Breaking up is not so hard to do

By Branda Mitchell, @BrandaM_DE

I have always been the one who breaks up with my significant other, primarily because I get bored easily.

While my approach may not work for everyone and I am not advocating it, I have always wondered why people have different deal breakers.

So, I set out to figure out why ending a relationship is different for everyone. 


Brian Boutwell, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Saint Louis University, and his colleagues used evolutionary psychology to look at what goes into ending a romantic relationship with a partner in a recent research review.

After examining prior research that suggested there was a mechanism in the brain to make people fall out of love, the researchers evaluated the evolutionary, cognitive, neurobiological and genetic reasons for breaking up. 

The study found that men and women tend to break up for different reasons. Men tend to break up with women who are physically unfaithful, based on the idea that men have evolved to not want to care for another person’s offspring. Women were found to care more about emotional devotion.

To determine the validity of this study in my own life, I used young people as a small sampling pool. I asked multiple people what breaking up was like in their past relationships and the results were very different.

Everyone was equally concerned with emotional and physical faithfulness. People were fairly evenly divided on why they broke up with their last significant others.

Some told me they broke up because of infidelity, others because of a lessening emotional connection, with no correlation to gender and both applied in my own life. 

Unsatisfied with the lack of a definitive reason for my own attitude, I sought answers from a clinical psychologist. 


The local psychologist I talked to suggested falling out of love can be a form of trauma and every person processes it differently. In my case, ripping off the band-aid and moving on is easiest, but for others, communicating and working through a problem is best.

In the end, it is clear there is no single school of thought. Everyone has their different reasons and all them are valid. So whether you are bored like myself or you just got cheated on, any rationale is good enough.

Editor’s note: If you have suggestions, comments or just want to chat with Branda regarding her sex column, reach her at bm[email protected] or on Twitter at @BrandaM_DE.