This is one of the most important pieces I’ve written to date. As you continue to recover from your breakup, you’ll eventually need to come to grips with why your relationship ended.
It’s up to you to reject their blanket diagnosis and drill down deeper to understand what really happened so you can grow into a better partner, and indeed a better man down the road.
So read with care. These 6 things I’m about to show you cause at least 95% of breakups that I’ve seen.
“It’s not you, it’s me”
In 5 words, it’s a perfect work of art that encapsulates everything I love about women.
It’s masterful. It tells you everything you need to know without really saying much at all.
It’s poetry in motion.
Spoiler alert: It’s totally fucking you, and she doesn’t want to tell you that outright.
Of course, no party is blameless, but it has been my experience that this line is almost always reflective of what you did.
Now, it’s not because she’s intentionally withholding information. Contrary to popular belief, women don’t like lying any more than we do.
In such an emotionally charged moment, she might not be able to vocalize what she’s really feeling.
Moreover, she’s already told you everything you needed to know. You just weren’t paying attention.
So if you’re scratching your head as to why everything seemed to be going so great one minute, but out of nowhere she suddenly breaks up with you using this line, please get it through your head that it isn’t her.
She’s feeding you that line because of something you did.
Now, when I was struggling with this, everything I read told me it was all about attraction. Everyone told me that she broke up with me because her attraction was too low.
“You dropped her attraction bro! That’s why she dumped your ass” was repeated over everything I could find.
I quickly realized that most of these men didn’t understand women as well as they claim to.
While this generality is to some extent true, it lacks nuance. Attraction is a very broad topic that isn’t confined to any one area I’m about to talk about.
See, no one really wants to talk about this stuff because it’s not as sexy as some blanket statement that could easily be applied in 15 different ways.
But today’s your lucky fucking day. I’m going to clear it up because no one else will.
Before you continue though, what you need to understand is it’s almost never just one of the reasons below. While there may be a primary reason, its almost always an amalgamation of the reasons listed below.
I believe in nuance. Especially when it comes to relationships, it’s never just one thing. It’s always many things, in conjunction.
Much like death by 1,000 cuts, the end of a relationship is often when one straw too many is laid to bare.
While you’re reading this, avoid making sweeping generalizations. You’ll get a more holistic understanding that way.
Please note, I’m not going to talk about logistics related breakups. Those are a bit different. I will write a future article about this if there’s enough interest.
1: You Lacked Consistency
Trust takes a lifetime to learn and only a minute to break. The second the trust begins to erode in a relationship, so too does the relationship itself.
The more a woman trusts your masculine essence the more comfortable she’ll feel giving herself over to you. She’ll display her affection more openly, and talk freely about how she feels about sensitive topics.
A woman who trusts you will defend you in front of her friends and family and will always have your back. Her trust in you is what allows your relationship to grow from something superficial to something deeply special.
In return for her trust, she absolutely expects you to be consistent.
In my experience, consistency issues crop up in short term (1-3 months), and long term (2-3+year) relationships most often.
With new relationships, it’s normally when you try to act differently than you really are just to get her attracted to you, but as you get to know her better, your true colors really start to show.
For example, if you’re a really introverted guy, but you pretend to be extroverted for the first couple of months of being together with a new woman.
You go out most nights, and you plaster a fake smile on your face.
“No problem honey!”
Eventually, you get tired of hitting the club and drinking through your weekly paycheck, you start saying no.
Of course, she’s confused at first. What happened to the guy that wanted to go out all the time?
As you withdraw back into being an introvert, she’ll realize you acted one way and were really another. Then that introduces doubt about what else you might be hiding.
Again, this is just one example – and it plays out across short term and long-term relationships all the time.
2: Your Relationship Is Out Of Time
No relationship is meant to last. You should assume all relationships are temporary!
No, that’s not me being bitter. It’s just the truth. No magical special woman is going to stay with you forever.
Give it enough time, and statistically speaking: she’s going to lose attraction and leave.
According to the book Divorce: Causes and Consequences, divorces peak after 2.5 years of marriage, with the majority of all divorces happening within the first 10 years of marriage.
In other words, most relationships have a natural expiration date, and it’s normal for a woman to lose attraction to you the longer you are together.
Putting the science aside for a second, in my experience, most relationships really tend to fizzle out after about 2-3 years if there’s no marriage or kids involved, which perfectly aligns with the available studies.
Generally speaking one or both partners gets bored, and normally the woman ends up pulling the plug, with between 68-75% of all divorces initiated by women. I’d estimate it’s closer to 55:45 (women:men) for relationships.
This effect is made even worse by living together. Anyone that has ever lived with a woman can tell you that.
Consider that 60% of couples that live together will eventually marry. However, living together prior to marriage can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.
For you younger guys, think about that before you agree to move in with a woman. It’s not all sunshine and roses.
It’s a lot of doing the dishes, getting yelled at, and not being able to watch sports because the Bachelor is on. You’ve been warned.
3: You Didn’t Bring Enough Value To The Relationship
Point blank: a woman is going to lose attraction to you if you’re not contributing enough to the relationship.
Comedian Ali Wong says it best.
But what does Ali Wong mean when she says they’re malt liquor on the inside?
It all comes back to the social exchange theory, which, according to Nakonezny & Denton explains that people are motivated to enter into relationships that bring a good expected payoff.
Couples are then motivated to stay together because they receive perceived benefits that are greater then what they would get on their own, or with someone else.
They are also motivated to stay together based upon the expected future return as well, not just the past return.
According to this theory, the greater the return – the greater the attraction.
Furthermore, the level of commitment to the relationship is based on the perceived value of the previous return as well as the expected future return.
If your girlfriend believes she’s getting a good return for her investment of time into you, she’s going to stay with you, assuming everything else is in good working order.
Whew. That was a lot.
Again, this is just a theory, but honestly, it shouldn’t be at this point.
It’s the truth. A relationship is an exchange of value, and the statistics agree. If you don’t bring the value, the relationship isn’t going anywhere.
- Couples that argue about money once a week are 30% more likely to get divorced.
- The risk of divorce was said to be almost doubled – 97% higher – when the mother went out to work but her husband made a “minimal contribution” to housework and childcare.
In other words: what you contribute to your relationship matters. Don’t be one of those fucks who continuously mooches off his girlfriend.
I find it pretty funny that money is so strongly correlated with divorce, especially considering when we think of a “return” the first thing that comes to mind is money.
Now obviously your value isn’t just your earning potential.
Remember: the social exchange theory is about perceived value. Every woman is going to have different things that are valuable to her.
For example, if your girl values physical fitness and you’re a personal trainer? You’re bringing value to the relationship.
On the other hand, if she values financial independence and you don’t even make enough to pay your bills then you’re going to have a problem.
Perceived value can come from:
- Personal values (with consistency being especially important, as we’ll talk about in a second)
- Good relationships with friends and family
- Good health
- A mission and goals that don’t revolve around her
- Interesting life experiences that don’t revolve around her
- Hobbies and pastimes that don’t involve her
- Having a complete life without her!
In my experience, a lot of guys get left behind because they fail to provide value upfront, and they fail to continue providing value throughout the relationship.
This is especially bad once you get comfortable with your woman – which is one of the reasons why attraction tends to drop faster when you live together.
4: You Stopped Listening To Her & Communicating Well
Long term relationships (and long term attraction) are built on good communication.
There’s this persistent myth that if you’re a dominant man you can just steamroll over your girlfriend’s opinion and she’ll sit back and meekly accept you because you’re the fucking silverback.
NO. NO! NO!
The red pill community loves to preach this – and they’re completely wrong!
A 2013 study on divorce found that 83% of women cited a lack of validation for their feelings and opinions as a major factor in the split, followed by their spouse not listening or talking about himself too much coming in at 56%.
When you stop listening to her, her perception of the value she receives from the relationship goes down – even if you’re still bringing value in other areas.
Think about it from her perspective. When she’s communicating with you, she’s trying to get your help in getting something valuable to her.
What she wants could be anything from help doing the dishes to a shoulder to lean on during a tough time.
According to the social exchange theory, when you listen to her, you’re providing value to her – because you’re helping her to get something she wants that she wouldn’t otherwise be able to get alone.
When you don’t listen, she’s not able to get what she wants. When she doesn’t get what she wants, the amount of value she feels she’s getting from the relationship drops.
And guess what else drops?
Her attraction to you.
In my experience, most men are terrible at listening to their women. This isn’t a huge problem during the first 6 months to 1 year of your relationship when things are fresh.
However, in long term relationships – not listening is the kiss of death. Most breakups I deal with are a result of not listening.
A lot of times you don’t even realize it’s happening, and then one day your girlfriend has moved on.
5: You Gave Too Much, Or Asked For Too Much
Again – this goes back to the social exchange theory.
Nakonezny & Denton state that social exchange is based upon receiving an equitable return. When your woman is receiving an unequal return – whether that’s more or less than she perceives as equal, her attraction to you drops.
Give her too much and you’ll create an imbalance in your relationship, which can lead to you resenting her and unconsciously separating yourself from her.
On the other hand, having unrealistic expectations of her is also dangerous.
A 2005 study found that 45% of women cite unrealistic expectations as a reason for divorce.
For example, if you live together with your girlfriend, you shouldn’t expect her to work full time, while also doing all the cooking and cleaning.
She’ll grow to resent you – and when she does, her attraction to you will drop.
This can show up in less obvious ways as well.
Here’s a few of the common ones I’ve seen from guys in my coaching program:
- Always expecting her to pay for dates
- Expecting that she’ll “check-in” at certain times
- Demanding that she spends an inordinate amount of time on the relationship
- Expecting that she stops doing things she enjoys just to please your ego.
- Expecting that she always gives head but never gets head in return.
- Expecting that she’ll want to be your exclusive girlfriend after 2-3 dates.
Unrealistic expectations can torpedo both short and long term relationships, but I find it usually crushes short term ones particularly hard.
For example, if you go on 3 dates with a woman and immediately expect she’s going to treat you like her boyfriend, she’s probably going to ghost your ass.
6: You Stopped Dating Her Like Your Girlfriend
There’s an old adage: if you stop dating your wife, some other man will.
And it’s completely fucking true.
The breakup that inspired me to start Men’s Breakup was caused in part, because I stopped focusing on the fun.
I got too comfortable.
I took my girlfriend for granted, and guess what? She left me.
So far we’ve focused on the transactional nature of relationships but ignored the lighter side of them.
So let me show you something funny about the lighter side of things.
When you stop having fun, her attraction to you withers. And I hate to say it, but I’ve got science backing this up too.
UC Berkley Professor Dacher Keltner’s research into marriage has shown that the death of laughter is what pulls couples apart.
“The research clearly showed that couples who knew how to playfully tease one another were not only happier overall, but were more skilled at handling conflicts (and more likely to stay together)”
This should be a no brainer for you guys. If you’ve done online dating at all, you already know how many women list humor and the ability to have fun as something they’re looking for.
The problem is – most guys are able to maintain the fun upfront and then they just get lazy.
In other words, they lack consistency, which is also dangerous as we’ve already established.
What happens is your relationship suffers a slow decline into apathy – the biggest killer of long term relationships.
When you stop caring what you do. You stop trying.
Where you once used to surprise her with picnics on the beach, you now occasionally bring her taco bell.
Even worse, there’s no planning. Where before you would actually plan dates and make things happen, now a night together on the couch is the “date”.
You stop giving her your attention. That couch date might involve 15 minutes of “conversation” where both of you are looking at your phones and not really listening to each other.
As a coach, I can go out and easily spot the couples suffering from this painfully long decline. At a restaurant, they could be sitting face to face, but neither partner is really saying anything.
There’s no laughter. No touch. No easy smiles and good humor.
Even talking about it makes me uncomfortable.
Apathy is also the most cited cause of divorce, with 73% of women reporting a lack of commitment as a major cause for divorce.
And considering around 56% of those women will remarry…statistically speaking, if you don’t date your wife or girlfriend, another man will.