How I Get A Girl To Break Up With Me

Image by El Nuko via Flickr

I hate breaking up with someone. I really do. Call me spineless, tell me to grow a pair, I get it. I just have this need to be the “good guy” (or at least deceive myself that I am). I feel better when I’m the poor sap who gets broken up with, rather than the a-hole who dumps an awesome girl.

To that end, I’ve come up with some pretty devious ways to get a girl to break up with me. When I’m ready for the relationship to end, but don’t want to pull the slow fade or just stop calling altogether (remember, I’m trying to be the good guy here), these devastatingly effective strategies get her to do all the dirty work for me:

I “become” excessively busy at work

All of a sudden, my workload surges exponentially. I’ve been given a new project. Or, I’m the newly-appointed office firefighter. Either way, I have to start working late most nights.

After a few months, she starts wondering if work matters more to me than she does. It does, of course. What she never realizes is that I don’t actually have to do all this extra work. I only take it on to get out of hanging out with her. In some cases, I don’t even have any extra work. I simply spend my late nights getting reacquainted with WebSudoku.

So, she breaks up with me. And I get to be the poor overworked sap, unreasonably forced to choose between career and personal life.

I “become” stressed out and moody

This one works great in conjunction with the first strategy, especially if I’m dating a particularly supportive woman who understands the importance of career. For her, being busy may not be a good enough reason to break up. Seriously, right? How dare she be so considerate?

In any case, with an increased workload comes increased stress, and with increased stress comes a decline in my overall demeanor. I’m not my usual cheerful, upbeat self. I become withdrawn and unpleasant. Yeesh, who in their right mind would want to date someone like me?


I “become” opinionated and argumentative

Now, I am a naturally opinionated person, but I’m also good at letting the little things go. With the exception of a few “hot topics,” I generally don’t care too much if someone disagrees with me.

That is, unless I’m trying to break up with that someone. Then, I let nothing go. Every single opinion she expresses is met with an opposing viewpoint, whether or not I actually disagree.

What’s most powerful about this particular strategy is its permanence. With the work or the stress, the girl may still have hope that my change in behavior is temporary. With the argumentativeness, though, she’ll hopefully figure that that’s just how I am. So, she has to decide whether or not she can live with it.

Of course, I do everything in my power to make sure she can’t.

I “become” a social butterfly

A group of friends have invited me to their weekly poker night. At the same time, some coworkers want to start doing happy hours every other week. Also, my community service organization has elected me the new social chairman. Oh, and a bunch of old fraternity brothers are planning a trip to Vegas next weekend.

Quite simply, my social calendar fills up, and I have less and less quiet time to spend with her. So, she wonders what she’s doing with me.

Then again, if she’s a social butterfly herself, this strategy flops big time.

I “become” flakey

This one is probably the most frustrating, but it’s also perhaps the most effective. I start forgetting about plans that we’ve made. I plan a day trip with her, but forget to ask for the day off. Worse yet, I forget her birthday.

This strategy does have a drawback, though, in that I make myself look pretty unattractive. If the girl I’m dating complains about me, the flakiness strategy (along with the moodiness strategy) may hurt any potential chances I might have with her friends.

Yes, this is how devious I am. Even as I’m breaking up with a girl… or, ah, being broken up with, I’m thinking of how I can get in good with her friends afterwards.

See? Getting a girl to break up with me isn’t really all that hard.

And now that you all think I’m the biggest douchebag in the world, I want to clarify that this is not a how-to column. I’m offering these strategies so that you can recognize if someone pulls them on you, not so that you can learn them for yourself. Passive-aggressive behavior is deplorable. If we’ve simply lost interest in the relationship, we owe the other person the respect of being honest.

For what it’s worth, I’ve personally apologized to the women I’ve done this to. I’m certainly not proud of myself for having behaved like this, and honestly, I don’t do it anymore. I can’t defend my past actions, but I can share what I’ve done in the hopes that others won’t fall prey to similar tactics.

So, who here has been a victim of these strategies? I have a nagging feeling that I’m not the only guy—or girl—who’s pulled them.

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  • you look like william hung.
    all the points in your article should have read, “Look like William Hung… she’ll break up with you”

  • You are seriously the most massive douchetool I have ever seen.

    Yay for having no respect or consideration for people other than yourself!

  • I found it funny and clever. We all pull stunts as such. Pride makes us and with the two people who commented they have HUGE egos. They play games too.

  • Thanks, Anon. And no worries, I can handle a few trolls. 🙂

  • I thought it was pretty funny.

  • Oh…oh my god.

  • Yeah, my ex became sooo busy at work and completely grouchy and stressed all the time, and wouldn’t even have sex with me.

  • These are classic techniques that get you out of the “what’s wrong with me?” conversation most girls will want you to have. In the end, it’s probably easier on the soon-to-be ex’s ego.

  • Oh man. This made me laugh. You’re kind of mean, aren’t you? What a way to waste a girl’s time. I’ve always been a fan of heartfelt talks and I don’t usually balk from confrontation, but I do understand how hard it is to do the break up thing. So far the most I’ve had to do to a couple of hopeful guys is “let them down easy.”

    These methods are probably better than breaking up with someone through a text or an email? Or by just disappearing? Or by faking your own death? (Which I’m SURE some people have actually tried before.) But it’s still such a waste of time to do all this instead of being honest. Honesty is definitely the better way to go.

    I wish I taken another psychology class in college. I’d love to psycho-analysis this behavior more in-depthly.

  • Congratulations. You are an abuser. Next on the plate, date rape.

  • Congratulations. You are an abuser.

  • They’re not trolls. That’s seriously a dick move. Did it ever occur to you that while she’s wasting her time on you trying to get her to break up with you, she’s rejecting other guys she could have been happy with?

  • Haha this article made my life! i do the same strategies! just not the flakey, i want to make sure i look good towards her friends lol. Plus you’re not a douchetool for these! They make the girl feel better, She feels better breaking up with you than you breaking up with her. then you can score some pity points in the first week to get close to other attractive girls and her attractive friends.

  • Lol author is mad because someone criticized him on his looks even though hes a spineless bitch who makes girls break up with him. Even though I don’t think he ever had more than 3

  • Not mad at all. Actually, I find y’all pretty amusing.

  • FatalFlyingGuillotine

    “Hey, look at me! I make unsubstantiated claims about writers online so I can feel better about myself! Poignant comments? Spirited debate? No, I don’t have the intelligence for that- I’ll just fire off some weak ‘insults.’ Wheeeee!”


  • oh come on, its not like hes killing anyone….

  • Dude, Dennis, I think you went too far with this article. These really are douchtool things to do to a girl. And the people who respond, whom you rudely call “trolls,” are rightly pissed when they recognize these hurtful tricks as having been played on them. They aren’t diplomatic and polite about their frustration, because they don’t know you personally, but that doesn’t make them trolls. I really think you pulled your punches in mildly stating that you don’t approve of these tricks. In reality, you write as if you’re proud of them. They do NOT make it easier on a girl, as some of your male commenters wrote (probably to justify the fact that they’ve done these things too). They’re just mean, dishonest, and cowardly.

  • @Laura:

    That was the point, though. I *know* it’s a douchy thing to do, and that’s why I wanted to confess to them. Would you rather I not have revealed this at all? Or did you want me to be more apologetic and guilt-ridden?

    Either way, what purpose does it serve?

    Incidentally, you don’t think someone saying I look like William Hung is a bit trollish?

  • You could clue women into this behavior without acting like you’re proud of it, yes. Apologetic and guilt-ridden would be great. It might make a difference to some of the women you’ve actually DONE this to. It also would change the attitude of your readers – some of whom rightly hate you for your attitude about this.
    Saying you look like William Hung is an insult, yes. But why do you sink to their level by calling them a troll?

  • I’m not gonna grovel, Laura. Especially since the emotionality of many of the commenters is likely due to their *own* experiences, not my revelations, per se. It’s not my duty to apologize on behalf of all guys who’ve pulled this.

    And not that you even cared to ask, but, as a matter of fact, I HAVE personally apologized to the women I’ve done this to. In fact, they’re the ONLY ones I feel I should have to apologize to. Not you. Not anyone else on here.

    As for the trolls… it’s not sinking to their level. It’s not an insult. Trolls are what they are.

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  • I’m not sure how smart you were really being – most girls I knew who had boyfriends act like this knew what was really going on. They did break up with them, cuz only the insanely desperate will date someone who doesn’t want to date them. But they also walked away thinking the guy was a spineless douche.

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  • Come on, people. You are pointing out the obvious when you say these were skeazy moves. Mr. Hong acknowledges as much several times in the article (and the comments section). I think the knee-jerk reaction is to be mad, because no one likes to feel played. However, I do recall using similar tactics to have boys break up with me so I wouldn’t be the cold-hearted er… gal. This does not reflect well on ones moral fiber. Thank God, I was in high school and grew up some since.

    Being able to recognize that maybe you aren’t the “bad guy” when you break up with the significant other is more to the point here. Anyone who’s broken up or been broken up with someone has probably used some kind of emotional manipulation. Just admit it. Glass houses and stones.

  • I find this to be a very honest, insightful piece in which the writer is calling himself out as a douchebag so that others may recognize when they’re being a similar kind of douchebag or when their being played by this kind of douchebag. We all have had a douchebag moments, and it takes a lot of humility to acknowledge that. So the writer calls himself out first, paving the path for others to be more honest with themselves….and ultimately to treat each other with more respect (a point completely missed by some of the posters here). Nice work, Dennis.

  • Wow. I found it amazingly honest, and I’m proud of you of having the guts to confess it online like this. I would say two things: if you believe in love, then it’s the learning curve. No worries. You’ll eventually realize that it’s a better choice to make it a clean break.
    But if you’re like me and you don’t, then I believe all of us are like this. There’s only so much you can care for a person, even someone you love. And when that person clings on to you, even though you don’t want the relationship anymore, the only way left is to make them not like you. But hey, I’m still young, so don’t flame me. It’s just what I think right now. Learning curve, remember? 😛

    Great job, Dennis. I respect honest people.

  • I do the same things as Dennis and identify with the article. I would add one more thing “Start Being Needy – start telling her every insecurity and make her take the lead and make the decisions and watch the attraction fall quickly.

    In my experience girls have been doing this for years and a lot more often than guys. It is very rare to find a girl who hasn’t done these things in her life. Bravo Dennis for keeping it real.

  • haha loved this man, I play these games too. My favorite strategy that I actually pulled once was to convince the girl that I didn’t believe she existed, and that “I realized she was a figment of my imagination.” it was the most fun I ever had. I got to ignore her calls and scream things like “go away you’re not real!” and seek counseling and stuff. Of course, she was real. I think. We both question it from time to time as a result haha.

  • I’m thinking the the present tense may be a contributing factor to people thinking you’re still pulling these stunts. Especially if they skimmed the article and didn’t read the whole things. Which isn’t really your fault.

  • @Jaberkaty:

    Ha, that’s true. I guess that’s what I get for sticking to what I learned in high school English about making your writing more dynamic! 😉

  • Haha I’m a girl and I do a lot of these…sometimes I see just how much I can get away with when it comes to guys I date. I usually get bored pretty quick and just start the straight up ignoring/not returning calls and texts approach. I figure, why waste my time with someone I don’t like? I don’t do this to people I’m actually in a relationship with though, just people I have been casually seeing.

  • God, imagine two people with a mindset like that dating each other, both of them wanting to end it but neither of them giving in to actually pulling the trigger! Wait, didn’t they make a horrible movie about exactly that?

    Sounds like putting yourself through hell to me, why do it if you don’t have to?
    It’s not worth the effort and stress that you put yourself through.

    People that do stuff like this have something wrong with their perspective on life. Why should you care what anyone thinks about the breakup, especially if you have just saved yourself weeks-months of stress, changed behavioral patterns, lying and other negative elements? why do you need to feel like your “not the bad guy” or “your not an a-hole” even though the very thing you are doing is validating that you actually are? is this some sort of endless emotional downward spiral of a self fulling fear?
    Sounds to me like you are broadcasting your insecurities and then making them worse through your actions. Either you really hate yourself and are masochistic / like being in situations like that (which means that you probably grew up or have spent a portion of your like with situations like this as being the norm), or you are really non confrontational (which if you are, you are in for some hard times, expect to get walked on because you are too scared to stand up for yourself and not let yourself get taken advantage of)…

    For their own good, if not for the respect of themselves, I hope that people that do these kinds of things realize what it does to them and that it’s not worth going through, much less putting someone else through. Control of your life is a GOOD thing, you don’t have to be a slave to your fears or emotions and it is within you to have a happy and prosperous life, you just need to believe that you deserve it and you will work toward it. Don’t delude yourself, don’t try and validate your actions with excuses, the only one you’re fooling is yourself. These kinds of self destructive behaviors can also be signs of someone that’s easily controlled by their own emotions.. and can be prone to mood swings anyway (the kind that make you decide that you liked this girl/guy last week but now you just aren’t into her/him and want to break up with her/him but don’t want to look like a jerk, so you start lying to her/him, trying to get them to break up with you)..

    Anyway, sorry to ramble, I could go on, talk about respect and how the person you date should make you want to be a better person, should inspire you, but there is so much more to read on your site…

    That being said, its not to see someone bringing this kind of stuff to awareness, so to speak, I love the people that proudly talk about doing this kind of stuff, as the saying goes “we are doomed to repeat life’s lessons until we’ve learned them”.

  • I dated a guy who pulled all of the above on me, except the social butterfly one. The irony is when we’d “talk” and I’d bring up making a clean, mutual, break of things he would go on and on about how that wasn’t what he wanted and how much he cared about me and how we could make it work out. Explain that to me Dennis cuz I don’t get it? I would think a guy that pulls these kinds of moves would jump at the chance for an easy out with a mutual, friendly breakup. But maybe some guys like sending mixed messages and stringing a girl along. Or maybe in reality some are just drama seekers and it’s the drama more than anything that they thrive on.

  • Perhaps he had concerns about the relationship, but hadn’t decided for sure whether or not he wanted to break up.

    Obviously, I can only speak from *my* experience, so I’m going to explain by telling you about a previous breakup that I went through:

    First off, I’m a total ponderer. When I have a concern about something, I always need to mull things over on my own before I say anything to anyone else. Sometimes, this mulling can go on for weeks or even months, especially if it’s a particularly difficult decision.

    Anyway, I had been dating a girl for several months. Things were going well, and the relationship was getting serious. But then, I started noticing things about her that, to me, bordered on being dealbreakers. I wasn’t sure, though, so I started spending a lot of time mulling over these potentials…. Could they be dealbreakers? Could I learn to live with them?

    Because of my mulling, I started withdrawing from the relationship. I became less talkative and sometimes moody. At first, I didn’t even realize that I was pulling away. So, when she would ask if something was wrong, I’d get annoyed with her and tell her that everything was fine. In her mind, she was trying to be emotionally available to me. But in my mind, *she* was being too overbearing and not allowing me to mull over the stuff that I needed to mull over (and, again, I wasn’t ready to say anything to her yet).

    At this point, I didn’t want to break up with her. I wasn’t ready for that step. I just wanted to think things over. When I finally did figure out what was going on inside my head, I made the decision to break up. But this was probably two or three months after I started withdrawing from her and effectively pulling Strategy #2 without even realizing that was what I was doing.

    So, maybe that’s what was happening with this guy you were dating….

  • a guy i was dating recently did the flake thing, but he’s the one who initiates trying to make plans. so it makes absolutely no sense… it seems like he’s trying to piss me off but then he’ll tell me he wants to hang out, and he keeps in touch.

  • conceivedandcomposed

    Can’t say that I was completely innocent of committing the aforementioned atrocities, however I’ll have to say that I’ve only been in a handful of “committed” relationships and I’ve given the girl the courtesy of a formal “breakup”, she deserves at least that much, regardless of how sour the relationship had become.

    but when you’re simply dating, there’s no need for such closure. you just delete their numbers, cut them off and move on with your life. no need for underhanded topics….it’s counterintuitive to your goals of anti-douchebaggery – you’ll still be labeled a douchebag for pulling these tactics instead of manning up!

    solution? don’t get into committed relationships in the first place 🙂

  • Mate, I think any guy who claim’s to never have pulled at least one of these move’s is probably in denial. Personally I’ve done them all, once all at the same time.Talk about a perfect storm. Keep up the good work:)

  • UGH!!! So easy to play games it seems…

    “For what it’s worth, I’ve personally apologized to the women I’ve done this to. I’m certainly not proud of myself for having behaved like this, and honestly, I don’t do it anymore. I can’t defend my past actions, but I can share what I’ve done in the hopes that others won’t fall prey to similar tactics.”

    You redeemed yourself here, you are a good boy 😉

  • It took me a while to figure it out, but it finally came to me what was so sleazy about this concept for me, so much so that I — as a woman with no love for monogamy or clingy men — found myself getting disgusted with and pissed off at a stranger with the best intentions:

    It wasn’t the total dick move of a guy manipulating his unsuspecting lovers into breaking up with him that bothered me, or even the suggestion that a woman may be so understanding and supportive that he has to break out the big guns to turn her off. It’s the complete lack of consequences. Not only is it his attempt to reject a woman while deluding himself into thinking his hands are clean, but with an eye to keeping what is essentially emotional abuse from other potential lovers. In other words, not only does he get away with this, he gets to do it again to her friends.

    I understand the point of this article, but I can also understand the revulsion it inspired.

    • Fair enough. For what it’s worth, I did purposely write it to make people uncomfortable. I just didn’t think people would actually get so infuriated by it.

      Thanks for commenting, though! 🙂

  • I feel like we’re brothers.

  • Dennis – Having spent around 20 seconds looking at your pic, I am guessing you are no longer a spring chicken. No longer a spring chicken myself, it took me years to finally leave my relationship after the suffering the same string of passive aggressive (read: cowardly) behaviour. The ultimate break-up was massive and dramatic only because every time I tried to break up with him previous to the final split, he would wheel back his behaviour and swear to change and I was the love of his life blah, blah, blah. He was terrified to break up with me, but also terrified of being left. Finally, after it became clear he was also screwing around on me, I dumped him on a February night in the -30 streets of a (usually) quiet Ontario community. Now free and healthy and seriously moved on, I think back on this man and this relationship with utter shame. Shame at myself for not being smarter and stronger. Shame at him for being emotionally manipulative and abusive. And shame of all the years and potential relationships lost to this complete bullshit. But ultimately I feel sorry for him, and for you. Honestly, if you cannot connect honestly and consistently with the person you purportedly care about, why are you even dating at all. You don’t have to be in love with somebody and put a ring on it to treat them with respect, even when you are calling it off. When you finally find “the one”, I can only hope that she accepts the significant train wreck you’ve left behind. Because any woman in her right mind would plaster you with red flags.

  • Hey Dennis,

    Great post! I’m happy I stumbled across this one (even though it’s kinda old now 😉 ).

    I agree with you wholeheartedly: these are all extremely effective, yet SLEEZY ways to get women to do the dumping instead of you.

    I too have used just about all of these scapegoats and have even had a few pulled on me . . . the nerve of them. lol

    I’m sure we’ve all been on either the giving or receiving end of the infamous “I just need time to work on myself” excuse as well.

    Over time, I learned that it’s far more beneficial on both sides if you’re just upfront about parting ways (in a non-asshole kinda way)when that time comes.

    Taking your invaluable piece of breakup knowledge a bit further, it would be a lot easier on the “breaker-upper” if they could recognize the signs that the relationship won’t last as early as possible.

    Some of these warning signs are: excessive clinginess or codependence (every man needs their space), a lot of questioning (most men aren’t cool with being interrogated), repeated accusations (if you continously accuse your lover of something, eventually it become a reality), or the sex is simply not good anymore (men have needs, as do women).

    Being aware of these red flags will allow you to end the relationship before it gets too late, and save you a lot of face come dumping time.

    Regardless of when you decide to end it, making up phony circumstances is not the way to go. In the end, respect will take you a long way.

    You never know, you might want to rekindle old flames one day. Or just as you said, Dennis, you may want to test your luck with one of her friends/associates.

    Once again, awesome post. Love your site. I’ll be here pretty often to check out more good stuff!

  • This article made me a little uncomfortable to be honest, but Geezeus not even close to how the comments made my skin crawl.

    I get the intention. And I understand from my own process that only careful introspection can produce such clear thoughts on one’s own history.

    My uncomfortable reaction is most definitely tied to my own sad memories and where I could identify this behavior in someone I cared for. But I also feel joy as I am quite sure I’d never accept treatment from anybody again- even without Dennis’ generosity by sharing his experience. Unhappy people need to play games in their relationships like, “Pursue and Avoid.” Unhealthy people need to fill up the empty hours with drama. When a person becomes more solid- as a result of going through pain usually- if they smell even a WHIFF of these games, they’re just done. The elaborate ruse and subterfuge described above never gets a chance to unfold.

    I get the impression that Dennis, like me, is just over it. That seems to be the true spirit in which this was written: “This is what I used to do, it did not bring me joy and I’m one floor up now.” RESPECT. And thank you for sharing.

  • Hey Dennis great post glad i found it when i did cause oddly enough I typed into google search these exact words “how to get a girl to break up with me”. pretty funny huh? 🙂 but anyway I have been in a three year relationship (high school and 2 yrs after) and then a three month relationship in which the girl was a total “you know what” and in my defense i did the breaking up both times and it never felt good i absolutely hate it. not because I don’t like confrontation or anything. its because I am a very sensitive guy and i don’t like hurting people. Seeing someone cry makes my stomach physically hurt. but anyways on to my current situation i met this girl almost exactly a yr ago and we fell in love with each other very quickly we met in January of 2012 and started dating in Febuary and on June 6th i proposed to her which i now realize was foolish I didn’t know her well enough and the love blinders blocked out any impurities in her she was perfect to me. then a month after i proposed we moved in together and at first it was amazing and fun but due to financial reasons she moved back out two months later to live with her mom. but in the last month it was a lot of fighting and unhappiness and we were never happy with anything and i discovered that she has an uncanny ability to flip out over the littlest things. and everything is a big deal. and yes that may be expected in a new couple living together it was ridiculous. after she moved out which it has been over four months now. she gets upset if i dont text her in the morning before i go to work or if i go see friends rather than her or if i don’t pay enough attention to her or if i don’t respond to her texts within ten minutes and if i don’t respond in an hr there is hell to pay unless i make a good excuse and a few times i made one up just so she wont get upset. and we still argue and fight all the time and on the other hand as much of bad person i have made her out to be she is young and inexperienced never lived on her own and i can tell you for sure that is huge change in your life living on your own. and to explain the clingy-ness her dad died a year before we met and she has had bad relationships in the past in which she was betrayed so i dont blame her and other than that she is beautiful playful funny fiery full of life she is a brilliant English major and an “A” student and she makes me happy most of the time but she is very insecure and she doesn’t like it when i drink without her even if its just guys and even if i’m at home. and i have never given her a reason to doubt me i have been drunk once and i was with my sister and her new husband and i have never been drunk since and i haven’t had the desire to either i told her that and she still doesn’t trust me. and i can no longer deal with it and its not what i want for the rest of my life so i am very close to breaking up with her. although i will probably wait till after Christmas I’m don’t want to be a total a-hole and i have to be sure this is really what i want.

  • anyways thank you all for your posts reading them helped me a lot. Sorry for the book long post but i needed to get that off my chest

  • I’ve been on the receiving end of this behavior from every woman I’ve ever dated, so I see no problem with starting to do it myself. Many women, you caused this to yourselves with your inability to be direct and straightforward.

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