01/26/2012 05:46 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2012

Break Up Advice For Men: Just Do It!

Here's the scenario. You meet someone you think you could like. You've hung out three or four times, maybe a few dates and then meeting up with his friends for drinks. You start to think you do like him. You start opening up, talking about your family or dreams or whatever it is you think makes you special. He does the same. In fact, when you meet his friends, they already know about you. You think to yourself, ok this could be something. Then ...

NOTHING. He doesn't call back. That's how he ends it. He doesn't think he owes you a phone call or an explanation or even a text to say "No thanks, I'm not interested anymore." He just doesn't respond. In the last few years, so many of my friends have had little flings end like this, I've begun to wonder, what does it take for a guy to dump you properly? Now, I know girls do this too, but it seems to me that by and large, this is an act (or lack thereof) mainly perpetrated by men. I understand that it's easier for women to communicate like this, but is that really an excuse to be rude? I'm guessing some men are either too selfish to care and some are just too cowardly, but what concerns me more is that decent men are starting to think that being incommunicado is perfectly acceptable behavior.

If you're a guy who doesn't bother to actually tell a woman you're through, if you don't care enough to write a simple text message (a text message! not asking for a lot here!) saying, "I'm too busy with work to get together now. It was really nice getting to know you, though," -- then you're just inconsiderate, and you must not have learned the manners your good mother taught you. And if you're just a coward, no one's going to want to date you, anyway. Having enough guts to force yourself to deal with an uncomfortable situation for five minutes is just part of life. You don't have to like it. But you do have to be able to deal with it.

How is it that men feel they don't owe a woman any sort of notification when they're leaving? It's like a girl's only owed an official it's over talk after six months. I know one girl who found herself wishing for it's over after spending multiple evenings with a guy's entire family. Instead she got silence. I know a woman who listened to some boy sob about how lonely he had been till he met her -- and then BAM. Just nothing. She called once and left a voicemail checking in. She sent a follow-up text. And there's just no answer. Ever. If she calls him again, she'll look like a psycho stalker. So that's it. She waits out the days and usually after about two weeks forces herself to accept that it's over. I mean really, what does a woman have to do these days to be told to take a hike?

It's so insulting to think that after getting to know someone, a man doesn't owe a woman the common courtesy of a simple let-down conversation. You don't even have to see her to do it. Is it really so hard to pick up the phone? How intimate do you have to get to earn the right to be broken up with? When I was in college, I very casually dated this guy who seemed infinitely cooler than me because he lived in a co-op. We never got that intimate, emotionally or physically, but I think of him so fondly because of how he ended things with me. He took me out to dinner and we had a really nice time. I knew something was up when he insisted on paying for the entire check because we had always been splitting things up till then. Honestly, I can't even remember which lame excuse it was that he went with, but either way he forced himself through the awkward conversation and that was that. I still feel warmth towards him because of it and he's been happily married for years now. He certainly didn't owe me all that, but he was just the kind of stand-up guy that wanted to let a girl down gently.

So when did we decide it was acceptable to break up via the silent treatment? By today's standards, it seems that if a guy sends a girl a text saying "not into you anymore [sad face emoticon]" she should be running through the streets yelling with glee "I just got dumped!"

Before cell phones, it was actually much harder to break up with someone via disappearance. Most people didn't have caller id, so if you really wanted to find out what was up, it only took a few phone calls to get the person on the phone. But now, with caller id and so much communication taking place by text message/Facebook message/email, etc. it's very easy to just never get back to the person.

So I thought perhaps, instead of just complaining, I could offer up some suggestions about when and how to call it quits. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I offer it as a start. My personal recommendation is that no matter what, even if it's just one or two dates, the most stand-up thing to do is either call her or tell her face-to-face that there's not going to be a future between the two of you. And no, you don't have to be incredibly honest or articulate or lengthy. There's nothing wrong with a lame excuse like things are complicated with my ex right now or I just need to focus on work and I can't be in a relationship for the foreseeable future. But I will concede that a phone call is not always necessary. I know some of us haven't used our phone as an actual phone in years, so if calling doesn't seem right, there are some times when a text is perfectly adequate. The most important thing, though, is to give clear closure, so she can stop wondering if she's ever going to hear from you.

This is when you're off the hook (a.k.a. not returning even a text message is allowable_
If it was a clear one-night stand (you met the same night you hooked up) or
If she has done something totally insane or
If you've never been out on a single formal date (just exchanged info) or
If you've acknowledged during your date that you don't want a girlfriend or
If she walked out of the date.

This is when we expect a text message (at bare minimum)

If you're set up by a common friend/boss/person you both will see or
If you've been on two or fewer dates with no physical contact or
If you've led her on or
If you've had sex or
If you've left something at her apartment.

This is when you really should call
If she's met any of your family or
If you've been on three dates or more even with no physical contact or
If you've borrowed money from her or
If you've driven her car
If you've hooked-up (really anything more than a goodnight kiss) or
If you've been dating for three months or longer or
If you were friends first (even if it only happened one time).

This is when you have to do it face-to-face
If either party has ever called the other girlfriend/boyfriend in front of the other or
If you've had the DTR (define the relationship) talk and decided to be exclusive or
If you've had the DTR and decided to keep dating and not be exclusive (yes just the talk merits more)
If either party has ever said I love you.