There Must Be 50 Ways

A friend of mine, Liz, got divorced around three years ago after an almost 20 year marriage. She started dating again after a decent interval and has been seeing a man we’ll call Rick, for about 8 months.

The other day she broke up with Rick because a couple of weeks ago they ran into Rick’s ex-wife and Liz couldn’t get past the fact that the ex-wife was very, very not good-looking. Liz feels a little stupid about this as a reason for breaking up with someone with whom she’d been having a good relationship.

I pointed out that Jerry Seinfeld broke up with tons of women for much stupider reasons:

  •  One had “man” hands
  • One ate her peas one at a time
  • One wore the same dress on every date
  • One was exactly like Jerry and he couldn’t handle it
  • And then there was the one who had once dated Newman. The similarities are obvious.

Did my pointing this out make Liz feel any better? I doubt it. She really misses Rick, but is repelled by the idea that he was once ‘with” this Newmanesque wife – and for a long, long time.

Anyway, we ended up trying to think of other reasons we might dump somebody that wouldn’t ordinarily be considered deal-breakers. We eliminated stuff like criminal activity and the top five reasons people usually break up:

  • One person finds someone else/is unfaithful
  • The relationship becomes toxic because of substance abuse or physical abuse
  • They just get bored of each other/fall out of love
  • They want different things from life and no longer have a future together
  • There is a breach of trust that cannot be mended because of lies/secrets, etc.

I once broke up with someone I’d been seeing a short while because he told a completely inappropriate joke at a party – not once, but several times even after I and other friends told him the joke wasn’t the least bit funny and was, in fact, highly offensive. He didn’t get what we were getting all upset about, even when we talked about it the next day.

I’d break up with someone if they started smoking or doing something else that was stupid and reckless like driving drunk.

Speaking of eating peas one at a time, XUP Jr.’s boyfriend eats his meal one item at a time. First he takes a piece of whatever the protein part of the meal is. Puts it on his plate and slowly eats it. When it’s all gone, he takes (for instance) one piece of potato. Puts it on his plate and slowly eats it. Only when it’s all gone, does he take a spoonful of carrots and puts them on his plate and slowly eats them.

Anyway, Liz dumped a guy on their first date because he was almost half an hour late to meet her and had no excuse except “time got a way from him”. And he only said that after she pointed out that he was late. She left the restaurant before they’d even ordered.

What might be a deal-breaker for you that doesn’t fall under one of the usual five categories? Or, what’s the most Seinfeldy reason you’ve ever dumped someone or had someone dump you?

39 responses to “There Must Be 50 Ways

  1. I once dated a guy who loved to shop.One of our first dates involved window shopping along Bloor St. it was all quite surreal. The relationship quickly disintegrated, with neither of us calling it off. But really, I don’t think I could have continued with a guy who had better sweaters than I did.

  2. Liz, hang in there! Follow your heart.

    My Todd eats only one portion of a meal at time, but he does let it all sit on the plate at the same time.

    I have predetermined the conclusion of a first date because the guy called me and said, “Happy Hump Day!”. He said it in a very sweet, every person kind of way, not a creepy way.

    I cannot stand that phrase.

    O could not get past him saying it through the whole seemingly ok date.

  3. I can’t stand late people. I will wait 5 minutes past the appointed time and if you don’t show I walk. I have never been late for anything in my entire life. I’d rather be 1 hour early than 1 minute late.

  4. Sean, do you have children? I used to think that there was absolutely no excuse for being late, but after caring for a newborn & toddler full time & not being able to make it out the door on time no matter how early I get started, I’m much more understanding toward people who aren’t on time now.

  5. Lola,
    I’ve got two kids 7 & 3. Yeah it’s more difficult, but I always leave tons of extra time to get anywhere I need to be.

  6. Allan’s gonna LOVE this: I met a guy for lunch and noticed the tip of his nose moved up and down when he talked. It really disturbed me. He kept trying to make another date and I kept trying to squirm out of it and he got pushy and demanded to know what happened so I told him about his mobile nose tip. Fortunately that made him no longer like me and we were done with each other.

  7. I had a blind date with a guy that was so nervous our mutual friend informed me that he was driving him to the next town for a belt he could wear on our date. And he called me again to ask me what I was wearing so that one of us wouldn’t be much more casual or formal than the other. And he called me AGAIN to ask me if I had eaten a lot for lunch… needless to say I was so irritated by the time the date started the poor guy didn’t have a chance.

  8. Violetsky – Hmm. That’s a tough one. It would be great to find a guy who loved to shop, but it would depend on where he loved to do his shopping and if it was an obsessive sort of thing or just normal shopping. So, who finally ended it?

    Missy – Ha ha. I know. Sometimes one tiny little thing can overshadow everything else that’s good about them. The crazy thing is he would probably have stopped saying it if you asked nicely. Ah well.

    Sean – That drives me crazy too, Sean. I have never been late either unless there was some major unexpected thing. I usually give people 10 minutes though.

    Lola – I have a child who used to be a baby and then a toddler and I was still on time. I just knew I had to get started a bit earlier that’s all. There are all sorts of excuses for being late – everyone has some issue they say keeps them from being on time. What that says to me, however, is that they’re saying “the stuff going on in my life is so much more important than you.” That’s fine, but don’t expect me to wait around until you get around to honouring our appointment.

    Allan – Hi! Thanks for stopping by the blog. I’m sure we all have our shallow moments, don’t we? That doesn’t mean we’re always shallow, does it? But then, maybe everything you do in life is deep and meaningful. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog in that case, for some spiritual nourishment.

    Geewits – Ha! I can’t believe you told him that. Poor guy. First dates are so brutal. When he never calls again people always make such a big deal out of it, when in reality it was probably just some really stupid little thing like a mobile nose that made him not call again.

    Violetsky – Geewits really missed the boat on that one then, eh?

    Christine – Ya, it’s one thing to be nervous, but an entirely different thing to be irritating about it. Sheesh.

  9. I once dumped a guy because he wouldn’t carve a pumpkin with me on Halloween. He said that carving pumpkins was messy and pointless. I was already suspecting that he was no fun, and the pumpkin thing just confirmed it. He also didn’t really like dogs, but that I could have gotten around. It was the pumpkin thing that really ruined it for me.

  10. Extreme jealousy, for me.

    I had a girlfriend obsessed with nudity, breast, bikinis, other women. If I even so much as THOUGHT about stuff like that, it would lead to a major blow-up.

    Like the time I was harmlessly watching National Lampoon’s European Vacation on network TV, during prime-time.

    There happned to be a 10-second nude scene during the whole movie. HUGE argument. They way she went on, you’d think I was watching porn or something.

    Later, I was asked, if we were at a friends house, and there happened to be any bare breasts on TV, would I please turn my head and NOT look?

    Needless to say…THAT relationship didn’t last.

  11. I once broke up with someone because he talked so softly I’d have to ask him to repeat almost everything. I really felt bad about it, but damn, it drove me insane.

    I gotta say though that it just seems beyond bizarre to break up with someone you’ve been with for several months because of what his/her ex looks like. The mind boggles, but hey, whatever works.

  12. @Jo

    By the way, not liking dogs is also a show-stopper for me.

    I can understand if people are not comfortable around them, because they’re not used to them, or afraid of dogs.

    But those who aren’t, and just dislike them, period….

    Sorry, I can’t go out with you.

  13. Jo – Ya, he sounds hopeless. Anyone who refuses to do something fun just because it’s messy and pointless is not a keeper. When you think about it, sex is fun but kind of messy and pointless.

    Friar – Wow. That wasn’t really a stupid reason for breaking up. That was kind of a good reason. An important reason. A shedding-the-kook reason.

    Jazz – Oh sure, talking softly is a good reason to dump someone, but having an ugly ex isn’t?? I think it was more than the ex just wasn’t good looking, she was also disheveled and unkempt and generally unpleasant looking. Liz just couldn’t get the picture of Rick doing it with someone like that out of her head. Like when your boyfriend’s ex is super gorgeous you always feel like he must be making comparisons. I don’t know…

  14. I broke up with a girl that looked like Betty Boop because when she talked she couldn’t make eye contact.

    Drove me nuts.


  15. I am not getting why someone would break up with someone because they dated someone who was ugly for a long time. Wouldn’t that make a person feel that this person loved people for they were and not how they looked? And god forbid if the woman got scarred for life at least she would know that someone would not dump them because their looks changed. A friend of mine got dumped from a long term relationship after a car accident that left her not what she was before…people really kind of suck.

  16. “I once broke up with someone I’d been seeing a short while because he told a completely inappropriate joke at a party – not once, but several times even after I and other friends told him the joke wasn’t the least bit funny and was, in fact, highly offensive. ”

    Yeah I dated an ass like that too. He had no filter between his brain and his mouth and would say very rude and dumb things in public and in private. I’m very open and probably overshare sometimes, but I try not to say things that could hurt others.

  17. I’m going to butcher this quote because I can’t remember where it’s from but it’s always rung true to me and I think it can be used here….

    “If you hate someone, the way they hold their spoon will drive you crazy. If you love them, they can overturn their bowl of soup into your lap and you won’t mind.”

  18. Eyeteaguy – Ya, Betty Boop always had that glancing-over-to-the-side thing going on. Maybe she was afraid she’d lose all control of herself if she looked into your eyes?

    Cedar – Yes, people sometime suck, but a relationship that falls apart because of something superficial like this, I think, already has a seriously cracked foundation. A couple that’s solid and love each other do not dump one another over some little irritation nor do they dump each other in a crisis. I don’t know your friend’s situation, but sometimes it’s expecting a lot of a mere human being to be that strong and stand-up in a situation where their partner is involved in a serious accident or has a serious illness. If the accident left your friend a quadraplegic for instance and her partner is a young person, is it fair to expect the partner to spend the rest of his/her life being a caregiver? One would hope that’s what it means to be in a committed, loving relationship, but not everyone can face that.

    Hannah – Ya, this was the first time I heard this guy saying something so inane. But it was enough. Sure we all say inappropriate, stupid stuff (some of us more often than others), but usually you can get a sense when it’s not going over well or when you’re called on it you apologize and shut up. You don’t get belligerent and tell people they have no sense of humour.

    Geewits – Volkswagens ARE magical.

    Friar – There’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere.

    Heather – Probably that’s meant to be sweet and I certainly get the drift of the sentiment, but if someone dumped a bowl of hot soup in my lap, he’d be out the door pretty fast no matter how much I loved them — unless I was really, really positive that it was an accident.

  19. I’m with Cedar. I would think that finding out that someone’s previous love wasn’t good looking would make me appreciate that they could love someone for something more than just looks. I think I’d feel more insecure if I was dating someone whose previous girlfriend was model material.

  20. If something drives you nuts, it drives you nuts, and it is a good reason to break up because you will not be happy over time living with someone with that quirk. Opposites may attract but you aren’t going to get over what drives you nuts.

    Frankly, i would have to really have second thoughts about a person who separates their food. I think it is a sign of a bigger problem; anorexia or other. My husband’s nephew did it. He even washed his plate between foods. Then, he lived with us for a while. Now, I watch the evening news for that boy to show up on it. Husband says the kid is too lazy to do anything wrong.

    The thing that gets me is how, after 20 years, something that didn’t bother you at all can drive you up the wall. I think Heather’s quote explains it. But, how do you ever know what will drive you nuts after 20 years?

    There’s your next blog, XUP.

  21. I think he aspired to buy all his clothes on Bloor – you know, Creeds, Holt Renfrew, Alan Cherry… I seem to remember an awful lot of talk from him about clothes, shoes and, well, himself. It was probably more the non stop chatter that killed it than the serious interest in clothes (remember, I hate shopping).
    I’d like to say I ended it, but really I think it just never went anywhere, but we were still in the same group of friends. I do recall one night talking with a girlfriend and we discovered he had been seeing both of us at the same time. By then we thought it was funny, in a pathetic, sad sort of way.

  22. Sorry, if that comment was out of line. Just because nephew is totally wierd does not mean all people who separate their food are wierd. Delete me if you like. I didn’t get any sleep last night and I should never comment this late.

  23. Wow, breaking up with someone because of their ugly ex is really pathetic, for shame. I think I can top it though.
    I once dated a girl and got to meet her mom before it got really serious. MILF she was not. Obese, smoker, and short haired I couldn’t look at my girlfriend after that. It was over within a couple of weeks. I still wake up in sweats thinking about being old next to a woman like that.

    Also, I want to second the dog rule mentioned earlier. If you don’t like dogs, I don’t like you and I can’t be your friend either. I can’t trust people that don’t like unbelievably cute and loving animals. Before some get on my case, I make exceptions for those that have legit dog allergies.

  24. thrill of the chase – i broke up with a guy once because i realized i only liked him because i couldn’t have him….when i did finally “get” him, i wasn’t very interested anymore.
    sorry allan, that was shallow of me.
    how was bloggers breakfast?

  25. Loth – I knew a guy once who thought it was sexy to lick my nose — inside.

    Alison – Before poor Liz gets the shaft from everyone, I think the fact that his wife was so slovenly and generally unattractive tells Liz that Rick’s standards aren’t very high. Liz works very hard to stay in shape and dress nicely and smell good and keep herself well groomed and I think she’d like that to be appreciated by her man. Sure it’s nice when your partner says he/she doesn’t care what you look like because you’re always beautiful to him/her, but it’s quite another thing when he really means it — he does not care.

    Sheryl – Many times the very stuff you found cute and endearing at the beginning of the relationship will drive you mental after a while. And it drives you mental because the relationship is no longer what it was. That’s my take on it, anyway. And, don’t worry about the comment. I think it’s weird, too. The kids has a lot of food issues. He doesn’t like anything; won’t try anything new; has a whole list of perfectly innocuous foods he refuses to eat. I don’t know how he survives.

    Violetsky – Well, a guy who thinks that much of himself needs more than one woman to admire him, right?

    Phil – Ah, you know something of what Liz is going through then. It’s funny how something like family, ex-partners, even friends can totally put you off a person, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a blog?

    Meanie – The breakfast was fab! We missed you, but I think there’s a Buzz plan in the works, if you know what I mean. And I understand the thrill of the chase thing. You get so caught up in your own little fantasy that you aren’t actually seeing the person – the object of your pursuit until he’s in your face. Then you wonder what the hell you were thinking.

  26. If you love the person and want to be together then these quirks don’t matter. My wife’s mom is in as bad a physical condition as that girl’s mom was and I don’t care since I know my wife will never do that to herself. I actually have to actively make her do less “healthy” things since she does them to excess.

    I don’t have a blog, I’m just a casual google reader lurker that dropped in to check out the awesome comment thread potential of this post.

  27. I screened all responses to personal ads by spelling/grammar. I would do it again too if I were single! My ad title was Good Speller Seeks Same.

  28. Regarding being late, as a mom: recently, my daughter and I arrived somewhere and I’d estimated time in my favor. I announced, “hey! we’re early!!” My 5-year-old daughter asked, “mom? what does early mean?”

    And as a teenager, I once dated a guy who stood me up. His story: he was on his way over when his car malfunctioned. He pulled over, spent quite a while fixing said malfunction, and by the time he got his car going again, he forgot where he was headed and went home. My dad forbade me to ever see him again (rightly so—he was either a serious flake or on drugs).

  29. I almost didn’t get married over the position of the toilet seat. To my wife to be, leaving the seat down was a task to be treated with the reverence, respect and obligation of the Holy Communion. To me, up or down makes no difference.

    She’d have a fit when it was left up. We discussed it many times. About 6 months before the wedding, she played the “well if you love me you’ll promise to always put it down.” I countered with “I understand your feelings but the seat has always been and will always be trivia to me, never entering much of a conscious thought at any time, all I can do is endeavour to remember to put it down most of the time. I may be successful, I may not. If that’s not good enough, then there’s the door, but I won’t lose sleep over something like the toilet seat position, and I can’t live with someone who will.”

    But, she got over it, and 20 years later, I’m about 99% compliant on putting it down.

  30. Phil – True. True. And I hope you’ll come visit again.

    Amy – And then you inspire a whole other blog post!

    Nylon – Ya, that’s a bizarre excuse… forgot where he was going? Sheesh

    Squid – the thing about the toilet seat is that both the seat AND the lid should always be down. The reason toilets have lids is so that when you flush all the minute particles of fecal matter and other bacteria don’t get sprayed all over your bathroom – onto your toothbrush, hairbrush, towels, washcloth, cups, etc. etc.

  31. If that was the argument being made, it might have convinced me at the time because it’s clear and logical.

    However, the argument that was being made was “if you love me you’ll do this” AND (I’m not making this up) “animals will drink from the toilet” (we didn’t have any pets but fish and more than a few fish made the toilet, but only once each) AND “babies could drown” (no babies, none on the way). It was clear to me that it wasn’t a rational issue, but a wholly irrational issue… and when there’s one of those, there’s more hidden behind.

  32. This is from my distant past, but one guy in particular comes to mind. He seemed perfectly nice when we’d talked for weeks before dating. Then he spent our first date telling me all about how seething with competition his family was, and how his “Daddy” liked him best and how it annoyed his siblings how his Dad would favor him, give him his car, grant him extra inheritance, etc. I was horrified that he thought this was worth boasting about (family drama much?). Also, when he found out I had an uncle with the same name as him, he said I could call him “uncle” which grossed me out for some reason. Then he practically cried after I told him I wasn’t interested in a second date. Why?! He asked. I don’t look bad, I’m in good shape, I’m employed… Oh, boy. I didn’t have the nerve to tell him any reasons.

  33. Squid – Ya, that did sound like a pretty crazy ultimatum

    Marie -Yikes. Funny how this stuff never comes out during phone conversations, eh?