How to get out of this?
September 3, 2013 4:23 PM   Subscribe

For the last 6 months, I have been involved in and online "thing". I think it's time to cut this off. Most effective way?

While it wasn't defined as a relationship, it was pretty intense and we never went a few hours without talking. He recently told me that he is in love with me. Whenever we had an argument, he would send me so many messages begging me to forgive him...write me poems and so on. We live on different continents so we haven't met yet but we have plans to.

My problem with him is that I have always had a strong instinct that I can't trust him. It's only gotten stronger lately. He also doesn't have strong principles, he is constantly saying one thing and changing it few days later. Overall, I just think it's his core personality and not something that can be changed.

I want to cut this off but without being hassled by his messages. Is just cutting all communication and ignoring him too cruel?
posted by sabina_r to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's not really ok to just stop talking to him without telling him first (he hasn't don't anything THAT egregious to deserve that). You do need to tell him that you've decided you need to move on from this relationship (with roughly the same language you would use if you were dumping anyone you've been dating for 6 months), and you're sorry but that means you won't be able to communicate with him any longer. Then you can (should) cut all communication and ignore him.
posted by brainmouse at 4:35 PM on September 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

No contact or a brief message saying thanks, but no thanks, and then sending all the messages into the trash should work just fine.
posted by Jacen at 4:38 PM on September 3, 2013

I'm not sure what you are asking exactly - can you clarify?

Are you asking for a script? Permission to do it via email? Are you asking for practical advice on how to block someone online/phone/etc.?

I recommend you do it via Skype if possible. I recommend that you be clear, kind, and firm. Place an alarm only you see for 20 minutes and do not allow the break up conversation to go longer than that.

Do NOT tell him you don't trust him. In fact, don't disparage him in any way during the conversation. Write down some words and phrases you want to use during the conversation and refer to your notes if you get at all flummoxed. You do NOT have to submit to an interrogation during this conversation, but you should be prepared to make it clear that you are breaking up.

That's all I've got without knowing exactly what your concerns are.
posted by jbenben at 4:39 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with jbenben that you shouldn't tell him the stuff about not trusting him and finding his personality to be problematic. Just say you don't share his feelings and need to move on. You live in different countries and have never met; this is probably easier than you think it is, at least for you. As for him, he might continue to send you a few messages, which it is okay to ignore after you've told him you don't wish to be in touch with him anymore.
posted by wondermouse at 4:46 PM on September 3, 2013

Response by poster: To clarify, I don't want to tell him the truth i.e. that I don't trust him. He will just try harder to prove me otherwise. So I should say something generic?

Since this is not an "official relationship", I wasn't sure what "dumping" rules apply.
posted by sabina_r at 4:47 PM on September 3, 2013

Six months of a relationship with no meeting, much less plans to live in the same place is reason enough. Use whatever medium makes you feel comfortable - Skype or email or phone.

Tell him that you've thought about every aspect of the relationship and that you have come to a decision that there is no way that continuing with the relationship will work for you. This will let him know that this was a considered decision and that there isn't room for debate or wiggle room. Tell him that it's final and that you'd like to have absolutely no more contact.

After that, feel free to ignore all messages.
posted by quince at 4:51 PM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Do you consider him to be fairly sane? Do you think he's harrassing you at this point?

If he's halfway normal, a Skype call or phone call is appropriate. If he's already someone you experience as being harrassing, then drop him a break up letter via email and lock down your online presence and phone.

Even though the association was online, I think the usual rules about breaking up apply.

Being decent (if possible) is your BEST direction, provided safety and security aren't an issue.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 4:57 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

It may not be an official relationship, but, after six months of intense communications, you need to tell him clearly that you will not be speaking with him anymore. This doesn't have to be done over video chat, but don't leave him wondering where the hell you went, if you stopped talking to him because you're sick or dead, etc.
posted by wondermouse at 4:57 PM on September 3, 2013

One of my long distance internet relationships quietly died because I moved to a different time zone and got a job and we just couldn't manage to connect as much. It died really slowly but I was not trying to kill it. Maybe you could intentionally engineer something like that? I mean just get too busy or something? Change your work schedule or enroll in classes or something and just not have the time and opportunity? Then maybe end it after it is less intense?
posted by Michele in California at 5:19 PM on September 3, 2013

There's no "official" way to break this off that guarantees that he will go No Contact and respect your desire not to be "hassled," and you already know this from how he's handled your disagreements before. The most likely scenario that would come out of just ignoring him without any heads-up is that he will freak out and bombard you and anyone you have in common with messages and attempts to make contact.

The kindest and probably least messy way is to tell him firmly but clearly that you don't want to talk anymore and you don't want to meet up because you have come to the conclusion that you are not compatible, that you are not going to change your mind and do not wish to discuss it further, then block.
posted by sm1tten at 5:35 PM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

You shouldn't explain yourself, you're right. You just have to tell him that you're sorry, but you don't want to pursue this friendship anymore and that you're going to go no-contact.

You know he's going to hassle you. That's one of the reasons you're ending it. Block him in all the places he'll try to contact you, and just remember no matter what he says - and he may very well try to tell you that you "owe" him or "it's only fair" to be in contact or let him try to win you back - you don't want to do this anymore and you don't have to do things you don't want to do.

It'll suck, but it'll pass. It's never going to get easier, so don't put it off.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:53 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

X, I have decided that this relationship is not what I want/need. I don't think it would be useful to discuss this further. I know this will be a surprise to you, but I have put a lot of thought into it. I'm sorry for causing you unhappiness, and I genuinely wish you the best.
posted by theora55 at 6:04 PM on September 3, 2013 [12 favorites]

In the long run, being clear, honest, and direct is going to be easiest on him and easiest on yourself. Don't you think that it's patronizing to say "something generic" rather than expressing your true feelings? Is "his trying harder to prove otherwise" so difficult to bear, especially considering that it will result in a few emails at worst?!

This motivation to escape from expressing our difficult feelings is existential cowardice. It is the mark people who cannot yet stand up to the world around them. I don't know you, Sabina, but have you considered that this may be why you're pursuing safer relationships online?

However you handle this, it will be same to you. So, be bold and tell him how you feel and what your plan is going forward. It will be good practice for the real world.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:11 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

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