Someone really needs to invent a gadget, gizmo or, at the very least, a smartphone app that can help a collegiette pry into one of the most mysterious organs known to man: the brain of a college guy. Seriously, could they be any more confusing? Whether it’s the beginning, middle or end of a relationship, it’s definitely not helpful when your man is super guarded and closed up about what’s going on in his gorgeous head! To help you decode what’s going on, HC surveyed several college guys to find out what they’ll never spill after one of the most delicate parts of a relationship with any guy: a breakup.
1. “I should’ve asked for more space.”
We’ve all seen those couples who seemingly spend every waking moment together. What we don’t often see is how so much togetherness can wear on a relationship—and how much a guy may need some space.
“I started dating a girl a couple months into a hook-up,” says Andy*, a junior at the University of Minnesota. “I knew after a month or two I didn’t really want the relationship, but didn’t tell her that. When she started talking about renting an apartment together in the fall, I decided to break things off.”
Matt*, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, says Andy’s story is understandable. “When things get too close for comfort, I could definitely see backing off from a relationship or ending it all together,” he said. “I definitely don’t think it’s unheard of.”
When you’re dating a guy, approach conversations about growing closer––whether it’s something smaller, like seeing each other more during the week, or something that’s a much bigger deal, like moving in together––carefully. Make sure you’re listening to what your partner wants and how comfortable he is with whatever you’re proposing. Instead of deciding on your own and telling him how things are going to be, make sure it’s a two-sided discussion where both opinions are respected equally.
The discussion might not end in the outcome you want, but it’s important to respect what he says he needs as well. Your relationship should be something both of you are comfortable with. Don’t make decisions for him, or things could quickly head south.
2. “I wasn’t ready to break up.”
Everyone makes mistakes, including in our relationships. One guy shared how his mistake ended up costing him a great relationship. “In the end, I wasn’t ready to break up with my girlfriend,” says Kenny*, a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “We decided at the end of the summer before we each started at different schools to go our separate ways to make starting a new school year easier. In retrospect, though, I wish I hadn’t ended things before even trying to stay together. We’re still close and I miss having her in my life as my girlfriend instead of just as a friend.”
This is a tricky situation to navigate. However, the key takeaway here is to cut your man some slack. We all mess up––some more than others––so it’s important to acknowledge the imperfections inherent in relationships. Next time you’re frustrated or angry beyond belief, take a minute to assess the situation before reacting. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a place you never meant to end up in.
3. “I really don’t want to be friends with you.”
Oh, the f-word. The old “I hope we can stay friends” line is often the last thing you or your now-ex wants to hear immediately after a breakup. “I hate when girls say this,” says Dan*, a junior at the University of Iowa.
“Keep me on Facebook or whatever, but I’m really not into staying friends once we’ve been more than that.” Kenny says. “This is probably one of the worst things you could say to me after we’ve just broken up.”
Obviously, Dan and Kenny don’t speak for all guys out there, but they definitely aren’t alone in what they say. Remaining friends after a breakup, especially if it was messy, isn’t for everyone.
4. “I couldn’t afford to keep dating you.”
Your ex may have showered you with gifts and fancy evenings out while you were dating, but were all your dates completely blowing his college budget? If so, don’t expect him to tell you!
“I’m still really embarrassed to even talk about it, but I totally broke up with a girl once because I felt like I couldn’t meet her standards,” says Peter*, a senior at the University of Minnesota. “She had really ‘classy’ taste, and that just wasn’t me. I couldn’t keep up this idea that I was someone different than what she expected.”
This one also boils down to communication. Peter’s statement serves as a good reminder to make sure both of you remain flexible, open and honest about what you want from the other person in a relationship. Be sure you’re clear with what your partner is comfortable with in terms of how much you go out, what kinds of places you go to, who pays, etc. These aren’t always the same from guy to guy or relationship to relationship, so it’s always a good idea to check in once in a while and make sure both of you are on the same page.
Obviously, every relationship is different. The regrets and reflections shared here are only a small sample of what goes through the mind of an ex after a breakup. The number one thing to take away from this list? If you’re truly curious about what your man is thinking while you’re dating, just ask! Trust us––it’ll save you tons of worry, stress and regret in the long run. And if things don’t work out, hey––the single life is definitely fun as well!
*Name changed for privacy