In the wonderful world of dating, paired with our incessant need for variety, it can be tricky to suss out where you stand in a casual relationship. To me, a casual relationship is a step up from a “booty call”, but you are not “boyfriend/girlfriend”.
It’s that muddled limbo of getting to know somebody to see if it’s a match. Sometimes it’s a go, other times it fizzles. But what happens when you’re over it?
When it comes to ending a casual relationship, it’s important to remember that it’s likely not casual for both of you. Almost all the time, there is usually one person who has become more attached, and may not see the ending coming.
Ipso facto, one person becomes the dumper, and needs to break it to the dumpee. Most of us have a hard time in either position, but here are my tips on how to make the ending not so harsh.
1. Be Honest, Sort of
Because you haven’t solidified anything serious, have likely only dated for a couple months, there is no need to tell them the exact reason you are over it; no need to sting.
Instead of telling them that the way they eat annoys you, or the sex is bad, or you can’t stand their friends, you don’t need to get into specifics. Be honest, but don’t crush them. The quicker you rip the Band-Aid off the easier it will be.
If you don’t see a future together, you met someone else, or you’re simply too busy to be in a relationship, let them know sooner than later. Giving an honest, slightly generalized explanation is often times the best bet.
Breakups become a scene because the dumpee is usually blindsided, or when the dumper has been plotting this for a while. If you have been out a few times and the chemistry is just not there, say so. Be an adult, be respectful, and remember this person will likely be upset. But, if you come from a compassionate place and don’t waste their time, they will get over it — and under someone else sooner than later.
Example: “Kelly, I just wanted to let you know I think it’s best if we stopped seeing each other. I am so sorry to do this, and I hope you can appreciate my honesty, but right now I am just not in a place to give you the type of relationship you’re looking for.”
2. Pick Your Method
We live in an age where technology rules; we Tweet where we are, Instagram our meals and my current bed buddy is my BlackBerry. I normally would never advise to break-up with somebody via text, however if you have been on less dates than fingers on your hand, it can sometimes be OK.
Personally, if the relationship is so casual that you haven’t even seen a month go by before you cut the cord, a simple message explaining where your head is at will suffice. However, if you have been casually dating (or hooking up) for a few months, the other person will likely assume the relationship is heading to exclusivity.
If you aren’t interested, you need to have the maturity to tell them face-to-face. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours explaining yourself whilst handing out periodic tissues; it’s simply a courtesy to the other person.
Take twenty minutes out of your day and go see them. Whatever you do, don’t just disappear. Don’t ignore them, and do not drop off the face of the earth. If you want to have an adult relationship, you have to act like an adult. There is no need for cowardice in regards to letting someone down gently.
3. Don’t Backtrack
Whenever we end something, there is a brief moment of shock when we realize that things are intrinsically different. Nine times out of ten, that is just human psyche understanding change.
The moments after a breakup are critical. If you are the dumper, it’s important that you don’t check in, never drunk dial, and stop going to the bar they frequent – at least for a while. Don’t try to be friends with them right away; don’t put falsities in their head.
Be kind. Chances are the dumpee may be in the throes of “dealing” and you causing them confusion by doing these things them will only prolong a situation you were trying to get out of in the first place.
Dating is hard. Casual dating is even harder. Whenever we don’t know where we stand with people, it can cause hurt feelings. This heavily depends on the casualness of your relationship. If you have only gone out for drinks and perhaps a couple rounds in the bedroom, it is safe to say you are not necessarily invested.
If you have spent the summer together, they might want an explanation. While I advise honesty (see Step 1) I also do not think you need to get into the nitty gritty. Break it to them gently, be contentious of how they will perceive it, and don’t prolong the inevitable.
Sometimes feelings change, sometimes we get bored; it is all in the delivery.