So there's this new research that claims women generally take just six days to break up with someone once they've made up their minds the relationship is dunzo. Men, on the other hand, drag the charade out for a month before cutting their lover-person loose.
The article explains: "Men spend two thirds of that time agonizing over the decision ... and deciding on the most tactful way to do the dumping. It then takes them ten more days to build up the courage to break the bad news to their partner."
Are you surprised by this? I can't say I am. I've been on the receiving end of a slow burnout-style dumping, and it's SO TERRIFICALLY UN-FUN. You know, when you can sense that something's up, you can faintly pick it up in their eyes, detect it in the ever-so-slightly chillier-looking downturn of their lips, the barely perceptible change in the way they hold your hand or hang up the phone or end their email messages with one "xo" instead of two.
I've noticed those kinds of seemingly trivial things, then berated myself for noticing them and being overly neurotic and obsessive as I tried to frantically reassure myself that everything's totally FINE, it's soooooo FINE, and that if he were feeling distant or disinterested, he'd SAY SOMETHING, for god's sake. He's a grown-up, right? He'd use his words and tell me if he wasn't feeling it anymore (right?), so I tried to ignore my honking inner warning bells.
...Until 2 or 3 weeks later when all my fears would get confirmed and my divine powers of feminine intuition were proven so maddeningly dead-on that I found myself on the receiving end of a dumping that I'd totally sensed was coming, but never let myself fully acknowledge because I didn't want to stir the pot or seem "crazy."
Folks seem to enjoy making us women seem crazy, see, especially when it comes to love. People seem to enjoy implying (or even outright declaring) that it's generally us women who are manic, desperate relationship-seekers on an endless fear-driven quest to pin down a man, any man, before we hit our 30-something expiration date. Ughhhh.
But that's not what I've seen in reality -- not in my life or my friends'. What I see, much more often, is women honoring their own self-determined set of standards when it comes to who they'll be with; women preferring to be single for as long as it takes to find the right partner -- women who'd rather be alone than in the wrong relationship. These women are generally thoughtful and measured about who they choose to spend time with, and when/if it becomes clear the relationship isn't working, they try to end things cleanly as soon as they're sure.
Some men, on the other hand -- at least a large proportion of the 20- and 30-something straight ones I've encountered via Internet dating -- seem to take a flying rebound-leap back into the wilds of OKCupid after being newly single for only a week or two. These guys aren't looking for a real relationship; they're looking for a fun distraction, a bed-warmer to bide their time before their next ACTUAL girlfriend. These dudes seem incapable of staying truly lady-free for long (why? who knows), and if they don't have a backup waiting patiently in the wings, they're not shy about scavenging for a new one ASAP.
This all sort of aligns with that Daily Fail article -- if lots of guys generally aren't that cool with being totally woman-free, it makes sense that they might opt to stay in a less-than-perfect Thing even when they know it's not working. Is it because some sex is better than no sex at all? Or maybe they're just uber-sensitive creatures who are legitimately afraid of hurting our feelings? Or maybe they're waiting for clarity, or a sign of a turnaround...? The article, FWIW, notes that "One in six men (16 percent) would even stay in an unhappy relationship for six months if there was a glimmer of hope for a brighter future."
Whatever the reason (and maybe I'm alone in this), I'd much rather get ditched via a short, clean break, because to me, that's infinitely better than being aimlessly strung along for a "will he or won't he?" month (or longer) of anxious wondering.
Of course women do the dragging-out thing, too. I've done it myself, in the past, though I'm usually a pretty swift mover when it comes to ending relationships; I start feeling like a guilty fraud when I try to pretend things are business-as-usual when they're not.
How long does it take you to extricate yourself from a relationship once you know it's over? Have you ever been the victim of a slow drag-out?
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