Friends ask “why did you stop dating Harry” or “how come you dumped Sarah.” You say “we wouldn’t have been good together.” Their response is “how did you know?” and you say “I just knew.” It’s not a wordy answer and you might not have anything else to offer. Your gut said this relationship was going nowhere or, worse, there were signs that the other person would have become controlling or abusive. You’re relieved it’s over.
When Does Dating Become a Relationship?
How do you know you aren’t in a casual arrangement anymore? Some level of commitment is stated or implied. One of you asked the other to go on a holiday or move into a place together. You don’t ask each other out on dates anymore but simply meet, as expected, at a certain place and time every day and do mundane things like grocery shopping. Many things are unspoken; you can assume she will want a mocha as you wait for her in the coffee line-up or that he wants the quietest booth at a restaurant. Tenderness has seeped in and nauseating excitement has calmed down.
New relationships have transitioned within the last month or so from casual to serious situations and ending those is more awkward than tricky. If the situation is already more committed and involved, breaking up becomes a lot more complicated. It’s helpful if the other person knows it’s time to move on as well, but when two people have been together for many months or years, a counselor should probably get involved if there are issues which might be resolvable. Even taking this route, however, is no guarantee of success and that’s assuming both parties put some effort into counseling sessions and homework. When a partnership is nearing its end, no one should be surprised. At least one part needs to have been talking about the problems you face before calling it quits.
How to Call it Quits Safely
You have to gauge how safe you will be to bring up the topic. If you are driven apart by the other person’s violence, bring at least one supporter along with you; a brother, trusted friend, or your father. Have this person waiting to one side respectfully and give your partner a chance to behave maturely.
There’s one thing that never goes down well and is a sign of serious disrespect: calling it off over the internet or text. The only excuse for that is when you feel truly unsafe around a person. Otherwise, ask to meet with the person somewhere private and neutral; not your favorite romantic place or a location where your emotions will be on show. Don’t blame the other person but refer to your choice without being hurtful. It’s possible to maintain a friendship in spite of everything.