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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Clean Break

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

A Clean Break

Ever gone on a few dates with someone and then after some radio-static, been left wondering whether or not you were still dating?  Like you had a few dates, then neither of you called each other and the connection was lost?  No dial-tone.  The two of you just seemed to have…faded out.

It’s weird when that happens, isn’t it?  It kind of leaves you wondering in fact what did actually happen.  Did you do something wrong?  Or why weren’t you really too eager to call him?  What were his thoughts on the situation?  Well, you won’t really ever know, will you?  Because in time, the fading turns into complete disappearance and you and Mr. Invisible will never go on a date again.  Unless for some reason you do end up connecting again, but we’ll save that scenario for a different column.

 

For this one, let’s talk about the fading out scenario.  It’s pretty annoying.  Why do I bring it up?  Because I was recently in one of them.  I had been out with, let’s see, Mr. Margarine (he liked to cook), on a few dates, and not just cheesy dates—they were decent dates.  I had even given him a ride to a couple places when his car was in the shop.  At first I thought I liked him a lot.  Mr. Margarine was nice, funny, and he seemed sincere, which was a trait I hadn’t seen often when dating.  Then a switch flipped, and I don’t know if it was because it was around the holidays and all that madness set in, and also he had other stuff going on, but he became consumed with that other stuff, and soon the dating became a little lackluster.  We still went out, but the thrill was kind of gone.

I know that I probably wasn’t giving it all on my end either, but it was hard to when he wasn’t totally there.  How could I put in the effort when there wasn’t much to put the effort into?

After the holidays, we did the “how was yours?” exchange, and soon…we just...faded out.  Mr. Margarine didn’t call, and neither did I.  Maybe it was easier that way, rather than making the call and saying:  “Hey, I don’t think this is gonna work,” or “I’ve got too much going on in my life right now, I don’t think it’s the right time for me to date,” or “I’ve realized I’m boring and shouldn’t put you through that.”  Just kidding.  As with most dating cases, I think we had probably reached the point where we realized we didn’t click as much as we thought we had, or possibly could have, and had reached the end of our potential.  But shouldn’t there be a better way of ending things than just fading out?

Sure, it’s easier because no one has to be hurt by hearing any explanation that might be damaging to their ego.  But it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered.  My recommendation would be not to just fade out for that reason.  One, because it’s not fair to the other person.  They don’t know what happened, if they did something and if they should/shouldn’t call, etc.  Two, maybe there could be unnecessary worry that something happened to the other person, when it didn’t, and the other could go nuts thinking they disappeared or something and call Missing Persons.  See, all bad situations.

So, my recommendations on how to end the dating process with someone:

1) Don’t just stop calling them.  Don’t ignore their calls.  Don’t change your phone number.  They obviously have your number and know you have a phone.  That’s no way to escape.

2) Don’t give them some vague excuse like, “I need to take some time off to focus on my penmanship.”  Chances are, they won’t believe you.  It’s better to be honest about things so that the other person can know what went wrong, which might help them next time in dating, and so that it’s a clean break and they feel things are resolved.

3) Do try and end things as cleanly and politely as possible, unless someone was truly wronged.  If it’s just a matter of things not clicking, then say that.  Try meeting for lunch or coffee.  If you got along well to begin with, then you should be able to meet for a friendly cup o’ joe and talk.  Maybe you’ll find out that you work better as friends, and can continue that way.  If not, wish each other well, and go your separate ways.

4) Do not overreact no matter what is said.  Yes, it’s hard when things don’t work out as you expect.  But wouldn’t you rather be with someone who is fun and will enjoy your company as much as you enjoy theirs?  Understand that this is just another pothole on the road of dating, and keep driving along.  And hopefully the road is much smoother ahead.

It is hard to make a clean break, but it’s a lot harder when things end and you don’t know why.  It’ll be easier on both people if they talk about things, and it’ll make both stronger for their next relationship.  No one wants to be ignored or dismissed, especially when it comes to dating.  Fading out is only appropriate when it comes to music or the end of a scene in a movie.  And you should know by now—life is not like in the movies.


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at NicoleMRoberge@hotmail.com.


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