Maybe he had on reeking, stinking cheap cologne. Maybe she was wearing more make-up than Boy George.
Maybe he chewed like a cow, or her gum-cracking made your hair stand on end.
Whatever the reason, there’s no chance of a second date, let alone a future together.
He/she is not for you.
That’s clear in your head anyway.
Unfortunately, they’ve got your honeymoon booked and are ready to introduce you as their soulmate.
So, Thursday night rolls around, and you’re praying that your wannabe significant other has lost your number.
Alas, the phone rings, and before you know it you’re invited to dinner at his parent’s house followed by Daredevil at the Cinneplex.
That would make even hard-core Affleck fans flinch.
How do you let him off easy?
How do you charismatically tell her you’d rather watch an eight-hour block of Blossom re-runs than sit across from her at the Olive Garden?
Subtle hinting probably isn’t the best option, as most people will hear what they want to hear and miss your clue-ins.
These tips can help ease the awkwardness of breaking up, whether you have been on one date or been together for over a year.
Obviously there will be more baggage involved the longer you’ve been together, but these general pointers will hopefully at least give you a game plan.
– Make sure you’re direct, and that you say what you mean. Indecisiveness will only make them wonder if you’re really sure, and they might think that changing your mind is an option. This doesn’t mean drill in your distaste for them. It just means you should be firm and stand by your decision.
– Back yourself up with an explanation. Dropping the bomb without a reason doesn’t show respect for the other person. Obviously, there’s a why attached to your not wanting to be with that person. Again, this doesn’t have to be a blatant disregard for their feelings, but if you are looking for something else in a partner, it’s okay to let them know. They don’t have to like it. They do have to accept it.
– You might have to bust out the broken-record tactic. Repetition might be the best way to get your point across if they don’t seem to understand the first time.
– Be ready to be the bad guy. Rejection’s not a happy feeling, so don’t expect them to embrace your dismissal. Be ready for some potential bad-mouthing and release of anger, frustration or sadness, and try to let it roll off of you. Your lack of interest has done more damage than any sly comebacks will. Also, avoid blaming them or using degrading “you” statements, like “you never take me anywhere,” or “you don’t show me you care about me.” The change of heart was yours, not theirs, which is also a good thing to reinforce.
– Time is money, or in this case time is just incredibly valuable to the healing process. Regardless of whether you sprung the news or they knew it was long-in-coming, they will still need time (and probably space) to adjust.
– Know what will be comfortable and acceptable and what won’t be. When they ask if a friendship is retainable, a strung-out “Ummmm…Uhhhhhhh,” probably isn’t the best response. Be prepared for such questions.
– Finally, if it’s over, it’s over. That doesn’t mean “it’s over, but we can still hold hands, go on dates and have sex.” That means the relationship and everything that comes in the relationship package is over. Don’t send all kinds of mixed signals to confuse your partner.
There are very few situations in which post-relationship dating/sex is a completely emotionless activity for both people, even if they both agree that it is.
After you’ve dealt with that person, make sure to spend some time on yourself.
It’s not easy to be the dumper, and you will probably experience some sort of disappointment, frustration, sadness or even temporary second-guessing and regret.
Pay attention to that, and give yourself enough time to recover so that you’re in good shape for the next relationship.
Nadia Stadnycki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.