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One of the toughest parts of a break-up is working out exactly what your ex-partner really meant by what he said in the final stages of the relationship. Indeed, if you put three women in a room together for anything over an hour with enough wine, it’s almost guaranteed that at least one of them will get her mobile phone out to ask the others to decode what her ex really meant in the last text he sent her.

To make things easier, here’s a quick guide to what men say and what they really mean in the throes of a break-up:

The Softly-Softly Break-Up

He says: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

He means: “It is you. However, I can’t be bothered to explain the fact that I find your voice unpleasantly grating, I hate the music that you insist on playing when you’re drunk, and the way that you tap your fingernails against the coffee table when we’re watching television drives me to distraction.”

He says: “Everything is moving too fast and I’m not ready for commitment.”

He means: “I’ve met someone else that I fancy.”

He says: “I need some space to find myself.”

He means: “I’ve met someone else that I fancy.”

The Emotional Break-Up

He says: “I love you but I’m not in love with you.”

He means: “I’m diabolical at relationships and this is getting too heavy for me to deal with.”

or

“I don’t fancy you.”

or

“I’ve met someone else that I fancy.”

He says: “We’ll be best friends forever at the very least.”

He means: “I’m really hoping that we can continue getting it on but that I can also have the freedom to get frisky with other people. I’d also rather not have to do all of the complicated boyfriend things such as buy you dinner before we move to the bedroom.”

He says: “You’re too good for me.”

He means: “I’m too good for you.”

The Harsh Break-Up

He says: “I think your bum does look big in that and I don’t fancy you any more.”

He means: “I’ve got a death-wish.”

He says: “I’m moving to another country/going traveling.”

He means: ” … and I want to sleep my way around the world.”

or

“I think that you’re going to become obsessive when I break up with you and unless I say I’m moving to a different part of the world, I’m scared that you’re going to stalk me until the end of time.”

He says: “It’s just not working.”

He means: “It’s just not working.”

Regardless of the way that the break-up happens, once the initial heartbreak fades normal life will restore surprisingly rapidly. Fun and love are around the corner, and obsessing about what was said during the break up is only going to delay any future happiness.

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