Breaking up needs manners

This might be familiar to you: You go on a date with Mr Man, it goes well, you laugh, you joke, you talk, there’s chemistry … you see each other again. Awesome. So much fun. He’s sending messages every day, he’s making plans for the weekend, he is clearly Very Into You. You know this also because he says so.

And then nothing.

Suddenly everything stops, like someone switched off the water during the night and drained your geyser. You turn on the tap and out sputters a drop and dry air. Weeks’ worth of deep, satisfying baths are now nothing but an unexpected memory.

You mail, SMS, Whatsapp, but no response. Your calls are dropped. Your questions about the weekend’s plans HE made aren’t answered. You’re standing in a wasteland of WTF with a megaphone and no one’s around to answer your one burning question: ‘ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!’

What follows is a rapid descent from concern for his wellbeing (because no normal human could flip that quickly), to a morass of bewilderment and self-doubt (you can see he is well enough alive because he’s still tweeting about it).

Look. I’ve bitched about this before when we discussed the crazy dating behaviours of men, but it came up for me and a mate again the other day and it had me a-pondering the ‘why’ of it.

Why can’t we – and ‘we’ because I KNOW it’s not just guys who do this – just say, plainly and kindly: ‘I am not into you’ or ‘This isn’t for me’ or ‘Please don’t contact me again or I will take out a restraining order’.

You don’t have to be cruel to be kind – and ‘being kind’ in this case simply means having manners. We were taught manners as kids, right?

Question: ‘Would you like a plate of eels and hagfish for dinner?’, Answer: ‘No thanks, seafood doesn’t really agree with me.’ Question: ‘Would you like to see me again?’, Answer: ‘No thanks, I don’t see us working out.’


I practiced saying all of those things on online dating sites. It’s a really good platform for learning how to be honest without being a Little Miss McFuckFace.

If we’re to work on the premise that we’re not barbarians, then what’s the issue? Lack of integrity and respect? Cowardice? Why are we so scared to be honest with someone?

So many questions.

Every time Bean ‘breaks up’ – and I use that term loosely – with a new honey he goes through the same crisis of self about how to let her down gently, how to not break her heart, how to find the words that will express, without cliché, that it’s not her it’s him, that he really does like her a lot it’s just that she has that weird boho hipster thing going for her that doesn’t fit into his plastic-fantastic existence yadda yadda…

So mostly he just doesn’t say anything and avoids her until she fumbles to the conclusion that it’s probably not ‘on’.

Douche move.

Sometimes I just want to beat his chest in an act of desperate projection and yell: ‘She’s not a porcelain doll you ballsack! And you’re not a god, without whom her life will come to an abrupt end!! You. Arseholish. Symbol. Of. All. The. Men. That. Have. Ever. Done. That. To. Me!!!’ while frothing at the mouth and drunken crying.

Wait. I think I actually did do that.

But that aside, the kernel of wisdom remains: Maybe we need to get over ourselves a little and stop inflating our sense of importance in someone’s grand scheme of life, the universe and everything. They’ll move on. Really.

If it’s not working, if it’s not on for you, if you’re not feeling it – it’s ok to say so. Because even if saying so feels shitty for you, not saying so say feels worse for everyone else involved – BFFs included. Trust me, I know. I’m still holding on to the megaphone from the last vanishing act.

Read Dorothy's blog, like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

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