A Dating Question: How Do You Want To “Break Up”?

I’ve talked with a couple of women this week who had ended dating relationships that started out consciously, and went deeply, but didn’t end up being the right fit. And in both cases the women felt that the way the “break up” happened didn’t really work for them. And I realized that this is a topic we don’t talk much about. It’s certainly easier to stop dating someone you’ve only seen once or a few times. It’s harder to stop seeing someone who you’ve been dating, and potentially sexual with, for a few months or longer.

So the first step is to really look at the question of how to break up for yourself. Are you someone who feels best if there is no contact for a while? If so, what’s that about for you – why is it that you need that space? If you are someone who wants to stay friends, and stay in contact, again, asking what’s that about – what’s important for you about that? There is the entire range – women who want to never talk to someone they’ve stopped dating ever again, and women for whom it is really important that they remain in contact at least friendly, if not actual friends, and everything in between.

If you are looking for a long-term relationship, it’s possible that you will date someone for longer than six months, and find out that it’s not the right fit. And it’s important that you both are on the same page about the fact that it’s possible that this exploration won’t result in a long-term relationship. And it’s also worth having a conversation with each other early on about what kind of parting would work best for you. You don’t necessarily need to agree, but knowing the kind of parting each of you would want is a good thing, and it’s a great topic for conversation.

It also helps in the assessment process. If someone isn’t willing to have this conversation at all, that would be a pretty big red flag. If she’s not on the same page about the possibility that this won’t be the right fit, it’s also important to know that, too.


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