How to Break Up


It sucks to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Unfortunately I speak from experience. In this article I’ll tell you why it’s so hard, and I’ll give you five steps to follow next time you feel the need to break it off. It’s a slightly different story if you’re thinking of cheating.

Why it’s so hard to break up

The closer you get to actually breaking up with your partner the more fear comes up because you are threatening what is now a secure attachment. Your psyche is connected to this person whether you like it or not. Even if they’ve lost interest in what goes on in the bedroom, or worse yet, they talk while you’re trying to re-watch the last season of Six Feet Under, you are still attached to them. During the relationship, your brain has released oxytocin which has chemically bonded you to your partner. Their brain has done the same. You have literally developed chemistry together. That’s the science of love. When you threaten this attachment, your psyche will try to protect it by producing thoughts that are irrational and filled with absolute fear.

All your irrational break up thoughts

If you’re thinking about breaking up, it’s very normal for your mind to start wondering things like, “I may never do better than her” or “maybe I need to make more compromises” or “I guess I’m taking Six Feet Under a little too seriously and talking during the show isn’t that big of a deal.” STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! Six Feet Under is a tremendous artistic achievement, full of thought-provoking storylines that touch us all. As viewers we are doing this glorious show a disservice if we don’t give it our undivided attention. What I’m trying to say here is that when you’re threatening your attachment to your partner, you’re psyche will try to keep it and protect it at all costs. But you can’t really believe these catastrophic and irrational thoughts. A better idea is to practice non-attachment when such fear-induced thoughts pop into your head.

Think of a break up plan

After you make it past those pesky thoughts, if you still feel like you want to break things off you’ll want to come up with some sort of plan. It’s smart to present your feelings at your partner’s place. If you do it out in public or at your own place, then you may run into a situation where you have to deliver the broken-hearted all the way back home. That always makes for an awkward trip, and it may just end up in break up sex or getting back together. Don’t try to break up in the middle of a fight either. That’s the easy way out. Be an adult and bring it up when you are both feeling measured and balanced. Now, are you ready for the five simple steps to a successful breakup? Let’s do this.

Five steps to breaking up

  1. Be honest and clear. Let your boyfriend or girlfriend know that you don’t want to date them anymore. Convey to them how hard it’s been to come to this decision, but it’s honestly what you feel is best. Don’t be all wishy washy and try to hide the fact that you want out. You’re already hurting someone’s feelings. You don’t have to try to spare their feelings at the same time. It’s painful to break up with someone but you’ll get through it and you won’t have to do it again and again if you are just strait forward the first time.
  2. Be nice. It can seem like it’d be easier to be mean to your partner in this situation because it feels better to be mad instead of being sad. You can storm away from each other with a parting message of, “Screw you! I can’t effing stand you and I never want to see you again.” Grief feels easier to deal with when we are angry because then we don’t have to get in contact with the sadness, but demonstrating this type of anger is not cool. Have some respect and don’t make it into a fight where you’re just pointing out all the unattractive and unlikable things about them. 
  3. Be sensitive. Remember that there was a time that you really cared for this person and you probably still do care about them to some degree. They are hearing this information and it may be a shock to their system, so let them down gracefully and be as compassionate as possible. If they cry let them cry. You don’t have to try to stop the tears by getting back together with them, but you could say some things that acknowledge their pain or maybe even hand them the tissues.
  4. Leave them intact. You don’t always have control over this but it’s a good thing to aim for when breaking up with someone. You want to try to at least leave them with as much self worth as they entered the relationship with. So don’t say things like “you’re a horrible boyfriend because you’re awkward in bed” or “you’re just the worst girlfriend because you laugh like a horse.” Those things are going to haunt them and make them feel unlovable, and may create insecurities that weren’t there before the relationship.
  5. Repeat. The first breakup never takes. That’s the truth. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, you’re normal. So after you run back to your boyfriend or girlfriend, go ahead and give breaking up another try. Perhaps after her horsey laugh starts pissing you off again, or when his twisted and odd facial expression in bed repeatedly gives you the creeps. As Jerry Seinfeld once put it, “Breaking up with someone is like knocking over a coke machine. You have to rock it back and forth a few times before it goes down.”

Once you’re all broken up and done with it, try to stay single for just a bit. Start spending some time by yourself. “Date yourself” for a while, as they say. Learn to tolerate being alone. Start watching a new television series. Pick up the first season of Dexter so you can leave the pasty white David of Six Feet Under for the sexy and tanned serial killer that you’ll soon grow to love. And then once you meet someone else and break up with them, you should consider going back to the girlfriend or boyfriend that you were with before because you probably can’t do any better, right? Kidding, kidding…just change the way you laugh because a bad laugh ruins everything. And stop being weird in bed. Nobody likes that.

The Difference Between Non-Attachment and Detachment

Practicing Non-Attachment or Detachment?

As a therapist I often ask my clients to practice non-attachment instead of detachment. When a client is feeling overwhelmed with their feelings and can’t stop thinking about them, or avoiding them all together because they are in denial, I suggest trying to learn non-attachment skills.

What is Detachment?

Detachment is when you just don’t care. I mean you really do care, it’s just that you appear otherwise. Detachment is a defense mechanism and it protects you from feeling emotions that are too strong. If you are dumped by your one true love and you don’t feel anything, you are detached.

If a family member dies that you care about deeply and you have no feelings about it, you are detached. It may sound great to not feel these feelings but the problem is that they’ll find a way out somehow. Repressed feelings will bottle up and eventually become extremely overwhelming. Or maybe the emotions have turned into anxiety and you begin feeling nervous or worried. For instance, if you have thoughts that you are a bore to hang out with and nobody likes you, you may experience anxiety in social situations that are coming from a deep seeded emotional place. Denying these feelings won’t solve the problem. Practicing non-attachment around feelings of low self worth and thoughts of not being good enough could help.

What in Non-Attachment?

Non-attachment involves engaged actions without expectations or the attachment to particular outcomes. So there may be a negative thought that is telling you that you are going to embarrass yourself if you go out with your friends; this critical voice will tell you that you can “never be funny” and everyone will “hate you like they always do.” These thoughts turn into your expectation and projected outcome of the situation. By practicing non-attachment, you would allow the thoughts to come up, but you would not let them ruin your time. You’d let them mill around in your head and you wouldn’t attach on to them and treat them as the truth. It’s about letting critical thoughts come up but not believing in them so much that they begin to rule your behavior and core belief system about yourself.

Let’s get a little Zen

You can wash the dishes to wash the dishes or you can wash the dishes to get the dishes clean. – Zen proverb

You have an outcome attached to the behavior, which is to get the dishes clean. Once that outcome is attached you start to hurry and feel anxiety so you can get on with your life and do something you think will be more enjoyable. If you feel the warm water and soap between your fingers and live in the moment than you’re just washing the dishes. They’ll eventually be clean. If you’re hanging out with friends and listening to their stories and telling them about your week you’ll have a nice time. However, if you’re there trying to win their approval and be accepted into the crowd, you’ll lose focus and feel anxious. When those thoughts come up that tell you you’re not being cool enough, just let them pop into your head and then focus on having a nice time with your buddies.

Non-Attachment is Pretty Tricky

Practicing non-attachment is a really tough job. We have so many underlying emotions and critical voices running through our heads that it’s really hard to just let those feelings come up and not react to them when we’ve pretty much been reacting to them all our lives. You may need the help of a professional therapist to guide you through the process. You could also consult a monk if you’ve got one in the area. A therapist and monk are working with the same idea but doing different things with it. Many people have devoted their whole lives to practicing non-attachment so if you can’t get it down don’t be too hard on yourself. Or at least don’t attach to the critical voice that’s telling you that you suck at non-attachment.

Tips for Online Dating

Everyone is Online Dating. Just Go With It.

If you feel weird about having an online dating profile then just don’t have one. You’re ruining it for the rest of the people that got over the stigma when they signed up for Friendster back in the day. Research states that 1 in 5 couples meet online and that 1 in 6 marriages begin because of an online dating site. Although the research was commissioned by, it is still an impressive statistic. It is important to enter the online dating arena with as little shame as possible because everyone is doing it and this is the modern way to meet a potential partner. If your aging mother or skank of a friend don’t understand, it’s okay… just move on and try not to worry about what they may think. Feeling embarrassment from the beginning will cloud your judgement and you’ll be unable to truly enjoy the process. Plus, you probably won’t be a good date if you go into it with that kind of attitude.

You Are Not As In Love As You Think You Are

So, hopefully you’re no longer feeling embarrassed or ashamed, but you should still be realistic. The feelings you have for rollergrrl82 are not as real as you may think. And just because veganboi79 likes obscure music and only watches movies with subtitles (just like you!), it doesn’t mean that you’ll be sending off ironic family photos for your annual “festivus for the rest of us” holiday card in the future. It is important to know that the intimacy you are feeling for the person you just started emailing (and probably also stalking online) is projected intimacy. It’s not real intimacy. True intimacy comes after spending a lot of time with someone: knowing what it is like to have a conversation with them, learning all their little quirks and details from their past, not just what their favorite food is or the fact they have a fear of birthday candles because of the time her birthday cake went up in flames when she was four. When you spend a lot of time with someone, healthy intimacy flourishes.

You Are Such a Heartbreaker

A very common aspect of online dating is falling for a Paul Rudd but finding out he’s a Paul Dudd! This is when false intimacy has developed and you are left feeling heartbroken. It’s like Paul himself totally stood you up. He would never do that. Not your little Joshy from Clueless. Take the process slow and try to balance the amount of communication you have before meeting in real life. Try meeting sooner than later and make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Learn to Tolerate Rejection and Keep a Balanced Perspective

Let’s face it. You are going to feel majorly rejected even though you probably shouldn’t feel so rejected. People will be looking at your profile and may not email you back because of one tiny detail. Maybe you spelled a word wrong? Are you a Lakers fan and they hate Kobe? Keep in mind that you are probably doing a similar cursory glance of profiles, right? Remember that you are not being rejected for who you are really are. The world of online dating feels quick and unfair at first. It can be brutal, but you should try to meet people and have fun. It may be overwhelming at first. Take a break if you need to. No worries. It is not uncommon to sign up, delete your account and then sign up again later with more realistic expectations. Even if you have to go through a bunch of Dudds you’ll eventually find your Rudd. Happy dating!

You Have an STD. It's Okay.

It Is Normal To Have an STD

There is a very realistic chance that if you are an adult and you are sexually active, than you may have a sexually transmitted disease. STDs are not rare and they do happen to all of us. It’s okay. You’ll be fine. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people have herpes and in regards to HPV, 50% of males and 75% of females contract it at some point in their lives. Between 500,000 and 1 million contract genital warts per year. Unfortunately, because we grew up in a generation fearing STDs, that fear eventually turned into shame and stigma. By coming to terms with the reality of being a sexually active person, we must all remember that even by practicing safe sex, it is still possible to contract something along the way.

Don’t Freak Out

Which brings me to the point of this article: you are okay and there is no reason to feel shame. I also recommend that you should go to a doctor for treatment so that you don’t freak yourself out. Often times doing your own online research only causes even more anxiety. Don’t avoid seeking medical care because you are ashamed or embarrassed. You may feel that nurses or doctors will judge you, but really, you are projecting your own judgement onto them. They are there to help you.

Having an STD Does Not Make You Unattractive

You are still sexually attractive and people will still be interested in dating you even if you have an STD. Liz Lemon doesn’t say it’s a deal breaker and you shouldn’t either. Instead of being nervous and avoiding dating or having sex, be honest with your potential partner. When low self worth kicks in, you will attach to something that you think is unattractive or not likable or lovable, therefore you may feel embarrassment or shame. People may be nervous at first to hear the news, but if they reject you, it’s only because they are uneducated and need to be informed about how to take precautions. More often, your partner will understand what you are going through because they have dealt with a similar situation before, either having an STD themselves or a past partner with one. Communication is key.

Just Be Honest and You’ll Be Okay

So, you have a STD, but guess what — you can still be fulfilled and happy in a relationship. There is no need to feel guilt or anger. Remember that you have so many other positive aspects about you and the fact you have a STD does not sum up your life. People can and will see that you have so much more to offer. Don’t let the shame or embarrassment get in the way of your life. It’s not like you call potato chips a vegetable or you’ve appeared on “To Catch A Predator” on dateline. Right? Because that would be a deal breaker.

6 Things You Should Consider Before Cheating on Your Partner

So you’re thinking about cheating on your partner? Maybe the honeymoon is over. Maybe you don’t have as much sex. Maybe you’ve been married for a while and it’s not as hot as you thought it would be. Maybe you met someone who is totally the opposite of your current partner and now you are questioning everything because you’re attracted to them. Maybe you’re just bored. There are tons of reasons for wanting to cheat and none of them are that original. I’ve heard them all.

Keep reading here to find out six things to consider before you cheat...