When You Break Up

when you break up graphic to use


“I forgot our anniversary,” the man said to his visibly angered wife, “because I am a busy man” and he left the dinner table at the restaurant and walked off. They had been bickering and he simply got up to leave and said goodbye after paying the check and dropping his napkin. She was on the phone for a while to someone else. She eventually left. The whole room could tell they were fighting.

Just yesterday, he wrote back to a woman who he had quickly made love. First date, she said to him: “Do you want to make love now or later?”

He said to her wanting to be perceived as a gentleman: “Next time,” and they waited a few days.

The point he was making is that by the third date, which was two nights at her house, her being exhausted from travel, the day before she went to see her step-sister, whom she seldom saw and her father, who was in recovery from cancer, she had an emotional breakdown in a Left Bank restaurant. Tears came down her face. She had driven to Santa Cruz to Marin and back to Menlo Park. She was hungry. She had just massaged an old man, who fell asleep in her arms, but who mostly just wanted to sing.

Her meltdown, the irrational behavior that came before it, and his inability to relate since he had not gone through those feelings with her, left him empty. He was unfeeling and at a point he told her about another occurrence that he simply could not relate to of his friend’s mother’s death because he had lost his father when he was ten.

“Good for the bastard,” he said, “maybe it would treat him to be less of a bully.”

But, of course, that was the worst thing he could have said. He even asked and got to see her mother.

In the meantime, and almost the point of this, he thought, was that she sang and played the guitar for him and used his poems/words from his books to write songs, leading him to draft a collaborative contract if she wanted to do an album.

That is the point, he said. Even though she told him he was amazing, she probably couldn’t trust him, nor did she feel like it was worth it. All she wanted was to keep her distance. He demonstrated a lack of empathy. The point, he thought was how and why you don’t sleep with the people you work with because things get complicated. A line crossed and everything seemed to say “No. I would rather not.” Things come out of nowhere and all you want to do is stay away.

That’s what happens when you break up. You say to yourself, “It is just not worth it.”


  1. A sad story showing a bitter reality where it looks like both the woman and the man failed. He seemed to have no empathy for her situation and she behaved in a way like she didn’t trust him and, as a result, she kept distant. All this makes me wonder why many human relationships—not only those related to love—but any associations or interconnections, very often turn unsuccessful. I believe cause number one is stress in our modern world where everything has to be immediate, with all the created needs from our neoliberalist societies that make us want to compete constantly with each other; we have to show the other person we are better, superior, instead of seeing them as equals in rights and opportunities and as different as each person is unique and talented; we often miss a chance to learn from each other. Many human relationships simply fail because of a series of misunderstandings that remain unclarified in our communication.

  2. I am glad you found both equally guilty of failing each other. I really thought the man was very coarse as you noted. She was fine actually. He needed to cut her some slack.

  3. I think the man was coarse because deep inside he was afraid of his own feelings, of getting hurt. I am sure he adopted this attitude as a kind of psychological self defense, a shield to protect himself.

    The same happened with the reaction at the father’s death. That man could not accept the early loss of someone he truly loved so he had to say bad things about him.

    The woman also tried to protect herself but in a different way. He acted and she reacted. The result is that both kept distant from the other person because there was a lack of real communication and, instead, a series of unwanted misunderstandings which I believe have to do with our subconscious.

    • I don’t know but the fact is that we do many things unconsciously or half-unconsciously. If a person has suffered a lot in life, has been abused by others or is still suffering from that, he or she has open wounds. People in this situation may either show more empathy toward others because they have gone or are going through similar problems or, instead, feel emotionally blocked and, therefore, be unable to empathize with the other person(s).

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