Every romantic relationship that you take part in will result in one of two outcomes: you’re breaking up or you’re spending the rest of your lives together. It’s a grim reality, sure, but it’s the honest to goodness truth. In some relationships, you’ll know right away that the person sitting across the table at a dimly lit restaurant is only a placeholder for “the one.” In others, you’ll walk down the lakefront on an unseasonably warm January afternoon feeling totally in sync, knowing that this is the real thing.
And then there are relationships where there’s a glaring issue that you’re trying so hard to look past until you just can’t ignore it anymore. You bust your ass trying to work around it, highlighting things about yourself that they might be feeling similar about, but ultimately you have to end it.
This happened to me quite recently. I was seeing this girl that I met on Bumble, and everything seemed like it was going right. Our first date was awesome. Second date was fantastic. But somewhere between our second and third date, I realized that the dynamic shifted. I enjoyed spending time with her, sure, but it seemed like she enjoyed spending time with me way more.
Now, granted, that’s to be expected. I’m a fucking gem. This was different. This was her texting me to let me know that she deleted the Bumble app because she wanted to see where this goes. This was hinting at me meeting her mother after two dates. This was me having to tell her, “No, seriously, don’t buy me shoes, I’ve only known you for a week and a half and it is way too soon for that.”
While these were isolated incidents, the theme throughout all of them was that she was fully invested in me, and I couldn’t reciprocate that. In fairness, we had only known each other for two weeks so by no means would I consider this a relationship. However, it definitely could have become one. And which is worse? Me breaking it off when I realize that I’m just not that into her, or me staying with her and making her think that everything is hunky dory when really it’s not? I’ll take the former any day.
I didn’t cut and run immediately when I started feeling this. I took some time to evaluate the situation. I met up with her one more time to make sure that I was doing the right thing, and determined that I was. We talked for a few days after that and met up for a break up brunch on Sunday.
I did it in person. I was the bad guy. I saw it in her eyes. I knew in that exact moment that I let her down, and it sucked. I’ve never been the one to do the dumping, so this was an entirely new world for me. Later that day, I found myself thinking about how she was holding up and what she was doing. I’m sure that I made her friends’ and her shit list, which is totally fair. I’m not thrilled about it, but I get it.
The thing is, there’s never a right time to end things with someone. No matter what, you’re hurting them. Even if you let them down easy they’re still walking away from that conversation having just lost someone that they cared about. Just remember that even though it feels like you’re a bad person when you’re doing it, you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons.
That’s what I’m telling myself, at least..