HIMSPEAK: A Translation

Breaking up.

Damn, I hate this final part of a relationship. Especially right before the ending–when you both realize what you have is terminal. There are few things worse. Certainly, few things are sadder.

Endings come to fast and pass too slowly.

There’s heartache and empty feelings and pain and all of that uncomfortable awkwardness and these dying emotions are with someone with whom you were intimate and shared a million different things.

Then suddenly, you’re wondering what you ever saw in each other.

You now only share the urge to walk away from each other.

In some cases, it’s the need to run like hell from each other.

So, who breaks up with whom more often?? I think it’s fairly split down the middle in terms of the number of men who break up with women as opposed to the number of women who break up with men.

Now, for me personally–I am the true, Goodbye Girl. I can count on a few fingers the number of times I’ve broken up with a guy. As for counting the occasions I’ve had my heart stomped on like Peruvian grapes? Got any spare centipedes???

The reality is that no break-up is easy, and many guys resort to some old standards when it comes to conversational gambits in the final moments. With the help of an article from Men’s Health Magazine, this post will attempt to help my Sisters of Fallopia in trying to understand and decode what some of his exit lines actually mean.

I love this one…it’s a classic: “It’s not you; it’s me.”
Translation: “It’s not me; it’s YOU.”

Don’t believe this line for a second, my Sisters–at least not the line as it’s uttered at face value.

Their hearts are in the right place, I suppose. About one-third of men admit that they’re lying when they blame themselves for the demise of the relationship. Of course, we know that they’re trying to soften the blow a bit, to ensure that you know you’re a great person, a caring person, a person who’s perfectly right… for someone else. After all, if you were the right one (for him), it wouldn’t matter whether his mind was somewhere in French Guyana, he’d find a way to make it work.

This is the ultimate way he can tell you that he’s just not into you. Fool yourself if you must, find solace in the “it’s not you, it’s not me” line if you have to, but just understand what it really means.

“I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.”
Translation: “Whoa baby, let’s slow this thing down!”

Even though some guys can come off as more desperate than Ted Kennedy in a dry county, as a rule, they take their time testing the relationship waters. If a woman comes on too fast with talk of the future or of how she’s never felt this way before, then the man often will be likely to retreat. And he’ll retreat fast, too. It’s not that he’s not ready for a relationship; it’s just that he’s not ready to decide whether any Linkin Park should be in the second or third set of the DJ’s playlist at your reception.

I have come to the conclusion that the best thing we women can tell a guy is that he’s the center of our universe.

I have also learned that the worst thing we can tell a guy is that he’s the center of our universe. It’s imperative that we women find that middle ground and once we find it, we need to tread lightly. This gender idiosyncrasy places us in a very precarious position.

Ladies, we need to be smarter about relationships. We need to start thinking before we act. For starters, we need to let them know we think they’re aces and that they’re important to us, then we can bake them their favorite some cookies–then leave them alone. For a while anyway.

We have GOT to learn that needy chicks turn off a guy faster than a naked Rosie O’Donnell AND do not talk to them about feelings or the extent of your current relationship. I mean no offense when I say this because it is true—but men are emotionally retarded. I love you guys and I respect you assloads, but this is the honest to Pete truth.

Women, we cannot give men more than they can handle and they just cannot handle conversations about feelings. At least, not as a rule.

If you have a guy that likes to talk about feelings, Mozol to you, but he’s a rare breed indeed.

We have to learn the difference between letting a guy know that we “want” him vs. the fact that we “need” him. These are silly mind games which I LOATHE, but we have to do it, ladies.

“Can I call you sometime?”
Translation: “If I’m ever lonely and horny and there’s no other chick in sight at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night….”

Well, he may or may not be that crass, but he is trying to keep the door cracked open a bit. You know, as in easy access and then easy exit.

Allow me to explain: If he’s the one who’s dumping you, then he’s (unfairly, mind you) trying to lead you to believe that a break will strengthen the possibilities of some kind of rekindled romance in the future. If he’s the victim–the dumpee, then he’s trying to hang onto any slim chance he may have in the future with you (or possibly, one of your friends). Either way, beware the drunk-dialing ex-boyfriend. Behaviorists have actually studied the man and have concluded it’s not without its pitfalls.

Sometimes it’s best just to make a clean break…regardless of who’s on which side of the heartache.

“I still care about you.”
Translation: “Please don’t tell your friends that I’m the total asshole jerk that I really am.

Truth is, he probably does care about you–just not enough to maintain a relationship with you. He still wants you to do well; he hopes that you eventually find someone and that you get what you want in life. But what he’s also saying is, please don’t tell all your friends to cross me off their lists. The relationship may be broken, but it’s a pretty big concern that his reputation remains intact.

OK, this one? I’m not so sure about. I’m tempted to call bullshit here. Basically, this is where my experience differs from Mens’ Health Magazine’s take on this. My breakups have almost always been permanent. The guy usually had someone with whom he was already involved and in one case, “married to” by the time we actually broke up.

Tragic, huh? But true.

In my entire life as an adult, I’ve only had one relationship in which we reconnected after breaking up.

The last thing he said to me upon the end of that gut wrenching phone call was that “we’ll revisit this again” and then he hung up. I remember how loud the click was and how deafening the dial tone was. I held the phone to my ear, trying to process yet ANOTHER life altering break-up. I eventually hung up the phone. I was distraught and I didn’t believe him for a second. My sisters, Karol and Kathy said he’d be back, but I thought that was lip service and when he said that to me in our last conversation, I felt sure that was his way of saying, “It’s not me, it’s you”.

My heart was broken. So much so that the pieces actually clinked and clanked together when I walked.

But several months later, this man of his word called and I swooned and he asked and we did.

Get back together, that is.

And the rest is, as they say, history.

This was a first for me.

I won’t say that some relationships are meant to be; I simply won’t be that Pollyanna-ish, but I am convinced that some relationships (and sadly, they are very few in numbers) are unique and have a special purpose. They have post scripts; second acts; a need to exist at that particular moment in time–to perhaps seed something stronger and more binding down the road.

Relationships that have this kind of redundancy, are worth investing emotionally in “The Sequel”.

As for my broken heart? It was put back together with glue, a little duct tape and special relationship Bondo.

And what about the tiniest cracks? Time and maturity filled those in quite nicely, thank you very much.


  1. I feel really bad for you, Laurie. One thing you might try, however, is to tell the guy, “It’s okay, I’m a lesbian, anyway.”

    Nothing gets a guy so desperate to win back a woman than to find out he can’t have her.

  2. Very heartfelt. I understand what you’re saying. To suffer a break up or a divorce is a tragedy..as is the case when the relationship dies. One needs to grieve in order to heal.

    You’re doing great now. You’ve come a long way, Sister dear, to get to this point in your life and we couldn’t be happier for you.

    PM, we love you, too!

  3. Awww hell! Men’s Health magazine is only good for a laugh. I mean, it’s men writing about men. What do you THINK they’re going to write?

    There was a period when I broke up and then returned to the same woman on four different occasions. After the fourth time, I realized my behavior was beyond bad. Everything is better now and each of us moved on (finally), but for a while it was truly relationship hell.

    Pass the Bondo.

  4. I think my all time favorite is, “We want different things.” Never actually accompanied by a list of the things that are wanted differently. So, I just like to assume that if I am the one being told that it is because he would like circus clowns performing non-stop on the front lawn. Of course, if I say it, it had deeply rooted meanings. 🙂

  5. * ahem *

    Being one of those men kinda people, I’ve got my own take on this.

    “It’s not you; it’s me.”
    You’re too neurotic and clingy.

    “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.”
    I just discovered how neurotic and insecure you really are.

    “Can I call you sometime?”
    You’re neurotic and clingy, but you’re a fantastic piece of ass.

    “I still care about you.”
    Please don’t key my new BMW on your way out the door.

    I actually just bought a copy of Men’s Health, thinking I was going to get articles on diet and exercise. Turns out, it’s a Cosmo for men.

  6. It seems in any relationship, one person will always be needier than the other. I suppose that’s what will attract certain peopel to each other.

    In this long, tumultuous life I have led, I’ve discovered that in so many instances, the needy one will rise to the occasion and become the stronger of the two. That’s one observation…

    And here’s the other. I just cannot understand why certain people can’t assume their responsibility in a failed relationship. For heaven’s sake, why can’t we just be honest about our feelings and/or problems? We can put an end to this insanity; this crazy people dance, if we’d only stop and think of the other person. Put someone else first…for a change.

    Love does mean saying you’re sorry-and of course, you have to mean it.

  7. Sometimes it isn’t enough to say you’re sorry. How many times have we heard that?

    If a woman can nab a man who can talk about his feelings on some things she is lucky in my opinion. Why play mind games/guessing games? I think I could have had a man who was able to reveal what he felt. He certainly told me on one occasion and it broke my heart.

  8. “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.”

    More accurate translation: “I just figured out something about you I don’t like. Nice tits/ass/sense of humor, but it’s not enough to counterbalance your whininess/bitterness/friends.”

  9. I just HATE it’s not you, it’s me or you are just too Sweet of a Lady and I don’t want to hurt you! Yea, right you manpig! I wish they would be more truthful! Like, I just want to go out and lay every girl I can get into my bed! I can deal with the truth. Great blog LK and PM you have a wonderful Lady, hang on to her!

  10. I have never broken up with anyone. But I know that if I ever did, the “It’s not you, it’s me” thing is a crock of shit.

    It’s been used on me, and I can tell you in hindsite that when the gal said that to me she didn’t mean it. And rightfully so…what she should have said was “you simply don’t have your shit together you moron, what were you thinking?”

    Ah…hindsight is 20/20. So I hereby promise to all you fine womens…if I ever break up with any of you I’ll be straight. I’ll tell you every reason I am breaking up with you in great detail.

    (and I wonder why I’m still single)

  11. Nigel, Thanks, for being up front. You are one of the few honest men I see around here. Thanks again, I just know when you do meet that special lady, she will be just fine with you.

  12. There is no remedy for love but to love more.

    I have no idea who said that, but I heard it once and it sort of stuck. I’m not saying it makes any sense, but there you are.

    This might come across as a bit selfish, but I hope your recent loss won’t have a negative impact on your writing–you are a funny, delightful girl, Laurie. I can see that much from here.

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