This year I started properly “dating” for the first time. When I say this, what I mean is that I’ve started going on lots of first dates with new people – many of whom I find myself not wanting to see for a second time.
Hey! It happens. You find a potential boyfriend/girlfriend candidate who really wows you on paper, but then when you meet in person you just don’t get those butterflies. Or, maybe you end up going on a couple of dates but then start to find yourself not looking forward to seeing the person again. In either of these scenarios I would seriously advise stopping the dating-train. Honestly, hop off, ASAP!
Life is way too short to endure the company of a relative stranger. It doesn’t matter how bored or lonely you might think you are, it isn’t worth it. Plus, at the end of the day, you’re not only wasting your time but you’re wasting the time of a perfectly decent person who by no fault of their own just isn’t "doing it” for you.
It is at this point that I’m going to give you the most salient piece of dating advice that I’ve ever received: when you reject the person you’re dating it is important for their sake that you’re kind, but for your sake it’s also really important that you’re honest.
If you’re an ambitious young person – or if you’re not quite there yet, but have ever hope of growing into ambition – then many times in you’re lifetime you’re going to find yourself in the position where you have to put yourself first. You will find yourself in charge of rejecting people, as part of both your personal life and your professional life. You will have to turn down social events, friendships, relationships and, one day, you may even be in charge of firing someone.
Learning to manage this element of life is incredibly important and it is also divisive. There is a stark difference between those who can communicate a rejection honestly without offending and those who rely on excuses and lies.
When it comes to dating (or the end of any relationship more generally) I have learnt first hand that managing the end with dignity and maturity can completely revolutionize the experience of a rejection or break-up. However, more importantly, it also sets you up with good patterns of behavior that will make so many future life experiences easier and less stressful.
Instead of saying that you’re no-longer interested in a relationship (when you actually really very much are), why not tell the person that you’re seeing that you acknowledge their virtues but that you just don’t see “a romantic future” with them. I tried out this approach with a boy with whom I’d been on two dates and he replied with an equally polite and mature response. We left things entirely drama-free, but more importantly entirely guilt-free because there were no un-truths involved.
So, to go back to the title of this piece, the best way to stop dating someone is to tell them kindly and honestly that you want to stop dating them. Be brave and approach things head on. It will get easier every single time and then one day “being brave” will feel exactly the same as being yourself.