Here’s a crazy thought I had today. I’ve been dating (or trying to) for over 20 years.
Now there are lots of stories here, many of them fairly entertaining. But one thing that is true of all of them, in the end, for all of the dates, none of them worked out. Which leads me to something I haven’t talked about yet. Ending stuff.
Now I haven’t been in a lot of long term relationships and in some ways those were actually easier to figure out. I mean if you’ve been in the relationship and then it is determined that you are not going to get married, well then as painful as it might be, at least there is clarity of some sort. But what I have always struggled with is how to cut it off early on.
For example, at what point do you owe an explanation? If you meet up one time and then we don’t go out again, do I need to call you and explain why? Two dates in? Three?
I have often failed miserably here and I’ve been failed by the ladies as well. Why is this so hard?
A lot of it comes from passivity really. In other words I can easily justify in my mind that the other person probably isn’t really that into me yet anyway so it’s no big deal. But that is so weak. I’ve been that guy. The one who took you out three or four times and then just didn’t really call you. That’s not ok. This happens all the time. So here are some thoughts about what to do and not do.
First of all if you go out with someone and you just aren’t interested don’t keep dating them. I would occasionally fall into this trap. Usually it was because I liked the person and didn’t really have anything to say bad about them. I just wasn’t interested in dating them. But if I had to do it again, I’d just tell them that – not exactly like that maybe but something close to it.
I was seeing one gal for a while and then I left for a month. While I was gone I realized it just wasn’t really there between us. When I got back I called her and we chatted. She was great and we both agreed it just wasn’t really a match. It wasn’t that anything was wrong with either of us, we just weren’t going to pursue it. But this was a lucky example. Most of the time, one person is more into it than the other person. This leads to the second reason we avoid the conversation.
We don’t like hurting other people. But the problem is that it is actually less hurtful to have a one time conversation. Now girls and guys avoid this different ways. Guys just kind of disappear, which is pretty gutless. Again, I say that having been “that guy”. Ladies typically mishandle this by coming up with reasons to say no – that aren’t no. “I’m not free that weekend” or “I see you as a friend“. We both need to just say it. “You’re a great person, but I’m just not attracted to you.” It hurts a little but it’s clear and it’s over, hopefully.
The truth is, for the most part, if you are not attracted you are probably not going to be. I’m not saying it never happens that you become attracted later, but you probably won’t be more attracted by continuing to “half-way date” them. Again I think I’ve fallen into this many times. I like the person and think they’re great. They love Jesus etc. so I keep trying to be attracted. This is typically a waste of everyone’s time. It would be better to walk away. And you know what, if you walk away and then decide, “wait a minute I really like them” you can call them back and see what happens.
Finally when we are on the other end we need to assume the best and move on. If he doesn’t call you, there is not some mysterious reason, he’s just not into it. So move on. If she always has a reason to not hang out, she’s not really that busy. If a girl likes you, she’ll find time. So move on.
We can save ourselves a lot of time and a lot of hurt if we are just honest. So learn to man up (or whatever a woman calls that) and just end it if it’s not going anywhere. We owe the other person that.
So how are you at ending stuff? How do you handle when a person is into it and you aren’t? What about when you are into it and they aren’t?