What is the process of "breaking up" like for you?

Lately, I’ve run across a poster who has mentioned in a few threads the intent to break up with the current significant other, who has been behaving rather badly. This poster most recently mentioned having found a new person to be with, but is still working on splitting up with the current SO.

This got me wondering about what breaking up tends to be like for people, in general (assuming there’s an “in general” for this at all). I had a couple of teenage relationships, but as an adult, the only breakup I’ve ever had was from my decade-long marriage, and while the marriage’s deterioration took a while, once I’d made the decision to actually break it off for good, the process went fairly quickly. Even though we’d been living together for 12+ years, I managed to get out of the house for good within 20 days of the breakup.

But I have no idea what it’s like for other people, be it a marriage, or a serious relationship, or a casual dating scenario. How have your breakups gone? Was it just a quick phone call (or email or text), and you never saw each other again? Were there days or weeks in between where people had to return or separate the belongings? Did you secretly plot the breakup and take steps in that direction long before telling the person you were with?

Talk about your experiences, please!

Other than my marriage (we’ve been together for >22 years, including the dating/engaged stages), I’d never had a relationship that lasted as long as a year, and never lived together with a SO. So there were never any issues of separating the belongings; occasionally one person might’ve left a few possessions at the other’s place that had to be retrieved afterwards.

But even on short timescales, the emotional unentangling generally took some time. After all, we were together because we’d liked each other and wanted to be around one another, and none of the breakups I was a part of negated that underlying truth. Even when we said we were breaking up, usually there was a period of weeks or months when we were still occasionally intimate before the breakup became final. In a couple of cases, there were a few cycles of breaking up and getting back together before the ultimate breakup. And in just about all cases, my ex and I were on good terms as friends once things had been definitively over between us for several months.

In most cases I would get restless and unhappy for several months or even more than a year. I would finally say that I was no longer happy. A week or two later we’d make arrangements to exchange our posessions back. In every case we promised to stay friends, but in every case those friendships eventually died out.

Was that me, because I am in that exact situation right now? And it’s a one-off kind of thing. Generally, I don’t overlap relationships. When a relationship has run its course, I generally take some time to process it all (to see what I can learn about myself from the experience) before I move on. But the general circumstances are different with each relationship.

For example, I was once in an abusive relationship and the only way to get out safely was to plot and scheme and lie and obfuscate to set up a safety net landing spot. In other cases, there was an amicable agreement (in person) that things were no longer working, possessions returned, and the cone of silence (no contact) invoked. I’d say it depends on the reasons for the breakup and what behaviors and events led up to it. I’ve been dumped via text and phone and Facebook. If I do the dumping, I will at least use the phone if not do it in person. I’ve ended relationships with screaming hissy fits and I’ve walked away quietly, simply dropping off the face of the earth.

My current situation: I dated Dude #1 for a while last year, after we’d been good friends for a while (maybe another year before that). Turns out, he wasn’t really in a place to be able to be with me (complications I won’t get into), so he broke it off. I moved on and started dating the person who lives with me (Dude #2), who turned out to be a narcissistic douchebag. Then #1 got back in touch and we started talking about everything that went down before, so… it was a really easy choice to give it another shot with the guy who has always treated me with respect (and with whom I’ve built a solid friendship, rock solid trust, and excellent communication) vs. putting up with being treated like crap.

Let me also say that I started the breakup process with #2 before #1 came back into my life. The relationship was already circling the drain. So #1 isn’t the reason for the breakup, he’s my reward for me standing up for myself and holding my ground (something I struggle with that #1 encourages and supports). Everything is out in the open and they both know about each other (and know each other casually) and so far, everyone seems cool with giving #2 a little time to get his act together and move out (it’s my house). He wants out as much as we both want him out.

It was, and thanks for explaining.

Prior to my last relationship, the two “serious” relationships I’d been in both ended by telephone. One, because she was moving away (and we were too young and poor to pursue anything long-distance), and the second, because we weren’t super compatible in terms of where we wanted our futures to go combined with the fact that her parents were hostile to her about dating a black guy. It was easier to go our separate ways.

I remained good friends with the first until her very untimely death at the age of 27. The second, we stayed friends as well for a while, but ultimately lost touch. In neither case were there any possessions to exchange or anything else that would have prolonged the breakup process.

I got it right the first time, so I have never broken up with anyone or been broken up with.

Gosh, I’m glad I can’t say the same. My first boyfriend was when I was in first grade! I’d be married to Bob!

Most of the breakups I’ve ever been involved in have been very dramaless. I’d like to think it’s because I don’t invite drama, but it’s probably more luck than anything.

I once got broken up with via note delivered to me on the band practice field by an enemy! I think she was disappointed because my reaction was, “Oh, thank god.”

I was with my first serious girlfriend for almost two years, and I ended the relationship just before I turned 20. I was on the road to becoming an alcoholic at that point, and I realize now that I chose my beer over her. When I dumped her, I wrote a letter and dropped it off at her house, and never talked to her again.

I’ve always felt that was the most chickenshit way I could have handled it. Even when I was a drunk, and had no interest in taking responsibility for my actions, I looked back and thought I really could have chosen a better way to end that relationship.

It’s now been almost twenty years since our breakup. The twist to this story is… a couple of months ago she showed up on Facebook. Two weeks ago I got up the courage to write her, to apologize for being a drunk and the way I dumped her. I was figuring I’d either not hear back at all, or maybe get a response that said something along the lines of “go to hell.” Much to my surprise, she accepted my apology, and we started talking. As it turns out we live in the same city, so we met in person last week. I’m going to see her again tomorrow. My head is still spinning over this… :slight_smile:

Mine have been drama-less because we were kids, and didn’t know drama was supposed to be involved.

And then I met that guy.

When we broke up, we were both twenty-one. We were madly in love at first, truly head-over-heels with each other.

It’s been fourteen years and I can still remember the broken look on his face. We met in a park. I don’t know if it’s the truth, but in my memory, it was cold and windy. He never expected me to break up with him, it is true.

I was with him for about two years. I expected to marry him. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget him or put him out of my heart. I would never date him again - in fact, a few years ago when we got in touch with each other, he wanted to come here and meet with me, and I absolutely refused (as politely as possible) and now I don’t even e-mail with him. He’s part of my past, but I won’t just wipe him out of my past. I’d never tell him that, though.

Why did I break up with him? My parents hated him and his parents hated mine, and while you can still run a relationship like that, it’s very hard if both sets of parents are unreasonably against it. And I mean, to the point of his mom leaving nasty messages on my parents’ e-mail telling them what a skanky ho I was and that I had seduced their wonderful Christian son. But I would have made a go of it even then, except, after all of this went down, I remember in December of the last year we were together we were talking about our future, and he said something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “After we marry, we’ll buy a big house and my parents will live with us.”

It was the first time I had ever disagreed with him! I had this misguided idea that you never fight with your SO (HA!) But I was like - you want me to live with that old harridan, the woman who hates my guts so much the only thing she could ever spit out in my favor was “at least she’s gori (fair-skinned”? Never.

I didn’t end up breaking up with him until like April, but we were apart for most of that time as he returned home. We only saw each other like twice for those five months.

My relationships typically last a long time (over a year). We gradually loose the “spark,” start spending less time with each other, and after a few months realize “hey, it’s basically like we’re not even going out anymore. Maybe we should just break up?”
It’s always been amicable, and we’ve always remained friends (although we usually loose touch eventually).
Twice I’ve put off having the talk because it felt like breaking up would cause some minor scandal or rift in the space-time continuum of our mutual friends. Both times I was completely wrong, thankfully.
All in all, I’d say my “breakups” tend to be rather boring and uneventful, which I consider a good thing.