I have a confession to make.. This may sound weird coming from a Matchmaker, but here goes. I have had way more breakups than matches that have stayed together. I know that statement doesn’t make me sound very successful, but compared to online dating, I have more positive feedback than the relationships that come out of Tinder. Breakups are inevitable. 40% of marriages end in divorce. Anyone who has gone through one has no doubt felt guilt, failure, and shame. It’s important to honor those feelings. The goal is to learn from them and hopefully be able to set aside any anger or resentment and just agree to disagree. To be able to admit together you are better off apart is important. I know divorced couples who remain friends- myself included.
For couples who go through these break ups after many years together, they no doubt know there are problems in the marriage. ( With the exception of those that are completely blindsided by infidelity but we can save that for another column)
I had a client who asked me what was the best way to let someone know they didn’t want to continue seeing the person after about 6 dates. Having seen many of these scenarios, I thought I would put this conundrum out to my social media followers to see what the response would be. Here was my specific question. ‘If a couple has been seeing each other for 1-3 months, what is the best way for someone to let the other party know they want to dissolve it?’ A- in person, B- by phone or C- by text
Before we get into the results, let me make one thing really clear. It is NEVER EVER ok to just disappear or ghost the person. That is unacceptable and cowardly. Also to be honest, I don’t think there is really a right answer to the question as it depends on the person and situation. One young woman told me about her experience getting told this news in person and they wished it was done on the phone.. They felt embarrassed by their reaction and felt they would have had time to handle it better with a chance to digest the information.
The results of the question showed that a strong 80% of people feel this must be done face to face. Many were very adamant that it is the only way, and some expressed having done this and having it done to them and they feel face to face in both scenarios is the right thing to do. 10% felt a phone call was appropriate, and the remainder felt it all depended on the situation, the person, and how serious things had gotten.
So based on these answers it appears most people feel sitting down with the person and discussing it is the respectful way to handle it. One other important thing to note is people told me that they feel a public place like a coffee shop is not a good idea.. It’s better to go for a walk, or pick a quiet bench in a park rather than risking someone reacting in a public place. Some people felt they liked a phone call.. It is better than texting and the other person doesn’t have to see their body language.
Regardless of how, when, or where the break up happens, it’s not going to be easy for either party.. I know that some people report it being worse delivering the break up news than receiving it. That isn’t always the case but think about it like this. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? In a tough stressful time of a break up it is really important to try to be as kind, thoughtful, and respectful as possible.. Both with the delivery and the acceptance. I know it’s easier said than done.
Here’s what I tell my clients after they have been matched up and are going to meet for a date. If nothing alarming or upsetting happens on the first date, it’s a good idea to have a 2nd or even 3rd meet up. People might be nervous and awkward on the first date and by the next couple of times they may loosen up and get more comfortable. If after a couple of dates you know it’s time to dissolve it, I suggest a thoughtful email saying something like this.
” It was great getting to know you and I enjoyed our conversations . I don’t think we are going to be a romantic match, but I think you are a great person and I wish you luck on your search” Something like that is respectful, and better than ghosting, and then it lets the person know it’s time to move on.
Did you know there are more songs about breakups than there are about loving relationships? Ever since Neil Sedaka performed ‘Breaking up is Hard to do’ in 1962, there have been thousands more to follow in every genre of music. Regardless if it’s Hip Hop, Rap, Pop, Country, Rock, Classical, and even Opera.
Sometimes I think of all the parents who have 6 yr olds in Minor Hockey and they all think that their kid is going to make the NHL. Guess what. 1 in 4000 kids has a chance at making the Show, but that doesn’t mean these kids should quit and stop playing just because they won’t make it to the top. In fact, quite the opposite is true, that it’s important to have hope and dreams. We all dream about what we would do if we win the lottery and it’s a great feeling to think about it. Life without hope would be dreadful. So just like those kids that are lacing up the skates year after year even though they won’t get drafted, it’s important that people do the same thing to look for love again. Even if you don’t get drafted in the first round, there are many rounds to follow and someone may draft you in the 6th round that is the perfect fit for you. Some of the NHL’s greatest players of all time were selected in the later rounds.
So much like what Wayne Gretzky said ‘You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” so don’t worry about the break ups.. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and take a shot at love.