2 women from behind looking into the sunEfficiency in “Queer Adulting”

I read an article this week that claimed it takes 6, counts them, six breakups to break up with a lesbian. The hell?! I’ll be the first to admit I know a couple of pretty intense lesbians. However, we’re not ALL single white female type over-dependent stalkers. So why, as dumpees, can lesbians not just let go cleanly the first or even second time? This got me thinking about all the breakups in my friend’s circle over recent years and what they have all in common—lack of clarity.

Women as a group are primarily nurturing and pleasing. We like to take care of others make sure everyone is ok. It makes sense why we would be the absolute worst at breaking up. Lesbian break up speeches is notorious for being full of lengthy ambiguities like “I just need some time”, “I still love you”, “It’s not you. It’s me”. They often even completely omit the words “break up” altogether. This leaves dumpee’s incredible unclear. Often post “break up convos”, dumpees are left thinking they are still in a relationship and need to work on making some changes. This is where break-ups get awkward and much more complicated.

Unclear dumpees go on to put tons of extra effort and attention into their relationships while remaining clueless to the fact that the other person is entirely over the connection. Talk about making life that much harder! The actual break becomes drawn out, so more involved to execute and more hurtful for the dumpee. During this process, my friends are the space where lesbians start to look and act real “crazy”! Stressed dumpees passionately and emotionally try to salvage their relationships. While the shy gun dumpers tell their friends, “I’m trying to break up with her”. Would you not say this explains the behaviour of 75% of the “crazy ex” stories you’ve ever heard???

So why do we do it? To ourselves and the women we once loved?

We’re relational. Historically our survival has hinged on interdependence. We may not starve without a massive squad in the modern-day, but crews offer us many social benefits. Friends provide us with all kinds of things, from support & companionship to networking opportunities and great IG photos. Women, by nature, try to maintain relational connections where they can. Precisely why we like to stay friends with our exes. We soften the blows and try to be gentle in our breakups as not to hurt feelings and try to preserve friendships. We don’t realise that when we break up with someone without being direct and honest, we are only betraying them and sabotaging the potential for a future relationship.

So how do you break up with a lesbian thoughtfully and sensitively?

1. Do it as soon as possible. It’s natural to want to drag our feet on a daunting task, but once you know in your heart the relationship is over, let the other person know right away. Putting it off and making excuses like “waiting till after Xmas”,, etc. will only make it harder on both parties.

2. Don’t try to cool off the relationship first. Using avoidance to do some work for you is never a good idea. You may think you are kind by giving your partner time to realise the relationship is over on their own, but you are only treating them hurtfully. Owning your feelings and wants is always the best practice.

3. Break up in person. It’s challenging to have a face to face conversation with someone and deliver bad news, but it’s respectful and efficient. Hiding behind a text message can lead to lengthier break-up conversations than you want to have. Denial is a natural stage of loss. Looking in someone’s eyes while breaking up is powerful and can curb your partner’s feelings of disbelief and increase their acceptance.

4. Say the words. Use the words “break up” clearly. We can all hear what we want to. Saying things like “I don’t think this isn’t working” doesn’t sound confident and leaves room for the receiver to interpret. When you mean “it’s over” but say “I need time”, the other person may think it’s fixable or temporary. Be clear in your language and use the words “break up”.

5. Don’t blame. Blame is about punishment. It’s not constructive and won’t move the conversation forward. Keep the exchange to your wants and decisions.

6. Prepare yourself. Being dumped is a rejection that someone will react to. When breaking up with someone, be prepared for that. Be ready to hear objections, outbursts of emotion and insults even. Know all the while that it’s a process. In time your dumpee will heal.

7. Do NOT make maintaining a friendship a focus of the breakup conversation. At the same time, I’m all about keeping friendships when possible and healthy. Maintaining a company from day one can make creating new boundaries and healing very difficult. When the time is right and a friendship is possible, it will happen. Give the dumpee time and space to heal. The breakup shouldn’t be focused on your immediate needs and fears. As the one making the decision, you are less vulnerable in the situation. If a future friendship is essential to you, maybe let them know in time. Hearing how much you care about them and want to keep them in your life could be misinterpreted.

8. Be honest. If you are breaking up with your partner for someone else, be honest about it. Finding out in a couple of weeks could be very shocking and jarring. Why hurt them twice.

9. Be discrete. At the same time, we all live our lives online. There is a difference between a relationship status change and venting all the details of your break-up. Discretion leaves all parties their dignity in a delicate situation. If someone presses you for information, think of your reply as a celebrity press release: “After many happy years together, we are sad to announce we have parted ways.”

-Natash broke up with her high school boyfriend by avoiding him altogether and never speaking to him again. They may still, in fact, be dating.