Breaking Up on the Down Low – How and Why Men Sneak Out of Relationships

| 07/04/2011 | Comments (2)

After six months (or even years), the man of your dreams, the sweetest guy in the world suddenly needs space.

You’ve noticed a change lately…he’s been unhappy, uncommunicative, argumentative. Sex has dropped off to the point and he is either not interested or “too tired” most of the time. You begin to wonder if he is seeing someone else. He doesn’t care what you think and no longer tries to please you. He may have begun to become somewhat rude – calling you names like dummy, stupid or worst – or he’s become physically threatening or abusive.

He’s busy a lot and doesn’t have time to call or see you as he did before. You KNOW something is different, but he either denies it when you mention it or says that the relationship has taken him away from other important things in his life that need to be taken care of. He needs a break from the relationship; he needs time to think and sort things out.

He claims he’s not sure what is going on but whatever it is, its somehow made out to be YOUR FAULT. OR he may say he loves you but he is not IN LOVE with you anymore but you’re still special, you’re the most wonderful and beautiful woman he’s ever met. He is going to try to work it out. This has absolutely nothing to do with YOU.


Girlfriends, this is how a man eases out of a relationship without actually telling you that he’s going. He wants you to get a clue, stand up for and respect yourself and for YOU to break it off. Yes, its the cowards way out. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy and hurt you, and he would prefer to avoid a direct confrontation. I guess he’s really hoping you won’t notice he’s on his way out – and sadly, many women don’t!

Even though this method of breaking off a relationship is a demonstration of spinelessness, in a certain sense it’s perfectly understandable.

Men are fearful creatures, and don’t tend to deal well with women’s high levels of emotion. The tears, the accusations, the fighting and screaming “how could you use me like this!” It takes a special man indeed that can calmly say to a woman he’s been dating, living with or married to: “Hey, you know what? I don’t want to string you along or play you. I have too much respect for you as a person. But this relationship is over.”

Still confused about why men aren’t straight when it’s time to break up? There are many other reasons why guys do this Tiptoe Out the Back Door routine, but here are the main three.

Reason #1

Sometimes when men aren’t happy, but not ready to give up a stable sex partner while looking for a replacement, they’ll tiptoe out. In this situation they hope you don’t notice they’re gone. That way, if the other thing with the new woman doesn’t work out, they can amp things up with you again to keep you around awhile longer.

Reason #2

Sometimes he truly has legitimate reasons for easing out of a relationship at present such as finishing grad school, being recently divorced or separated, going away for a year to study snow seals in Antartica, or his Mom is dying of cancer and he’s needed back home to take care of her.

Reason #3

Sometimes when a man has been with you for years and years, or made many promises that he now knows ain’t gonna happen, the more scared and guilty he feels about hurting you. So he’ll tiptoe out.

In fairness ladies, we have to say that reasons given under category number two are very realistic. Although we may not be happy about the situation, reality must always be acceptable.  But how can you tell if he is being straight with you, or doing the Backdoor Slide?

By talking to him. Ask he exactly what he is so confused about, and why it is confusing. Do not allow him to give you vague, half-answers either, demand full disclosure and honesty. One of the most important questions to ask him is what he feels are his options to straighten out the situation or “unconfuse” himself.

If he comes forth with his thoughts and willingly shares with you his concerns and options and perhaps even asks for your input, then you know he probably does still care for you and is going through a challenging spot in his life.  On the other hand, if your guy tells you, NO, I need to do this alone, I don’t want your help and I don’t want to talk about it, then you know he’s doing the dance!

Most women argue about it, or start reminding him of the years they have together, the baby that you have together, or start crying and demanding to know how he could do this to you.

Your best bet though is not fight with him about it. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to convince him that he is making a big mistake! Don’t press him to stay with threats of alcoholism, harm to himself or his property, or suicide. The best thing to do is to calmly open the front door and gently kiss him goodbye, close the door firmly behind him and go on with your life.


This article was originally published in 1998 on AskHeartBeat.Com – the first site on the internet to focus on Black male/female and interracial romantic relationships. The author has reprinted it here for your convenience.

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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  1. Serenity says:

    Sounds exactly like how my mate left me. Less sex all of a sudden, then the physical abuse, degrading name calling and lack of interest in me. Now, i’m fearful of dating all together.

    • Donna says:

      It was his lies for his behavior. Be thankful you are free from this abusive behavior. I know from my own experience, I am very happy he is gone. He is the looser, he threw away his family for a piece of trash. Guess, what he is now whining how unhappy he is with the new person. People like this are naraccistic and everything is about them. But they loose everything.

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