I just told a guy I didn't want to see him anymore. We'd only had three dates, but two of them were sleepovers and he was taking things pretty seriously, to the point where I felt I had to explicitly say I was dumping him, it wouldn't have been right to take the "just let him go to voicemail" way out.
I feel kinda crappy about it, because it wasn't a clear-cut thing, there wasn't a great reason. He wasn't a fuckup or mean to me or bad in bed. It was just... you know how sometimes you talk to someone, and the conversation just flows, and you can go for hours just coming up with crazy ideas and making each other laugh? And you know how other times you talk to someone, and it's not bad, but you can never get beyond pleasantries and politeness? Talking to him was the latter.
He was upset when I told him! And he wasn't a bad person! Augh! I hated doing it and I still have that "you idiot, why are you throwing away a perfectly good boy" feeling, but I felt like we were going to become involved while still not able to talk to each other, and the sooner I cut that off, the less it would hurt.
Bleh. I am not an experienced dumper. I've only explicitly and one-sidedly dumped one other guy in my life, and he kinda-sorta raped me so it wasn't that hard a decision. This dumping-a-nice-person-stuff sucks ass.
you know how sometimes you talk to someone, and the conversation just flows, and you can go for hours just coming up with crazy ideas and making each other laugh?ReplyDelete
I've only ever had that kind of connection with one person, and she was my best friend for years, until she moved to the other side of the world.... I think you're damn lucky if you've had it with multiple people...
I'm marrying a man, and we so don't have that. We love each other, and we can talk about more than the weather, but we don't talk and talk. When I try to talk to him like that he shuts me up, usually by telling me to go find someone else to talk to(in so many words), or he teases me about my choice of topic. I think you're insanely lucky to have ever found that with a male!
Melissa - Really? Maybe I'm overstating the level of connection, but I find it easy to talk that way with a lot of people--probably about a quarter of everyone and a half of everyone in the young/geeky/kinky bubble. It's not like we can contemplate the mysteries of the universe, but we can shoot the shit, you know?ReplyDelete
I find it easy enough to get to at least the shit-shooting level of conversation that I couldn't date someone I couldn't do that with.
Sorry to hear it didn't work out, but it sounds like you handled it as well as possible under the circumstances.ReplyDelete
I think most people feel bad about dumping someone (I don't think I'd much like someone who actually took pleasure in it.) Things to remember, though: just because you feel bad about it and he feels bad about it doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong. Not that you were implying that, but it's such a pervasive social message.
From the dumpee's perspective (or at least, my perspective on being dumped), making it an explicit clean break is far better than avoidance. I understand why from a dumper's perspective, avoidance might be preferable if they're concerned about the reaction.
I feel like most people are so keen to be in a relationship that many of them settle for someone who's perfectly nice but not, like, electrifying. And this ends up leading to all sorts of issues (especially when they one day meet someone who does thrill them in the way they've been missing).ReplyDelete
Dumping a good person is awkward, but you've saved yourself - and him - so much heartache in the long run. And now you're both free to find people who totally make your toes curl. You've absolutely done the right thing. NEVER SETTLE!
Oh, also: that feeling of "OMG I've thrown away a perfectly good boy what am I doing?" is coming from that pervasive societal message that everyone is "supposed" to be in a relationship. But there's nothing wrong with being single, and anyway you'll have zillions more dudes interested in you in your lifetime, so it's neither cruel to him nor risky for you to let this one go.ReplyDelete
Thinking back to the response I received with my first guest post, I'm wondering whether there's a double standard for women and men who reject someone who's only "good enough."ReplyDelete
Bruno - Well, there's certainly a "Holly" versus "not-Holly" double standard in me, but you'll find the equivalent in yourself I'm sure.ReplyDelete
However, you did say that you had only had a good reaction to one woman ever in your life; I've had a good reaction to many men, this guy just wasn't one of them.
Well done - it's hard to do with a nice person, but essential because otherwise it hurts them so much more. And it takes a lot of courage to do it early.ReplyDelete
you did say that you had only had a good reaction to one woman ever in your lifeReplyDelete
I didn't mean to say or imply that; I used my response to one woman as an example of what I hope to feel toward someone I end up dating.
I hadn't had this courage and I've ended up breaking up with the guy years later. That sucked for both of us.ReplyDelete
Bruno - Oh, okay. The message I took away was that "cattle prod girl" was one single person you didn't know well, and you had never experienced "cattle prod" energy with anyone else.ReplyDelete
You were honest about how you felt and your assessment about whether this was something you wanted to continue. Sadly, most people SAY they wish that dates/potential dates/etc. would "just be honest with me" but that usually means "if it's good stuff" because really none of us like to hear the letdown. I think you did the right thing...and it IS uncomfortable to do/say things that are honest but will cause someone discomfort or pain (I know I've put up with so-so to dysfunctional friendships and relationships longer than I should have b/c I was afraid to hurt the other person); that speaks to your ability to feel empathy and take the feelings of others into consideration (if you were a self-centered jerk who didn't give a fig about anyone else's feelings, it would be easy). And he's probably honestly reacting with the initial sting, but he'll get over it and you both will find more compatible partners. Being a good human can just be hard sometimes :/ReplyDelete
Well, of course nobody likes being let down, but at least I know where I stand if someone's being direct toward me. The sort of avoidance where I'm supposed to figure out the difference between "keep trying" and "take the hint already" is hell.ReplyDelete
I had to do this a couple of months ago, and it caused me MAD anxiety because I didn't want to be an evil fuck. I just...wasn't really feeling it. And I couldn't find a ton of useful etiquette guides, feminist or otherwise, on how to break it off with someone I'd only seen a couple of times.ReplyDelete
I did find it strange, though, how much mental turmoil it caused ME to need to dump someone; especially someone I wasn't particularly close to.
Random side question: Bruno, do you have a blog? I ask because I have always enjoyed your comments/guest posts and would love ot read more from you.ReplyDelete
I'm flattered, Anonymous, but no, I don't have a blog.ReplyDelete
Somehow it seems like "not being an experienced dumper" would generally be a good thing.ReplyDelete
Melissa...if that truly is the situation, you're marrying the WRONG MAN. If you can't talk about anything, if you're not best friends, then this dude is not for you. Don't think a het relationship is 'just like that,' because it definitely isn't, and doesn't have to be.ReplyDelete
I realize you don't know me from Adam, but please consider what you're doing and why.
^ I agree with Wraith, Melissa! You're definitely marrying the wrong man. Reading your post raised the hairs on my neck! No, no, no...I don't like it at all.ReplyDelete
And Holly, good for you. Definitely there's going to be a reaction to the initial sting of being rejected, but he'll eventually be glad that you were straightforward with him - he'll understand that you respected him enough to give him an honest opinion. Good for you.