Dear Avi and Adele:
I’m a 45-year-old male who has been on three dates with a 35-year-old woman in the past month. I like her as a person, but I feel like I’ve given it enough time to know it’s not going to work out – I’m just not feeling any chemistry. What’s the best and most appropriate way for me to tell her “it’s over”?
– Not Sure Noah
Dear Not Sure Noah:
Neil Sedaka wasn’t kidding when he sang “Breaking up is hard to do.” Back in 1962, our dear friend Neil was in some ways lucky that he didn’t have all the options of modern technology that today’s daters are afforded. He probably hoofed it over to his lackluster love’s home and broke the news – like a man – on her parent’s front porch.
Our dear friend Mark B. said it best when he said, “The thing that sucks about relationships is that the person who likes the other person least has all the power.” Which is why breaking up is hard to do and hard to receive.
So how to tackle the end of an era (or perhaps just a moment) best? Consider two factors: the time you’ve been together and the most common mode of communication you’ve employed.
For those of you who’ve gone on one date and didn’t make it clear after dessert that you’re not interested in seeing him or her again, a quick and thoughtful email will suffice. However, we encourage a phone call if you can muster it. Admittedly, it’s entirely possible that this scenario will allow you to just disappear from memory, as your date may not be interested either and won’t call you for another date.
If you’ve gone on more than one date or had extensive communication, Avi and Adele say cut the meshugana behavior and just pick up the phone. More than a month of seeing each other, with at least some regularity to your time spent together? In-person endings are best. Schedule a cup of coffee at a place that’s both mutually convenient and also not “your place.” Neutral territory works wonders for dissipating the stress of both parties.
What not to do? Text your future ex that you’re done. Texting, IM’ing, and even email can be used to set the stage, but never, ever should a break up happen in 160 characters or less.
And what if you’re the recipient of the break-up conversation? Hold your head high, resist the urge to throw scalding hot coffee in your now-ex’s face, and don’t go on Facebook for at least 12 hours. If you hear that it’s over, don’t beg or apologize. And don’t start to bargain with how you’ll be different. It’s over, and it’s time to move on. Treat yourself well (with whatever that means to you), and get back into that pond!
Livin’ and Lovin’,
Avi and Adele
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