8 Types Of Breakups (And How To Navigate Each One) - Max Jancar
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8 Types of Breakups (And How To Navigate Each One)

By Max Jancar | Published: May 20, 2022 | 16 Minute Read | Clarity

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Regardless of the nature of your relationship, there’s no clear-cut way one can end. All types of breakups are messy. And suffering is the common denominator between them all.

Whatever happened with your ex, there’s no guarantee it would have been any easier if things unfolded differently. But there is a guarantee that things would be different.

Most people believe the nature of a breakup stays the same regardless of the type of breakup one endures. This is inaccurate. All breakups hurt, but each type carries a blend of characteristics that make the whole experience unique.

This article will explore the eight common types of breakups, their characteristics, and how they impact us. And Jimny, who experienced all of them, will be our guide.

Note: every type of breakup can play out in various ways — it can be one-sided or mutual or done via text, phone, or in person — but its respectful experience always stays the same.

1. The Default Type Of Breakup (Also Called, The Mutual Breakup)

Anna was Jimny’s first girlfriend. They’ve met early on in high school and quickly became the embodiment of “high school sweethearts,” staying together long after they’ve met.

They watched the same shows, listened to the same music, read the same books, and participated in the same activities. They were a match made in heaven. What more could you ask for! Everything in their relationships was fun and fellatio… at least until college hit.

In college, our two lovebirds began to develop contrasting tastes, hobbies, and views on life. Jimny became a party hound who wanted to travel around the world on a motorcycle. Anna began to crave settling down and starting a family.

It was the beginning of the end.

Jimny and Anna knew that they’d been growing in two opposite directions. Their once rosy picture began to tear, layer by layer. At first mutual attraction and enthusiasm nosedived, then disagreements spiked, and finally, resentment enveloped their relationship. It wasn’t long until our two lovers made the mutual decision to become ex-lovers.

The fiasco between Jimny and Anna is a quintessential example of your default or mutual breakup — the most common type of breakup out there.

The relationship starts with two compatible people who feel like they’ve known each other for years. They respect, trust and love one another. But then, as the months slither by, things change. Their shared world turns upside down, and they go from best friends and lovers to strangers.

This transition from love to alienation starts gradually, often with the simple act of one partner avoiding date nights or intimate conversations with the other. Things are still salvageable at that point.

But, if nothing changes, it’s only a matter of time before the mutual excitement fades, the shared plans fall by the waist side, and monotony takes the front row seat.

When these things happen, the thread that keeps you and your partner together starts breaking at the seams, and you only get a few days, at best, weeks, before the inevitable occurs.

It’s a sad reality, but this is how most breakups unfold — in a grim, slow fizzle.

2. The Sudden Breakup (Also Called, The Surprise Breakup)

Whilst prepping for his annual college exams, Jimny laid his eyes on one of the most dazzling highlights of his love life: Nicole. She was an exotic dancer, part-time model, and A+ type student with a face that turns heads, perfectly shaped D-cups, and a goddess-like hip-to-shoulder ratio. She was a 10/10 bombshell with brains — a true unicorn.

After a few initial conversations, Jimny, by a stroke of sheer luck, got into a relationship with this woman. And who would’ve guessed, he was star-struck. However, while it did feel good, his star-struckness also changed him. He went from a non-needy person with solid boundaries and buckets of self-respect to a spineless pleaser.

He was at Nicole’s feet whenever she wanted him, prepared to do anything she asked with pride, agility, and gusto. It wasn’t long till Nicole realized that this wasn’t the same self-assured man she had fallen for. Hence, she began to lose attraction for him. She started getting more distant, more bitchy, took longer to reply to Jimny’s texts and calls, and in the end, dumped him. Via text, even.

Welcome to the sudden or surprise breakup — another common type predominated by feelings of shock and dumbfoundedness, typical for younger folk, and the one where the majority of people who endure it begin craving their ex afterward.

This type of breakup typically occurs when one partner fails to see the declining interest of the other because they’re too focused on their own, often high, interest. It’s when one thinks, “I love my partner. Therefore, they must love me.”

So to avoid becoming needy, over-invested, or controlling, and to evade any potential breakups in the future, always underestimate your partner’s attraction level. If, on a scale from 1-10, you think it’s at a 10/10, tone it down to at least a 7 or 6/10.

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3. The Cheating Breakup

Still bewildered and hurting from the whole Nicole debacle, Jimny begins craving a new companion. After browsing Tinder without any luck for the last three weeks, he decides he needs to look for his “special someone” elsewhere. So he deletes his dating app and drives to the most suitable place he knows for meeting high-quality and healthy partners: a fumed-up, dingy strip club on the outskirts of the industrial part of his hometown.

After a few visits, Jimny stumbles on Sebastian, an attractive chap in his early thirties. After a few beers, there’s instant chemistry. Even better, both men share nearly identical life goals, worldviews, and hobbies. It didn’t take them long until they hooked up and became full-blown lovers.

Nevertheless, their relationship was not easy. Primarily because Jimny hasn’t healed from Nicole yet, and his needy tendencies often got the best of him. Eventually, those tendencies got so wile and suffocating that Sebastian threw in the towel and did the unspeakable.

He cheated on our protagonist… with two of his ex-boyfriends… at the same time. When Jimny found out about this, he bolted. He wanted nothing to do with Sebastian anymore. He was furious. He was hurt. He felt like he was going to die. Betrayal sucks.

Comparable to the default type of breakup, this one is also pretty common. There have even been studies done about how one in every four relationships ends due to infidelity. But why do people cheat on their lovers?

It usually comes down to two reasons. Either you repeatedly failed to meet your partner’s emotional needs, or you repeatedly displayed needy, controlling, jealous or possessive behavior.

The former results in a partner feeling neglected; the latter results in a partner feeling trapped. The former makes a person crave love, appreciation, and attention from other people; the latter makes a person hungry for reclaiming their freedom — usually by fucking someone else.

Don’t get me wrong though. Not everyone will cheat when they feel trapped or neglected. Individuals who value intimacy and their relationship over self-gratification will point out what you’re doing wrong and try to help you. At worst, they will dump you.

4. The Long-Distance Breakup

After completing his master thesis, Jimny was finally out of college. Even better, he saved up enough money to go on that trip around the world he oh-so wanted. He couldn’t quite afford his dream bike, but he realized a beat-up car was a suitable alternative.

However, despite the unforgettable and colorful parties, scenery, and cultures, the biggest highlight of Jimny’s little adventure was his new girlfriend, Marie. She was a bubbly, tan, and slender young woman from France, with whom he lived for five months before breaking things off and returning home.

Deep down, both Jimny and Marie knew that their relationship wasn’t going to last, yet they still gave it a shot. When they broke things off, none of them were too devastated — hurting, yes, but not devastated.

That’s how most long-distance breakups play out.

Usually, both partners, deep down, already know they’ll part ways at some point, especially if they don’t have a long-term shared plan on how to make things work. These types of breakups, on average, do hurt less than any other type, but this doesn’t mean that they’re painless.

5. The First-Time Breakup

Let me shake things up for this section, and make a quick switch from Jimny to myself and my personal experience of a first-time type breakup.

For starters, these types of breakups hurt the most. All the hundreds of breakup survivors I talked to till now confirmed this, and obviously, I can confirm it as well. They’re also the most significant source of trauma in one’s life. And compared to your second, third and fourth one, they tend to make you do the most fucked up shit.

My first breakup made me spend thousands of dollars on scammy “get your ex back” gurus, urged me to shoot myself in the face (I was close), and convinced me to harass my ex for the next eight months following my breakup.

If you’re going through your first breakup, know this. You will get over your ex eventually. It won’t be quick, and you’ll probably be tossing and turning and hurting and crying for the next few months or even years. It will be the most horrible time of your life. But never forget that all the pain, agony, sadness, anger, and loneliness will pass — like every emotion.

That said, your first breakup or any first-time trauma doesn’t only bring bad things; it also yields a lot of good too.

If my first girlfriend didn’t dump me if I didn’t spend tons of cash on shitty “get your ex back” courses, and if I didn’t try to kill myself oh-so-many times, you wouldn’t be reading this, and I wouldn’t have the best time of my life writing it — and making big blog money in the process.

That’s right fucker, this entire breakup business, as well as my life-altering and probably the never-ending path of self-improvement and self-discovery, would never come to fruition if my first fling hadn’t broken my heart. I’m sure you’re in for the same kind of transformation, even if you can’t see it momentarily.

So don’t rush. You’ll be over your ex when you’re over them. Until then, try to accept your breakup and the barrage of turds splatting your face right now. In fact, be thankful for every moment of your dead relationship, for the hurt you feel now is what will make you a more resilient person.

6. The Angry Breakup

Jimny was always a relaxed, quiet, and carefree person. Because of these traits, he often attracted intense, lively, and lightly neurotic men and women. One of the most neurotic ones was Tiffany, who he met the first week since returning home from his little across-the-world adventure.

The first few months of their relationship, Jimny saw only her good side. She was all the things he wanted. However, after the honeymoon period ended, Jimny grew more and more annoyed by his lover. He kept noticing how Tiffany lit up in a fury for the tiniest of things, like when he left his underwear on the floor instead of throwing it in the laundry basket.

Tiffany also possessed an unyielding stubbornness and was terrible at handling criticism. Whenever Jimny tried to teach or educate her on something she had no idea about, she just wouldn’t listen. Instead, she would pick fights, talkback, argue or go on a full-blown tantrum.

Eventually, things escalated to the point where Jimny had to call off the relationship. It was an empowering feeling. It was the first time Jimny embodied the dumper in his relationship. But Tiffany didn’t take the breakup lightly.

The following day, when Jimny woke up and looked out his bedroom window, he saw his new 4by4 bashed in from all sides. Without thinking, he flung himself outside to see what in the actual fuck happened.

When he reached his car, still in his pink teddy bear pajamas that his mom bought for his 20th birthday as a joke, he fell on his knees and began to sob. It was worse than he thought. His new car wasn’t only beat up; someone broke all its windows, smashed both side mirrors, slashed open all four tires, as well as the Italian leather interior, and spray-painted the car with the word “traitor.”

And when Jimny approached the car from behind, his stomach turned upside down. There he was, his cat Dexter, attached to the vehicle’s spare tire by a nail the size of a grown man’s finger going straights through the critters belly, blood still fresh and trickling down the puncture.

These types of breakups are rare and usually play out in much less extreme forms (I just wanted to write about a cat being killed). Nonetheless, they still happen. Most commonly, between two individuals with little to no emotional control and heaps of childhood wounds, unresolved traumas, and other psychological issues — a.k.a, two psychologically unstable individuals.

These types of couples are also prone to breaking up and getting back together on the regular. They often form a toxic variant of a relationship, coined the on/off relationship — one where they break up and make up on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.

Thankfully, Jimny was mature enough to not fall into the aforementioned toxic dynamic and instead decided to accept his breakup, forgive his ex, and move on to someone better.


7. The GIGS Breakup

… Just as Jimny forgave Tiffany and moved on, he discovered she cultivated numerous sexual relationships with other men while they were together, including one with his best friend. The news felt like the world’s biggest bitchslap just hit his dainty precious cheeks. He didn’t want to come out of his room for weeks after hearing about it.

Fast forward half a year: after spending months bouncing from one therapy ward to the next and discussing Tiffany and her sins with friends and family, something peculiar occurred to Jimny. It occurred to him Tiffany had a severe case of the grass is greener syndrome.

While not a designated mental illness, GIGS or the grass is greener syndrome is a way of thinking that traps someone into believing every person they get involved with romantically will at some point cease being adequate or satisfying or enough for them — and that they’re missing out on a great experience if they don’t dump them immediately and find someone new.

The grass is greener syndrome is many things, but mainly it’s a subtle form of narcissism, an obsession, a slice of FOMO (the fear of missing out), and one of the hallmarks of an avoidant (an insecure person afraid of intimacy and commitment).

Due to their insecurity, people suffering from the grass is greener syndrome are also professional lily padders. They have a strong tendency to keep jumping from one relationship to the next, always thinking they’re moving forward and improving their love life, while all they’re really doing is spinning their wheels.

This type of breakup is arguably one of the most difficult ones to go through. Because on top of heartbreak and a lack of closure, you also need to deal with lingering feelings of betrayal and inadequacy — similar to what one experiences during the cheating type of breakup.

8. The Avoidant Break… Wait… What?

Our hero is now well in his thirties. He achieved most of his life goals — he traveled around the world, built multiple profitable businesses, and luxuriated in the enchanting world of dating. Now he wants to settle down and start a family.

One random day, at an obscure flee-market, he stumbles on one of his first long-terms girlfriends, Anna (the one he had the default type of breakup with). As soon as they see each other, their eyes lock, and all the withered out butterflies that once flew across their stomachs come back to life. Even better, our two lovebirds are compatible again. They both want the same thing now — to settle down and start a family.

Fast forward six months, they’re back together. Still tumultuously in love with one another. But after each clear and sunny day, a storm cloud forms, and well… fucks everything up.

Over the years, while Anna was dating other people, she got herself into a string of failed relationships, each more traumatizing than the last. And as a result of all the accumulated breakup pain, she became an avoidant.

An avoidant is someone who is, usually due to some form of trauma, fearful of intimacy, opening up, trusting others, and committing to one romantic prospect. (And an avoidant type of a breakup is obviously a breakup you have with someone who is an avoidant.)

Anna craved a loving relationship — and she got one! — yet she couldn’t muster up the courage to commit herself fully. The reason was that she often felt trapped. However, the suffocating feeling that entangled her was all in her head. Jimny was, at this point, a completely non-needy, mature, and healthy adult.

Years piled up, and the relationship went nowhere. Like before, resentment grew, the fun kept evaporating, and affection, trust, and respect suddenly seemed galaxies away.

Soon, Jimny reached his forties, as did Anna. For years they wanted to settle down, have kids, yet none of that happened. No kinds, no shared place, not even a cat.

Nevertheless, Anna still kept promising all they had wished for the second time they got together. And Jimny stuck with her promise for years, patiently waiting, letting himself be led on — like a dog under a lampost, waiting for his dead owner to return.

Of course, the owner never showed up. The promised life never happened. Instead, panic set it. Then depression, topped with resentment. Then alcohol and hard drugs. Then hopelessness.

Finally, one random night, all alone and shitfaced, Jimny found himself in the middle of a wide street. The next thing he saw were two bright lights coming towards him. He let out a sigh, like he knew what was coming. He took a gulp of what was left of his whiskey, closed his eyes, and then, a second after the roar of raw metal, everything turned black.

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