Many things about dating get easier as we get older, but ending relationships isn’t one of them. So you’ve been on a date or two (or even a few!) but this person simply isn’t for you. Whether they said something to offend you, let slip a nasty habit or you just don’t see a future with them, it is essential that you let them know.
Disappearing off the face of the earth is a cruel and cowardly way to get out of seeing someone and if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of this breakup tactic you’ll know first-hand just how painful it can be. Now that you’re mature dating, it hopefully means that you’re mature enough to be honest with your dates. Of course, it’s easier said than done; I know.
To simply stop calling, texting and ignoring a person you’ve been seeing is deeply unfair on the other party, so you’re going to need to set the record straight. Yes, it’s a difficult conversation to have, but it’s like pulling a plaster off; get it over with quickly! By being straightforward with your date you’ll save the both of you a lot of time, awkwardness, guilt and heartache.
Depending on your particular relationship; how long you’ve been dating and to what capacity the way you should break up with your opposite number can vary widely.
In general, if you’re not even past the e-mailing or texting phase, a simple email or text will suffice. However if you’ve been on at least one date in person, a phone call is in order to ensure closure for the both of you and to ensure you’re not leaving him or her hanging around waiting for the elusive second date.
If you’ve been on multiple dates then I would recommend you consider either a phone call or a breakup in person. Whilst doing it in person seems to be deemed ‘the right thing to do’ if you’ve had a few dates, I would say be cautious. If you’re in a public place and your date becomes upset about the news it can be very uncomfortable for them – and you, causing a scene and adding to the hurt whereas a phone call is still admirable but allows your date to end the conversation if he or she chooses and not face an awkward exit in person. For over 50 singletons, we think a phone call is the right call, if you’ll excuse the wordplay.
Use your discretion; if your relationship has evolved and your date has reason to believe you have a future together, talking in person is highly advised and expected.
Honesty is the best policy – though perhaps not the whole truth. It’s one thing to tell your date that you don’t feel a spark between you, but an entire other world of hurt to list all of the reasons why not. Keep it short and simple. Even if the person digs around for more details as to why you don’t want to see them, repeat calmly that you don’t see a future with them but you have enjoyed the time you’ve spent together.
If you’ve been on multiple dates with someone and it seemed to be going well they may want you to clarify a little more to satisfy their sense of closure. Be careful; if there is a genuine reason that you’re dumping them that isn’t going to hurt their feelings then by all means, be honest. However, sometimes a white lie can really benefit these situations so consider carefully what you will say to your soon to be ex prior to the breakup to prevent unintended offence.
Be prepared for a number of reactions. In the early days of dating you don’t know much about the other person; they could take it on the chin and thank you for your honesty, they could beg you for another chance, they could become offended and demand answers or a number of other scenarios. If you are concerned about how your date will respond to the breakup ask a friend or family member to rehearse possible outcomes so that you feel confident. Just remember to be firm but polite.
Breaking up is never easy, but it’s far kinder and respectful to be honest than to leave someone always wondering, ‘what happened??’ By being up front about your feelings you’re giving your date the gift of opportunity – they can brush themselves off and get back out there instead of wasting time pining over you.