Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Telling

Oy. Ruby asked in the comments of my last post how I'm going to tell The Charmer that we're through, but honestly I'd hoped not to have to -- it's been a week and still no direct communications (group emails do NOT count). Until just now, when he emailed to see if I want to do something tonight. Dinner and bowling, perhaps, or pool. Or there's always a movie at his house.

It's totally clear from his email that he has no clue anything is less than hunky dory between us. Which makes it totally clear that I now have to tell him. I'm almost always a fan of kindly telling the truth in situations like this, but I'm not sure there is a kind way to say "Sorry, you're hot and smart and occasionally charming and basically a decent person, but you're just too self-absorbed and clueless to risk getting herpes over."

So, via the giant tubes of the interweb, I turn to you, gentle reader. What would you tell The Charmer if you were me?


Roy said...

I'm a big fan of honesty, but also a big fan of not being mean about it.

I say, just tell him the truth- you don't feel like you made a connection/there's no chemistry.

I went on a few dates with a girl a few years ago that were... meh. She was cute, and really interesting, but... well... we just didn't click. It was like we were just sort of slightly misalligned.
Anyway, after the second date was sort of luke-warm, I figured I'd give it one more try, so I asked her to dinner or something. She e-mailed me back and told me she wasn't interested...

I just searched my g-mail, and I actually still have the response:

"Thanks again for dinner. I'm really glad we had a chance to meet and get to know each other a bit, I do have to say that I don't feel we made a real connection though. It's not easy, but I feel that addressing this right away is the best thing to do for both of us. I'm sorry if this seems awkward, but I felt I should tell you straight out. I really do wish you the best and thank you again for meeting me and hanging out."

And, honestly, I was relieved when I got it. I thought it was an honest assessment of our dates without being mean (although the line about "it's not easy, but I feel... is the best thing to do for both of us" seemed a bit... I don't know... melodramtic?).

So, yeah. That's my vote. =)

Miriam said...

Honestly, I'd tell him the truth. Say "I felt that you were way too into yourself for me to risk getting herpes over, even though it might be fun for a while." You can always hope that it will make an impression and you'd at least be helping out someone else down the road who won't get all hyped up about it only to be left wondering why they didn't see the signs later on down the road.

Besides, there's less to worry about that way. If you say something like "well, I just don't think we clicked" then if he asks you specifics, then you don't have to make something up on the spot or hear justifications. Plus, if he really was nervous and he gives you a genuine apology and you feel it's worth it, you'd have full disclosure and could maybe give it another try....

Honesty is the best policy and all that....

Hobie said...

I agree with roy and miriam--basically you know that your feelings are lukewarm now at best, and the only reason you want to give him another chance now is because you were initially "charmed" by him, and have built him up to like the idea of him. It's best just to be honest with him now, and not linger when you can move on to bigger and better things! (Or people...)

ruby said...

this is a hard one, because the line between honesty and potentially nonconstructive criticism is particularly thin in this situation.

i guess i would recommend something in between what roy and miriam are suggesting, along the lines of: i had a really good time both of on our dates, but, frankly, i didn't feel especially appreciated [or whatever you think the biggest issue or two behind your lack of desire to see him again is], and that's really important to me, so i think it's best if we just leave it at the nice time we had.

i dunno, though, i'm far from sure that my way is the best (or even a good) way to go.

ladyred said...

The problem, as far as I see it, in giving "constructive criticism" while you're dumping someone is that the person will ask for a chance to correct their behavior based on your feedback, which is only fair from their perspective but I've already decided it's not worth engaging over. I just don't see it doing any good to say "you didn't appreciate me properly " or something like that, when it's too late for him to change in relation to me. That's the sort of thing you say when you want to actually engage with someone. Not when you're trying to disengage.

Am I wrong? Has anyone ever been glad to be personally criticized while they were being dumped by someone they'd only dated a couple of times?

megs. said...

I'm big on bluntness, either as the person doing the breaking up, or the person being broken up with.

Let's face it - you've been out with this guy twice. So, unless he's one of those crazy co-dependent people who imagines a relationship after two dates, you probably mean about as much to him as he does to you. Constructive criticism is only helpful when it's coming from a source that is already important to you.

I say just end it in the most direct, respectful way possible. Don't leave any room for negotiation, since that's obviously not what you want, and then sit back and enjoy the fact that you've freed yourself from a situation that could have very quickly become a half-baked relationship.

ruby said...

just to clarify, i was not arguing *for* constructive criticism as much as to *avoid* nonconstructive criticism in the name of honesty.

Jennifer said...

Wow, that's a difficult one. I think no matter what you do or say there is a large potential that he will assume it's because of the herpes, but that's not within your control. I also think it might not hurt to put that out in the open. Tell him that because you appreciated so much him being honest with you about the herpes, you wanted to address it here too. I would mention that after your research you decided that if you had felt like continuing the dating relationship with him, you felt that you could have worked with that issue.

I liked Ruby's idea of saying you don't feel appreciated enough. I would present it as a fundamental difference, not something changeable. Tell him that we give the romance we want. Use a couple of examples of you complimenting him, and then let him know that you're just not finding him to be someone who can give that back and THAT'S OK. Wish him well, etc. etc. and don’t look back.