Let’s talk about break-ups. More specifically: what’s the least amount of involvement you can get away with while instigating one? Apparently, there’s a tipping point for when you have to break up with someone in-person.


>For example, after just one date….

If you go on a date that’s obviously not going to go anywhere, I personally think it’s totally fine to utilize The Fade Out: you just never call them again. You don’t really owe this person an explanation: you tried, it didn’t work, have a very nice life.

>And after a few dates….

If you’ve gone on more than one date, but are still in the exploratory stages of getting to know each other (let’s say 2-3 dates, maybe some physical activity, but no sex), it’s pretty immature to just fade out on someone, though of course that doesn’t seem to stop some people. A better way to end things after a few dates is a simple text or email:

Hey, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.”

Sure, it’s not going to be the most pleasant text they ever receive, but luckily for them they can immediately start the process of forgetting you ever existed.

>But apparently anything after that

I maintain that after dating someone for 8-10 dates (which maybe translates into roughly 2 months or so of casual dating), it’s perfectly acceptable to break-up with someone via email. Not, like, a two sentence email. But a kind and carefully worded email explaining that, while you’ve had a great time getting to know them over the past two months or so, you’re afraid that there’s no point in continuing the relationship further because of X, Y, Z. (But maybe keep it just to X and Y? No need to belabor the point.)

In fact, personally I feel that for any relationship short of an exclusive, Official Relationship, a thoughtful email is perfectly acceptable.

According to my friends and co-workers, however, I am very, very wrong about this.

>The Break-Up Tipping Point

Apparently, for anything longer than 5 dates or so, breaking-up via email is not okay. It seems that there’s a very severe break-up tipping point: A text, email, or fade-out is okay for anything under 2-3 dates. But anything more than that, and a face-to-face break-up is necessary. (A vigorous discussion at lunch led to the consensus that 6 dates or above definitely require meeting in person to end things.)

I don’t know if I agree with this, guys!

Maybe I’m being a bit cavalier about the whole thing, but unless I’m calling someone my boyfriend, I really don’t want to have an awkward, drawn-out process if and when things don’t work out. You can date someone for three months, for instance, and never really be that serious about them, maybe only see them once a week, and be far from exclusive. (Well, not far from exclusive, but. Not exclusive.)

At that stage in the relationship, if a guy made me go all the way to a Starbucks or the park or whatever just to tell me he wanted to stop seeing me, I’d be like, ugh, couldn’t you have just said this in an email??

What do you think? At what stage (if ever!) can you get away with a break-up email? Do you agree that a text is ok after 2 or 3 dates?

How do you break up with people?


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