Neil Sedaka knew a great truth about the world of love. Breaking up IS hard to do.
But, take heart – putting the kibosh on a budding romance these days doesn’t have to be the sad-song-mix-tape making, soul-crushing drama it was in your teenage years.
So, step away from the origami-folded note, stop belting out U2’s “One,” put down your mascara-stained ‘break-up’ pillow and listen up.
I’m gonna use the next few posts to talk about this process. After all, statistically you’ll do WAY more breaking things off than not. Let’s hope, for my sake, that I don’t have THAT many more “it’s not gonna work out” texts in my future before I can send the “Hey! I really think this is gonna work out!” one. But, until that day, I’ll share my “expertise” with you.
As much as Hilary Duff or the cast of “St. Elmo’s Fire” would love you to believe that ending a courtship must carry with it months of tortured grief, I’m here to postulate that times have, indeed, a-changed.
Now, duh…I’m not talking about the end of a solid long-term relationship.
Those are horrible to recover from. Best in those cases to just to just stock up on stereotypical frozen treats, load up on youtube stand-up comedy clips to distract from the heart-wrenching pain and hunker down for the long-haul. I don’t have any great advice for those. They suck. Plain and simple.
I’m talking about those situations where you’ve gone out with someone a handful of times (like…the number of dates is still in the single digits), and it’s just not what you’re looking for.
The beauty of dating as a grown-up is that… well… we get to act like grown-ups.
No need to dust off the ‘ol “It’s not you, it’s me” aphorism. Men these days can usually (usually being an important caveat there) handle hearing that, in fact…. it IS them. Let me e’splain…
People in their 30’s+ are, in my experience, more invested in the dating process. This means they actually have given some thought to what they want, what they don’t like, where they’re willing to sacrifice and bend and where they’re not. So, with that contemplation also comes a sense of self-awareness. Thus – when you go to tell someone it’s not a good match, he (or she), instead of being a babyish whiney brat about it (a la high school/college), will probably do one of the following:
a. agree with you, and be genuinely open to staying friends (see my next post on a recent “break up” of mine)
b. be disappointed, and ask for an explanation. This is where things get a little tricky…I’ll get into that later…
c. be disappointed, but appreciate your honesty and bow out graciously.
Example: Last week I told a guy that I didn’t think we’d make a good match. Here’s his response:
“Well, I appreciate your candor. I guess we all know what we want, and I can’t argue with that. I would love to keep you as a friend and hanger outer! I definitely enjoy my time spent with you and, while I’m optimistic about any new person I meet, if it doesn’t work (for whatever reason), I roll with it. …Life is too short to be with someone that does not meet our needs.”
And, friends – that is not an exception. I get that kind of gracious response all the time! It’s great.
In fact – I have assembled a hodgepodge group of singles that get together and hang out, and most of the men on the list are guys I’ve gone out with and, while it wasn’t a great romantic match, they’ve continued being my friend. Being an adult…ain’t it grand?
So, stay tuned …tomorrow: HOW to walk away from a “not so heaven-made match.”