How to Break Up with a Girl (From a Guy Who’s Done it Wrong a Few Times)

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About Mark Radcliffe

Mark Radcliffe is a writer living in New York City. He has a weakness for bourbon, jazz and girls who can drive stick. You can read more of his essays here: and


  1. Just had to share a recent ending of my own. I don’t believe breakup etiquette is restricted to older men. I recently met and dated a man of 44. We spent time in my space and it was amazing. He then invited me to visit him, he lives in another country, and I did. The minute I got of the plane he switched and lost interest in me. Was it because he felt overwhelmed with me in his space or was I just the woman he didn’t want in his space? Be that as it may I was supposed to stay for a month but left after 3 weeks. In retrospect I should of left even earlier than that. It was strange that when he was with me in my space he treated me beautifully but as soon as I got to his space he switched. I have no idea why. In trying to figure things out after I returned home I had a conversation with a girlfriend and between the two of us the only logical explanation we could come up with was that my feet must obviously stink! :) I don’t think any of my ex’s has ever told me why they broke up with me or why they switched from being so in love to being so out of love. I wish that I had been given some straight answers so that I could then learn from them.

  2. This is a great article. As a woman who’s gotten dumped by several men in really awful ways, I would add:

    1. If it’s a long distance relationship, break up by phone. Don’t make your partner go to the effort of traveling to see you, only to get dumped. And then having to suffer the awkwardness of spending the weekend with you after you’ve dumped her. Been there, done that.

    2. Don’t just disappear. Have the balls to be honest and say you want to break up. I’ve been in a position of having to inquire whether a person was still alive, because he just stopped all communication, with no explanation or warning. It was pretty surreal.

    3. Be honest. We can take it. Don’t “spare our feelings” by not saying you want to break up. Allow us the dignity to grieve and move on, not get mixed messages and waste another 6 months in a bad relationship. Women are much stronger than a lot of men think we are.

    • Yup #2 is a definite no-no, I’ve had that happen 3 times in the last few years. Guys be honest – don’t just bail without any explanation at all, apart from anything it makes the female feel like an idiot when she thinks because the last time you spoke it was all unicorns and rainbows that you’ve been in an accident or died – only to find out you just couldn’t be arsed to be honest.

    • In my experience, most guys are cowards who do a disappearing approach. Males from 22 – 60. Spineless boys.

  3. Actually, it seems the most common “break up” method these days is to just disappear.

    Any advice for what to do about this, or how to react to it, GMP?

  4. Dina Strange says:

    Most importantly don’t be a coward about breaking up. Don’t do it by email or text message or in the middle of a fight. Also, when breaking up admit your mistakes – don’t blame a girl for your own mistakes. It makes you look pathetic and weak. And finally communication. Explain why it’s not working out for you and be honest. Same goes to women too, btw.

    • Some men are bigger cowards than they like to admit. My ex recently broke up with me with a message on Facebook, of all places.


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