Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do
By: Jane Whitney
August 1, 2016
When I was little my mom would occasionally play the Neil Sedaka song “Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do”. At the time I found the song slightly annoying and unrelatable to my five-year-old self. Now that I am much older, I have decided that my mother was foreshadowing my life.
Relationships can be confusing, and relationships are especially confusing when you are trying to figure out if you’re at the end of one . . . or not. In short, Neil was right. Simply put breaking up is hard to do.
I believe there are primarily two types of people when it comes to that dreaded phrase we’ve all come to hate: the break up. These types aren’t solidified in an individual—as lovers tend to jump sides depending on the circumstances at hand. Nonetheless, here are my top two:
Type A: The definite break up.
This type is most likely to say, “We aren’t meant to be. We are done. I’m taking the dog, and you can have the leftover sushi from last Wednesday.” They don’t leave the other party with a single chance or hint of reconciliation.
Type B: The “We Need A Break” bunch.
Vastly different from Type A, the Type B persona is most likely to say, “I’m not sure we should be together so lets take some space and decide how we feel.” This type leaves the opening for rapprochement.
A break up is defined, “to bring to an end” according to Webster’s dictionary. Wikipedia states (yep, I checked there too) the “termination of an intimate relationship by any means other than death.”
Those definitions make the end of a romantic journey sound rather easy. Granted, some cases are easier than others—most are not. When you end a relationship you are letting go of a significant person in your life. You invest a lot of time, energy, and money (hellooo birthdays and holidays) into in effort for an everlasting love. Letting go of that commitment is a struggle. Letting go of “your person” is hard. You put in all that work, for nothing in the end, because here you are letting it go for one reason or another.
Now to be clear, the difficulty of a break up can lead to a break.
Urban Dictionary calls “on a break” what it actually is: relationship limbo. I think we can all agree, this is completely and utterly 100% accurate. We’re lost, we’re confused, and we’re upset because we *literally* don’t know what to do.
Urban then goes on to add, “something that drama llamas do because they saw it on TV and they want their lives to be more like ‘Friends’.”
Obviously, the person who wrote that is a Type A.
“Friends” gave the world an unrealistic expectation about relationship breaks (not to hate on Ross and Rachel too much as they are one of my all time favorite TV show couples). But really, how many times did Ross and Rachel break up and get back together again? I certainly lost count. They take an undefined break, that sounded a whole lot more like a break up, when Rachel said, “A break from us,” only for Ross to hook up with some random woman when he thought Rachel was seeing her coworker.
The saga of their love continues with Ross constantly reminding Rachel that it wasn’t cheating because they were “on break.” Spoiler alert: it worked for them. Rachel got off the plane, and they declared that they were forever . . . Only to have Ross and his bad joke timing state, “Unless we are on a break.”
Last month, one of my best friends called off her wedding. After learning some unfortunate truths about her fiancés recreational activities—you know what I’m getting at—she ended the relationship. Without hesitation she called off the wedding one week before. It was incredibly painful for her, but she did it.
Most impressively, when asked how he could win her back she stated, “You have no chance in hell.” She then slammed the door of their once shared condo in his face for emphasis. Things were clear . . . or so she thought.
Somehow her ex-fiancé got a little confused by her words. While we were at happy hour this week she informed me that he came by earlier that day to pick up the rest of his stuff. In the midst of pushing his boxes out the door —as fast as she could—he asked to set some rules for their “break.”
Cue the confusion.
While they were in a committed relationship he was doing whomever, whenever he could behind her back. Now that she ended things, he wanted to set ground rules about seeing other people. Including rules about how far one can proceed in a physical relationship with another person. She reiterated—in non-printable language—that they were definitely over. Needless to say, I bought my friend another round of drinks and called her an Uber.
She’s a Type A relationship ender. It wasn’t easy for her to do so. She had been in a committed relationship with her now ex-fiancé for over 10 years. It’s a daily struggle for her to move forward, but she is doing it one step at a time.
On the flip side, her idiot ex is a Type B. I don’t understand his logic right now but he is a Type B, and in this case, trying to delay the inevitable while his Type A has already ripped off the band-aide.
Personally, I am not a “take a break” woman. Never have been. I’m a loyal Type A. If my guy and I are mad at each other, hurt by one another, or simply disagreeing about something in life, my mind set is, “Great. Lets get through it together and figure this out.”
Now, if I don’t want to get through any of those things with my significant other than that’s a red flag, It’s time to break up. For some, those things send up a different colored flag called “we need a break.” Not for me. I’ll eat some ice cream, drink some wine, and watch a sappy movie—or two—then start the next morning learning how to take on life as an independent woman again. It’s not always a simple transition but it is worth it to me. Life is too short to spendtrying to work something out with someone that isn’t worth my time or energy in the end.
I’m sure that sometimes taking a break can be a good thing. People occasionally need space to get a clear head. I get that. The Huffington Post released an article recently discussing the positive attributes of couples taking a break. In quick summary: the psychologist stated, when a couple enters a break with defined goals and set rules it can be beneficial—leading to a stronger relationship. However, if you don’t set rules and both parties aren’t agreeing to the break then you are wasting your time. Without parameters the couple is most likely to end up in a relationship with more problems than they started with.
So reader, which type are you?