Breakups always suck, no matter what, for both dumper and dumpee, or even if it’s mutual. But there are certain kinds of breakups that suck worse than others. That’s just true, the same way that certain ways of dying suck worse than others, in your sleep versus slowly and painfully of cancer. God, this is getting really macabre really fast. I’m sorry.

You can probably tell by my tone (and the fact that I’m listening to The Smiths) that I’ve just gone through a breakup. As some of you know, I was trying to be Switzerland, which worked for a while, and then I couldn’t remain neutral any longer. Our breakup was mutual and amicable and about as pleasant as something so unpleasant could be. I’m grateful for that. But still, BLERGH.

Here’s the thought I’m left with at the end of this relationship (to quote a Broadway song because I love Broadway musicals and I don’t care if that’s embarrassing): “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”

Endings really do matter. They matter more than beginnings. Beginnings are easy. Endings are hard. Endings say everything about your character. Daters of the world, don’t fail at finishing. It’s important to put forth your best effort, to do the right thing, so that your ex can be left with decent memories of the time you spent together, and not fixated on how fucked everything got at the end.

And with that, I present the kind of breakups which suck the very most. At least I’m not mucking through one of these right now, but I have mucked through most of them in the past, and let me tell you, they SUCKED.

1. The complete ghosting. I’ve written about ghosting at length. It’s when a person who you thought you were dating vanishes into thin air without a trace … or any explanation. Like a ghost. It’s the coward’s way. Let that thought provide you solace, if nothing else, you really could never truly love someone who is such a coward, could you? This has happened to me a number of times, and I will say, it’s the most heartbreaking because it leaves you trying to put the pieces together.

2. The stand-up. This is a form of ghosting,performed by slightly less of a coward, but still a coward. It’s when you schedule a time to talk about things, aka breakup, and the other person cancels, reschedules, comes up with all kinds of ridiculous excuses (the best one I ever heard was, “I’m itching all over”) or just stands you up altogether because they don’t have the balls to face you. It’s avoidance behavior at its absolute worst. The difference between this and complete ghosting is that, in this case, at least you know there is a breakup on the horizon. Not that it makes it any more bearable.

3. The text breakup. Once, I was supposed to go out on a Saturday night with a guy I was dating. At 5 p.m. or so, I texted him to ask what the plan was. He texted me back saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” That was our breakup. And it was bullshit.

4. The I’m not calling it a breakup, but it’s really a breakup. When the person you’re breaking up with doesn’t have the strength to be honest, they’ll often dangle a “maybe we’ll get back together” carrot in front of you when they truly have no intention of ever getting back together. For anyone who’s done this and thought they were being kind, I hate to break it to you, it’s incredibly cruel to give someone hope if there is none. It’s selfish. If you respect the person at all, let them move on.

5. The I’m cheating breakup. A particularly heinous way to find out your relationship is over is by discovering that your S.O. has another relationship going on. It doesn’t matter how you found out, once you have, there’s no turning back from the rage, humiliation,(add whatever other feelings you’d like to this list because there are going to be a lot of them).

6. The dump you during a special occasion/hard time breakup. Your birthday, Christmas, days before your brother’s wedding, right before you’re about to leave on vacation, immediately following the death of a family member, the day you’ve been laid off from your job. A person who chooses to break up with you during a special or difficult time in your life never really cared about you in the first place, because if they did, they would have a shred of decency and compassion and wait for a more appropriate moment.

7. The heard it through the grapevine breakup. If you’ve ever found out you’ve been dumped third hand — on Facebook, from a friend, on Twitter, then you’re probably still shock about it. It begs the question: WTF? It’s an insult of the highest order to tell the general public about your breakup before it’s even happened. Seriously, WTF?

8. The never-saw-it-coming breakup. You show up for what you think is going to be a romantic night together only to get dumped out-of-the-blue without any warning signs. This kind of breakup is lethal, not only because you are caught unaware, with your emotional pants down, but also because it completely fucks with your sense of reality and leaves you questioning how you missed such a thing. Chances are you missed nothing. If the person was having issues with the relationship, they should have had the respect to clue you in. It’s screwed up that they didn’t.

9. The make-you-feel-bad-for me breakup. So, one of the most confusing breakups I ever had was when a serious boyfriend, who was dumping me, started crying so hard that I had to comfort him. He made me feel so bad for him, that I forgot to be upset until he walked out the door and it hit me. I was like, Wait! You just dumped me! Why am I the one comforting you, asshole? He robbed me of my breakup experience by eliciting sympathy from me and I was left to sort through all the shit on my own. Not cool.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.



  1. She works hard for the money

    Recently discovered I’m number 1
    No explanation
    No phone call
    No text
    Feeling like my heart has sank to the bottom of the ocean were it will never be found the pain is unbearably my confidence is non-existent and I’m now frightened to love again
    This is an excellent article now please write one about how to get over it when it happens to u

  2. RenJennM

    I’m not gonna lie, I’ve done #1 (“ghosting”) to a guy. But he was controlling and a womanizer; I had to get up out of there. Confronting him with a breakup failed in the past and always resulted in him using head games to reel me back in. If I wanted to be done, the only option was to vanish.

    But I have had a weird combination of #4 (“I’m not calling it a breakup” breakup), #5 (“I’m cheating” breakup), and #8 (“never-saw-it-coming” breakup) happen all at once before. I’ll explain:

    Back when I was 20, I was dealing with this guy for 9 months. (He ended up being the guy I gave my “V-card” to. smdh) One day, he called me and sounded really melancholy on the phone. When I asked him what’s wrong, that’s when he confessed: he’d been in a two-year off-and-on relationship the entire time he and I had been together, but apparently he met me when they were at their “off” stage. Three months into me and him dealing with each other, he and the “wifey” got back together, but he didn’t want to stop dealing with me. While trying not to set fire to the world, I calmly asked him why he was just telling me this. He said: “Well… I proposed to her and thought you should know”. My heart caught in my throat, “You’re engaged?!!!!” Him: “Well… yeah.” So, I’m like, “OK… thanks for telling me.” As I’m about to hang up, he says: “Wait! That doesn’t mean we have to stop seeing each other. I still want to be with you!” That was it. I snapped. Lost my cool. Screamed at him at the top of my lungs and called him everything but a child of GOD. He was stunned into silence. After I finished my tirade, he said: “Wow. That was really cold. You hurt my feelings.” I ended with a huge “F*CK YOU!” and hung up the phone.

    The nerve of people.

  3. Number 8 and I are well acquainted. My ex-fiance broke up with me after a four 1/2 year relationship and 3 year friendship prior to that. I had no clue it was coming and was completely blindsided by it, especially when he proceeded to tell me he hadn’t loved me for the last year of our relationship. He thought he was doing the right thing by being honest, which he was… just a year to late. I went from expecting a date night with him after work that night to loosing my fiance and best friend in a single sentence.

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