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I am an asshole, sorry man
November 29, 2011 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Went on some dates with a friend, I'm not so into him, he's REALLY into me. How do I end this? I feel sick just thinking about it.

I am a relatively new member of a large circle of friends- I've known most of the people for about three or four months. I really like them all and they've been a huge help as I settle into a new city.

One of the guys in this group began expressing some interest in me and eventually asked me out. He seemed nice, so I said sure, and we went on a date which was... fine. I liked him, but didn't feel any sort of spark or romantic connection. But I know that first dates aren't always good indicators, so I figured I'd give him another shot.

It gets bad on the second 'date,' which was actually a booze-fueled party we both happened to go to. I wound up going home with him- no sex, but everything but. When I woke up it was like "oh fuck." I shouldn't have done that, and I regret it, because I knew I didn't know how I felt about him. But I didn't let it show at the time. Because I am a horny thoughtless jerk when drunk, apparently.

He asked me out again, and I said yes because I have a bad habit of deciding I don't like guys immediately after I hook up with them, and I figured I owed him a second ACTUAL date, with sobriety. I thought things might be different, but unfortunately it was the same as the first date- I really like talking to him, he's a great guy, but there's just no spark. I don't want to kiss him or hold his hand. When he said goodbye he kissed me and smiled and said "I'm really having fun with you" and I felt like the world's biggest monster.

Ugh, he's so nice and cute. I wish I liked him that way but I just don't.

I've never had to break it off with anyone before. How on earth do I say "hey, I know it's seemed like I was as into you as you are into me, and I hooked up with you, but I really don't find you physically attractive after all. Please don't shit-talk me to all my new friends and ruin my budding social life!" I just feel like I'm going to hurt him and then he's going to hurt me and it will be this huge clusterfuck. And I feel like I led him on by going on these dates in the first place.

(PS please don't link to that Miko comment, I have been on 2.5 dates with this guy.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just tell him. The cliched term is "pull off the bandaid," and it is a cliche because it is true: a short, sharp, to the point moment of pain/awkwardness is better than drawing this out.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2011


Just tell him it appears that it isn't syncing for you. You really don't need to go any deeper into it than that.

You've done nothing wrong. You can't control how he responds. You've made no promises to him. The relationship isn't THAT far down the road.
posted by tomswift at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Previously.
posted by John Cohen at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2011


No point in saying he is not physically attractive to you, that will never go down well however hard you try.

At the risk of stating the obvious, you can't control his reaction when you tell him but it is best to stop this ASAP. Could you ask one of your mutual acquantainces for advice?
posted by epo at 9:01 AM on November 29, 2011


...but I really don't find you physically attractive after all.

Don't tell him that. Tell him you enjoy his company but you're just settling into a new city and a new social scene and don't want to get into a relationship with anyone at all right now.
posted by headnsouth at 9:01 AM on November 29, 2011


Because I am a horny thoughtless jerk when drunk, apparently.

no, you just need to work on keeping a little forethought, while drunk, about what you will want in the future when you're not drunk anymore.

say: i don't want to date you, and i only like you as friends.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:02 AM on November 29, 2011


And for heaven's sake don't buy into the story that not being into him makes you an asshole or a monster. That's bullshit sexist people-pleaser programming, and it does neither you nor him any favors. You don't owe him your attention or attraction -- just honesty and decent consideration.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:04 AM on November 29, 2011 [32 favorites]


It's three dates and some messing around; I can almost assure you that this guy does not think you and he are the romance on the century. Yeah, he's into you, but he'll be into other people as well. You are in the situation that happens more often than not in dating. This is it.

Tell him it's not going to work out and emphasize that there's no bad blood, and that he didn't do anything wrong, and you still want to be friends. You're not feeling it. Simple as that. He'll be a little sad, but three dates doesn't even count as leading him on. It'll be fine.

Just don't hook up with him again afterward.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree you should just tell him, but then you also need to be consistent with how you treat him going forward. Don't get drunk and make out with him again; don't flirt with him repeatedly; etc. I've been the guy in this situation and it was the mixed messages that I found annoying - if you know you want to tear the bandaid off, do it and be done with it and be solely friendly toward him from now on. It may take a while for the status quo ante to reapper, but it generally works out just fine if he's a decent guy and you have a good circle of friends who don't amp up drama.
posted by slide at 9:08 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and, yeah, what ottereroticist says. You do not ever "owe" a guy anything but being a decent person to them (so long as they hold up their end of that, of course.) No dude in the world is ever entitled to a date, or a kiss or sex or anything at all from you that you do not totally want to be involved in. Ever.
posted by griphus at 9:08 AM on November 29, 2011


Next time he asks you out say, "No." If he pushes, say flat out that you regret having messed around with him and no means no, not ever, not even after being friends for a while.

Be consistent and firm, because this sounds exactly like the set-up that lead to me getting a stalker after I went the "let him down gently" route.
posted by motsque at 9:10 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always say that it's much harder to be the dumper then the dumpee. And although you're not really in a relationship with this guy you have...shall we say...started the wheels running, and yes you've somewhat led this guy on. That being said, obviously you didn't purposefully lead him on, and you have every right to "test the waters" before deciding if you like someone enough to pursue a relationship. Since you know you're not looking to move forward, now is the time to end things as gracefully as possible and attempt to be friends. While I know it may be hard to be friends, I would definitely approach this from that angle in order to hopefully salvage the friends you've made in the rest of the group. Simply tell this guy that you really enjoy hanging out, but after some thinking, you don't wish to pursue anything with him beyond just friends. You've done nothing wrong here. Just be respectful and break up with a good heart if that makes sense.
posted by ljs30 at 9:16 AM on November 29, 2011


Ya, just keep it simple and tell him you just like him as a friend. No details needed (saying stuff like "youre not attractive" will just hurt him) but be firm about it.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:17 AM on November 29, 2011


And I feel like I led him on by going on these dates in the first place.

Isn't dating exactly to find out if you're compatible? Otherwise, it'd be an arranged marriage.
posted by xingcat at 9:22 AM on November 29, 2011 [17 favorites]


Don't be a dick when you tell him, but be very clear and direct. Don't waffle, don't try too hard to be nice.

If you throw in too many "I'm sorry"s or "you're really great"s or "I wish things were different" type phrases it can create an ambiguity in the guy's mind. He could misread that as you having feelings for him and him still having a chance.

I realize you probably want to make this as painless on the guy as possible, but to do that, don't be polite. Close the door as quickly as possible, and be clear and firm.
posted by shovel_mage at 9:24 AM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're not an asshole, not based on this account, anyway. You haven't done anything wrong. He's an adult and he made his own choice to fool around majorly on the second encounter. That may have been an emotionally bad choice for him, but he made that choice. It sounds like you were operating in good faith the whole time -- you think he's nice and cute, you thought it was worth getting to know him better and seeing where things led. It's too bad that it's led to you realizing that you're not interested, but that hardly makes you an asshole.

Ending a brief fling isn't a party of kittens, but it's not all that awful. You ask him to meet you at a coffee shop, and you say, "Look, I think we should stop seeing each other. Thank you for your time, but I'm no interested in a romantic relationship." And, if he's a normal decent guy, he'll be disappointed and quiet and say something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I respect your decision", and that will be pretty much that.

I've been on the giving end of that a couple-few times, and it's been fine. When the other party has ended a fling or a romance, they've chosen a number of routes, and the route that looks the most like the above has been by FAR the least sucky on my end.

Good luck.

On preview: There are lots of reasons to frame things as assertively and directly as possible. But I don't think there's any framing that will prevent a proto-stalker from thinking that you're encouraging him. You're looking for the framing that avoids any unreasonable confusion. If someone's going to willfully warp reality, I don't think you have a lot of control over that.

On double preview: you didn't lead this guy on. You were dating. You were deciding whether you were interested. That's what dating *is*. Saying you were leading him on is like saying that a company which brought you in for a second interview but didn't give you the job was engaged in deceptive hiring practices. It's just not true. You decided you weren't interested in him. They decided not to hire you. "Leading you on" is more like when the company has an internal candidate they know they're going to hire, but they have to interview you because their internal protocol requires they interview other candidates. But you were acting in good faith, and that's all that's required.
posted by endless_forms at 9:24 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tell him you enjoy his company but you're just settling into a new city and a new social scene and don't want to get into a relationship with anyone at all right now.

Sorry, but I'm going to disagree. It leads directly to his asking why the two of you ever went out in the first place, and it also ties you down for the next however-long by not dating anyone, especially in those same circles.

I see nothing wrong with saying that it didn't click for you. If it doesn't click, it doesn't click, and there's nothing anyone can do about it except accept it, and it doesn't mean there was anything wrong with anyone. You just didn't click. And you tried.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:29 AM on November 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


I know you said not to link to the Miko comment, but honestly, this is a Fine situation for the same script, only slightly modified.

Hey, thanks for the dates, they helped me realize that while I like you as a friend, we're not suited as romantic partners. We don't click, and you deserve to click with someone awesome. I'd like to remain friends if we can. Any questions?

As others have pointed out, you're spending Way too much time self-flagellating for realizing after a few dates you aren't in to him. Thinking you're a big jerk for sleeping with him is like the poster who talked about giving a friend a "cruel" blowjob. You guys started dating, you had some sex, and it just isn't for you. That's all! You're still a good person!
posted by ldthomps at 9:32 AM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


And although you're not really in a relationship with this guy you have...shall we say...started the wheels running, and yes you've somewhat led this guy on.

posted by ljs30 at 9:16 AM on November 29 [+] [!]


No, she absolutely did not lead him on. Going on dates, fooling around once, do not constitute any sort of "leading on."
posted by jayder at 9:37 AM on November 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


ouch. don't ever tell him you went on a pity-date with him. ouch ouch ouch.


Just tell him matter-of-factly. "we don't have long-term romance potential, so let's stop this before it makes our friendship wierd."
posted by Blisterlips at 9:41 AM on November 29, 2011


Tell him you enjoy his company but you're just settling into a new city and a new social scene and don't want to get into a relationship with anyone at all right now.

Nope, don't do that, because then when you do get into a relationship two months from now you will feel worse. Just tell him things aren't clicking and you'd rather stay friends. Simple as that. Also, from what you have said here, it's not clear that he is REALLY into you, so maybe it is not going to be the crushing blow you think it is.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:49 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Next time he asks you out say, "No." If he pushes, say flat out that you regret having messed around with him and no means no, not ever, not even after being friends for a while.

Be consistent and firm, because this sounds exactly like the set-up that lead to me getting a stalker after I went the "let him down gently" route.


I think there's a lot of wiggle room between a simple, cold "No." and going full-on super apologetic or something. I don't think giving a short, succinct (and honest) explanation as others have mentioned ("I'm just not feeling any chemistry"/"we're just not clicking") is going to make him into a stalker (any more than the other approach would).
posted by the other side at 9:50 AM on November 29, 2011


Just say that its chemistry. It isn't looks, its just that you two don't work like you thought you did and that chemistry is really important to you.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:50 AM on November 29, 2011


I've been him. Gentleness and honesty -- meaning "tell him that you don't think that you quite like him that way", but "DON'T then go on to tell him you're not attracted to him" -- work best. He will be hurt, but he'd be hurt no matter what you do, and this kind of hurt he will get over, especially if you still want to be friends and you stick to your word on that.

As for the hookup -- stress that your rejection is of that KIND of relationship with him, and not of "him" as such. Some variation of "it was nice, but I think it's a one-time thing".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nthing don't tell him you're "not ready to date."

"Hey, look, this is hard, but this - you and I going out - isn't going to work out. I like you as a friend, and I'd like to stay that way. "

It's honest, it's to the point, and it's kind. Just then give him his space in the social group for a little bit (and by that I mean don't do anything with just him and one or two other group members for a few weeks, skip a booze-fueled party or two), and go from there.
posted by canine epigram at 9:57 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"hey, I know it's seemed like I was as into you as you are into me, and I hooked up with you, but I really don't find you physically attractive after all. Please don't shit-talk me to all my new friends and ruin my budding social life!"

Friend, you've been on two dates. This isn't a breakup, this is a brief mildly awkward conversation. Here's what you say, and you can even do it over the phone if you want:

"Hey [name], I've been having fun hanging out with you, but I'm just not feeling that this is going to work out. I'm really sorry, and I hope we can keep hanging out as friends."

If he argues, don't engage. Don't give him reasons. Just acknowledge his feelings and say "yeah, it was really fun, but it's not going to work for me."

The most important thing is be direct that you want to stop hanging out, but be very indirect with the reasons.
posted by auto-correct at 10:05 AM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


+1 for EmpressCallipygos' advice. There's not much you can do to take the sting out of this ("hurt" sounds excessive to me), other than be honest. For any dating relationship shorter than 90 days, I think there ought to be a no-questions asked return policy. At this point, you don't owe any explanation as to why it's not working out that's longer than the relationship itself. "I like you, but there's no romantic spark here for me. I'm sorry. But I definitely enjoy your friendship" is about as much as this needs. Then leave the ball in his court for the friendship thing.
posted by Hylas at 10:10 AM on November 29, 2011


I hope I can persuade you to keep it simple. Don't make up excuses, don't give him elaborate explanations. Both just inspire more questions - which he may or may not ask.. and you may or may not want to answer.

I like you as a friend, I'm not interested in dating you. I'm sorry if the sex misled you. I can see that adding unnecessary confusion.
posted by aca.int at 10:37 AM on November 29, 2011


I was in a similar situation lately and it totally sucked.

Just tell him, but be gentle about it. What worked for me was a simple apology in the form of "I like you, and I'm sorry it took me this long to arrive at the conclusion that I just don't feel that strongly about this to move past friendship."

Expect that things could get awkward and expect that he could blow up and cause drama. Or not, but I'd prepare for the worst anyways, just in case.

In terms of behavior YOU can control, when you're around the common friends group, act normal, be normal, be yourself, don't be dramatic. If you do not engage in drama, then you won't have drama. If people ask you questions, give them answers, but stick to facts - you just didn't feel that strongly about him, and sometimes it takes a few dates or even a little time to figure that out. There is nothing wrong with that.

Time heals all wounds.
posted by floweredfish at 10:57 AM on November 29, 2011


I've never had to break it off with anyone before

You're going to learn. You'll do it wrong a couple times then you'll learn how to do it right. It's an adult skill everyone has to have when dating, otherwise you get stuck in relationships you don't want.

There are two goals to balance in declining someone: being unambiguous about what-will-not-happen, and avoiding kicking them in their sensitive spots. Just keep those goals in mind. Certainty about the future -- no more dates, we're done dating -- with absence of criticism of the person you're declining.

Also don't make up bs. Most adults can smell it and it's more insulting than a simple rejection.
posted by ead at 11:14 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just had one of these conversations from the other side... bleh. They suck. You can never tell how the other person is going to react.

The less you say about WHY, the more he'll be able to mentally fill in his own, non-painful reasons for why (and at the same time, the less he'll be able to argue about why your reasons suck).

Be crystal clear about the physical outcome that you want: We will not go on any dates, we will not make out.

If you're naturally flirty around your friends, tone it down towards him. (Examples: No shoulder touches, no giving him a big, bright smile every time you see him.) You don't have to be cold, but mirror his behaviour towards people he considers only-friends.

Do it at a time and place where he has some privacy and can easily go be on his own after.
posted by anaelith at 11:50 AM on November 29, 2011


+1 for ead's advice. Expressing finality is important, otherwise the guy might harbor illusions about the future and/or keep bugging you every few months tos ee if your feelings have changed.
posted by the foreground at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tell him you enjoy his company but you're just settling into a new city and a new social scene and don't want to get into a relationship with anyone at all right now.

Yeah, incredibly hell NO don't do this. When you date someone else shortly after and he finds out, he feels like shit; if you wait a while before starting dating he thinks that you're open to dating now and then gets confused when you rebuff him.

The nicest thing anyone can do in that situation is say "I'm sorry, but I don't feel the connection needed to take this further than friends." No specific indicators to be rebuffed ('i don't find you attractive'/'what the hell do you mean i'm not attractive?', etc), just a clean cut. Trust me, as a guy who has been on the receiving end of this, it really is the best possible way things could turn out. I have THANKED women for being that forthright about things, because seriously, people need to communicate that clearly more often.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:47 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't control his actions. Also, there could be ramifications for you with this friend group even if he doesn't try to exile you. He was in the group before you and the rest are probably better friends with him than you. If they know about the situation, you might get included a lot less to avoid awkwardness. Point is, you can only determine what you do, and everyone else is going to react to it the way they think best.
posted by spaltavian at 4:05 PM on November 29, 2011


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