Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
+43 650 707 9191 (12-20h)

Online Shop

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


  • 31. August 2018

    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.

    • 31. August 2018

      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

  • 23. August 2018

    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!

  • 23. August 2018

    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

      • 23. August 2018

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

        • 24. August 2018

          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.

          • 24. August 2018

            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

Leave your deepest thoughts or keep them to yourself.

%d bloggers like this: