Breakup can have two distinctly different meanings. They can be exactly what they are, and they can also be the opposite of what they seem to be. A breakup can mean, “I’m done here. It’s really over.” Or, it can be a plea for proof of your love. This type of breakup comes as a threat, which is saying, “I love you. You’re hurting me. I want to stay with you but I feel scared, insecure and unappreciated. Step up to the plate and prove that you love me or I’ll be forced to break up with you.”

How does one correctly read the message within a breakup speech? How can we know if it’s definitive, or a “threat” set up as a test?

You must know your partner’s disposition and commitment to decipher the truth of a breakup. The “threat” can be a plea for help, covered by layers of hurt and anger. Lovers are prone to take this approach when in confusion and frustration. They don’t really want to end the affair. They want to stop the pain they’re feeling.  A breakup threat is a last-ditch effort to challenge you to step up your game, and put you on alert that you will lose them if you don’t.

It’s imperative to read the underlying emotional markers. To falsely read the signal of a breakup as concrete is to disallow the possibility of another hidden meaning and desire. A “preemptive” breakup is a way to protect one’s self from potential hurt. It’s a means by which to restore a sense of empowerment and a battered ego.

Which type of breakup are you experiencing and what do you want to do about it? The false breakup threat is in highest occurrence when the relationship leaves the honeymoon phase and things get real. Partners begin to let down their guard and quit pretending to be who you want them to be. Re-calibrations need to be made as each party redefines their own identity within the relationship, and establishes their true boundaries and goals. Demands may be made. Goals need to be re-clarified.

When is a breakup a real one and when is it a cry for love? Ask, if you don’t know. Ask, if you care to know. If it’s really over, at least you know that as well. If there is anything that can be done to reconnect to your partner, asking what is needed will offer the information you seek. Either way, the answers to the truth of the matter will appear. For better or worse, preferred or not preferred, you will know where you stand and what step to next take.