How to break up with someone you are not dating?
August 12, 2010 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Breakupfilter: Help me end a quasi-relationship!

I met this guy at a party with mutual friends, we hit it off, made out, and then exchanged numbers. Then I moved across the country and we have kept in touch since. We have really, really strong physical attraction and a lot of interests and friends in common. We've been talking on the phone and sending email a few times a week for the past six months.

A few things about him bother me: he's not a great listener, he pulled some really humiliating shit on an ex-girlfriend a few years ago and didn't seem too remorseful when he told me about it, he's kind of pushy about me doing things "his way".

I'm supposed to go back to visit his part of the country in a week (to see family, friends, and him), but want to delay my trip by a couple of weeks to take care of a few things here. I'm freaked out about telling him that I want to make him wait a few more weeks.

He has also said that he wants me to settle back into that part of the country and be his girlfriend. He calls me his "online girlfriend". I feel like we've only met up once in person, and I have good reasons to be where I am (although I was born in the part of the country where he lives and might find my way back there on my own in the next year anyway).

We haven't really discussed this stuff because we were waiting until we were in the same place, saw how we got along, etc.

I want to have lots of sex with him (badly!). I want to hang out and enjoy his company.... but part of me is dreading seeing him. I also want my independence, don't know him well enough to change my plans and am worried about the things mentioned above. They seem like red flags to me.

So, my question: How do I communicate these things to him, and what should I do?

- I want to come two weeks later
- I'm not sure what to do about this relationship, but I'm not going to be his girlfriend right away and definitely not going to move to be with him.
posted by alternateuniverse to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the "dreading seeing him" part is a huge red flag ... how can this relationship be promising if even part of you is dreading seeing him?
posted by jayder at 6:02 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you are afraid to tell him you are showing up two weeks later, you have your answer. Dump away.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:03 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your gut is telling you to stay the hell away from him so you should really heed the warning. He isn't your boyfriend--you met up ONCE--and you don't owe him any explanation. If you don't want to go back for two weeks or two years, it's your choice and you don't need his or anyone else's permission. He sounds like a classic manipulative/controlling potential abuser and you sound like a potential abusee. Yikes.
posted by MsKim at 6:04 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

He sounds like a classic manipulative/controlling potential abuser and you sound like a potential abusee.

Yes, bingo.
posted by jayder at 6:09 PM on August 12, 2010

No way it says "Must date dreadful friend-of-a-friend you talked to a few times" in your life contract - simply tell him that you are not interested and are breaking things off. You owe him exactly ZERO. No explaining to him, no not hurting feelings, no sympathy, zip!
posted by meepmeow at 6:09 PM on August 12, 2010

Yikes, you made out with him once and now you're his online girlfriend?

1. Why exactly are you freaked out about telling him you're going to delay your trip by a couple of weeks? Just send him a friendly note to that effect. It's weird if HE freaks out about it, and you should definitely take that as a warning sign.

2. How long are you going back for? Make concrete plans now with your friends and family, and then fit in meetings with him around those other commitments. This gives you an easy "out" if you start to feel suffocated when you're around him, and also draws clear lines about your independence. Again, it's weird if he gets weird about this.

Good luck.
posted by sillymama at 6:10 PM on August 12, 2010

Sillymama, I am guessing the problem is that she says "I want to have lots of sex with him (badly!). I want to hang out and enjoy his company...."

So, she wants that, *but* also wants to not be an instant-girlfriend.

Now back to trying to answer the question asked:

I don't think you can easily end the relationship part without ending the fun dating part. This fellow, at least the way you've described him, sounds like someone who isn't going to accept that situation. But, I could be being influenced by the posters above.

If you are determined to try, you can tell him something very close to this, "I am interested in you, but I'm not your girlfriend, and I'm not moving any time soon. Still, want to go dancing?"

If he freaks, then let it go. Plenty of great men are out there. If you do tell him this then I suggest you do so in person, in a public place, rather than on the phone, email or (shudder) text. It is more likely to go well, and you'll still be safe.
posted by Invoke at 6:22 PM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: OK, I think some of the answers above are going a little far based on the information you give. Yeah, the guy could be a creep, but he could also be someone who is really into you and wants you to be near him. You don't say how old the two of you are; if he is on the younger side, this could be a sign of someone who is just trying too hard. Yeah, you only met once, but you have been emailing and chatting frequently (and, it sounds, romantically) for six months now. "Online girlfriend" is maybe a bit much, but only a bit.

Are you usually conflict averse? Is your dread partly because you have built a lot of drama up in your mind about how he will react, or has he reacted badly to other expressions of your independence? Is this nervousness on your part that he will cause a scene, or has he done other things to make you nervous? I could read your post either way, frankly, so it's hard to be all armchair diagnosy about it.

However, all of the above doesn't really matter if you are unhappy with the situation. If he makes you that uncomfortable, dump him. You don't really owe him anything, especially not a cross country move. Otherwise, write him a nice note explaining that you have to come later than planned, that you are attracted to him but you are not moving back any time soon, and see how he responds. If what you want is an occasional "friends with benefits" situation leaving you both free to seek out other, local options, then tell him exactly that. If he doesn't seem to be listening or acts like a jerk or makes you feel worse about yourself, break it off then.

I do agree with sillymama that having an "out" is a good idea. I certainly wouldn't have his place as the only place you have to stay, for example.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:26 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

He sounds like more trouble than he's worth if your main interest in him is getting to have sex every once in a while.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:11 PM on August 12, 2010

I think you could tell him, "I want to take things slow... and I mean the relationship part of things, not the sex part!"
posted by Houstonian at 7:14 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm freaked out about telling him that I want to make him wait a few more weeks.

And this is the crux of it, isn't it? You want to have sex with him because he's pushy and aggressive, but you don't want to see him for the same reason. This is your gut fighting with your libido. Can you just have sex with him without falling for his bullshit? Because that's what it is - the whole "you're my girlfriend online"'s bullshit, and you know it.

It's not wrong to want to have sex with him, but you know that it's not something that you want for even the short term. If you can't bone him and move on, then don't even try.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:25 AM on August 13, 2010

He calls me his "online girlfriend"

This implies a girlfriend who is not online.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:17 AM on August 13, 2010

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