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Your Call: Should She Dump Him Before or After Xmas?

Fri, Dec 17, 2010

Advice, Dear Em & Lo, Your Call

photo by .:[Melissa]:.

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been dating this guy since the summer but it’s just not working out, and that’s become abundantly clear to me in the last few weeks — we’re just too different, I’m not into it, and I don’t have any hopes for the future. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just not for me. I know I have to break up with him, but my question is whether I should do it before or after the holidays. Christmas and New Year’s is right around the corner. I know he’s bought me at least one present and we were planning on going to a friend’s New Year’s party together. Is that just heartless to dump him only days before Christmas, or does prolonging the inevitable somehow patronize him and make it worse?

– The Grinch

What should the Grinch do?

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21 Responses to “Your Call: Should She Dump Him Before or After Xmas?”

  1. Pigeon Says:

    Either way you’re going to seem a heartless bitch: dump him before xmas and you’ll ruin it for him, or doing it after will make it seem like you did it just for the presents

    Personally, I think it might be better to end it before- give him the holidays to get over it- hopefully you haven’t been pretending everything’s fine coz then the shock will be worse for him

  2. misspiggy Says:

    Oh dear. Yes I agree that it all depends on whether you’ve been signalling that all is not well, or whether you’ve been carrying on as if everything’s fine. If the latter, don’t dump him before the holidays – it’s going to be so humiliating for him to go to those parties and get togethers without you (or not go, and have to explain why), especially if he’s also dealing with the shock of this being a huge surprise. Why don’t you go through Christmas and New Year with him, being all nice and sociable, but dropping lots of hints about really wanting to change your life in the New Year. Get him fun but cheap presents – that should help prepare the way. Then you should be safe in about mid January to dump him on the basis that you’ve taken stock of all the things in your life that aren’t going quite the way you want them, you want to clear the decks for a new start and so on – and explain that you’ve been having lots of fun but don’t see this as a long term thing. Then he’s got a while before he sees his friends and family, so by the time they ask after you he can be all casual about it.

  3. Johnny Says:

    There’s no good time to get unexpectedly dumped, really. If I were the unfortunate dude I’d probably appreciate it if you waited till a few days after New Year’s. Like the above poster said, that’ll spare him from having to explain to everyone he knows, immediately and in person, why you’re not there like you were expected to be.

    I really don’t know. Tough one.

  4. oohlookasquirrel Says:

    Are you going to have to meet his family over the holidays? Do you have anything particularly romantic planned? Are you going to have a hard time being around him if you know you don’t want to date him? I would dump him sooner rather than later if you’ll be “going through the motions” for a few weeks just to avoid breaking up with him near a holiday. Break up with him when you don’t want to be with him anymore. You can still be friends and see him at your friend’s party as long as neither of you are jerks during the whole breakup process.
    Also, he can probably return your gift, and he’ll probably be around friends and family during the holidays to help him get over the breakup. It’s certainly better than having him talk about how great you are to his family over the holidays and then dumping him right afterward. Staying with him when you’re not feeling it is a form of lying to the guy and everyone the two of you come in contact with. You should end it when you feel it’s right (unless there is some big, heavy life issue involved, like an illness or death in the family). Christmas doesn’t count.

  5. trillie Says:

    Personally, I’m with oohlookasquirrel on “better sooner than later”. I’d feel awful if I found out that someone wanted to break up with me weeks ago because they were unhappy, but didn’t because they wanted to spare me the heartbreak (it’s not sparing – it’s delaying with a bitter aftertaste). I also think that either you’ll have to end it now, or in January. If you do it between the two dates, you’re really just in for the presents ;)

    It’s probably a matter of asking different questions and finding answers for yourself, like:
    * As others have already mentioned, have you been acting like nothing at all is wrong? Would it be a surprise and shock to break up?
    * If you do break up before Christmas, do you and he each have the possibility to see your friends/family over the holidays and get wonderfully drunk together? (If yes, bonus points for breaking up now.)
    * Is it harder to return Christmas presents to a store if the break-up is before Christmas, or is it harder to have a conversation after the break-up all “Uh, um, so do you want that present back now, or is it too late to return it”?
    * If you break up before, and it is not possible to go to that friend’s New Year’s party together – whose friend is it? Who gets to go to the party?

  6. Joshua Says:

    Oh, man, no. Don’t “save” your breakup for later. Just don’t. You’ll be lying to him and lying to yourself, and you’re just going to make things more awkward for both of you, not less.

    Plus, I can assure you that even the most oblivious guy will know something’s up. Unless you’re an amazing actor, the fact that you’ve decided to break up with him will come through subconsciously. Better to get it out in the open right away than let it simmer beneath the surface for both of you.

  7. henry Says:

    Just do it. Do it now. Do it today.

    Presents can be returned.

  8. Elizabeth Says:

    Hmm..so I was dumped last year (unexpectedly, of course) on Jan 15. It was absolutely horrible, but I think it was actually easier than if it had been before Christmas. New Years Eve’ wasn’t so great, looking back. He seemed distant by then.

    Valentine’s Day came way too soon a month later. I guess there’s really never a “good” or convenient time to dump. Good luck to you.

  9. Myk Sanchez Says:

    We live a good part of our lives lying to ourselves and to one another. Why prolong the charade? You’re only damaging yourself and this unfortunate person. Every additional day in this sad situation leads him on and makes you a cruel and suffering woman…

  10. Morgan Says:

    Do it now so he is available to meet someone at the New Year’s party and have a good time. That will allow him to forget all about your horrible pre-Christmas breakup and save him from a night of having to hang out with a girl that just wants to break up with him.

  11. Elaine-Joy Says:

    I’d say do it very soon. Like right now. Don’t stay out of pity. It’ll just make him feel worse. And like the previous posters wrote, presents can be returned.

    He can use the holidays to find comfort from his friends and family and so can you. No need to be uncomfortable!

  12. Johnny Says:

    Well one thing’s for sure – if you’re going to do it before, do it quick. The holidays are only getting closer.

  13. inco75 Says:

    i was recently with a guy who waited until after an important event to break up with me. i could feel it coming for a couple of weeks and i even told him “if this and this, then when shouldn’t be together.” but he insisted everything was fine. he accompanied me to my big event, photos were taken, he met friends, it was a big deal. then he dumped me a few days later. i wish he would have done it before because then i wouldn’t look back on that whole time as a big fat lie.

    if you don’t break up with this guy before, he’s going to resent you for it. you probably don’t care if he resents you. but be a decent human being. don’t fake it. don’t be a liar. break up with him. today.

  14. Sas Says:

    I have now had two major break-ups a week before Christmas. One was a 6 year relationship where we had a house together, one a 2 year one. Although the week before Christmas is not ideal, it is ALWAYS better to end things as soon as you know you want to. Holding on sucks. As inco75 says – don’t be a liar.

  15. julie Says:

    i personally got dumped around 5th Jan, and like someone else has commented, i did feel something wasn’t quite right during Christmas/New Years (esp when he didn’t want to spend New Years with me!). looking back, I think i would prefer it happen before the holidays so I wasn’t tricked into thinking it was just a rough patch. Then again, I think he thought he would get 1 last Christmas sex from me!

  16. bassoonist11 Says:

    I too am in the same situation as the Grinch. I have been dating my boyfriend for the last 4-5 months, but after 2 1/2 months, I realized that I wasn’t happy with where things were going and wanted out, but wanted to give it a chance and completely make sure that I was sure of my decision before I made any drastic changes and pulled the rug out from beneath his feet. Then, event after event popped up on the calendar and I didn’t want to ruin it for me as the big event that I dumped my boyfriend at, and for him to have gone to the effort to come to see me and then find out that it was all for nothing. Then we had auditions and exams and still didn’t dump him cause i didn’t want there to be long term damage from the break-up in his academics. I have now waited and waited. When I found out that he had already gotten my present (found out online that it was a $20 necklace that if he really knew me i would never wear it cause i would have no idea what to wear it with), and I agree that I should have dumped him then but I was an idiot and didn’t. He has wanted to hang out all of Christmas break, and now that we haven’t hung out, he wants to spend New Years with me, no matter who I’m with or what I’m doing. Unfortunately, there is this other guy that started talking to me for the last 2-3 weeks who doesn’t know that I have a bf, and i don’t want to ruin the friendship/possible relationship by telling him i do. There is a new years dance that I was going to go to and see this friend, but now i might be stuck bringing my bf, and that might ruin everything. I don’t want to lie to either of them, but i have been lying to my bf for virtually months because i haven’t dumped him. I think he knows something is up, but I feel as tho it might be awkward to sit next to each other in some of our classes when we aren’t together. idk. I broke up with my last bf on New Years eve (BIG MISTAKE) and don’t want to ruin the holiday for my bf like that again. Dump now that it is a few days after Christmas and a few days till New years? or wait until after we go back to school and have new seats in classes that we share and lie to him even longer?

  17. henry Says:

    OK, it’s after Christmas and it’s after New Years.

    We’d all love to hear the outcome of this situation.

    Hello, Grinch???

  18. Tony Says:

    I’m with henry, figuratively speaking that is.

  19. Jen Says:

    I’v been dating a guy from Uni for about 2 months now, and he then went and dumped me on Jan 2nd. Just after i’d spent Christmas with the family, saw loads of old friends and told everyone how lovely this new guy was and what a great time we were having.

    So although i would have felt shit over the holidays, i really wish he’d done it BEFORE so i wouldnt feel so damn stuipid now!

  20. Tony Says:

    Still no word back from the Grinch? WTF??
    She couldn’t still be in her room lying on her
    bed crying her eyes out because she made the wrong
    decision could she? Oh she could. Oh well, in that
    case; never mind.

  21. Tony Says:

    Many thanks to the girls out there reading this for NOT taking my previous comment as an opportunity to ‚Äėflame‚Äô an insensitive slob.

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