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How to Break My Heart: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide for Future Boyfriends

1) When we meet act like I'm the most interesting person in the room. Stand close, make eye contact, talk intently. Make me laugh.

2) Aggressively pursue me. Schedule a date, reschedule for sooner.

3) Hang on my words. Laugh at my jokes. Tell me I have beautiful eyes, or beautiful lips. Tell me that my hair is soft, that my hands are delicate.

4) Kiss me like you mean it.

5) Early on, for no reason, send me flowers, or buy me a thoughtful gift: a pair of vintage crocodile pumps, a book by Chris Ware, a bottle of Gruet for a Tuesday.

6) Act like you can't get enough of me.

7) Write me a song or a silly poem. Hide a note for me in the grocery list.

8) Give me a nickname: JJ, Babes, Midgely

9) Hold my hand.

10) When somebody takes our picture together, put your arm around me and smile.

11) Help out around the house.

12) Call me just to check in.

13) Say you love me.

14) Talk about a next month, next year, together.


And then, gradually, almost imperceptibly, change:

14) Tune out when I'm talking to you. Walk away, divert your eyes, or mumble your response.

13) Be nonchalant about plans. Schedule a date, reschedule for some other time.

12) Tease me about something you know I'm sensitive about. Point out the wrinkles, dark circles under my eyes. Notice the strands of grey in my hair, that my hands are dry.

11) Kiss my cheek. Just a peck as you leave.

10) Contribute only when asked. Sometimes "forget" even when asked.

9) Act like you've had enough of me.

8) Send me a text. Take an extra long time to respond when I send you a text. Sometimes don't respond at all.

7) When you address me, don't call me by my name, or my nickname, but just say "hey."

6) Give me a close-shouldered hug or pat me on the arm.

5) Avoid togetherness in front of others. Especially if those others are your colleagues or friends. Say you like to keep the pieces of your life separate.

4) Don't call. Don't email. Leave me hanging.

3) Say you don't love me anymore.

2) Say you can't envision a future with me in it.

1) Reconsider. Confirm. Disappear.