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When Do You Owe Someone a Break-Up?

18 Oct

By Laney

It seems silly, breaking up with someone you aren’t in a relationship with… but then again, who’s to say what a relationship is.

I recently started seeing a boy I met on Tinder (my new favorite hobby—if you haven’t tried it, GO GO GO!) After our initial meeting, we went out a handful of times over the course of about six weeks. We barely spoke on the phone or texted (because I’m in a sort of anti-phone phase at the moment).

During our last outing, I noticed my third red flag with this guy and decided that would be the last of it. From my perspective, this is the perfect “relationship” to phase out: We have no mutual friends, scheduling has been a bitch (once a week was challenging) and we didn’t end our last date with plans for another. I know the phase out is controversial, but frankly, sitting down and bluntly saying “I’m just not that into you” feels like overkill for this scenario.

So… when DO you owe someone a break-up? Breaking up sucks, but I’ll tell ya what, after three months of sleeping together and dating exclusively, there’s no question about it. (That happened to me once; I like to joke with my friends that we’re technically still dating.) I use three factors to determine if I actually need to dump someone:

1) If we’ve had sex.
If we’ve had sex under the pretense of dating, we’re having a break-up talk. Everyone has their own comfort/intimacy level, so where you draw the line at sex is totally up to you. For me, it’s probably anything more than making out. But that’s because as an adult I don’t exactly run the bases in order, if you know what I mean. The “under the pretense of dating” part is important—no, you don’t have to call that one night stand to tell them you don’t want to date them.

2) If we’ve agreed not to see other people.
Agreeing not to see other people implies that this is some sort of relationship we’re investing in, even if it’s not serious yet. We should show each other the courtesy of explaining when that’s no longer the case.

3) If it were the other way around?
If our roles were switched, would I expect him to break-up with me? If the level of relationship doesn’t warrant it (see 1 + 2), I honestly would prefer the break-up talk be avoided. Even if I really liked him. No one wants to say or hear “I don’t like you,” and it’s way more awkward when there’s no relationship history to warrant the severity of it.

If you think you’re in a gray area, man-up and do the dumping. Little things like mutual friends, favorite bars and social media can easily muddy the waters. Showing a little extra respect now could come in handy when you inevitably run into each other in the future.

When in doubt; err on the side of dumping,
Laney.

One Response to “When Do You Owe Someone a Break-Up?”

  1. Karol October 25, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    Agreed! If you feel like you owe someone a conversation, an explanation, something… Then chances are you probably do.

    The fade away “ghost” method can be confusing and even more painful in some situations. Sometimes it’s better to just rip the band aid off once & for all.

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