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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Letting Someone Down

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

It's Not You, It's Me
Letting Someone Down

“It’s not you…it’s me.”  Does that phrase sound familiar?  Maybe it has reached your ears before, or perhaps you have been the one saying it.  Either way, it’s sort of a common theme when breaking it off with someone, and most believe it to be a farce.  A gentle way of letting someone down.  And even if it is completely true, and you try to convince them of that, chances are, they won’t believe you.  They think it’s an easy way out. 

But sometimes, it really isn’t them.  It is you. 

Or in this case, me..


Though in this case, it’s not that I said that, it’s more like I’m reflecting on it now.  In a past column I talked about some recent guys I had dated and why things didn’t quite work out.  You know, he was boring, commitment issues, he was creepy, or he just faded out.  Of course, it’s always easy to see other people’s faults.  But these guys (well, some of them) weren’t just fault-filled; they did have their many good qualities.  And that was the reason that we were together when we were.  Until we weren’t.  Then I saw more clearly the bad stuff that I tried to ignore when I was enjoying the good stuff—you follow?

So generally, when we stop dating a person, we focus on what went wrong, and it usually has something to do with them.  It’s easy to blame them, because no one likes to blame themselves.  Even if there is no one to “blame,” it could be an upsetting thing, and when emotions are involved, they are likely to be focused at the other person.  However, after some time has passed, and you can step back from the situation and see it more clearly, it is easier to truly “see” how things were.  There are less emotions and more reality.

I did that recently to give the guys a break and see what my status was.  You’ve gotta figure that they were saying things about me, right?  Yikes.  I can only imagine.  “She carried around this giant elephant stuffed animal everywhere,” Jimmy told his friends.  Mark said to his brother:  “You should’ve seen the ax tattoo down her leg.”  And poor Dennis couldn’t understand why I got mad and yelled at him every time he said “I.”  Naturally, I’m making all of those names up, and the situations also. Give me a little credit, folks.

But let’s analyze Nicole and all her dating woes.  Why don’t we bring it back to…the guy who wanted to see me but didn’t want to be in a relationship but then wanted to keep seeing me but then was all confused because he didn’t want to be a relationship but he really liked me and wanted to be with me but was just…AGH!  Seems troublesome, doesn’t it?  And it was, but it wasn’t completely his fault.  I got dragged into it, but I went willingly.  While I told him I understood that he needed time and it was fun to just hang out, part of me did want that relationship that he wasn’t ready for, so when I realized that wasn’t going to happen (even though he was confusing), I had to pull away.  Which was my decision, because I let myself get involved too much, even after he warned me.  So whom was I upset with?  Him.  Not that I was upset, more like disappointed.  But this is how we learn…

Then there was the guy who wanted to get married ten minutes into the date.  That was actually kind of scary, I’m not gonna lie.  But I let that date go past ten minutes, and though I wasn’t quite ready to get married to him, or go on another date with him, I felt bad about letting him down.  But then the situation sort of turned to harassment and I just got frustrated.  I tried to use different excuses to be kinder, which only made it worse.  He kind of drove me nuts.  Maybe if I had just been completely honest and up-front from the get-go, it would have saved us both a little bit of trouble and anxiety.

Number three—after our first date, I wasn’t too sure what to think.  He was one of the younger guys I had dated, and kind of shy at first, but by date #2, he had opened up and things were more relaxed and fun.  But as we continued dating, he bounced back from being open, to very closed off, which I found odd since one of the things he stressed was communication.  He was the guy that just “faded out,” which was the most aggravating part, especially because there was still that part of me that liked him and would have liked to see him again.  I know that one of my issues during this time was that he didn’t think I was decisive enough, and I knew that then.  But then again, he never liked the plans I made.  So it’s a little give and take.  The big part of that one was the not knowing and being irritated with him, but looking back…I could have called him.  Then, who knows what could have happened?

“What ifs?” can play a big part in the world of dating, but I’ve learned that sometimes there’s no point in looking back.  Yes, it can be frustrating when things don’t work out and you want them to, as it can be when you don’t want them to but the other person does.  It’s a matter of compatibility, and you can’t really change who you are to fit the other person.  But you can go with your instinct, and if the person does mean something to you, then make sure you let them know.  Or vice-versa.  The best thing to do is just be honest.  Even if it’s not going to make a difference in the outcome, at least you’ll know you’ve had said your peace, and won’t have any regrets.

Related Links:
» 10 Ways to Break Up Graciously


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

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