When Boys Break Your Heart

Decoding what guys mean when they break your heart.
by Vince Sales   |  May 23, 2010
photo by Dakila Angeles * hair and makeup by Ferdie Orivida of Salon de Orient Libis * modeling by Mike of CalCarrie's and Maita
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We need to talk. These four words are never any good. It only ever means one thing said in a variety of ways: It's over. We're through. Let's break up.

When it finally happens, you can't believe what's going on. Is he breaking up with you? Oh God, he's breaking up with you. Like a bad movie, the two of you are finally alone and "talking." But not a single word he's saying is making any sense.

No, you didn't snap a synapse when he dropped the bomb. You didn't go deaf or slip into an alternate reality. This is all really happening and very little of it makes any sense at the start. Breaking up, going your own ways, ceasing to be a couple- call it what you will-is, after all, about differences. With this as a starting point, it's all bound to be confusing.


Wait a minute. I've got news for you: believe it or not, most guys don't want to break up with anyone. So when they do, it's for a good reason. For one thing, guys have been told since they were little boys not to hurt girls. And just so they won't hurt their girl, some guys will never initiate a break up, waiting instead for the girl to break up with them. They'll be a jerk, be distant, even commit heinous crimes like two-timing. They'll do anything and everything, as long as they don't hurt you. Am I making any sense yet? It gets more confusing.

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To complicate matters further, guys were probably the ones who started the whole thing in the first place. They were the ones who did the courting. The ones who bought the dinners, the flowers, and the chocolates. To suddenly change one's mind in the middle of the game somehow seems wrong. And, of course, they don't want the burden of guilt. All that said, if your boyfriend is breaking up with you, then at least he's being straight with you. That is one thing to be thankful for. In the long run, it will save both of you from prolonging the pain.


There's someone else. After the initial shock, your mind races for an explanation. "There's someone else," you conclude. Okay... sometimes that's true. Often enough though, there is no third party.

The sad fact is, guys really aren't very good at breakups. They're not equipped with the language. Most guys are very poor at introspection and can't explain to you what they're feeling to save their lives. All they know is that they want the relationship to end, and that they have to give you a good reason.

Enter the famous (or infamous) one-liners. You may end up talking for hours on end, crying your eyes out for days, or throttling him for an explanation, but it will usually boil down to one phrase that he'll keep repeating-usually because he doesn't know what else to say...

I need space. This one is easy enough to decode if you're a guy. Girls never get this one, and it always baffles guys that you don't. So first, a crash course on understanding guys.


Guys are simple. They like peace and quiet. They like being alone. They like doing some things alone. When they're alone, they can hear themselves think, they can develop who they are without distraction, they don't have to watch what they say, and they don't have to dress up. In short, needing space is about "me."

So your boy needs space. Provided you're not a control freak who makes her boyfriend text her every 30 minutes, call her three times a day, and surprise her with something sweet once a month, it's probably not your fault. Being in a relationship is about sharing each other while maintaining a healthy respect for each other's individuality. In the end, the guy who "needs space" isn't ready for a relationship. All he can think about is himself. Which brings us to...

I'm not ready for a relationship right now. Hey, sometimes it happens. You get into something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turns out it wasn't a good idea at all. Or it requires you to give something you're not ready to give, or pay a price you're not ready to pay. It's all happened to us before.


The culprit here is the dreaded C-word: Commitment. Commitment asks you to give something, even to give when you don't want to give anymore. This comes as a complete shock to most guys. They either don't understand the concept of commitment, or when they do, are deathly afraid of it. Courtship (the good C-word) is a fun game with a great prize at the end. Commitment, on the other hand, is a blood-sucking vampire bent on draining every drop of life from you.

If your boy isn't ready for a relationship, respect it. At least he's honest enough about his lack of maturity for a long-term relationship. Really, you don't want to be in a give-and-take relationship where you do all the giving, and he does all the taking.

My mom made me do it. This is perhaps the lamest of excuses, but not unheard of. It comes in a number of disguises such as "My family doesn't approve," or "My parents don't think I should be doing this."


It's true that family is an important part of any relationship. After all, the end goal is to be a part of that family one day in happy-ever-after land. So it's understandable that family is an integral part of his decision-making process-except that if he's giving you this excuse, his family's  probably running his entire life.

You want your guy to be man enough to make his own decisions, stand up for what he chooses, and accept the consequences. Walk away from this mama's boy!

I have to focus on my studies. Some of us are put on this earth for a greater reason than to have a good time. Guys are notoriously driven by achievement in life. Some guys are extremely driven, placing achievement before everything else. For these guys, a relationship doesn't always fit into the picture.

So he'd rather study than be with you. Like Mr. "I'm-not-ready-for-a-relationship," this guy isn't ready to give, either. Maybe one day he'll be ready, but probably not until he solves that world peace problem.


You're too good for me. As he's shredding your heart into little bits, he drops you the "You're-too-good-for-me" line. Yeah, that's more like it. Finally, something true! You're really too good for this jerk who's rejecting you, rejecting your love, rejecting everything you gave him. Compared to the spineless lower form of life before you, you are a princess, a supreme being, an angel, no... you are a goddess.

Hold it one second. Why are you starting to feel good about this? There must be some kind of trick here. Would he really let you go if he thought you were so great? If he were suffering from an extreme case of low self-esteem, maybe. But guys, egotistical maniacs that they are, don't let good things go. There must be another reason...

Sorry, girl, this is just something guys say to take the sting out of a painful situation. It's the lollipop they give away at doctors' offices. Sweet, isn't it?


It's not you. It's me. Ah, this one is a classic. Here's a line that captures what guys want to say. It doesn't drag up the past or bring ugly issues to the table. There's simply no point in all of that because it's all over. He's ending the relationship, and if there's going to be any finger-pointing, he wants all the fingers to be pointing at him. He's taking responsibility.

"It's not you." You're not the one. "It's me." I'm the culprit. I'm the bad guy.

"It's not you. It's me." You were perfect. You didn't do anything wrong. It's my fault. It's my doing. It's my choice."

If you really think about it, there's nothing in those five words. They don't say anything. But somewhere in between those two sentences, there's an apology. There's regret.


It's not him. It's you. Ending a relationship is never easy. It's a messy business that quickly gets ugly. But perhaps it's time to learn something from guys' one-liners.

"It's not him." It's over. It didn't work out. He's not the one. "It's you." You are still whole. You can always be the winner.

Believe it or not, most guys don't want to break up with anyone. So when they do, it's for a good reason.

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About the author
Vince Sales
Contributing Writer
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