Breaking up what hasn’t really started
A couple of weeks ago a colleague of mine asked me how many relationships I’ve been in in the past. I wasn’t sure: in a world of casual dating, when is ‘seeing someone’ a relationship? My colleague suggested that you’ve been in a relationship when you have to have ‘the talk’ if you wanna stop seeing someone. When you only stop texting the other person, it’s just been a casual hook-up.
In a way, that definition made a lot of sense to me. But I was still wondering about how to determine whether what you have with someone is worth the courtesy of a break-up talk. If casual dating is the new norm, when do we need to ‘break up’ when things are not right anymore? And is there a grey area?
Break-up text < Break-up call < Break-up talk
Just a couple of weeks ago I was in a situation where I wish the guy would’ve talked to me when he decided he no longer wanted to see me. I think that’s an act of courtesy even if the result is the same. In his defense, however, we weren’t really dating. Grey area, I guess. Even though he kept answering my texts, I would’ve wanted the opportunity to talk to him face-to-face. In the end it probably would’ve made it both easier and harder to move on. I think the way you break up reflects on how important the relationship was to you and on how timid you are when it comes to those things.
Recently, I had to break up with someone with whom it hasn’t really started yet.
And I do wanna talk about him more as soon as I’m ready. He was someone I enjoyed talking to a lot but I guess I’ve always known I don’t have a future with him. Maybe I never gave him a fair chance because I felt that way. I honestly can’t say.
Things changed in my life and I knew I had to tell him, eventually.
I knew I wanted to talk to him personally. I’m sure he had some idea of why I wanted to meet after being M.I.A. for a couple of weeks. It was awkward but also wasn’t. With him, I never knew what a situation really meant. In some way, I felt like I was over-dramatic for having ‘the talk’, in others I thought I didn’t make a big enough deal of it. All I know is that I was fucking confused. When I was seeing him more regularly, I told him that I didn’t wanna be exclusive and that I don’t do boyfriends. So, we were not dating. But in another way, we were more than ‘seeing’ each other. The day we met, I wasn’t sure if he got where I was going with what I was saying for the most part. When we said goodbye and wished us well for the future I knew it was over and I knew that he felt that too even though our relationship and the ‘break-up’ were somewhat in a Grey area.
So, when do you break up and when do you just stop texting?
Title illustration by Jacqueline Kaulfersch