A few weeks ago, I was on the receiving end of a modern-day “Dear John” letter—the breakup text. The man in question and I had been seeing each other for about a month. We’d had sex, gone to dinner, and had been planning a weekend trip this month. But then, out of the blue, he texted me to tell me he didn’t think we should see each other anymore. And while the rest of our relationship had seemed unique, his bullshit breakup text felt totally canned. He explained the reasons why he didn’t think we should talk anymore—it was him, not me—and then fed me a line that’s been shoved down my throat since I started dating back in high school.
“You’re amazing, and you’ve got such incredible things going on in your life.”
It was a similar sentiment I found in another breakup text that burst onto my phone like the Kool-Aid man just a month or so earlier. “We get along super well, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with you more than anyone else I’ve met so far,” that text message read. “You’re so incredible.”
For whatever reason, men love to tell me how rad I am in the same breath they’re telling me that they never want to hang out with me again. And it is, to be frank, fucking bullshit.
I’m not alone in this. My roommate, having gone through a similarly out-of-the-blue breakup, was on the receiving end of a similar line. Friends, family members, and acquaintances have all been told that they’re the bomb while being served their relationship walking papers. And while I’m sure it’s not a uniquely male affliction, I’m pretty sure I’ve never told a dude he revs my engine while also telling him I wanted to see other people. (If we’ve dated, and you have proof this isn’t true, please feel free to put me on blast on Twitter.)
Logically, I understand why a man would want to do something like this. It softens the blow of a breakup. If you tell a woman that she’s the cat’s meow, you’re pulling the blame entirely onto yourself. You’re attempting to assure her that she didn’t do anything wrong. It seems like a selfless act, but it’s actually probably the most selfish thing a person can do, in my opinion.
We all need to stop worrying about being the bad guy and just accept that, sometimes in life, we are the villain in a scenario.
Why? Because it’s dishonest. Because if I was really as fucking dope as you thought I was, you would want to keep dating me. The declaration of coolness seems to only accompany breakup monologues where no tangible reason for the split is given. It also seems to be a part of a breakup talk that is incredibly one-sided—you’ve made up your mind, and this breakup is not up for discussion. I have zero say.
That’s probably the biggest issue I have with you telling me how rad I am while you’re putting me on a floating block of ice and pushing me out to sea. By leading with this phrase, you’re effectively letting yourself off the hook for telling me why, exactly, you want to break up. I would rather have a man tell me that he was turned off by a tweet I sent, or that he was faking every single orgasm he’s ever had with me. I want clarity at the end of a relationship—even if it was something like, “You know what? I like you, but I’m just no longer feeling sexually attracted to you.” That would at least give me a period at the end of the sentence.
The rad send-off is an ellipses, and it’s there because the person doing the breaking up doesn’t want to be seen as a bad guy. So in order to redeem himself, he showers me with compliments. But here’s the thing—if you end it with me without telling me a real reason, you’re still a bad guy. Ending a relationship sucks, and you’re probably going to be on the receiving end of some negativity from the person who you’re dumping. But guess what, buttercup? That’s a fact of life. That’s the nature of breakups. And by trying to avoid it, you’re just setting yourself up to be an even worse person. We all need to stop worrying about being the bad guy and just accept that, sometimes in life, we are the villain in a scenario. Breakups are an example of that.
So please, for the love of god, stop telling me how rad I am as we’re breaking up. I already know it to be true. I don’t need you buttering me up while simultaneously pushing me away. Buck up and tell me why you want to end a relationship. I promise, that will make you a better dude than compliments ever will.