The Art of Breaking Up

Ah the break up. Never a nice thing. Whether you are the one being dumped or the instigator. I’m not talking about big break ups here, not the death of a serious relationship as that’s a whole different ball game with it’s own set of emotional ramifications. What I am referring to is dating related only. Breaking up with someone you are dating or just seeing on a more casual basis.

I recently ended things with Mr. North. It was really casual but it had run it’s course for me. He was a really good guy and we had fun but I realized that something just didn’t feel right to me anymore. (This was probably also the fall out of what went down with me recently with my Mr. Crush – see my last blog post.) Whatever the reason though, I realized I was done with it and needed to tell him. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how to approach the conversation. I’m an honest person and I like to approach things in a straight-forward way but I also don’t like hurting people’s feelings. I decided, based on what I knew about this guy and the respect I have for him, that playing it straight was the way to go. So I did. And he took it really well. Kind of the best break up ever really. Possibly because we had never really talked about our feelings for each other or the future of “us”.

But it got me thinking about the art of breaking up. I think that most of us are bad at it and handle it poorly. God knows, I’ve handled breaking up with someone really badly in the past. We either wait too long, are too harsh, do something stupid instead of facing it or we just avoid it all together hoping that the relationship will die a natural death. I suppose some people are good at it, but I don’t want to be that kind of person. If you are adept at the break up, I think that says something about you. (Just generalizing here.)

I asked my peeps about their experiences when they were dating. A friend of mine recounted her story of breaking up with a guy she was dating at Kentucky Fried Chicken and he started to cry. She admits she waited too long to break up with him and eventually couldn’t stand him. You hear stories about people breaking up with someone over Facebook or texts. Harsh. I’d like to think that this is just done by teenagers without any emotional maturity but who knows if that’s true. I know lots of emotionally stunted adults.

We are all tempted to take the easy way out and avoid confrontation when breaking up with someone. Or lie and say something like you aren’t ready to date..which sucks when they find you are dating someone new. For me, at this point in my life, I want to live honestly and not have any regrets, so I prefer to take the bull by the horns, face the fear and have the conversation. I admit that I can be like a bull in a china shop sometimes (like my bull analogies here?) but I want to be truthful with people and hopefully not hurt anyone while I do that. So it’s a fine balance. One I haven’t mastered yet. But I’m okay with that.

Today I Chose Love

I did. I chose love. Or the possibility of love. I let my heart come to the forefront in the first time in over a year. She’s been hiding for a very long time, wrapped up in a whole lot of fear. A guy I had feelings for several months ago (my “Mister Crush”) let me walk away because he couldn’t admit he liked me back. And yesterday, he admitted it. We discussed it and considered trying again, for real this time. I waded through my fear and decided to take a leap of faith. Yes a big risk. A mother fucking huge risk. I made a heart decision instead of a brain decision.

But it didn’t pan out. He got scared. Like me. But he can’t see his way through it. He’s stuck there. And so, he isn’t willing – or ready – to move forward with me. I’m superbly frustrated. It’s unbelievable. It’s so infuriating that he won’t take a chance. A chance for something good. Every fiber of my being wants to fight for us. But I can’t. I can’t – and won’t – force someone to choose to be with me. It’s too bad, because I’m fucking awesome. Truly.

It all happened in a whirlwind 24 hours. I’ve felt fear, confusion, hope, excitement, disappointment, sadness, hurt, anger and strength. All in one day. This is what I have learned today:

I learned that my heart is there, thumping away, and that she made her way to the surface against all odds. And despite all my fear, she was brave today. Super fucking brave. And she’s a fighter. More of a bad ass than Vixen and Wise Woman combined when she believes in something.

I learned that when the situation is right, I can take a big risk, get let down, again, and still survive. Because, I, like my heart, am a fighter.

I learned that I continue to be honest. With myself and others. And that I wasn’t crazy those months ago with him when I knew I wasn’t in it alone emotionally even though every message I got from him was that he didn’t feel that way about me. I learned that in this situation, it’s not me, it’s him.

I learned that maybe I do want a relationship. Maybe I’m closer to being ready for that. With the right person. Instead of the random dating and some of the other ways I’ve been choosing to spend my free time lately.

And even though I learned all this in the last 24 hours, it still feels shitty. I’m really, really pissed at him and this situation! And it fucking sucks!

Today, I chose love. But love didn’t choose me back. Today.

Men: Alphas vs. Betas

Attraction is a funny thing. We are all attracted to different types of men – physically, mentally and emotionally. Upon finding myself single, I had to reassess what kind of man I was attracted to. It was an interesting exercise that I did rather consciously. I looked back at my previous relationships, who I chose and why the attraction  died early on with a few of them.  And this is what I have come up with, I like an alpha male. Yes I do. I like tall, broad men who are a guy’s guy.  And the curious thing is that often, in the past, I haven’t chosen the alpha male.  And I think this is where the attraction issues kicked in.  In the past year, the guys I have dated have been alphas. I’ve passed on the betas. But an alpha brings with him a set of challenges for us girls.

Now I must make a disclaimer before I go on; I am totally generalizing here and I’m only speaking from my experience so please know that.  And I am making no judgement about which type of man is “better”. We like who we like and that’s totally cool.

Alphas tend to be emotionally challenging. Or should I say challenged! They find it hard to display, share or talk about their emotions which can make it difficult to know where you stand with them.  They can focus on work too much, watch too much (insert annoying thing here – i.e. sports), they may notice other women without subtlety, may take a less active parenting role and like to take charge which means that you can be left out of important decision making.  All of these things can suck. I was having this conversation with a good friend of mine last week who is married to an alpha.  The key with being in a relationship with an alpha is to know how they tell you they care about you. It’s usually not obvious. So instead of hearing it the way we women are used to hearing it, or want to hear it, you have to listen very carefully.

Beta males are far more emotionally available. You know much more easily how much they like/love you which can be very appealing.  They are more affectionate and likely to do the things you like to do with you.  The beta men I’ve known can be very sweet and thoughtful. Don’t get me wrong, they can still drive you crazy, because after all they are still men. But they often let you take charge.  For me, despite how bossy as I am, I don’t want any more men who let me lead all the time.

The  more I think about the alpha/beta issue and talk about it with my girlfriends, the more questions come up. Can two alphas co-exist? Or is it like Highlander where there can only be one? (Oops, my geek just showed herself there!) I tend to think that unless you are in a volatile relationship, one person does tend to take the beta role.  A friend of mine recently told me that she wants a beta who presents as an alpha. Does this exist? I have no idea.

It’s all an interesting observation though. I imagine that many of us don’t take the time to think about what we like and what we want in a man.  I wonder if my physical attraction needs are different than my emotional needs. It’s very possible.  But this is my opportunity to try something different and for now, I’m going alpha. Because that’s what I’m attracted to.  And we will see what intrigues and frustrations that brings! You know you will hear about it.

 

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