How to Leave a Casual Relationship

He started off seeing Girl No. 1 for a while. While he was seeing her, he simultaneously met Girls 2 and 3 online, and he particularly hit it off with Girl No. 3.

So well, in fact, that he wants to focus on Girl No. 3 and cut ties with the other two. “Having to break it off with a girl I’m not even official with …  it’s uncharted territory for me,” SW said.

Here’s the rest of his story:

Maybe for some guys they’re fine to just stop texting, and not answering the other girls’ texts, but I cannot do that. I don’t want to keep them hanging on when I don’t foresee a future with either of them. I actually just got a call from (Girl No. 2) tonight and we had a great conversation, but I could not bear to wait any longer.

I explained that I really appreciated the opportunity to meet her in person and had a great few conversations getting to know her, but that I met someone else and felt it unfair to them to go on a date when my feelings have gotten stronger for them. And also not fair to waste her time. She was more than appreciative and said, “I’ve been in that situation – on both sides of it, and been led on. Thanks for being honest, its a rare quality sometimes and I hope you the best, I really am happy for you, that’s what this is all about!”

Whew, one down. One to go. Unfortunately, (Girl No. 1) will be tougher, because we’ve been intimate … I would feel better letting her know I am grateful for our time together but I must pursue someone I have very strong feelings for. And hope it’s not too harsh.

I’ve done some evolution on this subject in recent years. I used to think it was OK to silently leave a girl I was seeing unless more than one of these factors applied:

  • We’d had sex.
  • We were bound to run into each other again.
  • She was trying to contact me.
  • We’d gone out more than a few times.

My thoughts changed after I ignored one girl I’d seen twice, and she wrote about it on HER dating blog (it’s almost a rite of passage to get slammed by a female dating blogger in San Francisco — they’re everywhere). I was only half-contrite when I wrote about it two years ago, but in hindsight, I was wrong. Since then, I’ve always responded to women, and they’ve always appreciated it. It’s good karma, and I haven’t received a single ice pick in my eyeball.

Actually, SW, you’ve answered your own question. What you did with Girl No. 2 couldn’t have been classier, and you could see that in the way she responded. I recommend a similar phone call with Girl No. 1 where you tell her exactly the same things. You don’t need to say anything different just because you slept with her. As long as you keep your cool and stay respectful, she’s likely to do the same.

I can help you better if I rattle off what NOT to do. I’ve been guilty of some of these offenses earlier in my legendary dating career:

Don’t arrange a date to tell her: You might think it’s more personal to do it this way, but you’re really just wasting time. Why make her get dressed up to see you, only to ambush her the way Michael Corleone kills Sollozzo in the first “Godfather”? One gentle phone call is all it takes, and you won’t need to ask permission to get the gun from the bathroom.

And definitely don’t arrange a date where your friend dumps her for you.

Don’t give her a long explanation: The shorter your conversation, the better. A simple “I don’t feel enough of a spark” is good enough in most cases. If you find yourself having to convince her the way George Costanza did, you’ve gone too far. (“Seinfeld” has many classic breakup scenes. I could write a post just about them.)

I’m a big fan of giving her the Nice Sandwich: Start off with something positive, like how much fun you’ve had getting to know her. Then for the meat of the sandwich, tell her you need to stop dating, giving her one brief reason. Then top it off with another positive piece of bread, such as telling her you wish her the best. That’s a tasty sandwich.

Also Check: It’s Not Easy Being Green, or a Dater

Don’t tell her you’re sorry: You have no reason to be — these things happen every day — and acting like you’ve done something wrong might encourage her to make a scene.

Don’t tell her you want to be friends: That is, unless you really DO want to be friends. Though Rob Overman disagrees, I’m all for befriending women. But we’ve all been on the business end of that cliche, so unless you’d really hang out with her without having sex, don’t use the F word. If you’re not sure, you can always look her up later.

Don’t have sex with her right after: That kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? And it also might give her hope. If it’s a friends-with-benefits situation you’re looking for, that’s for a different mailbag.

Don’t insult her: You may think she wants to get serious with you, but accusing her of that might piss her off, even if you’re right.  It’s not that she’s trying to get serious with you, it’s that you feel like you’d be leading her on if you keep seeing her. She can’t argue with your feelings.


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