How to End a Casual Relationship

Dear Becca,

After going on 4 dates with a guy, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling romantically interested in him, despite feeling like we had a great time together.  I debated for a while how I would let him know–phase him out, text him, call him, or set another date to talk to him in person.  I opted for the text, as he had only reached out to me via text in the first place.  I didn’t want to set a date just to break up with him, and we weren’t at the point where I could just pop over and have a chat with him.  What are your thoughts on break-up etiquette in casual dating?  Is there a rule for how many dates warrant a type of breakup? 


Not Interested Nadia


Dear Not Interested Nadia,

I think the “break up” route you took is absolutely the best way to go, especially if you two had most of your outside communication via text messaging.  Since you only went on four dates, I don’t think you needed to set up a time to meet him in person to end it.

I’m so glad you sent me this question, because I know so many people struggle with this issue.  How do you “break up” or end things with someone who you are casually dating?  There’s no definitive right answer, it honestly depends on the situation – such as how long you two went out for and if you have a lot of mutual friends.

It is my personal opinion that if you went out with someone more than three or four times, then officially “ending it” is the right way to go.  No one likes feeling flaked on or phased out.  I think most people would agree with me that we would rather someone just be honest with us then just never call again. It is important to close that chapter officially, so that neither party feels abandoned with unanswered questions.  Honesty is (almost) always the best policy in this situation.  Just sending a quick text message, like what you did, saying “I had a great time getting to know you, I just don’t think I see this going anywhere.  Take care.” or something along those lines is honest, polite, and to the point.  You don’t have to give a million excuses or lies.  My personal favorite is “I’m just too busy with work right now.”  If you’re interested in someone, then you will make time for them.  If someone says that to you, it’s a nice way of saying they’re just not that into you.  While the dumpee may be feeling a slight blow to the ego and embarrassed, he or she will ultimately appreciate your honesty and respect you more because of it.

However, if you’ve only gone on one or two dates, I don’t think you have to officially end things.  Hopefully not returning their calls or texts will be a big enough hint.  If you’re feeling ballsy, then tell them you’re not interested, but I do not think it’s totally necessary.  Although, it does get tricky when you get set up on a date by mutual friends.  Chances are you will probably see them again and hear about them again, so you definitely don’t want to burn any bridges or piss anyone off.  In this situation, I would definitely be honest and say you don’t see that person as more than a friend.

When you don’t officially close a chapter, you are leading someone on and giving them false hope.  Having been on both sides of this situation, being honest is ultimately the best route.  While it’s hard to hear that someone you’ve gone out with is not interested in pursuing a relationship with you, no one likes being phased out or flaked on.  Be an adult, be respectful, and be honest.

Hope that is helpful!  Again, everyone feel free to comment and give their opinion.



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