‘Seinfeld’: All the Reasons Jerry Dumped a Woman, Ranked by Pettiness

‘She eats her peas one at a time!’
‘Seinfeld’: All the Reasons Jerry Dumped a Woman, Ranked by Pettiness

During the Season Seven premiere of Seinfeld, Jerry comes to a realization about his dating life. “What are we doing?” he asks George at the coffee shop. “What kind of lives are these? We’re like children. We’re not men. We come up with all these stupid little reasons to break up with these women. We’re pathetic!” Afterward, he and George form a pact to grow up.

In an attempt to remain true to their word (at least temporarily), George gets engaged to his ex-girlfriend Susan, while Jerry briefly reunites with Melanie, a woman he dumped for shushing him. But Jerry quickly walks back his transformation when he dumps Melanie for eating her peas one-at-a-time. It’s one of the pettiest breakups over the show’s nine seasons, but is it the pettiest? And were all of Jerry’s breakups really that petty?

For answers, I turned to comedian, podcaster, relationship expert and Seinfeld superfan Allison Raskin, author of Overthinking About You: Navigating Romantic Relationships When You Have Anxiety, OCD and/or Depression. She agreed to help me rank every time Jerry dumped a woman on the show, plus the times the women in his life broke up with him due to his own pettiness. It amounts to a total of 38 breakups. Some, much to Raskin’s own surprise, were perfectly justifiable reasons to end a relationship, but others are far more petty than they might even appear. 


Played By: Debra Messing

When They Dated: “The Yada Yada,” Season 8, Episode 19

Why They Broke Up: She’s racist.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I want to make a firm stand and say that someone being racist is a great reason to break up with them. It’s the most valid reason of all.”


Played By: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

When They Dated: Before Season 1, and in “The Deal,” Season 2, Episode 9

Why They Broke Up: On the show, Jerry once told his parents that he and Elaine fought too much, and they had an issue with “physical chemistry.” Later on, when they tried to arrange a “friends-with-benefits” situation, they couldn’t make it work because they developed feelings for each other.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I think Jerry and Elaine are meant for each other, but they’re both too afraid. I think it’s the saddest one, but it’s more about their own issues around commitment than any kind of pettiness.”


Played By: Janeane Garofalo

When They Dated: “The Invitations,” Season 7, Episode 24

Why They Broke Up: They both hated each other.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This breakup was very mutual, not petty at all.”


Played By: Elena Wohl

When They Dated: “The Pilot,” Season 4, Episodes 23 and 24

Why They Broke Up: They were never actually dating, she just thought they were.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This breakup wasn’t petty; it was doing the lord’s work. This woman thought she was Elaine. She was delusional across the board.”


Played By: Marita Gerahty

When They Dated: “The Big Salad,” Season 6, Episode 2

Why They Broke Up: She used to date Newman.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I find this to be understandable. As a relationship expert, there’s a level of pettiness to this, but as a Seinfeld fan, I absolutely understand. I mean, it’s Newman!”


Played By: A.J. Langer

When They Dated: “The Fatigues,” Season 8, Episode 6

Why They Broke Up: She made George her mentor.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I understand this reasoning. A mentor is a wonderful thing to have if it happens naturally, but picking a random person to be your mentor is weird, especially if that person is George Costanza.”


Played By: Tawny Kitaen

When They Dated: “The Nose Job,” Season 3, Episode 9

Why They Broke Up: Jerry was very attracted to her physically but was repulsed by her as a person. He was especially annoyed when she forced him to rehearse acting scenes with her. 

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I don’t think his break up with Isabel is petty at all. Jerry is just being real about the fact that she’s very annoying.”


Played By: Lynn Clark

When They Dated: “The Stake Out” and “The Stock Tip,” Season 1, Episodes 2 and 5

Why They Broke Up: A weekend at a bed and breakfast didn’t go well.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “They just didn’t like each other. That wasn’t petty, they just had nothing to say to each other.”


Played By: Julia Campbell

When They Dated: “The Frogger,” Season 9, Episode18

Why They Broke Up: She’s a sentence-finisher.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “To be fair, that is kind of annoying.”


Played By: Melinda McGraw

When They Dated: “The Good Samaritan,” Season 3, Episode 20

Why They Broke Up: She didn’t leave a note when she hit another car.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Jerry followed her all over the city to tell her off after hitting that car, then asked her out when he realized she was hot. Breaking up with her wasn’t petty, I just think it was bad that Jerry dated her in the first place.”

Donna Chang

Played By: Anita Barone

When They Dated: “The Chinese Woman,” Season 6, Episode 4

Why They Broke Up: She liked being mistaken for Chinese because of her last name.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This one is very bizarre. This woman had no self-awareness for how she was manipulating people. Jerry wasn’t being petty here.”


Played By: Catherine Keener

When They Dated: “The Letter,” Season 3, Episode 21

Why They Broke Up: When they previously broke up, she plagiarized a breakup letter from a movie.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I find it weird that she copied this whole speech and called it her own words. It’s misleading. Plus, she’s an artist; she should understand plagiarism.” 


Played By: Angela Featherstone

When They Dated: “The Maid,” Season 9, Episode 19

Why They Broke Up: Jerry started dating his maid. She eventually stopped cleaning his place but still took his money, which began to feel like prostitution.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “If you’re going to start dating your employee, you need to have a conversation about how things are going to be moving forward. Jerry failed to do that, but the breakup was kind of valid.


Played By: Sara Rose Peterson

When They Dated: “The Voice,” Season 9, Episode 2

Why They Broke Up: Jerry did a voice to make fun of her belly button with his friends. She found out and made him choose between her and the voice. Jerry chose the voice.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “A shared sense of humor is really important, so there was a level of incompatibility here.”

Sandy (and Laura)

Played By: Jann Karam and Heather Medway

When They Dated: “The Switch,” Season 6, Episode 11

Why They Broke Up: Jerry was intimidated by the idea of having a threesome.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I will say that pettiness comes in on Jerry wanting to swap roommates. He also can’t admit to Sandy that he can’t follow through on the threesome, so instead, he just breaks the relationship off.”


Played By: Cindy Ambuehl

When They Dated: “The Burning,” Season 9, Episode 16

Why They Broke Up: Her “Tractor Story” was underwhelming. She’s also very gullible, as she believed that she got gonorrhea from riding a tractor in her bathing suit (which is what her ex-boyfriend told her).

Raskin’s Reasoning: “In a way, he’s sort of dumping her because she’s intellectually lacking, which is a bit condescending and petty. Jerry also seemed to be stuck on the tractor story thing, instead of who she was as a person.”


Played By: Anita Barone

When They Dated: “The Shoes,” Season 4, Episode 16

Why They Broke Up: They had three dates, and she wouldn’t kiss him good night.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “That’s petty and immature.”


Played By: Courteney Cox

When They Dated: “The Wife,” Season 5, Episode 17

Why They Broke Up: They rushed into a fake marriage so that they could get a discount on dry cleaning. 

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This one’s petty in that Jerry found a more attractive woman to give the discount to instead. I mean, I don’t know how you get more attractive than Courteney Cox, but Jerry wanted someone new or some kind of an upgrade.”


Played by: Alexandra Wentworth

When They Dated: “The Soup Nazi,” Season 7, Episode 6

Why They Broke Up: Though she was physically affectionate, they couldn’t make the connection mentally.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Jerry says they couldn’t make a mental connection, but I don’t believe that. I think, when George and Susan became more affectionate, Jerry saw what it was like for someone else to be lovey-dovey and thought it was disgusting. I think that’s the reason for the breakup, which is kind of petty because he’s more concerned about how others are perceiving him, as opposed to the actual happiness he was getting from the relationship. Plus, he was pretty happy with her before that.”


Played By: Jami Gertz

When They Dated: “The Stall,” Season 5, Episode 12

Why They Broke Up: He believed her to be a phone sex worker.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This highlights the stigma people have around phone sex workers, which is a societal issue more so than a personal issue. It’s petty, but it’s a societal bias, which is hard to work through.”


Played By: Lisa Deanne

When They Dated: “The Seven,” Season 7, Episode13

Why They Broke Up: She always wore the same dress.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I think about this episode all the time when I wear the same outfit somewhere. But like the phone sex one, this is more societal than something Jerry specific.”


Played By: Gretchen German

When They Dated: “The Phone Message,” Season 2, Episode 4

Why They Broke Up: She liked a commercial for cotton Dockers that Jerry didn’t like.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I do think there’s something to say about taste, and that’s going to matter to some people more than others.”


Played By: Jessica Lundy

When They Dated: “The Bubble Boy,” Season 4, Episode 8

Why They Broke Up: She had an annoying laugh.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Definitely petty. I get it though. I’ll be honest, I did once break up with someone for this reason, but I was in my 20s.”

Dolores (‘Mulva’)

Played By: Susan Walters

When They Dated: “The Junior Mint,” Season 4, Episode 20

Why They Broke Up: He couldn’t remember her name.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “I empathize with this one. I’ve had friends where I don’t quite know how to pronounce their names, so I let the friendship go out of fear. But that was when I was in college. Either way, it’s definitely very petty.”


Played By: Karen Fineman

When They Dated: “The Strike,” Season 9, Episode 10

Why They Broke Up: She’s a two-face.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This is very shallow, but there is something about her looking like two different people that can be jarring. Like, when you’re on an online dating profile and someone looks completely different in every photo, you wonder, ‘Who are you?’”


Played By: Dana Wheeler-Nicholson

When They Dated: “The Doodle,” Season 6, Episode 20

Why They Broke Up: Jerry was disgusted when he ate pecans that were already in her mouth.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “As someone with contamination OCD, I totally get why this would be hard. But my partner does disgusting things all the time, and I work through the discomfort. Jerry, however, doesn’t even try.”


Played By: Kristin Davis

When They Dated: “The Pothole,” Season 8, Episode 16

Why They Broke Up: She got soaked in toilet water.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This is basically the same as the pecans, but it’s worse.”


Played By: Adelaide Miller

When They Dated: “The Understudy,” Season 6, Episode 24

Why They Broke Up: She cried too much, like when she dropped her hot dog.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Some people are uncomfortable with public displays of emotion, which is more of an issue for Jerry than for Gennice.”


Played By: Marcia Cross

When They Dated: “The Slicer,” Season 9, Episode 7

Why They Broke Up: Jerry felt that her referring to herself as a “life-saver” was self-important because she’s only a dermatologist.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This is so petty and so misinformed. I also think Jerry might be threatened by her.”


Played By: Jennifer Coolidge

When They Dated: “The Masseuse,” Season 5, Episode 9

Why They Broke Up: She’s a masseuse who wouldn’t give him a massage.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This is very petty. You shouldn’t expect a new partner to do their work for free on you. Respect their boundaries.”


Played By: Athena Massey

When They Dated: “The Engagement,” Season 7, Episode 1

Why They Broke Up: She eats her peas one at a time.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “That’s pretty freaking petty. It’s really harmful to judge people’s eating habits.”


Played By: Lauren Graham

When They Dated: “The Millenium,” Season 8, Episode 20

Why They Broke Up: She put him too low on her speed dial.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “That’s some real insecurity flaring up for Jerry, especially given the level of casualness of most of his relationships.”


Played By: Elina Löwensohn

When They Dated: “The Gymnast,” Season 6, Episode 6

Why They Broke Up: Because she’s a gymnast, Jerry expected the sex to be incredible, but it was very normal.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This is terrible. He’s not viewing this woman as a full person, he only wants her for her skill set. He also holds her to a different standard than other women, because the sex wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t spectacular.”


Played By: Kimberley Campbell

When They Dated: “The Conversion,” Season 5, Episode 11

Why They Broke Up: He found fungicide in her medicine cabinet.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Yeah, that’s really bad.”


Played By: Katherine LaNasa

When They Dated: “The Beard,” Season 6, Episode 16

Why They Broke Up: He didn’t want her to know he watches Melrose Place.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “That’s beyond petty.”


Played By: Kristin Bauer

When They Dated: “The Bizarro Jerry,” Season 8, Episode 3

Why They Broke Up: She had man hands.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “This one stinks. I think it made Jerry feel like he wasn’t enough of a man. He also has some needs for the woman that he’s with to look a certain way and for her to fit some gender-specific type. It’s yucky all around.”


Played By: Kathleen McClellan

When They Dated: “The Apology,” Season 9, Episode 9

Why They Broke Up: She walked around naked too much.

Raskin’s Reasoning: “Not to reveal too much, but I very much relate to this character — I do a lot of my chores naked. You should be able to handle your partner’s body and the idea that your partner has to be physically attractive to you every moment of the day is really, really petty. There’s a real lesson here.”


Played By: Christine Taylor

When They Dated: “The Van Buren Boys,” Season 8, Episode 14

Why They Broke Up: She’s a “loser.”

Raskin’s Reasoning: “She doesn’t have any friends. George and Kramer call her a loser, but Jerry actually dumps Ellen because his parents approve of her. She’s wonderful, and they have a great relationship. For Jerry, who’s in his late 30s here, to feel the need to break off a relationship because of his parents’ approval — that’s extremely petty. More than any of the rest of his relationships, this points to some deeper psychological issues going on with Jerry.”

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