I’ve never been in this situation before, and I’m not sure what to do. I met a really nice girl about 2.5 months ago. We met up once or twice per week, and always had fun, but it never felt like a serious relationship, and to be honest I never saw it developing into one. She’s been away for the last month with work, and we hadn’t discussed exclusivity or anything before she left.We still texted a bit while she was away.
A few weeks ago, I met a girl by chance, and we hit it off instantly. I have much stronger feelings for her, and there’s also more of a physical attraction. Now the first girl is back, and wants to meet up again. I’m just not interested in doing it anymore. I don’t know how to break it to her – should I just say I always had fun with her, but I’ve recently met someone else? To me that feels kind of harsh, but I guess it’s better to be truthful.
Is there a better way to handle it?
Because you’re coming from a place of compassion, I’m going to treat your question with compassion and respect. I promise that there will be no snark today, at least not directed toward you. I’ve said it before, and the truth still remains that breaking up with someone is bound to cause pain. We can take steps to minimize that pain, but breaking up is a thing that no one really wants to happen to them.
I’ve talked about this topic before in my How to reject a great person post, as well as a more recent post Polite text after One-Night Stand. Good idea?, but I have no problem coming back to the subject. I love talking about rejections, honestly. I’ve said previously that when you’re rejecting someone and you want to do it with tact, the best way to do it is by serving them a compliment sandwich. If you’ve ever worked in a management capacity in the business world you’ve probably heard of the term, but if not, it basically involves “sandwiching” a criticism or a harsh truth in between two compliments or positive phrases. In a breakup you’d say “I had a lot of fun dating you – unfortunately the chemistry just isn’t there for me. You’re a great girl, and I wish you the best”. The thing is, surrounding a negative with two positives can sometimes make your breakup or rejections worse. Some people hear a compliment sandwich and will assume you’re being insincere, or that you’re patronizing them. In fact, I’ve had it happen to me.
After a date that went poorly where we neither had chemistry nor particularly liked each other in person (or so I thought), I sent her a text saying something to the effect of “It was great meeting you but I don’t think we really clicked. I wish you the best of luck” after she asked me when we should go on a second date. Nice and simple right? Harmless, right? No, not it was not. It turns out that she thought we had a great date, thought that we had great chemistry and took the idea of me wishing her luck as an insult! I kid you not, she tore into me because I said “best of luck” because she said that it implied that she needed luck, and then said that I was the one who needed the luck because I don’t know how to relate to women. You might have noticed that I end ever post I write by wishing you luck because I legitimately think everyone could use some luck in life and love. Side note: I do know how to relate to women, I distinctly remember her dwelling on the ins and outs of what it’s like being a lifeguard and not much else which I found unattractive (I mean seriously, how long do I have to sit in a Starbucks in a Barnes & Noble while you tell me about being a lifeguard at the Y?), and while we were both physically attractive I was not attracted to her because we did not click. My point in telling that story, besides the catharsis it provides, is that a compliment sandwich isn’t for everyone. While I stand by my advice that compliment sandwiches are a great way to reject someone, sometimes you need to judge how to end things based on your particular situation, and sometimes a compliment sandwich isn’t the way to do it.
In your case, I think you might have to shake things up a bit. Based on everything you said, you guys weren’t that serious. Yes you’ve been dating for 1/4th of the year almost, but you’re at the point where during a month apart all you’ve done is text occasionally. You’re also not exclusively dating each other, or at least haven’t had a conversation around exclusivity. All signs are pointing to you guys not being a serious couple or in a situation where you need to hand hold her through a breakup. No one wants to be rejected, but it’s not like you’re breaking up with your fiance or long-term girlfriend. You’re breaking up with someone you casually dated.
Now, here’s where I’m either going to get you on board or lose you completely. I’d encourage you to be very honest and I’m suggesting this because I’m not even sure she’s really that into you, so I don’t think you need to dance around the breakup. I’ve been in a similar situation where I dated someone for a few months, then she was away for a month, and we did not just “text a bit” while she was away. We talked on the phone, we chatted all day while we were both working, and we texted A LOT. I mean like everyday, pretty much every hour when we weren’t chatting at work levels of texting. We had also at that point hinted at exclusivity, or at the very minimum the “If you bang someone else you have to let me know”. The fact that you’ve done neither leads me to believe that she isn’t all that into you either. Just be honest. You met someone, you like them and are getting serious, so you’ll have to break things off with her. You should leave off the fact that you have a better connection and or more attracted to her because that would be cruel. Just let her know that you’re ready to end things, she’s done nothing wrong, and you’re moving on. Obviously you want to use softer language than I’m using now, but don’t try to coddle or placate her with little white lies. It’s possible she’ll be hurt by this, but if you’re honest (to a point) there isn’t much more to expect from you in your situation. If you were being legit when you described your situation it sounds like you guys aren’t even that close, so feel free to just tear the band-aid off. Don’t dance around why you’re ending things, just be straight up with her. She’ll either appreciate the honesty or be hurt by it, but that’s true of almost of every way to break up with someone.
Good Luck Out There (except for you, unnamed woman who said I need luck in my dating life out of spite ????)