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Open Mike           November/December 2000 - January 2001

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Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
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Survey Says:

The Ouch of Breaking Up
Results from our November/December 2000 - January 2001 Three-Minute Survey

Results are in - when it comes to breakups, men and women end up agreeing about almost everything. How often they initiate the breakup, how they like to break up, and whether they prefer being on the giving or the receiving end of the breakup. The only area where there were substantial differences was in the motivation for past breakups.

Roughly speaking, our readers tended to be on the more aggressive side of the breakup equation. On average, women respondents initiated 60% of their breakups, while men were responsible for 55%. These averages, however mask important nuances. Over one-fourth of female respondents initiated less than half their breakups; several had never broken up with anyone. On the other hand, less than one-tenth of male respondents were responsible for less than half their breakups, and more than a few claimed 100% responsibility!

There was nearly universal agreement that being on the receiving end of a breakup is not a good thing. Only 5% of men and women respondents said they preferred having the other person break up with them. Martyrs or very nice people? Not surprisingly, most people prefer a 'mutual' breakup. Sounds nice, but, realistically, how often does that happen? We should have asked...

Moving into breakup methodologies, again broad agreement between men and women. About three-fourths of all respondents of each gender prefer breaking up with their partners in person. And, should they be the unfortunate recipients of a breakup, they would also very much prefer it be in person. Women indicated phone breakups as their second choice, while men were divided between written adieus and the old disappearing act.

More interestingly, women seemed to be a bit more 'hypocritical' when it came to their preferred mode of getting broken up with. For example, several ladies said they wanted men to break up with them in person, though they would be breaking up with the men over the phone. Men were almost perfectly consistent. If they said disappearing was their preferred choice, they didn't mind if women chose to disappear on them.

Our last question dealt with breakup motivations. The top three reasons for breaking up were the same for men and women, but the top choice varied. Over one-third of male respondents said they broke up because they were either not in love with their partners, or in love with someone else. For one-third of women, the main reason was incompatibility/fighting. The other main reason for both genders was 'all of the above' - which can be interpreted as 'we've experienced all the above causes at one time or another,' or, 'we consistently break up with our partners because they are cheating, boring, incompatible bastards/bitches, and we don't love them either.' Not everyone breaks up for the same typical set of reasons. One of our respondents writes, 'He thought he just might be gay. And then he conveniently found another girl.' A notable 'exit' strategy that could happen to you.

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