September 26, 2017

Play Your Position (A Prelude to My Book)

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Why this picture reminded me of women fighting over men beats the heck out of me. When I saw it, I thought about how we women are in constant competition with each other, even resorting to verbal and physical abuse to get what we want.

Where did this competitive mentality come from? From TV? From the principle of scarcity? I’m inclined to think that it’s a combination of the two. When a woman sees another woman happy with a man, or a man seems unhappy with a woman, the scarcity principle will make the observer conclude in her mind that she is more deserving, and that she needs him NOW. In addition, most TV shows glorify mistresses, jump offs, office romances and “friends with benefits”. The mistress appears to be happy and fulfilled. Sometimes she even gets her man. If it works for them, it should work for us right?

Wrong! Life is not a reality show, video, or drama series. Life is everlasting learning, to be loved hard and played well. And to play well, you have to play your position.

The problem with us 21st century women is, we no longer play our positions. We try to play multiple positions, slack off in our own positions or cheat to win. When it comes to winning the game, half of us don’t know the rules, ignore them, or are unprepared to engage in competition.

I don’t want to give too much of my book away, but let me say this: if you have found yourself bouncing from man to man, running back to that old boyfriend or baby daddy, too afraid to leave that cheating husband or boyfriend, you are not playing your position. If while reading this, you have to stop to go pick up your man because he doesn’t have a car or job or both, you are not playing your position. And lastly, if you are the mistress, jump off, or a friend with benefits, you are not playing your position. Your position is, and always has been queen. Queens don’t compete to become queens. You were already chosen to be one before you were born. Play your position!

 

 

 

Why He Won’t Marry You

why he won't marry youYou’ve been dating, in a relationship, or engaged for some time now.   Maybe even for a few years.  You get along great with his mom and your mom loves him.  You know you should be Mrs. “His Last Name” by now.  But you’re not! You want that ring, that white gown and that wedding sooo bad!  You’re fed up with shacking up, waiting,  and hinting.   You’re starting to believe that you will never see the promised land with this guy, and you are probably right.  Well let me give you five reasons why:

  1. You haven’t required him to marry you.  I love this quote from Steve Harvey!  As women, we want to give, give, give!  And a man will take, take, take!  Some men, well most men, are perfectly happy letting things stay as they are.  If you do not set a standard, and do not uphold that standard, chances are he won’t be putting a ring on it.  And if you’re already shacked up, friends with benefits, unmarried with kids…well, why should he ?  That is NOT a rhetorical question.  You’ve given him everything for little to nothing in return.  He also knows that you want to get married but will not push the issue because you don’t want to lose him.  He’s got you by the tatas and he knows it. 
  2. He isn’t over his ex.   Some guys have “the one that got away” syndrome.  There was one girl before you who truly had his heart.  When the relationship ended, it devastated him.  Instead of taking time to heal, he suppressed his  heartbreak and rebounded with you.  Maybe you weren’t the first bounce off the backboard, but believe me, you’re most likely a rebound.  He’s probably discussed this heartbreak with you.   And if you aren’t his second chance, you will always be second string in his heart. 
  3. He’s scarred from divorce.  Asking a divorced man if he wants to marry is one of the FIRST questions you should ask BEFORE you start to get serious.  If you’ve never been married, you will never know the toll divorce takes on you.  Long term relationships and shack ups do NOT compare to marriage.  Divorce hurts like hell.  It goes much deeper than being in love with an ex.  It hurts because you have to detach yourself spiritually.  You have to break the bond that God commanded you to honor forever.  Your vows, which you took before family and friends, have been nullified by the judge in your county court.  If the divorce didn’t end amicably, you have to deal with the bitterness and resentment that will develop.  I haven’t even touched on the kids, property, or finances that may be in the mix.  Men, who don’t deal with their emotions very well, will just move on to the next pretty thing that catches their attention.  But will SWEAR to family and friends that they will never get married again.  What I find funny is most women who are with divorced men KNOW this and choose to ignore it.  Is this you?  Do you think you can change his mind?  How long have you guys been together again?  Good luck with that.
  4. You’re not marriage material.  I’m going to be brutally honest here.  Sometimes a guy knows exactly what he wants.  In my Evelyn Lozada voice, “You just ain’t it boo boo”.  You’re just someone he happened to like, happened to be attracted to, happened to sleep with and happened to end up with.  But in his American dream, the woman he envisioned as his wife, is somewhat different from you or your complete opposite. Men know the difference between convenience and love.   You’re what’s convenient.  He will never tell you this!  Here’s food for thought: if while arguing he says something like,” You don’t  have any ambition, you’re selfish, you don’t cook or clean, I can’t trust you, you’re irresponsible…,” those are some of the reasons why he hasn’t married you yet.  He just doesn’t see you as that woman worthy of taking those vows for.
  5. He doesn’t want to be married.  Unlike reasons 1-4, this dude just doesn’t want to be tied down.  He isn’t scorned, he isn’t afraid of failing at marriage again, he knows you’re a good woman and he knows you are serious about marriage.  He’s going to stall you for as long he can.  After your umpteenth ultimatum, he’ll finally propose and even buy you a ring.  Then he’ll probably not set a date or wait till you guys argue and use the argument as an excuse to reconsider marriage.  Want to know why? Maybe he still feel like he still has some running around to do.  Maybe he has a dream of making a guys’ Hangover home video or some lewd fantasy with midgets, strippers or both.  Maybe in his heart he knows he’s not marriage material, but just wants you for himself. Bottom line is, he won’t be asking you to marry him because doesn’t want to be married.  In the words of my deceased grandmother Fibbie Mae Middlebrook, “You have to let a man want you”.  When he wants you, he will treat you differently.  He will do what needs to be done.  Real men build homes!

Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Woman

Being yourself never gets old!

Let them pursue you - Courtsey of Getty Images

Let me say this: I’m a huge fan of Steve Harvey’s book and I think the movie was funny and done in great taste.  However, I do not believe ladies need to think like men to get a man.   We do need to consider one key concept in the book: setting standards.  Our problem is, even if we have standards, we don’t use them.  Dating without standards is like making a cake with no flour.  What you get is a complete mess!

If you haven’t read the book, you should. It’s an excellent, humorous and informative read.  Let me let you in on a little secret though…it’s nothing new!  Your grandmother, great-grandmother, church elder, and get this…your BIBLE will tell you the same things Steve did.  He just put it in a matter-of-factly sort of way.  I’m about to go biblical on you for a minute so that you get where Steve was coming from.  Some of you didn’t go to church on Sunday anyway, so here’s your Sunday school lesson:

Men haven’t changed much since the days of Adam.  Although men were created to lead, they will forsake all they know for a woman.  They work out, play sports, work, dress, lie, cry, and live to impress women.  The problem is that we women have made “the cookie” too available.   We’ve morphed into modern-day Jezebels, abandoning the virtues of Rachel and Ruth.  Rachel and Ruth were pursued by their men, and didn’t need a book or movie to attract them.  In fact, they did nothing!  They allowed men to do what they were made to do, and that was to find a wife (Proverbs 18:22).

By injecting ourselves into the process, we’ve allowed men to become lazy and non-committal.  Now our “Eve” nature is to be controlling and tell a man what to do (see Genesis chapter 3), and because of her sin, we bear her curse.  Painful childbirth isn’t the only thing we inherited, we also carry her controlling nature.  We were designed to help and accompany, not control or scheme.  God never intended for women to put men through college, find them jobs, do their homework, give them sex prior to marriage, be their side pieces, jump offs, friends with benefits or go half on ANYTHING.    We too, have conformed to lying, crying, working, dressing, working out and living to impress men.  And as we all know, it doesn’t matter how good you look, how good your sex is or how nice you are when it comes to keeping a man.  1 Peter chapter 3 states that inner beauty will make us beautiful, and that our virtues will make us attractive.  Virtuous women have standards (see Proverbs 31).

Another theme in Harvey’s book rings true “A man defines himself by what he makes, what he has and who he is.  In the movie, I love how each male character changed for the better.  Not because their women prodded them, but because they were left alone to think about what they truly wanted.  Once they became aware of self and what they needed to fix, they were husband material.  Relationships will always be difficult for a man who isn’t sure of who he is or what he wants.  Notice I said MAN.  Men who have no goals, nothing to call their own, no purpose or no work ethic aren’t men; they’re still boys.  See Project Boo post for details on these type of guys.

As good as the movie was (yes I’m still thinking about Michael licking Taraji’s knees and that good cooking), in real life, the turn around time isn’t that fast.  That “wait and see” method doesn’t work, and neither does taking on the role of his mother!  In short, if you have a man who doesn’t have his stuff together, there isn’t much you can do.  Thinking like a man won’t help.  What will help, is you setting and sticking to your standards, even if that means being by yourself.  Stop this main chick, side piece, dime piece, wifey, bed buddy madness.  Act like a lady and think like one!

Stop The Soulmate Search

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Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl fall in love at first sight, get married and live happily after after. We’ve been taught to believe that when we are ready we will find our soulmate. If only it were that simple! Those of us who’ve been at it a while know it’s not that easy.

In the game of love most of us are on the bench. Not because we can’t play, but because we are waiting on the perfect match. We want someone who can finish our sentences and whose heart ticks at the same BPM. So we’re on the soulmate search, and nothing else will do.

News flash: THERE IS NO SUCH THING! By no means am I saying I don’t believe in compatibility, or have I given up on love. Before you write me off as a bitter spinster, let me explain why:

The Origin of The Soul Mate Theory

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The idea of a soulmate originates from
various religions. Most commonly in greek mythology and theosophy, ancient humans had multiple limbs and faces. Due to disobedience and fear, the Creator (Zeus in greek mythology) split in them half, damning them to wander around looking for their missing parts.

Today we use this theory in our romantic lives, by searching for our other half to feel whole. This type of thinking concerns me because a person should already feel complete prior to settling down. Too often, people enter relationships unprepared, expecting the other person to balance them out. I believe that if you enter a relationship well-rounded and open-minded, you won’t be in need of anything. Any addition would be a complement to the already complete package!

If I am to believe in a soulmate I have to believe in the origin, and I don’t believe half of me is wondering around looking for…me! I do believe we all have a purpose in life, and the people we decide to share our lives with will compare and contrast with who we currently are. The differences will keep us balanced, sharpening and changing us for the better. The commonalities serve as a foundation which will evolve over time, kind of like fine wine!

I also feel that the belief of a soulmate gives a preconceived notion that little effort is required after meeting. Relationships are like farming; if you do not cultivate the land, the crops will surely die! The main reason divorce rates are so high now is because instead of hunkering down, we abandon ship faster than Cpt. Francesco Schettino!

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If you look at the above statistics, most of us date with the soul mate standard in mind. In my humble opinion, this is another cause of failed relationships and marriages. When we find our mates aren’t perfect, we feel they aren’t perfect for us. We fail to realize that we are all “under construction”, therefore we need to work collectively and individually to sustain significant relationships.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Jerry McGuire type of love? Realistically, most of us will never have our life-long partners at “hello”. We have to captivate them with our character and keep them with our commitment. If we nix the soulmate search and increase our loyalty, we will find that the beauty in a relationship is not in finding our missing half, but in growing together to make what we have work.

I’ll close by sharing my tweet from earlier today, “Don’t live to find your soulmate, instead, work to be the heart and soul of your mate!”

Are You On The Balcony Or In The Basement?

Be like the goldfish "Carpe diem!"

When I came across the analogy of balcony verses basement people I was immediately intrigued.  Judy Landorf, author of Balcony People, used an interesting metaphor comparing balcony and basement people to the likes of living in a fishbowl.  In her analogy two-thirds of life is at the bottom, in the murk and grime of the bowl.  Remaining forms of life are at the top.  Basement people are in the murky water and balcony people in the clear.

To piggyback off Landorf, we can metaphorically compare basement people to scavengers.  They wait for opportunity to come to them.  They settle for what’s left and will fight for scraps.  If you know anything about scavengers you know they always operate in survivor mode.  Since two-thirds of the population is at the bottom, one can expect slim pickings.  This is probably why there is so much trickery, back-stabbing, clawing and scratching in the world.  Crabs in a barrel!

Basement people are pessimistic.  They are uncertain of their future because they can’t see through the murk of their environment. They feel like they’ve been denied opportunity and never caught a break.  In fact, they feel oppressed.  Ironically their sense of oppression makes them oppressors.  They will tell you that you can’t or you shouldn’t because they wouldn’t.  They do not realize they are mentally bound and their way of thinking is the only reason why they are at the bottom.   Basement people lack the ability to break free from mental bondage because they do not have confidence or faith.  They will not be genuinely happy for you and will offer little support.  Their discouraging behavior stems from their fear of you changing and leaving them behind.

Balcony people are just the opposite.  They are go-getters!  They will not wait for opportunity to fall in their laps.  Like fish swimming to the top of the bowl when food hits the water, balcony people jump on opportunity.  Since there’s room at the top there is plenty to choose from and plenty to go around.  There is no reason to fight, scheme or manipulate.  Seeking higher ground gives balcony people a clearer vision.   They are confident in themselves and do not need to take from others to be happy or to survive.  Balcony people are ambitious, supportive and encouraging.  They will be your biggest fans because they know their success comes at their own hands and that the harvest is ripe.

Balcony and basement people both have the power of transference.  When you associate with people who complain and are complacent you will start to see life from their point of view.  If you fortify your circle with people who are inspirational and optimistic you will share their sentiments.  Basement people are toxic and should be not be allowed space in your head, heart, or life.

Before you start cleaning house on your facebook friends list and unfollowing folks on twitter, examine your own heart.  We often don’t see our own flaws because we are mentally bound ourselves.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you self-motivated?
  2. Are you genuinely happy for others and supportive of their ambitions?
  3. Do you wait or make opportunity?
  4. Are you confident in yourself and is your faith strong?
  5. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Beware of the Project Boo

Courtesy of Getty Images

Are you dating a project boo?  Despite how it sounds, a project boo has nothing to do with low-income housing stereotypes.  A project boo is a potential mate that needs a complete overhaul.  On the surface it seems like they are great prospects because they are fun to be around.  You fall for them before you realize they have a lot of baggage.  Hence the project boo.  Being with them will be a project; you will constantly be working on their shortcomings.

Project boos are great people.  They are usually attractive, pleasant and charming.  In fact it is their charm and attractiveness that distracts you from realizing that they are pretty packages of hot garbage!  The funny thing about a project boo is they are unaware of their flaws or don’t care to fix them.  They get along just fine.  But if you dig deep, you are sure to find that their getting along has come at the hands of soft parenting, their ability to manipulate people, and misuse of credit.  Before you know it you’re fixing their credit, attire, mentality, and living arrangement.  Congratulations on your new bundle of work!

Project boo relationships come to a crash and burn ending.  You may have an awakening and realize you want the project to end.  He or she may not go peacefully as they have become quite comfortable with being the benefactor of your efforts.  On the flip side, your project boo may initiate the end as well.  They may grow tired of your molding tactics and begin to rebel.  By upgrading them, you’ve increased their sense entitlement.  This may have been a given for them their whole lives, but believe me when I say you have only made it worse.  They will start to lose respect for you, resent you or cheat.  Now you have to make a decision.  If you decide to break up with them you’ve lost precious time, money and energy.  If you stay you will enable your project boo to continue their bad behavior.  Once they see that you are hooked, things will only get worse.

My dear sweet friends, beware of the project boo!  Project boos are dangerous!  They don’t really know what they want.  They don’t know who they are, where they are headed and have very little to offer.  They are completely oblivious to the fact that they are ill prepared to be in a relationship.   The only thing they know is that they are single and ready to mingle (heck these days, some project boos are NOT single)!  The most important thing to remember about a project boo is their desire to mingle blinds their ability to realize they are unprepared to be in a healthy relationship.  The distinguishing mark all project boos carry is they have more problems than plans and are quick to allow you to “help”.  Once you get past the attraction and see the mess, R-U-N!

Five Qualifications Needed on Your Date and Mate Checklist

Have you ever been told that you should have a list of qualities you desire in a mate?  A potential suitor asked me that the other day and I declined to disclose.  I feel it’s better to let a person show you who they are.  For the most part, people serious about settling down are looking for the same things.  Time will reveal if they meet the qualifications.  Yes qualifications!  Those are what qualities are right?  If they don’t meet them, they get the ax!

Do you have a list of qualities or need one?  Well I wanted to share my top five.  They are:

  1. Values.  There is a scripture that says: “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  This is true when it comes to building a solid foundation, starting a family and weathering the storms.  In the beginning you need to value the same things and stay true to those values.  As time goes on your values will be tested.  If the will to work together isn’t there, kiss your relationship goodbye.  In most cases relationships are built on the physical.   By the time people realize they do not value the same things, it’s too late.  Many marriages and relationships end bitterly because once the physical attraction fades, there is no substance.
  2. Character.  This stems from common values.  Your mate should be a strong reflection of what you value.  What confuses me about some people is they’ll say they want a person of good character, then will date men or women who mistreat people, who are vain, insecure, irresponsible, or unprepared.  Some people can change when they fall in love but that’s a risky gamble.  You will soon realize you do not have a relationship but a high-risk, low reward project.  Good luck with that!
  3. Chemistry.  Physical attraction is only a small part of chemistry.  You can have chemistry with a person who is not necessarily physically attractive.  I’m not saying that physical attraction isn’t important but it shouldn’t be the main driver.  Have you ever sat with someone who just blew you away with their intellect, humor, confidence, ambition or talent?  These qualities stimulate more than just your libido.  With time and age beauty will fade.  What’s tight and ripped will become loose , stretched and flabby.  I’d much rather be with someone who has a captivating presence than a figure head.   Dig deeper than the surface!
  4. Goals.  If you are a day-to-day person, date a day-to-day person.  If you are goal driven look for someone who is the same.  Why?  Because at some point your opposite will irk you with their complacency or ignore you with their chase for achievement.  If you have your own goals or can help your mate with theirs, you’ll have more to share.  If both of you are day-to-day people, spontaneity will spark your relationship.  And if you have the same goals, imagine how deeper the connection will grow once you start to achieve them together!
  5. Wisdom.  This is where you will have to watch how they handle stress, how they treat people and how they approach life.  Do they get medically depressed when life comes at them?  Do they display signs of uncontrollable jealousy or rage?  Do they seek to get revenge or rectify conflict?  Do they lack common sense or speak profoundly?  Do they practice what they preach?  I believe a wise person seeks help when in need, can receive constructive criticism, and keeps a positive outlook on life.  They understand that they are not perfect and don’t expect you to be.  In fact, they bring out the best in you because they know what to say and when to say it.  They are perceptive, encouraging and caring.  They may not make the best decisions all the time but most of the time they are dead on.  Wisdom cannot be bought or taught.  Wisdom is the use of divine understanding and knowledge.  It is easy to distinguish a wise person from a foolish one.  Foolish people will show themselves if you give them time.  However if you are caught up in good looks, sex, or are preoccupied with a “project” then you will not be able to distinguish their foolishness from flaw.  None of us are perfect, but we all have good to offer.  If a person lacks in most of these qualities they are not long-term material.  Be wise enough to realize that!

New Year’s Resolutions For Men

Stockbyte via Goggles Images

Tradition has it that when a new year begins, we should resolve to change something about ourselves to become better people.   I thought of 3 unfiltered, unadulterated resolutions for men and 5 for women (sorry ladies).  The men are up first.   In 2012, I hope you resolve to:

  1. Tell the truth in your romantic life.  Women are tired of the “I didn’t want to hurt you” or “I didn’t have my dad” excuses. You are an adult and are accountable for what you do despite how you were raised.  You treat women the way you do not because of your upbringing, but according to your own selfish desires.  You want options.   It makes you feel good about yourself as a man to know you can go back to where you once laid your hat.  You don’t feel like being honest because you really don’t want to explain yourself, and you feel like the truth may get you voted off the island.  Women won’t break if you tell them the truth.  Most women are big enough to handle whatever you throw at them, give or take a few tears.  You might stand a better chance of reconciling if you’re honest rather than leaving them hurt from your fade-away tactic or cheating.   Heck, these days some women will accept whatever arrangement you put on the table.  At least give them the option of deciding if they want to deal with it.
  2. Grow a pair.  There are too many men out there who are unwilling to take certain jobs because they don’t respect the type of work available or just don’t want to work.  Then you wonder why women belittle you or don’t know their place.  It’s because they’ve been forced to take YOURS!  Real men don’t shy away from responsibility and don’t let their egos hinder them from taking care of business.  Be a provider in your home, at the very least a partner.  If you’re in between jobs, make home life easier by helping out domestically.  Women respect men who bust their behinds for their families.  Nothing is beneath you when it comes to maintaining your household.
  3. Learn how to lead.  Men have a special, unique function in the world.  To be an effective leader you first need to know how to follow.  Throughout history prolific leaders submitted themselves to a higher calling and led selfless lives.  Today’s men lack that type of sacrifice.  They wear eggshell armor because they stand for nothing, trying to maintain their manhood with no substance to stand on.  Men, your ability to lead will come from your ability to follow.  Your ability to follow will come from the values and morals in which you hold dear.  When you stand for something other than yourself it is easier for women to support, trust, and stand behind you.   No matter how strong and intelligent women are, they want you to be stronger and more intelligent.  At the end of the day a woman wants a man she can admire and support.  If she makes you feel otherwise, it’s probably because you have failed at one or more of these resolutions.

The Breakup Exit Strategy Part III: Everybody Should Have One

Courtsey of casinodownloads.com via Google Images

A good friend of mine was in a marital dilemma.  After some thought, he’d come to the decision that he no longer wanted to be in his marriage.  He said, “Kaneicia, do you want to know what my exit strategy is? It’s over, get your stuff and get out.”

I laughed when he told me that. He used the direct dump method; no explanation, no conversation, no miscommunication. It’s a bit on the rude side but considering what he’s been through, it’s understandable.  Some breakups won’t have happy endings. The indirect method just won’t cut it.  In my friend’s case he’d been betrayed by his wife and to him, his marriage was unsalvageable.  He made up in his mind it was over and he wasn’t going to waste another minute of his time.  He didn’t argue, didn’t swear at her, he just ended things.  You ain’t got to go, but you got to get up outta here!

As discussed in The Breakup Exit Strategy Part II, being direct is the best way to exit a relationship.  There are no mixed signals, no nonverbals to interpret, no ambiguity. To clarify though, being direct is not easy.  You walk a thin line between being assertive and aggressive, blunt and belligerent.  When dating, it’s all the more worse because you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You always wonder if what you say may be misconstrued.  My rule of thumb is if you deliver the truth with sincerity then you’ve done right by whomever you’re communicating with.  Case and point:

There was this one guy I dated a few years back.  He was charming, extremely talented and spiritually grounded.  I was sure I was going to be Mrs. So & So within a year.  We both wanted to get married and have kids; we had common goals and were very active in our respective churches.  The wait was over!

But as time would tell, everything was not so perfect.  I found out he had some serious financial issues.  On top of that he didn’t feel comfortable communicating with his ex-wife about me.  He’d planned on bringing the kids up to meet my family for Thanksgiving, but reneged because he didn’t want to ask his ex if he could travel with the kids.  When he told me they weren’t coming, I asked if it he didn’t want to ask his ex and he said yes.  I politely got off the phone, analyzed the situation and the relationship’s growth potential.  I decided the financial situation and his timidity were deal breakers. When I told him I wanted to put things on hold, it turned into the fourth of July.  He was not happy.

I know I hurt his feelings because he didn’t want to break up, but I really thought it would be best for us to be friends until he got his affairs in order.  Initially he didn’t agree but after the dust settled, he admitted he couldn’t afford to be in a long distance relationship.  He told me he knew I was right, he just didn’t want things to end.  For me, there were underlying issues of passivity and financial irresponsibility that I didn’t want to deal with (for the record, I did NOT say it that way).  Presently we have an amicable relationship.  Even though he was a great guy, the timing wasn’t right.  I’m thankful I had the wisdom to recognize that.

I firmly believe that openness and honesty trumps all.  Over time reality sets in and the pain goes away.  When your ex’s head is clear, he or she will be able to see things for what they really are.  They will be able to let go and move on.  And who knows what the future holds?   Issues may resolve themselves or the time apart may create a newfound appreciation for each other.  A friendship could develop or a romance rekindled.  At the very least, you didn’t waste your time or theirs, and you’ll have your self-respect.  What could be more rewarding?

The Breakup Exit Strategy Part II: Everybody Should Have One

Leslie Baxter's Disengagement Strategies

At some point in your romantic life you’ve probably given the, “We need to talk” conversation.  As much as it may hurt to hear on the receiving end, it makes you cringe to think about it.  You’re about to breakup with someone and they might not have a clue.  You’re nervous about the reaction you may get and you don’t want to hurt their feelings.  Do I really want to say what I’m feeling, you ask yourself?  Do we really need to talk?

Fact of the matter is you do need to talk.  If you’ve done your planning and analysis as discussed in The Breakup Exit Strategy Part I, you’ve discovered the relationship is at an impasse.  There is no opportunity for growth and you’ve decided to leave.  Prolonging the inevitable wastes precious time for both parties and if you desire a healthy, long-lasting relationship, you don’t want to waste time on someone you know you have no future with.

There are two ways to communicate a break up: directly and indirectly.  If you look at the illustration above there are 6 direct and 6 indirect breakup or “disengagement” strategies.  Leslie Baxter, PhD., and communications professor at the University of Iowa researched these strategies and also discovered they are unilateral or bilateral, meaning one person or both contribute to dissolving the relationship.

Now that you have a choice of strategies, which one should you choose?  You could put yourself on the receiving end for an answer.  Would you want your mate to avoid or withdraw from you?  Would you want them to have a third-party tell you they are unhappy?  Better yet would you like them to say, “let’s spend some time apart”, or be mean and obnoxious so you will break up with them?  Probably not.  Unfortunately though, these strategies are the most common.  According to Baxter, 76% of people choose to breakup indirectly.

When you look at the indirect methods, all six have one common theme: avoidance.  People fear using direct communication break up strategies for three main reasons.   They either don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, they don’t want confrontation, or they don’t want to explain themselves.   They’ve decided to avoid the whole situation by resorting to the aforementioned methods.

To implement a breakup exit strategy effectively, the first hurdle isn’t choosing a communication style or breakup method, but getting over yourself.  That’s right; you are in your own way!  The tendency to avoid breakups and other types of conflicts stem from…drum roll please…passivity and submissiveness.  Communications Coach Joshua Uerbergang says we become passive communicators because we want to please people, avoid being uncomfortable, dodge responsibility, and be accepted.  He also says passive people receive the benefit of praise for being submissive.  Early in life we learn being selfless earns compliments.  We receive kudos for sacrificing for the good of someone else or “taking one for the team.” We learn to stifle what we say to people because we don’t want to say potentially hurtful things.  We in turn hope they remember our sacrifice and don’t say hurtful things to us.  In reality this behavior is not about them.   It’s about us and how we want to be viewed.  We secretly do this because we are preserving our own self-image.  We are actually sparing our own feelings, not theirs.

You don’t want to be the bad guy or girl, and I empathize.  You want things to end amicably and you want to feel good about yourself.  If you really want to feel good about yourself, be direct.  Indirect communication sends mixed signals.  You’ll leave the other party with more questions than answers.  True praise will come from honest, sincere, direct communication.  At the very least, you may earn their respect.  If you’re interested in seeing a direct breakup strategy executed, subscribe so you can be notified about The Breakup Exit Strategy Part III: Everybody Should Have One.