How do you break up with someone who loves you?
February 26, 2009 12:31 PM   Subscribe

How do you break up with someone who loves you?

I badly need advice on how to break up with my SO.

I love my SO very much. My SO loves me very much.

My SO is my best friend and is extremely loyal to me and cares about me more than anyone else ever has.

We live in the same building but hang out every day and spend every night together, and have good times together.

The reasons that I want to break up: my SO is not an intellectual person, at all. I want to be with someone who is. That is the only reason I want to break up; my SO did not do anything wrong. But it has become very important to me, and I think it is wrong of me to stay in the relationship and waste more of my SO's time, knowing that I want to end up with someone with a quality that my SO does not have.

A second, MUCH more minor reason that I want to break up is that although I am attracted to my SO, I would like to be with someone I am more attracted to.

I haven't started acting distant or giving hints that I want to break up. We are still very affectionate with each other. We still kiss and hold hands. We still hang out every single day for hours (if I said I didn't want to hang out even one day, my SO would become upset and know something was wrong). We still buy each other lunch and give each other little presents. We take trips together, we watch TV together, we joke and laugh. I did feel guilty having sex with my SO while having these feelings though, so we have not had sex in weeks.

My SO was a lifesaving source of moral support for me when my father died. They would not hesitate to do anything for me that I needed. I feel horrible guilt that I received that kind of support from them, and now I'm doing this.

They are the last person on earth who deserves to be hurt like this. I also hate the idea that they will become a hurt person who is wary of caring about someone the way they did about me.

How can you break up with someone like this, who never did anything wrong?

I'm also worried about my SO. They are good at taking care of other people but not themself. When I met them, they didn't know a single person in our city, and were living in an apartment that should be condemned. Even now, I am still their only friend not only in our city, but in this whole country. I think my SO will probably burn bridges with me when we break up, and I am so worried about what will happen to them because then they will be completely alone.

How can I do this? What process do I need to go through? I would appreciate all advice you have, in as much detail as you want to give.

I have never been in this situation before. I have only broken up with people who I didn't care about and who didn't care about me. I've never broken up with someone I loved, or who loved me.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (49 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
It would really help to have some more vivid details like your ages and how long you've been together.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:36 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The reasons that I want to break up: my SO is not an intellectual person, at all. I want to be with someone who is.

A second, MUCH more minor reason that I want to break up is that although I am attracted to my SO, I would like to be with someone I am more attracted to.

I have to say it: Love is about accepting people who don't impress you and not judging them. Quit treating a person you're intimate with as an object.

Just break up with her and be done with it. You'll be doing her a favor.

And quit using people to feel good. People are people, not drugs.
posted by anniecat at 12:38 PM on February 26, 2009 [15 favorites]

You will have to grit your teeth and do it. You will have to feel shitty for a while, knowing that the SO feels shitty. I suggest also setting some boundaries that make it easier, like a cooling off period where there would be no contact at all so both of you could work it out. I'd suggest not mentioning the wanting to be with someone you are more physically attracted to part and focus only on the incompatabilities.

Also, your SO is human. That means, yes, they will feel bad when you break up with them, but also that they have human resillience which will allow them to bounce back more than you might first guess.

You are not required to be with someone you don't want to be with.

Better this than wimping out, then cheating. That will make them a hurt person who is wary of caring about someone they way the did about you.

After the break up, they will, very humanly, likely try to guilt or maniupulate you back into being with them. It will stretch your ability to resist to avoid getting back with them. You must resist getting back with them if you are serious about them.

This is the crappy side of love.

p.s. Your S.O. knows something is wrong..
posted by Ironmouth at 12:39 PM on February 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

Being on the receiving side of something similar, I can attest that while there are some "best practices" (do it in person, be honest, avoid cliches like "its not you its me"), your SO is going to feel heartbroken and devestated. There is no way to avoid hurting their feelings. I second Ironmouth in that your SO knows something is wrong already.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2009

follow-up from someone who would prefer to remain anonymous
Speaking as someone who was on the receiving end of this very recently, I must say that it sucks mightily, but here's what you need to do if you've made your mind up:
I understand you're concerned about them and their well-being, despite being convinced of your incompatibility; nonetheless you know in your heart what you need to do, and therefore its going to happen eventually. So my advice:

DO NOT DRAG THIS OUT. Make up your mind and do it. Yes, you're going to feel awful. Yes, they will be in a world of shit. But you know what? Having someone feel this way about you, and then "separate to figure things out," then fall for somebody else, and leave it up to you to find out...SUCKS A WHOLE LOT FUCKING WORSE.

If you're going to do it, just do it. Do it now. You understand your motivations for leaving. Don't hide them from them. The least they deserve is your complete emotional honesty. You, unlike my ex, are capable of being emotionally honest, as this post shows. Don't deprive them of that, because they will need it to get through this. I've suffered at the hands of someone who didn't have that grace, and its been a completely shattering, devastating experience.

Be upfront with them. Dragging this out is only going to prolong, exacerbate, and magnify their suffering.
posted by jessamyn at 12:45 PM on February 26, 2009 [14 favorites]

I haven't started acting distant or giving hints that I want to break up.

we have not had sex in weeks

Um, er.... that's a pretty big hint.

I agree with anniecat, you're treating her badly already. Break up with her and let her move on.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:56 PM on February 26, 2009

Being in love with your best friend is a wonderful gift. Don't throw it away lightly.

That being said, do this quickly and finally and don't ever look back. The heart of a loving, giving, loyal woman is not to be toyed with.
posted by DWRoelands at 1:14 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

From this information I don't think you suck, it's just taken you a while to figure out what you want in a partner. You and he/she deserve people that love so much about you/his/her partner that you/he/she can overlook the stuff that isn't loved. For every person what is overlooked is going to be enormously different and complicated, for any two people double that enormity and complication.
posted by Science! at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you are wondering if this is as good as it gets, mixed with a little of the grass is always greener. I have to agree with anniecat, loving someone is accepting them "as is". They aren't going to change, nor should you expect them to change.

If you can't accept her "as is", then break up with her. She deserves better. You may not be right for her, but there are many who are right for her. And after you break up, spend some time figuring out what your issues are that make you feel you have to break up with a wonderful woman, with many wonderful qualities, because she is, to your way of thinking, lacking one thing.
posted by socrateaser at 1:17 PM on February 26, 2009

Hearts break. It sucks. People survive. Break up, be sad, move on. Heartless? Nope, but recently broken-hearted. I thought it would never get better but it did. And it continues to get better. Compatibility is important, and if something isn't working for you, and it's important to you and you don't think it's going to change, then
Break up.
Be sad.
Move on.

Right now you are leading your SO on. And that's a little mean. Not that I haven't been there, but quit already.

Good luck.
posted by cachondeo45 at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2009

At the risk of not answering your question for a minute, let me start with this: intellectual compatibility, in and of itself, is overrated as long as there's a high measure of compatibility elsewhere. I've got a master's degree and my boyfriend didn't go to college, and you know what? I wouldn't trade him for a million bucks. He's my best friend, my partner, my compadre, my teammate. The fact that we'll never have a conversation about the merits of Walter Benjamin vs. Theodor Adorno worried me at first; now I know that there are infinitely more important things to share. I've had boyfriends I could discuss that sort of thing with, but they didn't make me laugh every day, they didn't fight fair when we got into conflicts, and they didn't love wrapping their arms around me as I fell asleep every night. To quote my brother-in-law: "You can have things in common with anyone. Turly having each other in common is what's rare."

That said: breaking up with someone you still love is devastating. It sparks a terrible conundrum: you will hurt the person you care most about, and you in turn will be hurting, and the person that each of you would normally turn to for comfort is precisely the person you can no longer turn to. There's no way out of this emotional moebius strip except time. It sucks, and it will suck for a good long while.

The last time I broke up with someone I still loved deeply (incidentally and perhaps ironically, given the specifics of your question, it happened to be the guy who was one of the two most intellectually compatible guys I've ever dated), the grief and guilt I felt was immense -- far worse than any other breakup I'd ever gone through. I was absolutely gutted. It took me a long time to forgive myself, which wound up being closely connected with the process of forgiving him for the reasons that ultimately led to me breaking up with him.

Don't drag it out -- for your SO's sake, more than for yours. You can't soften the blow. You can't take care of them. You can't make it not hurt any more than it's going to hurt. You can't pre-empt any anger or blame that will be coming your way. Be prepared to accept responsibility for your own feelings, and to accept that your SO will be entitled to their feelings, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you. If your SO really has no other support system beyond you, you can encourage him/her to find one -- to reach out to family or friends back home, to go into therapy, etc. But you cannot be the support system when you are the cause of the pain, and you cannot control the situation if he/she DOESN'T reach out to an alternative support system.

If your guilt is really overwhelming, you may benefit from therapy yourself (even if just short-term) in order to process it. You should especially consider therapy if you find yourself, post-breakup, "demonizing" your ex as worse than they really are; this could be a hint that you're trying to push away the guilt and make yourself feel justified for ending the relationship.

Alternatively, you may both want to "stay friends" (the appeal of this, for you, is that it will seem like a way to salve your guilt and to try to "help" him/her through the worst part of the breakup; the appeal for your SO is that he/she may think they can keep from losing you). The problem is, you can't really be friends with someone whose heart you just broke. It is possible to be friends eventually -- I am friends with nearly all my exes -- but IT TAKES TIME. A lot of time. More time than either of you will expect. (Not to mention some clear boundaries.) You have to both get over each other to the point where you both have no interest in getting back together. That can literally take years.

Finally: don't have post-breakup sex, whether it's a week later or six months after the fact. It might be great sex, but it will also most likely muddy the waters of emotional healing for both of you.
posted by scody at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2009 [42 favorites]

I mean this totally without snark:

All you have to do is tell "them" exactly what you wrote here, particularly that part about how you want to be with someone more intellectual that you're more attracted to, and "they" will be so happy to be rid of you, "they" won't be able to contain "themselves."
posted by sageleaf at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2009 [6 favorites]

I love my SO very much...I want to break up...I haven't started acting distant or giving hints that I want to break up.

You are lying to yourself or to us. You are definitely lying to your SO. You don't love this person, or you wouldn't treat them like this.

Just be honest: "I don't love you, am not happy, and don't want to continue this relationship."
posted by coolguymichael at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

When you love someone, you aren't looking to improve them. Keep this in mind in the future.

Take care of the logistics yourself - I'm betting you've got a whole mess of your stuff at their place, and vice versa. Don't make your SO do your packing for you. Don't make them come scavenging at your place either. They're gonna be in enough pain; so it's on you to do these chores and not stick them on your ex.

Second, a question to the board - why are we assuming this is a guy asking how to leave a girl? Anon was very careful to leave gender out of the post.
posted by EatTheWeek at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

Boiling your 500+ words down gives me "She's wonderful, and she's been wonderful to me, but I think I can do better." It might be true, but it devalues her, and makes me question the love you claim to feel for her. There's no way she won't see it exactly the same way, so just get it over with. I second all the other advice here about in person, cooling off period, etc. But I think some introspection might be in order too. And a word of caution: don't assume that the smarter, more attractive model will come with all the wonderfulness.
posted by ubiquity at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Dear OP, please don't take these people's comments too harshly.

When we break up with someone, the feelings come first. If you are intellectual, you often put an "explanation" on to the whole thing, finding areas of difference, etc. Usually they are covers for having fallen out of love with the person on some level.

Nobody should date someone they don't want to date. Keep that in mind OP and you will be fine.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

My one bit of warning I throw out there is that it sounds like what you think you're going to find after you've broken up with your SO is "everything SO was + hot+ smart." You might find "Hot + smart + unknown personality," but that person won't necessarily be your best friend, someone to help you through devastating loss, someone who loves you as you are. Just be very aware that whoever you find next, even if you do beat the enormous odds and find someone who is everything you ever hoped for-- it's going to be a trade-off in some way. Be aware that what you are sacrificing might never be found again, in a hot/smart person to boot.
posted by np312 at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2009 [11 favorites]

I'm surprised at all the hostility here, which I perceive as coming from a place of insecurity. These are just basic compatibility issues, people; the thrill is gone, the poster is no longer excited by the other persons mind or body, and would like to move on. Anonymity is allowing the poster to be way more honest about this than people tend to be when it comes to discussing their true feelings, and I think saying, "Wow, you suck!" is really unhelpful.

As for breaking up, please don't tell the person that you want more intellectual stimulation and that your attraction to them has faded. Simply telling them that you don't feel the way you used to will suffice. You can say, honestly, that you feel terrible about this because you'd rather die than cause her/him pain, and because you imagined this would last a lot longer, but that you know it's unfair to prolong the relationship now that you've made up your mind.

Don't waffle, don't negotiate, don't indulge your partner in lots of what-ifs and how-to's, just be swift, respectful, and definite. What happens after that may be the subject of yet another AskMe.
posted by hermitosis at 1:32 PM on February 26, 2009 [22 favorites]

Be careful what you wish for. You say what you want is a woman just like your SO who is good looking and can challenge you in a conversation. Now in a perfect world this new woman will retain all the wonderful qualities that you love in your SO - PLUS - the added qualities above. Unfortunately, reality is a bitch, so go into this knowing that you might find these new qualities pretty easily but you may then find yourself longing even more for the qualities of woman you left behind. Beauty fades love is eternal. Go into this knowing that you may be closing a door that might just be locked shut if you decide clever conversation is not all it's cracked up to be.
posted by any major dude at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

NB that the OP hasn't specified it's physical attraction they're talking about when they say they're not attracted to their SO. I assume from context that there's an intellectual connection missing. And the brain's the sexiest organ, etc etc.

Anyway, that said, to the OP, I agree you're wasting both yours and her time if you draw this out. Just do it, if the only thing holding you back is worrying about how they're going to cope. Really, what can you do now? Your SO should have built other networks and/or friendships. If they didn't, that's ok, maybe they didn't realise the importance of doing so, so no judgement intended; but that's probably a lesson they need to learn, and you can't accept responsibility for being the only person they've invested time into. If they came to another country on their own, they're not a total weakling, anyway. They survived before meeting you; they'll do so afterwards too.

Yes, this is going go suck for them, but getting strung along and winding up in the same situation, just with many more wasted months to look back on and regret and feel duped about, is going to be worse.

You can't live your life in obligation to people for gifts they've given you. It's not the right reason to be with someone.
posted by springbound at 1:38 PM on February 26, 2009

These are just basic compatibility issues, people...

No, these are basic honesty issues. If you don't have honesty, then you don't have love. If you don't have love but pretend to, then you are a hurtful person.

Just end it.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:40 PM on February 26, 2009

I am a girl and my assumption (bad me for assuming!) was the writer was a girl about a male or female SO.
I don't think there is enough info to know if Anonymous is being an intellectual snob or if there is a big difference in compatability, but I agree don't drag it out or offer excuses. Also, make sure SO knows that this is a break up, not a separation. It's more cruel to let them think they can win you back.
posted by pointystick at 1:41 PM on February 26, 2009

Many responses here include substantial and, I think, unwarranted inferences. When the OP says the SO "is not an intellectual person", that doesn't necessarily mean "is stupid" or "isn't as smart as me." To the contrary, the wording seems thoughtful and respectful.

Some people are utterly non-intellectual without being "stupid", some are both, and others are positively actively anti-intellectual in their approach to discussing current affairs, history, politics, art, or anything else. The the OP can't face SO's disinterest at this stage, it could be much worse down the road. No one enjoys having to defend your highfalutin' nonsense gobbledygook postmodern perspective to someone who simply does not enjoy such pondering (or worse).
posted by onshi at 1:44 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I have nothing helpful to add, but I wanted to second hermitosis' surprise at all the hostility here, particularly the comments that just don't make sense- especially those about how Anonymous should break up with his SO because he can't accept her how she is.

Unless my reading of the post was completely wrong, he IS breaking up with her because he can't accept/be satisfied with her (as an girlfriend) how she is.

I also think the comments questioning the validity of his reasons for wanting to break up are ridiculous. Simply wanting to break up, even for no "reason" at all, is, in and of itself, is a perfectly valid reason.

He didn't ask whether or not his reasons are valid, if he's a good person or not, or if he should break up with her. He only asked how to do it.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:44 PM on February 26, 2009 [10 favorites]

I broke up with my long term boyfriend because I fell out of love with him. I loved him as a person, but upon reflection, he did not support the three most important elements in my life. We were also at odds about our future path. So my heart left the relationship first, and I felt guilty for a long time.

I say this because if you are being honest and you love this person but are simply encouraging your ego by looking for more intellect and beauty, then you have some soul searching to do. The hardest part of breaking up is being honest with yourself. Beauty fades as do our minds. What do you have left then?

I don't want to say you're shallow, but the reason everyone thinks you're a man is that most women wouldn't leave their man because he wasn't attractive enough. Men like shiny. But beware of starting a pattern. Next model not good enough? Trade in. Too old? Too fat? Too cranky? Get a new one!

People are not objects in whom you can choose characteristics. Either you love and accept or you move on. But, I think the issue lies with you and your insecurity - needing a more intellectual beauty on your arm to show just how wonderful you are to attract such a stunner.

So be honest if you know what that is, and leave this poor soul to find someone who appreciates them for who they are. Obviously they aren't enough to meet your perfect standards. Perhaps they will find the friends and the support that they need and realize that you were weighing them down. And perhaps you'll find that perfect mate. Good luck to both of you.
posted by anniek at 1:46 PM on February 26, 2009 [6 favorites]

I haven't started acting distant or giving hints that I want to break up. We are still very affectionate with each other. We still kiss and hold hands. We still hang out every single day for hours (if I said I didn't want to hang out even one day, my SO would become upset and know something was wrong). We still buy each other lunch and give each other little presents. We take trips together, we watch TV together, we joke and laugh. I did feel guilty having sex with my SO while having these feelings though, so we have not had sex in weeks.

Maybe I didnt read this correctly but it sounds to me like the OP is a GIRL (see the little details here that guys just dont care about most of the time) breaking up with a Guy.....for some reason i think people tend to be harsher to this person because of this conceived fact.

Second to answer the question: If you dont feel it, and you havent been feeling it for a while and now you are not even having sex then there is no point in dragging this out....I know you love him/her but it is for the best for each one of you to move on.
posted by The1andonly at 1:47 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't suggest anything to assuge your guilt, but I do think you owe your SO time to heal, and the longer you drag this out, the farther in to the future it will take for your SO to get over it, move on, and build a new life. Maybe its going to be horrible for them, but let the horrible part be over sooner than later.
posted by RajahKing at 1:55 PM on February 26, 2009

You can break up with anyone at any time for any reason, and even for no reason at all. But you have to do it instead of treating him or her like shit until he or she breaks it off for you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:59 PM on February 26, 2009 [7 favorites]

(For the record, I think you are being a bit crazy with the attractiveness thing because if you are attracted to her as is then what you REALLY want is someone that other people will be attracted to and envy.... so you might want to reflect on that one a smidge...)

I had to do something similar in terms of the intellectual basis. My ex was a perfectly nice, kind, loving person who loved me, but his lack of common sense, his coarseness, and constantly making poorly thought out (and financially damaging) decisions forced my hand. It was nothing he really did wrong, but rather him handling things so differently from me and him having hugely different views of what the future should and could look like for us. I grew up in a very cerebral and intellectually engaging, and while I had been in love with him I had always felt a huge piece missing. I couldn't have the heated debates and intelligent conversations that are so ingrained in me and I was unfulfilled. I broke up with him after 7 months, and it was hard on both of us. The approach I took was that he and I, while similar in lots of ways, were different enough in ways that mattered and I knew I would spend our time together either trying to change him (which is unfair to him) or having to surrender my values and beliefs (unfair to me). I could never live the life he was setting himself up for, nor could I expect to change him to such a degree that I could be happy. And I knew he wouldn't be happy with me in the long term because either I would be trying to change him, or I would be resenting him for not being what I feel I need/want in a relationship.

So just do it. Tell them the truth, but do it clearly and concretely. She will be happier with someone else, and so will you. So just do it.
posted by gwenlister at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2009 [9 favorites]

also, sorry for assuming gender, especially if it is inaccurate. I read other people's comments and I guess I just went with it. Sorry.
posted by gwenlister at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2009

Here's an excellent suggestion on how to break up with someone, while cushioning the blow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:08 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mod note: a few comments removed - this is now in MetaTalk, please take metacommentary that is not an answer to the question there, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:11 PM on February 26, 2009

If you need to end this to be happy, as others have said you should do it quickly and decisively. If you have outgrown your partner and feel that they are not intellectually or sexually a good match for you, then you have to follow your heart on that.

I do want to say, without any judgment at all, because only you know what is right for you, that if you are very young and/or have not been in any other relationships, please give some thought to the fact that it is unrealistic to expect any one person to meet all of your needs forever.

Couples who have long-lasting relationships do not always perfectly complement each other in all aspects of their lives. What they do have it the knowledge that once the initial infatuation wears off, the bond they have with each other is worth keeping.
posted by misha at 2:20 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Miko's comment, linked above by Brandon Blatcher, is exactly how you should do it.

And you should do it soon. Please don't listen to the people who are saying or implying you're a bad person for wanting to break up. If the feelings are gone, they're gone.

Having been the dumper in this situation, my biggest regret is not doing it sooner. I was hoping the feelings would come back, and hoping I wouldn't have to do this horrible thing. All that led to, in retrospect, was me being dishonest by staying in a relationship longer than I should have. It was unfair to him, and I feel guilty about it to this day.
posted by Mavri at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is probably more about the relationships around me than your specific case but...

If you're the one doing the breaking up, you lose the right to complain or to get mad over how the other person reacts. People react outwardly in all sorts of ways: curse your name, they'll try to remain friends, some will celebrate their new found freedom and others will find someone else ASAP and parade them around to rub your face in it. These are all valid ways to deal with a breakup and since you pulled the trigger, you don't get to complain and you certainly don't get to call them out on it.

As to the general breakup, there is no litmus test. You can break up with someone for literally no reason. I ended a multi-year relationship with a girl I was in love with, because I realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life with her. That was enough.
posted by jedrek at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2009

Surprise Anonymous,

My story will show you quite close how your SO is going to feel.. I went trough to the most traumatic time in my entire life for the same reasons that you've mentioned , and I know exactly what are you talking about from both sides..

1-read my tread first at metatalk. (zulonline ) (Social Stratification)

I was refused by someone how thinks identical as you do after having had a considerable long relationship . Yes , I am not as intellectual as he is.. but I did all, and everything, to make this person feel loved every second of his life ith me was never enough.

Eventhough he used to said I was "Wonderful " I was not enough intellectually, enough pretty, enough tall, enough aducated, not enough backgound, not enough well dressed, .. and is exactly what you feel depply about your SO, what does it mean enough for you can I ask you?

As a human beings, we will be never feel complete satisfayed to the point of reaching a complete happyness with anyone ,unless we learn perhaps the art of meditation and get "enough inner spirituallity " to be able to enjoy the most beautiful things in life which are the most simplest've got them.

So ,while I understand that sometimes we like to share special activities with our partners that does not mean that we can't allow them grow as a person and souls by our side.

I think the only thing you could be proud of before you die, is having done meaningfful things for the human kind or even to SO's that love you , but you not trying to find the perfectness so you don't have to work a bit for all that you expect in return.


ThAT is WHAT i WOULD HAVE EXPECTED , but my SO just omited all my true love, efforts, feelings in order to be up to his "intellectual standars" wich made me feel so far horribly inadecuated, humilliated my self steem has being pretty damaged . Just because I was not luckily born in a most culturally privileged country.. or with a small part in my brain wich can't contain easily more info that his? I just received a delayed 1 year dump phone call and email, harsh and insipid.. (you are wonderful , sorry, i don't want to hurt you any more , i will be happy to be your friend when there is not expectations and hurt, for now we have to move on with our life..) haha, I would have expect more from an INTELLECTUAL, more true kindness , more responsability, more consideration in a higly intellectual way, you must know about it, I actually wonder why you ask?

I do agree with all that people in this treadth that have say you are looking for more than are looking to meet your weaknesses and needs, and inconditional love is more than that.

What kind of love will you be looking after ,should be a good question to as to yourself... YOU MAY not be that "wonderful" for your next "intellectual beauty"

but life is about learning from experiencies and you should and will learn better in that way.

I also was left over in a country ALONE, when I gave all my love to the person who needed it before , adn I almost don't survrive after the experience , I got even ill, the person left (me)with not even a drop of self steem, with not friends with all their hopes put on you, gets traumatized, has got not strenght to even work, or think, or even overcome the hard grieving..

I has taken me 2 years and a half, to be working with terapists to get a "little "bit better , and I've had to be terribly strong not to let myself get into vice, or suicide in order to overcome the overwelming pain , unsetelness and disconfort in ALL ways that kind experience causes.

Your SO, is going to go trought this , The same, I garantee you that. And one of the reasons that I AM so sure, is because I've done years of INTELLECTUAL research trying to figure out WHY I WAS LEFT FROM SOMEONE I LOVED FOR NOT BEING ENOUGH INTELLECTUALLY AND ENOUGH PRETTY. why i did EVERYTHING FOR MY PARTNER AND HE LEFT ME IN A FOREING COUNTRY WITH NO ONE BY MY SIDE .and bearing all the consecuences of living with a different goverment and laws.

I know the answers now: The facts : I developed codependency in my childhood , that was my desire to help that I forgot about my own happines , and Im not Intelectual enough "for some". ( ypou may have developed it too! and it will surface in your next relationship , read the book Codependent No more)

As I was saying I am not an intellectual, and yes i was a stupid who sacrificed my own happines for people that I thought they would apreciatted it, why? because I just wanted to be loved.. for whatever reason from my childhood, but just wanted to be loved, for who I am, for the person I can grow up to my love's side , for being me.. and the only thing I received was what you are about to give to your SO.

So, can you imagine what you so is going to feel?



An INTELELCTUAL MIND has to figure out intelligent solutions.

SHE / HE MAY HATE YOU FOR OFFERING , OR NOT RECEIVE IT AT ALL, OR SHE MAIGHT WHEN SHE NEEDS IT , BECAUSE SHE WILL , BUT SOME DAY (when she gets older 75, not before that) SHE MIGHT BE AT LEASTa little bit grateful and think of you as a nice person.)

I did not receive anything at all of what I've mentioned , and my life was a hell, I almost dye of isolation, of dissapoitment, resolving all my own inner issues, plus knowing that I was not enough, dealing with the status of the country , with the break up and then i could not even get back to my own counttry because I felt I had nothing there and feeling devastated how could someone buit you life again whatever place you are living in? IT TAKES SO MUCH TIME..but she'll likely survrive.

If I heard of you that you want someone who does'nt get into drugs, or your so , is terribly dirty, insane, sex is just unbearable,, al, the real wrong things I would have said , ok..but..

YOU DESICION MY DEAR .. is going to be something more powerful of what you are thinking of, and will have a great incidence on your and their life.. but ..

You are an "Intellectual" , you'll be fine.

FYI: You know what? after all of that horrible and traumatic experience of being left for not being enough for him, I have grown so much spiritually, INTELECTUALLY, I've joined all the most intelectual groups of the royal society of scientist art, classics, maths, journalism, current affairs, classical music concert halls, opera, philosophy groups , ballet,martial arts taichi, you name it..and I can now hold conversations with any one , I look beautiful ,nd more than ever, I have lots of "real" Intellectuals admirers. but I just want to improve myself , for me,not for that person that I still feel despite of , that person who did'nt believe in myself, who didn't gave me an oportunity of life of becoming all of that close to him..

I hope he finds his intangible intellectual and beautiful woman, and give her alllllll his love of wich I was so deprivated to, loving him so much.. I hope one day before I die ,I can forgive him for diminish my soul to that extreme.. I also ask god every day to delete his memory of my heart and of my mind.

Good luck.
posted by zulo at 6:14 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love my SO very much. My SO loves me very much.
my SO is not an intellectual person, at all. I want to be with someone who is.

Sorry, there is something very contradictory here that you might want to think about. If you want out, you want out. But love is not a very rational thing, and has not much to do with intellectual connections, IMHO. Nor with sex, for that matter.

Anyway, what zuluonline said.
posted by beagle at 7:20 PM on February 26, 2009

You're not a bad person for this post. It happens. You date. You think and hope one thing about a person and it becomes another thing. Doesn't mean you're a bad person.

There are no easy answers at least for you. Of course, straight forward honesty is always the best policy but if you can't do it or if you think SO will be too hurt or if you think SO will be a little unstable with a straight forward clean cut break up then there is another way but you really need the stomach and some savvy to do it right. If you are more concerned about SO's well being than your own difficulty in getting the words out of your mouth then there may be a way. But first. . .

Don't lie. Don't have sex with SO again. Don't lie.

Also, this is coming from a straight male perspective so take that for what it's worth. If you can't do a clean, honest break for whatever reason here's what you need to do.

Become clingy.

And I mean very clingy. Become clingy times ten. Become needy. By that I mean, for starters if you talk on the phone twice a day, bump it up to ten times a day (I'm serious).

Call 1: Hi. Whatcha doin'?
Call 2: Hi. Whatcha doin'?
Call 3: Hi. Whatcha doin'?
Call 4: Hi. Whatcha doin'?

You get the idea? Call at strange hours. Call in the middle of the night. Call when SO's at work (a lot!). The idea is to make yourself so unattractive (sexually and romantically) that either your SO breaks up with you or your eventual split (which you finally make happen) is as welcome to your SO as it is to you.

You should give your SO absolutely no private time and preferably no private space. You invade it. You devour all your SO's time and space because you need it. This is being needy and clingy and it will drive a stake through the romantic part of your relationship.

You don't have to be a jerk. You don't have to lie. And you should NOT do anything stupid as part of being clingy like make or talk about long term plans, or have sex (let's just cuddle(and cuddle and cuddle and cuddle. . .)). Just be yourself but be way more clingy than you are comfortable with.

No man or woman likes to be involved in a serious relationship with a super clingy SO. And you're not lying by doing it (at least no more than when you tried to do "this" or "that" early on to try to impress him/her or tried to "buy" affection with gifts--hey it happens. It was okay to buy a gift back then hoping for some reciprocation so it should be okay now to cling like seran wrap hoping for a little repulsion. If you do it right, you're pretty guaranteed to get some distance.)

You see why you need a strong stomach for it. It sounds like you are already pretty clingy so you'll have to get far more clingy than you already are for it to work. Just remember, you want ALL your SO's time and space. All of it. You need it. The really difficult part for you is to cling like hell and still remain true to yourself. It's a fine line but can be done.

You're not trying to utterly destroy the relationship. You're just trying to "be friends." If you do it right your SO may be tired of your no sex invasiveness in as little as a week.

Doing this will be harder on you than your SO. But if you think your SO will go unstable (or psycho or super clingy after a clean break up) then making yourself totally unattractive may be the way to go.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 7:44 PM on February 26, 2009

That is shitty, shitty advice, Lord Fancy Pants. Pretending to be so clingy this person's SO breaks up with them IS lying to them and is also chickenshit. The original poster is in a tough position, your advice would easily make things worse for both parties.
posted by crossoverman at 7:54 PM on February 26, 2009 [7 favorites]

All you have to do is tell "them" exactly what you wrote here, particularly that part about how you want to be with someone more intellectual that you're more attracted to, and "they" will be so happy to be rid of you, "they" won't be able to contain "themselves."

*Cough*. I can definitively say this does not work, at least not all the time. I did this when I was young and dumb, and scarred someone I cared about (and still care about) pretty badly.

Other people have said it: Don't be wishy-washy. Once you make up your mind and say it, stick with it, no matter how hard it is. Set boundaries. Absolutely do not have sex with your former SO after the breakup. And accept the fact that he or she may not want to (or be able to) be your friend afterward, whether temporarily or permanently.
posted by tejolote at 8:00 PM on February 26, 2009

Having done just about exactly what you are about to do, I can't emphasize enough how brilliant and true scody's advice is. I broke up with my boyfriend after almost four years of dating. I truly loved him, but we were just too different and wanted different things out of life. I knew that if I stayed with him I'd forever resent him for holding me back.

Like scody said, there is no easy way for you or for your SO. There will never be a "good time for it," so don't put it off until next weekend, or next Tuesday, or so on. You owe it to your SO to break things off as quickly and cleanly as possible. Don't follow that ridiculous advice about ruining the relationship so that your SO welcomes the break up. That will just make things more messy and more confusing.

And like scody said, there's no benefit to telling your SO why you're breaking things off. Just saying, "I no longer feel the same way about you as I used to," is honest without being cruel. Your SO is going to rail against this. Your SO is going to beg and plead with you to give them another chance, and make all sorts of promises of how they can be better and you'll be happy.


I know it'll be hard to sit there while your SO sobs and begs and not give any reassurance. You might think, "Maybe I'll be letting my SO down more gently by giving some reassurance and comfort," but this is the complete opposite of the truth. Nothing could be worse than putting your SO through a rollercoaster ride by giving your SO false hope only to dash their hopes again. If you really do love them, you won't do this - even if you feel like utter shit - trust me, giving false hope is only going to make you feel better in the short term and put your SO through hell in the long run.

It will be best that you and your SO cease all contact for a while. Perhaps months, even. You will each need time to grieve the loss of each other, and how are you supposed to do that if you're still seeing each other all the time? You can't worry about him. Of course you will, but your SO is an adult, and your SO is their own person. It is not your earthly duty to take care of your SO and make sure your SO has friends and interests other than you. In fact, your relationship sounds extremely co-dependent and it will do you both a great deal of good to get out on your own, especially your SO.

Like scody said, the answer is time. Lots and lots of time. Almost three years later, I'm just finally starting to feel okay about my breakup with my ex-boyfriend. Like scody said, there was a lot of guilt, and a lot of resentment that turned into demonizing and anger. I'm finally at a point where I can talk to him and not feel totally stressed out and closed off from him.

Steel yourself, because this is going to be hard. Don't make it any harder on either of you by dragging it out or playing hot-and-cold. Tell your SO that it's over, and there's nothing your SO can do to change your mind. It's done. Then let go.
posted by keep it under cover at 9:47 PM on February 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

I went through exactly this once upon a time. And when I found the next person, we had the intellectual connection, but it was much harder to find the emotional connection - it seemed like it would just show up, but I realized emotional connections are more complex than I had known. Perfection may be out there for you, who knows, and you absolutely have the right to break up with anyone for any reason, but just remember that it's not like every model gets made or anything. There are just random people on earth (check out the opening of this about using the Drake Equation to figure out the likelihood of finding your perfect match...)

As for breaking up, you just have to do it, and get out of their way. There is no easy way, and the worst thing is to stay around to try to comfort them. Remember YOU can never comfort them. You have to be the cause of the pain. If you're going to break up, that's it, you are out of their life, until THEY get over it and get back in touch (years later, unless it was mutual, or not that painful), which they sometimes never do. It's not up to you if you remain friends, when you're the breaker-upper.

Often it helps if someone moves away. If you live in the same building, your SO is going to try to get back together with you. If you make it absolutely clear and they really get on with their life, they may very well move to another state.
posted by mdn at 2:56 AM on February 27, 2009

It seems like you've gotten a good amount of crap for this question, and I don't think it's a particularly offensive at all. I just wanted to say that. I don't see there's much difference in seeking intellectualism in a mate any more than any other point of compatibility that's important to you, whether it's "making music" or "making fun of television" or "doing it."

I'll tell you though that relationships do have natural highs and lows and if you stick with it things tend to turn around, but by sticking with it I don't mean 'sitting there and hoping it gets better', it means doing the work of continuous intimacy and real sharing of a life.

The intellectual compatibility thing is like anything else, if it's wildly important to you you're right--you should let her go and find someone you're more compatible with. Other people have mentioned this, though, and I'll say it also--it's possible that you're underestimating the value of being with someone you have a blast with.

To directly answer your question, I think the answer is, "I love you but I don't see our relationship surviving into the very long-term and I think it's unfair for both of us to be spending time on something I don't think has a chance of working out. It kills me to do this, because I love you and have a great time with you, but I feel like I'd be bullshitting both of us to continue."
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:44 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

All you have to do is tell "them" exactly what you wrote here, particularly that part about how you want to be with someone more intellectual that you're more attracted to, and "they" will be so happy to be rid of you, "they" won't be able to contain "themselves."

Don't do this. Friends of mine have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing and it made things way more unpleasant than they had to be.
posted by grouse at 9:33 AM on February 27, 2009

I agree you should be direct but I don't know if you want to be abrupt and straightforward.

Assuming that you've been dating for 1-4 years (if more, go to counseling first, if less, whatever, send them a text message)

*tell them that you have some concerns and you need some time to think about them.
*follow Miko's advice by saying you feel like youre being unfair because you no longer are as enthusiastic about the relationship
*take a break of a week or two weeks where you don't talk much
*after that time have a formal meeting in a park or semi-public spot where you tell them that you just dont have the same emotions about them that you used to have and want to move on
*listen to whatever they say but only respond with: Im sorry/glad you feel that way and I hate hurting you but I'm afraid I've made my description.
*Dont mention either the attractiveness or the intellectual disparity, stick with you: falling out of love.
*Be kind and available, but don't apologize or offer to hang out

Good luck.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

oops, description = decision
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:30 AM on February 27, 2009

Well, I've been the dumpee in a situation similar to this. The one thing I can say is after the breakup - give the guy/girl some space and cut things off for a while. It'll be the best for both of you in my opinion. I'm of the opinion that exes can't be friends until after a long cool off period, and although people may say that they're still friends with their exes, that doesn't mean that the other side isn't hurting and pining away - unable to let go.
posted by mattsweaters at 11:50 AM on February 27, 2009

I had a similar situation, albeit much less "serious" due to being in high school.

But, I was dating a girl for a long time that worshiped me, loved me as much as is possible for one 16 year old to love another, and had pledged her everlasting devotion to me.

She was also quite attractive.

I broke up with her because she was not smart enough. I fancied myself as quite the intellectual, and she was simply average. Whatever would we discuss at dinner?

I then began dating a girl my intellectual equal, if not superior, which cascaded into a multi-year never-ending battle royale.

As I got older and became wiser, and in the process realized I wasn't nearly as fucking smart as I thought I was back then, I adopted some serious regret.

I legitimately hurt that girl, and quite possibly altered her entire life's course. And perhaps mine. And even if not, it was a pretty shallow and shitty thing to do.

{wistful sigh}

With all that said, of course you should not stay with someone you no longer are happy with. But, you might want to expend some effort and make sure you are not devastating someone over something as trivial, subjective, broad, and vague as being "intellectual".
posted by Ynoxas at 10:36 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh! I love your words Ynoxas... thanks you for putting them there.. they warmed my hearth as I was dumped and very hurt reciently by someone that has the same views you had when younger...

Hopefully one day that person realize what you've mentioned here..

posted by zulo at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2009

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