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JENNIFER'S GEMS
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Don't Leave Like a Louse!
(Breakup Etiquette for the "Unenlightened" Man)

Imagine that you report to your job for what would appear to be a typical work day. From all previous indications, your employer has been very satisfied with your performance.

You arrive early, get to your office door, and the key won’t fit. It appears that the lock has been changed. Even worse, you notice your nameplate has been removed from the door as well. There’s no one around to ask questions. But it's obvious that your worst fear has been realized; you've been fired! And you were fired with no warning, no explanation, and no recourse!

Imagine the confusion and the many unanswered questions this scenario would cause. Imagine the anger and disappointment. Multiply it by 100 times. That’s a fraction of what it feels like to a woman you've mysteriously dumped!

Let’s face it. Sometimes the need to sever ties from a former partner happens. "You’ve lost that lovin' feeling" or an old flame resurfaces to light your fire. Or perhaps it's just irreconcilable differences. And it makes no sense to stick around and stay miserable. Right? It happens. There's really no totally pain free way to move on.

But that doesn’t mean you should have a callous attitude, or opt for the coward's way out. Contrary to the popular song, there aren't "50 ways to leave your lover!"

The way you leave a relationship speaks volumes about the type of "man" you are. It also shapes a woman's future perceptions of herself and love in general. Bitter break-ups produce bitter women!

Here's an online blog entry from a "woman scorned" that typifies many women's experiences:

"I'm feeling so rejected, hurt and confused lately. Not a peep from the jerk. How could I have misread him so? I really thought he was a stand-up guy. I just don’t understand why every guy I have fallen for in the past 4 years has pulled practically the same thing."

Unfortunately, cycles perpetuate. Peter pays for the sins of Paul.

According to John Gray, Ph.D. and author of Mars and Venus on a Date, "Good endings create good beginnings."

As someone who has been both the dumper and the dumpee in my relationships, I can attest, there is an art to ending an affair. Here’s the "politically correct" way to pull it off!

DON'T FALL FOR THE GRASS IS GREENER FALLACY
Before leaving one woman to run to the arms of another, make sure that what you are risking is worth the tradeoff! Many times guys find a new love interest enticing just because of the unexplored pleasures and possibilities. The novelty. After the passage of time and getting to know the person, they find that what they bargained for is really less than what they already had; and often too late to do anything to rectify the situation.

BE SENSITIVE TO HER FEELINGS
Practice the Golden Rule. Don't take the easy way out by sending her an email or leaving a message on her answering machine. It's really uncool and unkind. Unless she has a history of violence, do it in person - or by a phone call, or a caring, compassionate letter.

IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT CAN BE WORKED UPON, TALK IT OUT FIRST
Communication is crucial to any successful, enduring relationship.

DON'T BASH HER OR BLAME HER FOR EVERYTHING THAT WENT WRONG
It takes two to make or break a relationship.

HAVE A HEART
If there's something that you can share in the way of constructive criticism that might help in the future, then do so.

DON’T OFFER FRIENDSHIP
At least not right away. It's offensive, and feels like a demotion. Unless the two of you started out as friends initially.

KEEP IN MIND A BASIC LAW OF THE UNIVERSE
What goes around comes around. Karma is a killer!

DON’T KISS AND TELL
It's in poor taste, and if it gets back to her, it would only serve to deepen her pain.

DON'T MAKE A MOVE ON HER BEST FRIEND!
The reasons for this, I hope, are obvious.

GIVE HER AN EXPLANATION THAT'S FAIR AND REASONABLE
Please don't use the line that you need to "find yourself". It's getting old!

DON'T BECOME M.I.A. (Missing In Action)
Many immature and insensitive guys choose this exit strategy. They simply stop calling or coming around "cold-turkey," concluding that a woman will eventually "figure it out". The terrible thing about this way of operating, is that it is the worse of all. It never allows a lover to bring closure to the relationship and heal properly.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. Each situation should be evaluated on an individual basis. For example, if there is concern that a woman has the potential to become a "fatal attraction," you may want to just change your address, go into seclusion for a while, and forget the above steps! Good luck with that.

HERE’S HOPING FOR SMOOTHER TRANSITIONS AND LASTING LOVE!



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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.


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