Love Better

We Spoke to 6 NZ Guys About Their Most Recent Break-Up

From getting used for an NZ Visa to being the one that cheated.
A collage of figures
Credit: iStock / DrAfter123

Most of us think we’re smart enough to spot bullshit from a mile away. We say we’d never cheat or hurt someone for the fun of it. Or hope that when we end a relationship we’ll be walking away with a friend and not a target on our back. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t always how it goes. We fuck up. So do other people. And they say “all is fair in love and war”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also really shit. 


So we had 6 guys in Aotearoa tell us what went down in their last break-up.

Name: Sam*

Age: 23

Occupation: Police 

VICE: Tell me about your most recent break-up. Why did it happen? 

We had some long term emotional things that we didn’t communicate enough. Eventually it got bad enough that I fell out of love with her, but I was too much of a coward to properly end the relationship. I cheated on her because I had so little feeling for her anymore — then I informed her and naturally we broke up from there. 

Right. And did cheating on her change anything about you?

It was one of the more awful experiences of my life — like, I didn’t really feel a whole lot in the days afterwards, because I think I was in shock from what actually happened. I just felt a lot of hate towards myself because it was something that I never thought I would do: hurt her in that way. It caused me to have a lot of distrust in myself and it meant for a long time I distanced myself from relationships, or proper relationships, if that makes sense, and I got pretty depressed around that as well. It changed me in a very big way.

Name: Oscar

Age: 20

Occupation: Retail 

VICE: Could you tell me about the last break-up you had?

It was high school. I was still very impressionable and young, and he was my first kiss and was very hot and was super, super caring and all sorts of shit like that. We'd been dating for about a month and we hooked up for the first time and I kind of realised that I didn't really like the smell of his body odour.


Oh no.

So I just was like, I'm not really keen on continuing. And then — this is the worst part about it — I went straight to school the next day and I told my two closest friends what had happened. Unbeknownst to me, one of the two that I told was quite close friends with the guy.

It got to him and then it got to a few more people and then it got to his group and people knew that I broke up with him because he was a smelly boy. And, like, I never lived it down. He never lived it down.

Did you stay friends?

We didn't stay friends. He was very upset about it for very understandable reasons.

Retrospectively, would you have done anything differently?

Oh, I would do none of the same things. I can see that in my little young mind, the first thing to do was to run to someone to voice what I was confused about, but I also could have gone to my mum. Or my sister. Or to anyone who wasn't involved. The fun thing about high school is anything said reaches everyone else involved.

Yeah. That’s a great quote.

I learned that too many times in school as well. And if this person ever reads this, I'm so sorry.

Name: Nathan* 

Age: 33 

Occupation: Musician 

Tell me about your last break-up. Was it mutual? 

We’d been together for about 5 years, 2 of those years were Covid years. It was her decision and I was floating somewhere between wanting to work on it and knowing it was done. There was still love there, even though it had all changed. I didn’t feel good but I didn’t feel angry or like I had been hard done by.  


For sure. So do you think you learnt anything from it? 

Like other things, relationships take practice — making time for things like sex, goal setting, working on yourself independently and the relationship together… It can be really easy to forget that.

Name: Cole*

Age: 28

Occupation: Music Industry 

VICE: So how did your most recent break-up happen?

My most recent break-up happened because we jumped into something very intense, very quickly. Even though I fully thought at the time that I was completely prepared for a relationship, in hindsight I absolutely wasn’t and I don’t think this person was either. 

And who ended it? 

He did end up ending things, via text I should add. 

How was that? 

It made me feel, generally, just very stink about myself… extremely sad and confused as to what I’d done wrong. It has changed things about me. Not so much at the time, but in hindsight it has definitely taught me a lot about self respect. It was a good indicator for me of what I actually value and want in a relationship, having had the contrast of having bent over backwards for someone and it still having blown up in my face

Name: Marcus

Age: 26

Occupation: Advertising

Why did you and your ex end up breaking up? What happened there. 

Basically, Jackson* and I were dating for two years, he cheated on me within the first week of us being together, and I found out 10 months into the relationship that that had happened. I chose to forgive him and then I found out another 10 months later that he did it again.


This time, it wasn't actually physical but for like, months where they were sending videos, not sexual, but talking, updating each other, being like, when are we gonna get married kind of energy. And it was just like, really icky and gross.

How did that change things for you?

Well, I had him on a partnership visa because he was from Canada. And after that second time, we were living together, we had just renewed the visa, I felt a lot of pressure, so we stayed together. Still in this weird place. Then in March or April that year we ended it.

I was like: I want to be amicable, I still think you should have the partnership visa. Like I always said you deserve to be in the country. So I was like, I'm happy to lay low there.

Then he started going on dates, despite the fact that we weren't meant to be doing that because of his partnership visa. But he was going on dates, he was telling everyone about it. He was telling people he didn't even know that we were broken up. And I wasn't telling my closest friends because I was trying to keep it quiet for him. So I had a chat with him and was like this is for your benefit, not mine, you should be the one that's concernedLet's be a bit more chill about this. And he was like, Yeah, okay, okay.  And then the next night, out with a friend, we see him on a date. Literally the next night after we'd had that whole conversation.



And then later the visa comes through and the next day he blocks me on Instagram. He sends me this big message being like thank you so much, I'm really appreciative of this, I have fond memories, and then blocks me. 

Has that affected you much now? 

It's closed me off to people in future. It feels a little like I can’t trust my own judgement so I’m second guessing when I go on a date now what the person's intentions are, which I never did before. But it’s also taught me to confide in friends rather than deal with things internally. They often say things you already know, or think, but as soon as I started talking to people about it I stopped feeling guilty or embarrassed pretty much instantly.

Name: Liam 

Age: 24

Occupation: Public Service 

Describe your most recent break-up — why did it happen and who did it? 

I did it. I was in an extremely abusive relationship, and some people in my life had encouraged me to look at the relationship that I was in and to take some action on that, so I decided to break it off. 

How did it make you feel at the time?

It was a really complicated feeling because I was in a cycle of abuse that made me feel as if all of the problems were my fault. And I shouldn't give up on the relationship. And if I did that, I would be failing everybody. But long term, longer term, it made me feel like a brand new person.


Did it change anything about you?

It changed a lot about me. I was ground down to pretty much nothing. And I had to fight to figure out what I was and who I was. And what was important to me, what I cared about, what I was interested in and really get to know myself again. 

Own the Feels is brought to you by #LoveBetter, a campaign funded by the Ministry for Social Development.

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Rachel Barker is a writer / producer at VICE NZ in Aotearoa.