by Shane Bertram,
A good friend of mine came upon your recent column, “The Breakup”, and immediately directed
me to it. After reading through it, she had come to the conclusion that perhaps my expertise
would lend itself well to your request for another perspective on the issue which you wrote
So (deep breath), here we go.
For the sake of the guys out there, I’d like to offer some insight into this concern which you have
with the mechanics of a breakup. I should probably preface this all by making note of the fact
that I am not American, which may make a difference on my cultural views. However, even
across oceans and cultural differences, guys are still guys, amirite?
First off mate, I agree whole-heartedly with your statement “I think a breakup is a personal
decision.” Reading in between the lines, I would assume that you would feel identically to the
situation if the roles were reversed, and it was the guy who wanted to end the relationship. I
have a very strong belief in the sacredness and validity of personal freedom, and it’s a huge
component to my own personal happiness. So I’ve got your back on that one mate.
That being said, I do not think the problem lies where you seem to think that it does. In your
column you referenced guys for whom it is hard “…to understand what they don’t want to
understand.” This seems to indicate, at least to me, that you almost believe these guys are
not understanding on purpose. Well mate, to speak for every single bloke who has ever met a
woman, believe me, we desperately want to understand. The problem is, some (read: all) of you
women are bloody difficult to understand. And therein lays the root of the problem that you’re
yanking on. The same re-hashed, never-fully solved problem of humanity. The problem of
Now as I said before, I agree with your statement that where it takes two to make a relationship,
it only takes the choice of one to end it. However, there is a part of your column that I don’t
agree with. “A girl should be able to break up without any reason apart from that she wants
too.” Let’s be clear mate. When a breakup happens, there is always a reason. Sometimes a good
reason, like the ludicrous 70 phone calls in one day that a mate of mine received from a girl who
I think wanted to chain him up in her basement. And sometimes, the reason is much more flimsy,
like breaking up with a person because they have bad taste, and like country music and golf. But
the point is, there is always a reason. And if a girl is choosing to end a relationship, as is her
right, I believe it is the guys’ right to expect an explanation of reasonable clarity and detail from
the girl as to why. The guy has invested time, effort, and probably money into the relationship,
and deserves at least the courtesy of being included in the cause of the breakup, even if it is a
The country and culture which I grew up in is one that heavily values being straightforward, and
that has always been something for which I have striven in my life. It’s also something that I
value in a woman, however, I have had relationships with women at both ends of the spectrum.
One woman I dated off and on would cling to me like life-jacket one moment, and toss me in
the fire the next. Not one to stay where I was not wanted, I would wander off for other enticing
adventures, only to have her magically appear not long after. She informed me many times that
the way she was acting was entirely logical…which of course, it wasn’t. We went through this
cycle many times, and my only excuse is that I really had a thing for redheads at the time.
This girl I mentioned was completely convinced that she was successfully communicating
to me, and it was my fault for purposely being dense. But I wasn’t. You see, the success of
communication lies not in what you say, but in what you successfully help the hearer understand.
I think that that is often something which when dealing with men, women feel like they
understand, but don’t.
Men are problem solvers. If you leave us in the dark as to why something (In this case, the
relationship) has stopped working, we’re going to instinctively try to solve the mystery. So do us
a favor, and help us understand at the get-go, so we don’t have to feel like it’s a problem for us to
solve or fix.
I’d like to again speak for all the guys out there and say this to the ladies: If you want to break
up with us, it’s your choice, and it’s ok. We have honestly probably known it was coming for a
while anyway. And if you’re going to do it, then cut it cleanly, and don’t drag us along. But do
us the courtesy of taking the time to explain to us the whys of the breakup, and do it in a way that
we can understand. We’re men, and we like knowing how things work and why they do what
they do, and breakups are no exception.
And for God’s sake ladies…stop being so bloody confusing.
-The Gentleman’s Advocate