Tag Archives: dating

What Is Love? Part I

In the next few weeks, I will focus on that seemingly ever-elusive topic: love. Personally, I like the idea of lasting love and have devoted the last 3 years of my life to explain in plain English how to have it. Hence, the series:

What Is Love?

Part 1 – Love: Where did we go wrong?

Somewhere in the midst of caveman clubbing, hair-dragging, and procreation, romantic love developed. And in spite of the ancient writings of King Solomon and the Kama Sutra, our culture is largely ignorant on how to have lasting love with a significant other. Could this be due to what American culture is: apple pie, cowboy boots, Hollywood, and suburbia? Tsk, Americans aren’t that shallow.

Western history nonetheless has caused people of breeding generations to question love.

Exponential population growth definitely doesn’t help with the answer. Only 100 years ago, the world’s population was less than 2 billion. This year it will reach 7 billion. Maybe the trouble of finding true love today is simply a matter of decreasing odds. If that’s the case, some of us are smart, raising that probability by meeting our soul mates in college, in the neighborhood, or through a friend. Fewer are plain lucky. Most of us are sadly left to sift through the masses, or worse, online dating profiles.

“These days we question why couples stay together more than why they split.”

Are people staying together out of convenience, for comfort or companionship? It seems less likely that a couple is together for love. In that rare relationship in which the old man says of his elderly wife how beautiful she is, we’ve got to ask how to achieve that true love. Does it really exist?

In Greek there are 4 different words for love: éros, philia, storge, and agápe. Eros is the love we all know in the world of romance to mean intimate, or passionate love. Philia refers to friendship among family and friends. Storge is affection such as felt by parents for their children. And agape is unconditional love coming from compassion and understanding. These are rough translations, because in Greek, all four of these words are used to describe truly romantic marriage.

In English, love has been reduced to a buzzword. We say “I love you” even without romance. Even natives of other languages say “I love you” in English more than in their first language. This is ridiculous.

So, how can real love be reestablished?

Let’s think about reasons why we love. Let’s take man’s best friend for example. You give your new dog food, a toy, a place to lie down, maybe take her for a walk or play with her. That dog says thanks by showering you with kisses, guarding you when strangers approach, and panting with excitement when you come home. Reciprocity abounds as a bond develops. In a short amount of time, you grow to love that dog as she becomes part of your family. Pretty easy. If only loving women worked the same way.

The confusion with love these days begins with a word that isn’t love at all. Lust, or epithumeo in Greek, has passion and can be confused easily with éros. You see a pretty girl and the way she looks does something to your hunter instinct as it sniffs out the viability of this prey. A few things in common gives you ammunition for the kill. She falls. Devouring her makes happiness and oxytocin, but it doesn’t last. Next day, the carcass rots. Not love.

Then there’s the opposite problem – the “friend”.

Of course you love (philia) your friend. She’s easy enough on the eyes and you respect her companionship. In fact, you might as well be joined at the hip because she is you in female form. But she doesn’t turn on that hunter instinct. Too bad.

As finding someone to love in all 4 Greek forms is increasingly difficult, it’s important to remember that the benefits of ensuring success may outweigh the struggle, especially when we walk away from failure with experiential lessons. In the words of Alanis Morissette, you live, you learn. Besides, we’ve all gone wrong about love at times in our lives, except maybe for the fortunate few.

In the days when fertility and sexuality was celebrated on February 15 (later to become the 14th), courtship and romance was not very common. More often, marriages were arranged for financial, social, or political reasons. Today, we have every reason to be grateful for our liberties. Nobody wants to be miserable. Everyone wants love.

This series on the topic will explore different factors of love in romantic relationships – how to find it, how to use it, and exactly what it is. Let’s figure out how to make the most of it.

When a Matchmaker is a Good Idea

There’s nothing like Valentine’s Day to remind us of how alone we single people are. But after experiencing failed relationships, better to be alone than bear with more heartbreak, right? The eternal optimist such as myself might prefer the risk anyway.

Rather than delve quickly and deeply into a new relationship, I’ve decided to take things slow. Well, not really. What I mean is, I’m not dating for the sake of dating anymore.

At the age of 39 with a growing business, I don’t have much time to date. My book is selling and people are responding positively to my “pick-up” methods. I mean, people like what I’m teaching. They’re not really pickup strategies. They’re really ways to discern personality attributes when meeting strangers, acquaintances, and potential dates. Do I use them in seeking a partner? Of course! But I still want help, because I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. (And I really don’t ask for much…I don’t think.)

After two marriage proposals, a few engagements, and other relationships I don’t regret, I’ve finally decided it’s time to settle down. I’ve heard that finding a spouse within a year can be done with plenty of proactivity. Unfortunately, I’m lacking the time needed to utilize these tested spouse-finding strategies. So, I decided to inquire matchmakers.

A lot of matchmakers have teams of people looking for the characteristics their clients are looking for. It’s like exponentially increasing the odds of finding the one. My requirements are pretty simple: a natural leader with a spiritual side. The question I had to ask is who would understand what I’m looking for. Finding the right matchmaker to work with can be challenging.

In the process of researching the various backgrounds and practices of matchmakers, I found that a lot of them offer a lot of socializing opportunities in addition to counseling, date coaching, and introductions. But one matchmaker in particular stood out – Janis Spindel.

Unlike Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker – who works with a range of characters and sometimes uses her clients for entertainment value – Janis focuses seriously on finding men their soul mates. Her clients are men who are ready to get married and who she’s comfortable working with. On top of that, Janis is married to her husband of about 30 years and has two grown daughters – one of whom, Carly, has her own dating agenda.

Choosing to work with clients Janis likes earns my respect, because that means she wants her work to be quality. How can you not respect that? Besides, why would anyone want to work with someone whose lifestyle and character is different from his or her own? Wouldn’t you trust someone within your own circle of friends more than someone in an unknown network? I certainly wouldn’t want a matchmaker to set me up if she or he didn’t get me.

Since I couldn’t hire Janis myself (since she only works with men as her clients, not to mention being beyond my means), I decided to share our conversation with the world.

Click on the image to watch the video of our talk and see for yourself what a real matchmaker does.

Click to watch the interview with Janis Spindel

Short on time? Click here for 2 minutes of highlights.

Valentine’s Day. I actually don’t feel sad at all. Besides, it’s $10 burger and beer night at the Water Street Bar and Grill in Brooklyn. Maybe I’ll get a chance meeting with my soul mate…probably not. Hey, you never know.

The Social Network’s Irrational Man

Those of you who have read my writing before probably have read something about the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and Jungian personality type theory. Seeing the movie The Social Network, I’m compelled once again.

We constantly hear about women and their emotions– how irrational they can be or how much women flip-flop. However, men can also be irrational.

A perfect example of a man with an emotional decision-making tendency is Eduardo Saverin’s character in The Social Network, portrayed by Andrew Garfield. In the beginning of the movie, Saverin is a close friend of Mark Zuckerberg. As co-founder of the fastest-growing online social network of the decade, Saverin has a mind for business. As a young college student, Saverin also has an emotional mind and makes a grave mistake. He gets upset, then rashly threatens the success of Zuckerberg’s creation.

Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, in contrast maintained his logical cool. (Let’s say logiccool.) Zuckerberg is a classic intuitive thinker. In spite of the opposition, Zuckerberg didn’t make rash decisions, but used logic to determine his next move.

Of course, the movie probably overly-dramatizes Saverin’s choices, but it does give an excellent example of what an emotional decision-making man might look like. Granted, Saverin is young when he nearly pulls the plug on Facebook. (We were all young, and we have all made rash decisions. Okay, maybe not all of us.) But if your heartstrings are attached enough– say, to something you’ve invested in– your decision-making tendency will be illuminated.

A study published in 2008 indicated that 40% of American men are emotional decision-makers. These men, like women who are “emotional” tend to make decisions based on feelings before using logic. So, why does society acknowledge male logic more than male irrationality? Possible obvious answer: male dominance in business, marketing, politics, religion, and…uhhh, society? Whatever the real answer, we often fail to acknowledge that many men make irrational decisions because of their emotions. Because of this, we tend to make assumptions and generalizations about the dynamics of relationships. Then, life goes in an unexpected manner; someone gets upset; and the drama perpetuates.

Of course, there are other factors involved when it comes to emotions, namely, hormones. When it comes to understanding what makes relationships work well, whether they be romantic or work-related, knowing personality differences can elucidate.

So, understand personality type theory. Stop the drama before it sucks energy from your soul. But how?

To get more logiccool, first you need to know your tendency. Are you the type of person to make decisions because of logical thought or do you act because you want revenge, feel hurt or angry, or are in love? It takes more than one question to really determine your tendency. Be assured, 99% of people lean one way or the other.

If your tendency is to go by emotions more often than logic, be aware of the tendency, and stop yourself before making decisions. Take extra time to think before acting. Pretty simple, eh? Well, in the heat of a moment, it might not be so easy. Though the more opportunities to practice taking time, the more likely you will attain that logiccool.

Wing Girl Kim is the author of the AlphaDog book.

Issues? What issues?

When we’re single, we want a relationship. When we’re in a relationship–an incompatible one, that is–we want to be single. Never satisfied, it’s easy to miss what’s really wrong in the picture.

I’m what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator would refer to as “Perceiving.” Basically, that means that I’m comfortable in a state of indecision. To those who are opposite of Perceiving, or “Judging” (not the same as judgemental) it’s important to know what their weekly schedule looks like. But I like to keep it open and have options.

Even in a relationship with a boyfriend, I was never comfortable with the idea that he was “the one.” Get married? I’d rather wait and see. Any excuse I could find to get out of a relationship and find a new one was acceptable in my eyes. But then I turned 37. My boyfriend of 4 years and I broke up the year before. (My longest relationship to date.) At this age I started to think about whether or not I really wanted to bear a child. I decided I did and thought about settling down.

Fast forward to May 2010. I turn 39 in two months, and my boyfriend– who I found on a dating website– and I have been together over a year. Until a month ago, I was still in that state of indecision about marriage. Except this boyfriend is different from the other ones. He’s compatible with me. But why haven’t I felt in love with him? It’s that gnawing question that plagues many of us, that make us wonder if we can be more than friends, or whatever.

I got the answer to that question a month ago. It was something that I had been ignoring for years.

I had been in love once before. And I was in a relationship with him, Bill, in 2003. But I broke up with him because I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment and thought our relationship was getting in the way. But really it was my lack of independence that was in the way. About 4 months after leaving him, he was in a car accident and died.

Bill and I were still in touch the day of his accident. In fact, I ran into him the same day. He invited me to see a play. Inside I wanted to go, because I was still in love with him, but instead declined. Years later, while in this new relationship, I still hadn’t let go of my lost love and wasn’t allowing my heart to open up. I squashed my feelings with busyness and avoided intimacy out of fear for losing another loved one to death.

It’s very easy to go into denial about our problems. But being in denial doesn’t help anyone. Whether we’re in a relationship, dating casually, or playing around, every person we get close to can be affected by our issues.

My issue with my present boyfriend became a non-issue after I decided to let go of Bill’s spirit and move on. I had been feeling guilty for breaking up with the only man I ever felt like I could die for (besides my dad). And my reason for breaking up was my own problem. Another issue.

There are other details that affected my story that would take a book to write about. But rather than go there, it should suffice to say there were many other personal issues that needed attention and healing.

Since Bill died, I’ve learned to be independent. My present boyfriend, Jason, is also an independent person. It’s amazing when two independent people get together and are compatible. They become two interdependent people, and the chemistry is awesome. But the only way I could be here in this (amazingly) healthy relationship is to have dealt with those issues without dragging my significant others into the depressing depths of their roots. Of course, the guys were aware I was working through emotional trials, but they were not victims to them.

Got issues? Face up.

Get responses online

Meeting people online has its issues, but they are not impossible to deal with. You need tactics, as if you were an online pickup artist.

I met my boyfriend, Jason, on plentyoffish.com. I swore to myself it would be the last dating site I would ever join. Since I was still working on my book, and writing about personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I decided to test myself. I wanted to see if I could find my perfect personality match through a person’s online profile.

Of course, I had to know about personality matching. I had read Dr. Alex Avila’s LoveTypes book. I learned my type, ENTP, aka “The Innovator,” is romantically compatible with ENTJ, aka “The General.”

It’s difficult to order a book, read it, and put it into practice in a matter of a few days. So, I’ll try to give a bared down tip…

  • Think about 3 things about your mind/life that are distinct to you compared to other people you know. For example, for me: 1. I dislike set schedules; 2. I love to be silly; 3. I’m very analytical and have to think to know my feelings.
  • Next, go to the dating site, and as you peruse people’s profiles, look for things that jump out at you that you think or know would work with you. For example, I know for myself it has always helped me to have someone in my life who was better at living by a schedule than me; so, in that sense I look for my opposite. Plus, since I’m analytical, smart people interest me. Funny, ’cause the initial impression of Jason’s photo was, “This guy is arrogant!” Sure enough, he’s arrogant because he’s smart–and I like him that way.
  • When you find something distinct about the person you can relate to, write a message that caters to that distinction without getting too personal. For me, I realized that Jason likes to debate. So, in my first message, I challenged him on his profile’s headline.

    Note: The more attention you pay to details, the more a person senses genuineness. For example, if a girl writes something like, “I love to go out for good food…” Don’t just write, “What kind of food?” Dig deeper. Assume “good food” is the difference between dining on the Baja peninsula and Taco Bell. Instead you could say something like, “Have you been to the Bistro on Main Street?” or whatever; you get the point, I hope.

In the meantime, check out Avila’s LoveTypes book. For a generalization on what that’s about, you can also read Parts IV and V in my AlphaDog book, also available on Kindle.

Good luck!

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This post was inspired by @YouWishYouWere on Twitter.

Where to find a good wingwoman

Finding a wingwoman who will help you meet attractive women is like finding a model with enough intelligence to, say, host a T.V. show. Well, Anna Nicole Smith (R.I.P.) hosted her own show, sort of. It’s difficult and easy depending on a lot of factors. The good thing is that you can find someone to be your wing just about anywhere. No matter where you seek, here are some criteria of a good wingwoman:

1. She must be extroverted. If you’ve read my book, you know there’s a difference between having an Extroverted personality type and being outgoing. A good wingwoman might not have an Extroverted personality type, which means she naturally prefers being around people to doing things at home. But if she’s an outgoing Introverted type, she might lose steam as midnight approaches. In that case, some incentives, say, a few Jacksons, might motivate her enough to hang tight with you for that girl you want to meet.

Natural Extroverted personality types get energy from being around people. An incentive like some free food is enough to convince her to hang out with you.

2. She must have social grace. To find this out quickly, talk about a sensitive topic with her, like how women deal with PMS. A seriously defensive girl might be difficult to work with, but a girl who makes light of a “sensitive” subject will be fun. (I don’t think PMS is that sensitive myself, but a lot of women feel strongly about it. Abortion is another topic to test sensitivity.) A girl who makes light of things shouldn’t take winging too seriously, and will be able to make the male-female connection possible with her sense of humor.

3. She must have the ability to charm AND understand guys. A woman who charms a man doesn’t necessarily get along with other women. But a woman who understands what makes a man tick will know how to get on women’s good side. Women want to know about men as much as men want to know about women. So, a wingwoman who can talk frankly about men to other women will win a woman’s approval.

The danger in getting a woman who doesn’t understand why sports are so engaging, for example, will get caught up in girl talk. But a woman who can reason with another woman why a man should be given a chance–she’s platinum.

A good wingwoman doesn’t have to be as attractive as the woman you want to meet. In fact, it might be easier to meet her, since the target woman won’t feel as threatened by her as with a beautiful wing. Though, if your wing is really good with charm, she can do anything, even if she’s drop-dead gorgeous. Likewise, if a woman is plain-looking, she might have the charm that can tame lions.

If you want someone really good, paying a wingwoman with experience something like, say, $30 bucks an hour to start (if you’re in NYC) is reasonable. (I would think San Fran is similar due to rent prices there. LA could probably go to $25.)

Of course, there are other things to consider when seeking a good wingwoman. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with. If you’re a dive bar rat with no charm yourself, and you’re seeking swanky women, even an expert wing can’t help you hook up. A good wingwoman will tell you like it is. If you need to practice speaking naturally around women, there is little a wing can do to help you get where you want to go. She can help you get practice being around women, but don’t expect miracles. But if you’re confident enough, a wingwoman with the above criteria can make your evening a blast.

Thanks to Peter of Gotham Jiujitsu for inspiring this article.

Your Online Persona

With online dating becoming more and more popular, a personal profile is ever-more important in making a first impression. We already know that a good picture makes a difference, but what about what you write about yourself?

The last thing you want to say is, “I don’t like talking about myself.” Everyone hopes you’re not egocentric, but to say something like this is a lazy attempt at false humility. I mean false because, although it’s a well-meaning statement, deep down you know it has nothing to do with talking about yourself and everything to do with putting your best foot forward.

It takes time and effort to decide how you want to present yourself, since there are many different ways to express yourself in writing. If you’re a talented or skilled writer, you could eloquently describe yourself Kerouac-style. But most people don’t want to read memoirs online. Some people make lists of adjectives to describe themselves, but they don’t always reveal personality. For example, I could say, “I’m confident.” But then when you meet me you think I’m obnoxious. Ultimately, however you decide to describe yourself, make it your goal to be transparent and show who you really are. Nobody wants to go face-to-face and be thrown off by an insincere description.

If you use a list, try to paint a picture for the reader that makes you unique. Adding something you like (or don’t like)– for example, an activity– will make the picture more clear. “Down-to-earth, quiet, warm, easygoing, who reads the paper at the corner café every Sunday morning.” The clearer an image you can provide, the more likely you will attract someone like-minded.

Don’t be afraid to mention something about you that you think people won’t like. What one person doesn’t like, another person does. “I don’t like small talk,” gives the reader a certain impression about your intelligence, or arrogance. Why attract people who won’t get along with you?

You can use statements about what you like to do to say a lot about yourself. For example: “My favorite thing to do at bars is walk up to complete strangers and ask them what they think about the price of milk.” I’m totally making this up, but if it were a real profile statement, it says a number of things. It indicates that I go to bars, and I probably drink. I can walk up to strangers and talk to them; I have confidence. Asking them about the price of milk, as silly as it is, shows that I like to have fun. Since it’s my favorite thing to do at bars, it tells you that I like using pickup lines and that I might not be very creative. It’s a dorky statement, but I think you get my point.

Probably the most popular and easiest thing to do in profiles is to say what you like or what interests you. But mention at least several things or be more specific. If “travel” is listed as your only interest, you’re not saying much, since a lot of people like travel. What kind of travel? Backpacking? Cruises? 747s? Hitchhiking? Luxury hotels? The more things you say you like, the more interesting you will be to the reader.

You don’t want to say things like, “I will make you laugh.” There’s a chance you won’t. But if you’re funny and can show your personality in your profile, you might make the reader laugh. “People say I’m funny,” will make the reader wonder, “What kind of people think you’re funny?” Rather, make fun of yourself. “I put my foot in my mouth at the worst times.”

Here are some questions to help you come up with ways to make your profile show who you are:

  • What gets you excited?
  • What is fun to you?
  • What do you enjoy most for leisure (besides sex, guys)?
  • What are your 3 best and 3 worst qualities?
  • How would you describe your personal style?
  • How do your friends see you?
  • What song, type of music, or band moves you most?
  • What makes you laugh, or cry?

The more specific you get in your profile, the clearer a picture you give about who you are, and the more approachable you will be. But be aware that saying too much might turn people away. I try to keep my descriptors down to no more than 12 qualities and sentences. That way, I provide a brief introduction while giving enough information for the reader to see me. I always write the most important things I want people to know about me, and I give a peek of my worst.

If you still have trouble coming up with an attractive profile, Evan Marc Katz has a service at e-cyrano.com where you can get your online profile a professional makeover. It’s a good way to get more people to respond to your profile if you’re willing to pay a fee.

In another blog, I’ll talk a bit about what you can tell about someone’s personality based on how they write their profiles and how you can make your personality shine.

Beware the online dating diarist

As a guy, online dating offers nothing more than yet another way you need to learn to approach girls. This is supposed to be easier, in theory, because you’re not in the same place at the same time. The fact of the matter is that online dating works largely the same way that real life dating works: if you’re the guy, you need to approach her. And there’s so many possible partners on a site that you end up sending out a lot of “hi there” emails and getting very few responses. But every once in a while, you get a response, do a sanity check of their profile to refresh your memory as to whether she fell into the “super hot” or “cute” categories, and start an email conversation. You think things are going well and you actually have a chance of not just meeting this girl, but dating her. There’s only one problem. She’s an online dating diarist.

You anxiously await her next email, and it reads:

Hey Zack,

Boy did I have a busy day! Work was crazy today. When I arrived, my boss already had ten things for me to do. I really like her, but she’s so disorganized. Oh well, I suppose that’s why she needs me, right? I spent most of the morning helping her arrange everything just the way she likes it so she can look good in front of the execs. For lunch we went to California Pizza Kitchen…god I love the salads there. I know, I know, it’s a pizza place but I get a salad. I don’t care, they’re sooooooooo good!

The afternoon was really busy as well as we had clients coming in from out of town. There were meetings all afternoon to try to finalize this deal. After work, me and the girls went out for happy hour and Sarah got totally wasted. I’ve told her so many times to watch it when she’s out with colleagues, but she’s a party girl, so what can I do?

Well, that’s about it. I hope your day went well.

Upon first reading this you may be thinking, “what’s wrong with it?” What’s wrong is that this isn’t an email to me, it’s an entry in her diary. Remember those high school girls with diaries? They don’t keep diaries anymore, they write emails.

If you’re communicating with someone on an online dating site, that means you don’t know them. You must get to know them in order to decide if they are worth the time of meeting in person. Online dating diarists do everything in their power to feed you the most mundane and useless information about themselves as possible. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t know that this is what they’re doing, but it’s the fastest way in the world to ensure that nothing will ever come of the communication.

Now, I’m not a fan of online dating in general (for reasons I’ll discuss at a later point), and this type of behavior just validates my beliefs. The first few emails of an online dating discussion need to be devoted towards getting to know the other person. Ask questions, don’t tell stories unless they answer a question, and skip the day or weekend rundown of your activities.

If you’re a guy and you’re now virtually involved with an online dating diarist, you have three options. The first is to ignore everything that she says and ask interesting questions such as “What did you want to be when you were a little girl?” and “If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be?” Chances are she’ll answer the questions, and if you’ve snapped her from her spell, she’ll ask some in return. If she doesn’t ask any questions after answering yours, chances are she’s going to slip back into her diary mode after the next email.

This leads you to the second option: suggest meeting in person. Sometimes people just don’t know how to communicate through writing. They may have a hard time figuring out what to say because they have too much time to think about it. Suggest meeting for a coffee and see if she is any easier to communicate with in person.

Your third option is, of course, to end the communication. Online dating, ideally, is about meeting a large amount of people in a short amount of time and with minimum effort. If you’re putting effort into holding up a “relationship” with someone you haven’t met, then you’re just not doing online dating right. Politely say that you don’t believe things will work out and wish her the best. You may or may not get a response, but either way, don’t write to her again. Just move on.

If you’re a girl and you’re an online dating diarist, the easiest way to snap out of your behavior is to start asking him questions. Don’t provide a narrative, this is a two-party conversation. Give the guy something to converse with you about. Short stories are okay, but they have to have a point or lead up to a question. For example, a story about your nephew could be followed up by the question, “do you have any small children in your family?” Or, as with the guy, just say you’d like to meet for coffee and talk in person.

Online dating is really no easier than dating in real life, it’s just replacing verbal and in-person communication with visual, text communication. Text communication isn’t easy for everyone, so you’ll tend to run into the online dating diarist at least once or twice during any online dating encounters. Just beware, and good luck!

Breaking up, the right way

So you’ve reached that point in your relationship where you realize it’s just not working out. For one reason or another, it’s time to move on. Sometimes it’s easy to move on because the other person has proven, without a doubt, that they are not the one for you. Sometimes it’s not so easy because, “there’s nothing really wrong.” You don’t fight and you get along, but the spark is gone. Either way, you’ve made the decision to break things off and the time is now.

You should first congratulate yourself for making this decision. There are a lot of people who stay in unfulfilling relationships because they fear change, or don’t want to be alone, or don’t want to hurt the other person. You don’t owe it to anyone to stay in a relationship that isn’t working for you, and taking this step is scary. Take a deep breath and you’ll get through it.

Before talking to your partner, you need to ask yourself a very important question: is this really it? You should never break up with someone as a ploy to test their affections. People are emotionally weak, so toying with someone’s emotions like that is just cruel. If you want to break up, then know that this is a forever decision…you don’t get to change your mind next week. It’s not fair to the other person and it’s not good for you. So decide, right now, if you are happy saying goodbye forever. If the answer is no, then you’re not ready to break up. If there’s something in your relationship that you want to change, then communicate about changing it. Breakups are not a tool for fixing your relationship.

Once you’re certain that you want to break up, you need to have a reason ready to tell the other person. Most people need a solid reason why a relationship is ending for closure. We, as humans, tend to question every move we made when things go wrong. Maybe if I brought her flowers more often things would have been different. Maybe if I was more affectionate. If you are breaking up with someone, eliminate this misery: tell him or her exactly why you’re leaving. The reason should be something concrete and you should stress that there’s nothing that could change how you feel. For example, “I met someone else,” is a tangible reason, as is “I don’t like the way you treat me.” A crappy reasons is something like, “I just can’t be in a relationship right now.” There’s a reason you can’t be in a relationship right now, explain what it is! “I can’t be in a relationship right now because I’m too stressed about life and can’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated.” That’s a real reason.

After you’ve told them your reason and stressed that there’s nothing they could have done differently, don’t patronize them. Don’t tell them how wonderful they are or how you wish you would’ve met them later in life; such things are just cruel. Say you’re sorry for hurting them but don’t apologize for your decision. And whatever you do, do not ask if you can still be friends. There’s two reasons to avoid this common pitfall: 1) it’s not a clean break, you can’t go from lovers to friends over night and 2) it’s selfish.

Exes can be friends, but only after time. You both need the time to reset how you think about each other, how your lives are without each other. Trying to “hang out” the next weekend typically means you’ll end up sleeping with each other and you’ll need to break up all over again. A clean breaks means you stop seeing each other. Period. Allow time for your emotional health to be restored. Sometime down the road, you may be able to be friends, but not right away.

And here’s the thing, it’s the person who gets dumped that gets to decide if they want to be friends later on. As the dumper, you give up that right on account of your ripping out another person’s heart and dancing on it. The person who was dumped already feels powerless, this is the one thing that you owe him or her at this point. Let your ex have this decision.
Another thing you, as the dumper, cannot do is to act like you got dumped. Symptoms include wanting to continue talking multiple times during the following week, being “hurt” by the way your ex is acting now, and sending emails/text message/phone calls just to “say hi” or to “see how you’re doing”. If the person you dumps wants to talk to you (and he or she may if no sense of closure was reached), the call will come on its own. It’s not your responsibility to check up on your ex to make sure everything’s okay. News flash: it’s not okay. There is hurt and there is upset. There will probably be anger soon, and you don’t want to be caught up in that. Let well enough alone.

Breaking up with someone is difficult. In some ways, it may be more difficult than being dumped. If the guidelines in this post seem too harsh or strict, consider how unbalanced the relationship has become at that point. As the dumper, you’ve had time to think about your decision. You’ve pondered your life without your significant other and decided that it’s a good option. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about it for days or weeks, but you’ve come to your decision. Your boyfriend or girlfriend has no idea that this is coming, they will have no emotional or psychological preparation for life without you. One moment you’re a couple, the next you’re not. As the dumper, you owe them some dignity and caring in your final moments together. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.