go to all sorts of lengths to avoid the pain of a breakup but attempting to set it up to force less emotional response is not only unkind but clearly in this example, could backfire.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with tools for emotional and relationship health and is the author of Therapy-At-Home Workbooks® for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers online therapy to residents of California.

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