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A few days ago, one of my closest friends called me for advice.
After a five-year relationship and almost talking about moving in together, her boyfriend needs an urgent break (aka “space”).
She says that he wants to focus on his PhD and he’s been feeling somewhat financially insecure. My friend reaffirms this urgent need of his by implying that he’s been spending a lot of time on his phone and canceling plans with her so he could “study.”
“Hmm,” I answer. The real translation in my mind is that he doesn’t want to stay in his current relationship anymore, and he’s most probably seeing someone else. To avoid hurting my friend any further, I choose to keep “the translation” for myself.
While I loathe breakups and I know we can’t avoid the mental and emotional suffering that stem from them, I’m forever grateful for the insight they have provided me with.
There were partners who gave me silly excuses for breaking up with me, and there were others whom I left using the—ahem—same silly excuses. Sadly, this is how relationships work: we are rarely honest. We fear hurting the other person, not knowing that giving someone a bad excuse for leaving is as bad as leaving them.
The sad truth is that at the moment of separation, we fail to see the bullsh*t excuses. Somehow, our bodies and minds focus so much on the physical loss that we miss the other person’s dishonesty.
Apparently, since we might not be able to always function from a place of complete transparency, the only other option we are left with is to open our eyes and see excuses for what they are: bullsh*t and bad (so bad).
I’m sorry if you’ve been there, but these six reasons are excuses in disguise:
1. It’s me; it’s not you.
I was probably 20 years old the first time I heard this line, and being so young and innocent, I, of course, believed it. Thirteen years later and I know one thing for sure: it was me. The guy was too scared to tell me, and the easiest way out was to put the blame on him. Zero casualties, and maybe 11 percent harsh feelings for a few weeks.
2. I’m not ready for a relationship. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this, I could have been a billionaire by now. The (ugly) truth is it’s not that they’re not ready for a relationship; it’s just that they don’t want a relationship with us. Which is fine, by the way, since we could have different values or incompatible goals, but it’s not fine to lie about it.
3. I have fear of commitment. This one’s getting old. Please stop saying it. We know you don’t have fear of commitment. However, you do have traumas and childhood wounds that you might need to address, but they shouldn’t stop you from experiencing love.
4. I have to focus on ___. Nope. Nope. Nope. We all lead busy lives, and wanting to focus on something specific is an extremely lame excuse that we should stop using. If wanting to work or study or travel is a deal-breaker in relationships, then I guess no one would be in one. With a supportive partner who respects your choices and purposes, seeking focus won’t be an issue.
5. Bad timing. Not only have we been casually using this line during breakups, we’re also romanticizing it. I will only say this once: there is no bad timing. Enough said.
6. I need space. No, you don’t, and we know it.
What are the lamest breakup excuses you’ve heard or said? Share your story in the comments!