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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?

BenLeander

 

Title illustration by Jacqueline Kaulfersch

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.

Comments

  • Avatar
    31. August 2018
    reply

    This is why I’m happy not to be on the dating scene in today’s world. I would be utterly confused. Lines have been blurred too much, in my opinion. While it’s easier to stay “non-committal”, I’m not sure it’s such a good thing.

    • benleander
      31. August 2018
      reply

      I think it’s generally a good thing that everybody can have a relationship with the level of commitment they’re comfortable with. But it’s true that lines are blurred AF which makes dating (and breaking up) super confusing.

      Thanks for your feedback 🙂 xoxo

  • Avatar
    23. August 2018
    reply

    In the past, if we had engaged in sex (even once), I always knew a conversation was necessary. Having not dated anyone since 2010 (we are now married), I’m not certain as to what the custom is now, which I guess is the reason for your post here. Maybe “whatever “feels” right at that particular moment? Naked hugs!

  • Avatar
    23. August 2018
    reply

    Casual dating has so much grey area its so hard to know if the “relationship” requires a break-up talk. You never know if you are on the same page that you need to break-up with them or not. I know I have been in the situation where we had the break up talk when I didnt think we needed to but then I have also had the flip where we didnt have the chat and I thought we probably should have.
    Eh dating why so hard

      • Avatar
        23. August 2018
        reply

        Yeah lots of great men in Australia…I think that’s the problem

        • Avatar
          24. August 2018
          reply

          Could be worse…Portland is such a “small” town that no bad – perceived or legit – dating story happens without a practically viral experience.
          Don’t worry, that doesn’t stop these clowns from acting like fools.

          • Avatar
            24. August 2018
            reply

            Trust me I live in a capital city and even with the supposed millions of people it’s still small and viral experience happens.
            And many people here are big fools

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