Are you wondering how to best end a relationship? Or, have you been left in a particularly bad manner?
Apparently there are 7 ways to leave your lover, not 50.
This Psychology Today piece describes 7 ways that relationships end and evaluates them for their impact on the breakee. They explore the relationship between attachment styles (formed in childhood) and the types of leaving that someone may gravitate towards.
It’s interesting, as I was reading, I was picturing these ways of breaking up on a graph, with courage on one axis and self-image on the other, both traits listed for the one doing the leaving. So, being the math geek that I am, I made a sketch to share with you.
Open confrontation, although the label sounds negative, was rated as the best outcome for the one who was left. It’s clear, upfront and shows a degree of respect for the person. Notice that this method requires a high self-image and a high level of courage. The person leaving needs to face the fear of the discussion and needs to be confident enough to handle any negative blow-back from an angry dumpee.
The two methods that rated the worst were avoidance and distant/mediated, both characterized by a low level of courage. These are both tactics used by people who did not develop secure attachment styles in childhood. One is favored by those who have a very low self-image and want to protect their fragile egos. Whereas the other is used by those who see themselves as somehow better than their partners. Either way, they are indirect and leave the partner feeling disrespected and disregarded, often with valid questions.
I know many of you have faced the tsunami of the pretend-everything-is-normal-and-then-just-disappear kind of breakup. Apparently the researchers didn’t think that it deserved its own category.
What are your thoughts? What types of breakups have you experienced (from either perspective)? Do you agree with my graphical analysis, or would you place some of them in different areas?
Looking for more guidance?