In the last few days I’ve had cause to end a casual relationship, which has been on and off for the past couple of months. I liked this man and I enjoyed his company but it just wasn’t clicking for me and so I called him and told him I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. He said “okay, well you can’t help how you feel” and that was it. It was maybe a three minute call if that.
We weren’t in a serious relationship and it had only been more “on than off” very recently. But I have been wondering, why didn’t he want to know why? Because I did have my reasons.
When I broke up with Guitar Man I didn’t tell him the real reasons for my ending it. I just told him it wasn’t him, it was me, and that it wasn’t a great time for me. I really regretted this and I wrote him a long letter outlining all of the things he did which prompted me to end our relationship (I didn’t send it of course). I felt a lot better after this.
In these modern times of internet dating, people move very quickly from potential partner to potential partner. If one date doesn’t go well, there’s always a multitude of other prospects on any one of the various dating sites, who may fit your criteria. This works well for me. I’m a single parent in my 40’s working in a female dominated industry, it’s the only way I meet single men. But it also means that people don’t tend to explain themselves. They just say “next”.
Recently, a blog post about a post first date brush off went viral. What should have been a short text saying “don’t really think things would work out between us. Nice to meet you, all the best” was actually a long and nasty letter (disguised as being friendly) from a man who stated that the woman he went out with possessed such an utterly repulsive body that he would never been able to have sex with her. If you’ve not seen it, check it out here. It was repulsive and unnecessary. The text message, whilst vague, would still have been true and yes, there may have been some disappointment but no really lasting damage done. I read the comments attached to the and one man said “but what am I supposed to do when women plead for a reason why there’s no second date”? Give me strength. I suspect this chap would fit in very well over at Nice Guys of OK Cupid.
But I digress. Do I want to know why someone doesn’t want to see me again?
In a word, yes. But also no. If it’s a first or second date, then a text brush off as above, is enough for me. Bit of a let down but okay. Sometimes people don’t click, no matter how much it seems like they should. But if we’ve been out a few times, and there really was something I did which was very off putting then I want to know, so I don’t do it again! It’s a very fine line of course. If it was because he didn’t like my lipstick, well, I don’t need to know that. If he found my feminist leanings not to his liking, then I know that I don’t want to see him again anyway.
I’ve stopped seeing people for various reasons, but since I only date men, and only one of them has ever asked why, I fear that many men out there are going about their business thinking their dating behaviour is just fine when it most certainly is not!
For example, I’ve ended things a few dates in for extremely rude behaviour to wait staff, racist and/or misogynistic comments, descriptions of all ex-partners as “crazy” and so on. Also questionable personal hygiene.
I hate the fade-away. Just tell me you’re not interested and we can both move on. But if you think I just talked way too much and you couldn’t get a word in (I am guilty of this) please let me know. If you were put off by me speaking with my mouth full (I try not to do this), then tell me. If you think I drink too much (I don’t, I’m the classic two-pot screamer) then tell me. I don’t want to go on date after date making the same mistakes.
Surely the idea is that we learn from our experiences and grow into better people because of this? I have really thought about my dating behaviour (and driven many a friend insane with my constant questions) and I try to conduct myself in the same sort of way I wish to be treated. I don’t tell someone I want to see them again when I don’t. I don’t do the fade-away. It’s uncomfortable yes, but so what? Taking the easy way out means someone else is left disillusioned and confused. Doesn’t make you a very nice person, does it?
But what about you internet daters? What do you prefer? A reason or a fade-away? Can you walk away without communicating and feel perfectly fine about it or do you feel like a jerk? Do tell. Because I really do want to know.
*Title of this post and image borrowed from Arctic Monkeys