how do i dump the woman i slept with last night?
September 25, 2008 5:36 PM   Subscribe

how do i dump the woman i slept with last night?

I met a woman, she seemed quite nice, and after three dates, we slept together. I didn't enjoy it. A combination of physical and behavioural factors really put me off her, and I'd rather not see her again. How do I tell her this without being a total bastard.
We are both in our forties, met online, have a lot in common, laughed a lot, and discussed the problems of relationships and sex a bit before taking the plunge. This wasn't about love we agreed, just two people who were kind of attracted, seeing if we could get along.
But after last night, I know I can't do this. I think I should tell her asap, so she and I can move on, but how can I do this without making her feel bad. Other than 'sex with you made me feel icky' what can I say?
She fell asleep immediately after the act last night and we didn't have time for any talk this morning before she left, but I think she knew I was a bit uncomfortable.
posted by zingzangzung to Human Relations (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
How would you want to be told? Kindly and forthrightly (I assume). Specifics are not necessarily, and would be cruel. Try something like "You know, you're great but this isn't going to work for me after all. Best of luck to you." Then, stick to your guns. Refuse to be specific about "physical and behavioral factors" (like, don't mention them), and do not back down next time you're lonely and/or horny.

You can't do this without making her feel bad, but you can do it while making her feel minimally bad.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:48 PM on September 25, 2008


I don't know, I'm a woman and I think I want some details. I'd be frustrated with "this isn't going to work. bye." and then radio silence. At least have the courtesy to answer her questions if she has them - have one last conversation. (Note: This answer would change if it was really just a one night stand, like you met at a bar, went home together, etc. in which case a quick message that you're done may be ok. But you've been on a couple dates. I think your explanation obligations rise just a bit in this circumstance.) There's a difference between just being like "It's no big deal, I'm just not into it", which is normal and/or may be expected early on, and actually conveying that she makes you feel "icky". The more confident and perhaps sort of blase you are, I'd say the better. You two haven't invested much in each other yet and it should be easy to get a clean break. But you've got to be up front with her and get the conversation going. You'll be fine. Good luck!
posted by smallstatic at 6:05 PM on September 25, 2008


"The chemistry's not there for me." That's it. That's what it is--someone else might be totally turned on by her third nipple or her habit of reciting Horace in the original Latin during sexing, or whatever else it is that you didn't like.

There is never any need to give someone a report card after having sex. Unless she did anything that was flat-out disrespectful or inappropriate, there's nothing to say other than "The chemistry's not there for me."
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:07 PM on September 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Don't forget the possibility that this woman may not be all that into you either! I've always found it very obnoxious and irritating when men who are breaking things off with me assume that I'm head over heels for them. If you promised to call her by a certain date, then call her. Otherwise I'd wait until she contacts you, or tries to. If you even see by her number on your call display that she's tried to call, then you call her and tell her it's not working for you, that you don't feel the rapport and chemistry is really there.
posted by orange swan at 6:26 PM on September 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess it depends on what the physical and behavioral factors were, and whether they are "universal" types of ickiness, or things that just aren't your thing.

But in all but a few cases, the classy move is to make it all about you, and give her closure. (That sounds bad, I'll explain.)

Meet for lunch or coffee or something like that, where either person could leave and it wouldn't be a "scene". Be friendly, but not intimate. "Hey, I really enjoyed meeting you and spending time getting to know each other. But I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last couple of days, and I think it's best if we don't see each other any more. I want you to know that I wanted it to work out with us, but I realize now that we're just not compatible enough for us to be happy together."

So what I meant about making it about yourself, is that you want to convey the idea that it's not her fault it didn't work out, it's not something she did or was deficient in, but that you just came to the realization that you didn't want to continue any more. And don't give in to wanting to "be nice" and soften the message with "I want to be friends" or "maybe someday" or "you won't be happy with me" or any of that stuff. You know it's not true, and it is not nice to make her think you are just playing hard to get.

As far as giving her details, I would look at it like this: you weren't turned on by her. Are there other guys out there who would be, if she did the same things with them? Then don't say anything- it would just make her feel bad for something that she shouldn't have to change.
posted by gjc at 6:36 PM on September 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


orange swan, good point. Same thing happens with the sexes reversed, though. It's condescending any way you mix it.
posted by gjc at 6:40 PM on September 25, 2008


"This wasn't about love we agreed, just two people who were kind of attracted, seeing if we could get along."

so, just tell her it's not really working out.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:48 PM on September 25, 2008


For goodness sakes, don´t make a fourth date with her to tell her your don´t want to go on another date. Be classy about it, but do it over the phone. Tell her that you respect her and want to tell her that you just don´t feel the chemistry is there.
´
posted by yohko at 7:00 PM on September 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


The first answer is correct.
posted by Zambrano at 7:10 PM on September 25, 2008


You didn't really ask, but if the "physical and behavioural factors" are the sorts of things that might prevent her from having other relationships that work... you might be interested in somehow imparting this to her for her own good.

But there's no need to do it at the same time as breaking up.

Assuming that's true for a second...

Since you presumably still "have a lot in common" and could "laugh a lot", why not do the "well, ha-ha, that sex thing didn't work so good, I don't think we should do that, but you wanna go for coffee/movie/whatever you do for laughs sometime?"

If you can salvage a reasonable friendship, there'd probably be an opportunity a few weeks or months down the line, when the hurt has passed, to have a talk about how or why it didn't work for you (or her, for that matter). Since you're both grown-ups, maybe you could both learn something.

I've had decades-long friendships with people I had "failed" sex with. It doesn't have to be a permanent friendship killer. It's just sex. Laugh it off together and move on!
posted by rokusan at 7:35 PM on September 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


A combination of physical and behavioural factors really put me off her

Out of respect for her privacy, please don't go into any detail, but have you considered that these factors might be capable of being changed?

Especially the behavioural ones - the first time sleeping with somebody is often very different to what sex is like once you've gotten more familiar with each other.

(and I'm not saying pack her off to the gym / cosmetic surgeon / poledancing class etc, just that one single time mightn't be a decent sample for a decision. then again, youre the one who knows what you experienced, so I'm only suggesting this as a possibility)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:03 PM on September 25, 2008


Otherwise I'd wait until she contacts you, or tries to.

God, don't do that. You say she seemed to sense discomfort; she may also not have felt comfortable. Don't forget that after the first time a lot of people get weird (especially guys, imho), and she may be wondering and waiting for your next move because she senses you're off about things. Waiting may get you a bunch of silence, and then just when you think there's nothing to do at all, an angry call. Why put anyone through that? Call her, explain in polite but forthright generalities, and end it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:55 PM on September 25, 2008


Look, it happens. Just be a man about it. Do it cleanly, do it quickly. "Look, I just don't think the chemistry is there, and think we should just end it right here before we move any farther forward."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 PM on September 25, 2008


you need to be a major asshole.

don't tell her what she did wrong, just treat her badly. don't return calls. if you have to talk to her be rude. make her think you are some royal jerk.

any other way is going to raise doubt in her. she doesn't really need to know how she failed in your eyes-and if you 'let her down gently', all you're going to end up doing is giving her reasons to hate herself. answering questions or long explanations will only heap self doubt upon her.

does she deserve that? no. give her something to hate other then herself. a year or so later send her an apology.

a a side note, you liked this woman enough to sleep with her after three dates. you're forty--you know what to expect in life, and you saw potential here. sure you can't fix it? might be worth an effort.
posted by lester at 10:20 PM on September 25, 2008


She fell asleep immediately after the act last night and we didn't have time for any talk this morning before she left...

I'm pretty sure she's cracked the code and knows the sex wasn't good. Immediate sleep and racing out the door seem to be pretty strong indicators she's not all that wowed.

And that's okay. People aren't sexual legos and we don't all snap together perfectly.

Give it a day or two. She'll probably call you to break off your liaison.
posted by 26.2 at 10:30 PM on September 25, 2008


I think you should make a lunch date, since you've had a few dates I don't think a phone call is really enough. I guess if I were the woman you are talking about, the best I could expect, or would want to hear from you would be this:

You: "So, I wanted to get together to ask you, do you think last night was a bit wierd? I just felt like even though we get along great, and it seemed like it might work out between us, the chemistry wasn't really there. What do you think?"

She, possibly: ""Huh? What do you mean?"
Then you just say something like "I don't think we have a good connection - it didn't feel right to me, and I didn't realise until we took that extra step. I wish you all the best."

She, possibly: "Totally."
Laughter and commiseration follow. Make it clear then that you don't want to continue being in touch.
posted by lottie at 10:59 PM on September 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Alternative situation to lottie's scenario*:

You: "So, I wanted to get together to ask you, do you think last night was a bit wierd? I just felt like even though we get along great, and it seemed like it might work out between us, the chemistry wasn't really there. What do you think?"

She, possibly: ""Huh? What do you mean?"
Then you just say something like "I don't think we have a good connection - it didn't feel right to me, and I didn't realise until we took that extra step. I wish you all the best."

She, possibly: "Totally. Ridiculous. You slept with me and the 'chemistry' suddenly isn't right? What about the three fucking dates we went on? You wish me all the best? What the fuck? You clearly don't, or you wouldn't have dicked me around, you sphincter. You didn't realise until we took the extra step, huh? Well, it's not until now that I've realised you remind me of a hat full of anus. I hope your head falls off. I iggy you. I don't wish you all the best"

*based upon a similarly regrettable experience.
posted by twirlypen at 1:00 AM on September 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


you need to be a major asshole.

don't tell her what she did wrong, just treat her badly. don't return calls. if you have to talk to her be rude. make her think you are some royal jerk.

any other way is going to raise doubt in her. she doesn't really need to know how she failed in your eyes-and if you 'let her down gently', all you're going to end up doing is giving her reasons to hate herself. answering questions or long explanations will only heap self doubt upon her.


FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO LESTER. Behave like the adult you presumably are and treat her like the adult she presumably is. I've had guys tell me they didn't feel any chemistry, and it hurt, but I got over it in a few weeks while I have never stopped hating the guys who just never called again. I'd far rather hear "it's not working for me" than be discarded like a used tissue.
posted by orange swan at 5:26 AM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, icky icky situation. As orange swan said, ignore Lester. Also ignore Lottie. No one here can give you a script or predict how the situation will flow. You say you think she knew you were uncomfortable. From her age, I'm sure she has some life experience reading people and isn't totally clueless. Call her on the telephone and speak to her. Say "Hi", and while I don't suggest jumping right in, don't beat around the bush. Tell you've enjoyed getting to know her and blah blah blah, but you don't think the relationship will work. Good luck, etc. Goodbye.

I see you've marked gjc's comment as best answer. I agree most of that advice is good, but if I were the woman in question, I'd not be happy if you invited me out just to dump me. In fact I think I'd be livid if you asked me out on a "date" to dump me. Don't do this in public, it's the opposite of classy. Can you drop over to her home and do it? If you can't do it face to face on her territory, do it on the phone. Maybe she won't be bothered you've just dumped her in a restaurant, she might even be elated or relieved. If there is any chance that she'll be upset, don't do it unless you're prepared for some sort of scene and don't put her in a position where she has to make her way home alone and upset.

Who knows how she feels about you, she might be hoping she never hears from you, or she might be picking out wallpaper patterns for your dream home together. Don't SMS or email, just call her and speak to her. You might even get a glimpse of how she is feeling after the event.
posted by goshling at 6:27 AM on September 26, 2008


Thanks everyone for their answers. I followed gjc's advice, although I did it on the phone. It went as well as could be hoped. We had both wanted things to work out, and it is a bit sad they didn't. She was hoping we'd continue, but understood how I felt. And she thought it might have been something else (which hadn't been an issue for me at all) and I was able to reassure her on that.
It was an unexpected and sudden thing to realise that the sex was such a turn off for me, and I spent yesterday in total confusion, trying to think of a way to say it that would not be hurtful, thus the question, and the answers helped make a bad situation go a little better.
The answer from gjc really nailed it by pointing out that it was about me, and how I felt, not about her. It was nothing so awful about her that caused the problem, it just wasn't right for me.
Thanks again to everyone for responding.
posted by zingzangzung at 7:17 AM on September 26, 2008


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