What's the etiquette for ending a short-term relationship?
May 23, 2010 9:20 AM Subscribe
What is the decent
method for calling things off with a woman after a month of dating, sleeping together, but never defining the relationship? In person? Over the phone? Via e-mail?
For me, after one or two dates it's acceptable to just not contact them again if things aren't working out. I've gotten a few thanks-but-no-thanks e-mails after 4 or 5 promising dates, and I didn't think that was distasteful, even if we've just made out. Every other breakup was more the several-month sexual relationship type and those should be face-to-face. But this is a grey area for me. It's important to me to not be a dick about these sorts of things, because I'd appreciate the same consideration if the shoe were on the other foot.
Several female friends told me there are taboos about breaking up over e-mail/cutting off contact after having sex with someone you're dating. An e-mail would afford me the opportunity to tactfully choose my words, she could respond or not, but it seems like it could come off cold and cruel. I'm not especially good at doing it "live" so there's the real risk that I could make things worse face-to-face or over the phone, but I wouldn't shirk that responsibility if it's necessary.
In my case, I'm a 27-year-old guy who's been dating a 25-year-old woman I met online. We've been on about eight dates over the last month, we slept together a few times, and I've determined that we're not a good long-term match so I want to call things off before they progress further. We don't have strong phone rapport (most communication is via e-mail, text message or face-to-face), we've never talked about exclusivity (though I generally believe that there is an unspoken exclusivity sentiment by the both of us), and she's been in a respectable number of relationships (so this is unlikely the first time she's been dumped nor do I particularly fear that she would be heart-broken as a result).
So, assuming that I definitely need to end whatever kind of relationship we have going on, what kind of consideration do I owe her?