Breaking Up: What It Feels Like For A Man
If ever there was a time when I so badly wanted the women of the world tapping my phone line, it’s when one of my boys is telling me about a woman he cares for but with whom he has to break up.
There are reasons we all do it, some good, some not good, some obvious, and some abstract. But lately I have been thinking about why men do it for what seems like no reason at all, and wondering whether or not women ever take our side of the story into consideration. In other words, sometimes it’s not him, sometimes it is her.
The thought occurred to me recently, after a friend of mine back home went through a break up. He called me after it happened, and while I could tell he wasn’t broken up or emotional about it, he wasn’t cold about it either. There was something else going on, something more real, more deep, and while he never could quite express in full the reasons he broke up with this woman, I thought what was most telling was in the reasons he wasn’t saying.
There wasn’t another woman waiting in the wings. He had no prospects and he was not cheating on her with someone else. He very much wanted to be in a relationship, specifically with this woman, but once things got underway, he saw different sides to her he hadn’t before. He communicated his issues with her once they got to be too much, held onto the idea she would work on fixing those issues. For her troubles, he took the time to fix whatever issues she had with him. I saw this with my own eyes and to be honest, it was one of the things I liked least about his woman. I had no problem with her personally, I had a problem with how my boy was when he was with her. For whatever reason, whenever we hung out as a group, I saw little semblance of the man I knew.
I never said this to him. I kept to my two cents in my pocket out of respect for his efforts to make it work. When he would tell me what was going on, there were times I saw the strain in his eyes or heard it in his voice, and I wanted to tell him it doesn’t sound like the relationship was going to last, but I knew it was a matter of time before he would see it too. I would let him vent and then afterward simply ask him, “Well, how do you feel about her?” All the time, he would say the things he liked about her. He didn’t have to think about them, but then again, they weren’t substantial. I knew it and he would come to know it.
When he finally broke up with his woman, he didn’t bad mouth her, nor did he bad mouth the idea of relationships. He had a feeling about a girl, he acted on it, and it ended up not working out. The realization stung but I don’t think it scarred. If anything, in the days after the breakup, he was frustrated with her inability to understand the issues she had were too much for him to put up with. It wasn’t about another woman, or more women, or the feeling of wanting to be single. She kept on suggesting as much and I knew for a fact, he just grew tired of being with someone with whom he wasn’t compatible.
Pride fools men into doing foolish things, like staying with a woman simply because we want to will ourselves to work it out. What happens as a result is we get so caught up in keeping a relationship together, we lose sight of keeping ourselves together. We do things like cheat or spend longer hours at work just so we don’t have to be near the woman we chose to make our girlfriend. We confuse commitment to someone else with a commitment we made to ourselves. What I have realized is a real man is able to admit he made the wrong choice or he chose the wrong woman and does something to fix the problem.
Whenever a man talks about a woman not being right for him, we either think it is for a super dramatic reason (he’s cheating or something of the like) or super superficial (he wants to be single, she doesn’t go down on him). But there’s something in between these two reasons, something less dramatic than cheating and something deeper than how she performs in the bedroom, and that something, sometimes, is her. I get tired of men who break up with women being accused of not knowing what they want. There are times we know exactly what we want and it isn’t what we have so we have to let it go. If women knew how much easier it is to cheat than it is to break up with a woman, they might give more credit for the men who stand up and say they’re moving on. They might appreciate the man who says something to their face instead of a text or sending phone calls straight to voice mail. I’ve broken up with a woman I cared about, and the hurt on her face is embedded in my memory bank to this day.
Breaking up sucks. Realizing we made the wrong choice sucks. Knowing this perfect woman who stands before us is not perfect for us — you guessed it — sucks. And on top of it sucking, it’s hard, sometimes harder to do than just smile, grin, and bear it. I’m not saying all breakups are noble, I’m just saying, breaking up isn’t always heartless, at times, it’s all heart. Just like it takes a real man to say “I want to be with you and only you” it takes a real man to say “I don’t want to be with you anymore.”
Sometimes, breaking up sounds like this.
The Process: Stepped up the run to 6.5 miles. Have no idea what my goal is with this distance thing, but I like going far so long as the route is scenic
Poppin’ Questions Podcast: I’m preparing Episode 31 for tomorrow. Hit me on my Formspring or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. for a question to be considered on a future episode of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast. In the meantime, for those who haven’t, check out Episode 30. Click here to listen!
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