"Be the Man You Want to Be": How to Get Dumped Like a Champ

We talked to an expert who's been there. Because at some point everybody plays the fool. 


Speaking directly to an audience of one now: What the shit, girl? I’m not going to name any names, but you know who you are. You’re the girl who I was going to break up with after that time you were out with your friends in Massachusetts. You know damn well what you did. But no, no, you got all weepy and then you started in about that night we got snowbound on those country backroads and you know I’m a soft touch like that … And then only after I put my bleeding heart back in your hands you stab it with a railroad spike. Whatever, I pawned that stupid gold necklace you saved up to buy me and got $18 for it. When would I ever wear a gold necklace anyway — am I Vin Diesel? The hell is wrong with you? God, I fucking miss you.

OK, back now, speaking to the wider Inverse crowd. If you couldn’t stand to give me a moment alone up there in that first graph, chances are you can fill in the blanks on your own. It happens to everybody. You think you’ve found someone you’ll be chilling with forever and they kick your feelings straight in the balls. Hell, life coach Wayne Levine has loved and lost like you wouldn’t believe. Inverse got this expert in being a better man to advise us on how take the punches with your head held high.

How do I react to having my heart torn apart with a modicum of dignity?

Well, the degree of how much pain you feel in a breakup is proportionate to the degree you were compromised in a relationship. The more you gave away, the more you stopped being who you were, the more you stopped being honest, the more painful the breakup is going to be. So if you’re feeling a lot of pain, it’s a wake-up call for you. It’s a blessing, you know. Yeah it feels painful in the moment but the reality is you’ve probably already felt this pain before and survived. If you’re not paying attention you’re going to keep doing it again. If it’s your first relationship and you’re getting dumped, well then, welcome to the crowd.

That’s when we start figuring out, “OK, what happened? What was I not aware of? What did I not say? What was I not conscious of?” There’s always a learning opportunity. I’m not just full of crap, I mean, I have felt the pain. And the pain I felt was absolutely of my own creation. For guys who say they were surprised and it came out of nowhere and there was no sign — that’s all bullshit. There are always signs. But once it’s happened, what do you do next?

This is what I’m talking to you for! What’s next?

Some guys would say you just need to go out and get laid and replace her so you don’t think about her. That’s certainly, like any other drug, a way to push it away for awhile. But a lot of guys are so wounded they barely want to get out of their apartment. The question is, how do most guys handle getting their hearts crushed? The best way is to be around buddies who will put up with your pathetic self until you get back on solid ground. I come from a place where I believe you should take this as an opportunity to develop relationships with the men in your life. Hanging out with your friends, hearing their stories, forcing them to have some fun with you. That’s what has to happen in the short term. Then as soon as you get your breath back, start doing some things that you’ve neglected. Practice your guitar, go running, and if you haven’t had hobbies like that, then start developing them. You want to put energy and time into pulling yourself up. Especially if you’ve allowed yourself to be put down.

You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. You think she was everything, and all the stories that we make up when we’re in a relationships, but we need to remember it’s all just stories we make up. Yeah, it’s natural to want to go into the cave for awhile and lick your wounds for a day or two, but if it’s more than that you become a victim of your own self-pity. So if you are prone to that behavior, make an extra effort to get out and be with people.

All of this is fine for after the fact, but what about in the actual moment of the break-up when she’s telling you she doesn’t want to see you anymore?

The best way to react is to be the man you want to be. If you were the guy you’ve always wanted to be in that moment, what would he do? Most guys have a heads-up — they know a talk is coming. If you know it’s coming, the best thing to do is just listen to her and be loving and appreciate for having spent the time with her you had and then just let her go. She’s made her decision. She’s moving on, even though you thought it was going to last forever. So the best thing in keeping your dignity is not to grovel. Don’t make her explain herself. If she’s decided, she’s decided. You say, “Listen, this is your choice and it upsets me, but you’ve made your choice and I will honor it.” That kind of behavior might even get her back, who knows.

The correct way is almost never the easy way is it?

It’s difficult to be a stand-up guy when someone’s stomping on your heart, no doubt. But you want to respect her respecting you enough to have that conversation versus sending a text or disappearing. That’s really disrespectful and very hurtful, when people ghost. But in this conflict avoidance culture we live in, it’s what people do. Anyway, there’s no reason not to treat this woman with the utmost respect now that she’s made this decision.

Anything you want to add?

I think I hit it. Yeah, yeah, I killed it.

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