Having been on both sides of this argument, I feel I’m probably in a fairly good position to pass on some words of (ahem) wisdom when it comes to letting down a woman gently. That and the fact that I am a woman, so I can be honest about this one. That said, however, after discussing with several female friends over drinks recently we came to the unanimous decision that there really isn’t any good way to let a woman down gently because, well, no one ever really wants to be given the boot, do they? Instead, we came up with hundreds of reasons (shockingly, most of which coming from personal experience) of how not to let a woman down.
Of course everything depends on the severity of the relationship, how long it’s been going on for and how involved you both are. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you’re dating/in the early throws of a relationship. I wouldn’t want to be the cause of any violence or subsequent revenge plots should you end a 5 year relationship on my advice. So if you are in the dating game and looking to end something before it gets more serious, take some advice from below….
1. DO NOT… BE TOO TRUTHFUL
INSTEAD… SPARE HER FEELINGS WITH A VERSION OF THE TRUTH
Yes, yes, we know, honesty is the best policy and all that, but this is one occasion where you’re better off sugar coating said truth. Let’s say you weren’t exclusive, you were dating other people and you’ve decided that actually you prefer one of the other women, so want to give it go with her. Fine. That all sounds fair and justified in your head (and in fact on paper), but a woman hears this as “there’s someone else and she’s prettier, thinner, funnier, cooler than you. We. Are. Over.” Because we’re rational like that! You’re far better off giving a restrained version of said truth. For example, you don’t like the fact she goes out on wild nights of debauchery with friends all weekend, tell her you think you want different things from a relationship. You simply can’t stand her family/flat-mates/friends, tell her you think you’re lives are incompatible. You’re just not that into her, tell her she’s great, but you think you’d be better of going your separate ways.
2. DO NOT… GIVE A POOR EXCUSE
INSTEAD… GIVE A SOLID REASON
We’ve heard them all gentlemen, from “you deserve better”, “you’re too good for me” and “let’s just be friends” to “I don’t have time for a relationship as I need to focus on work” and “I’m scared of commitment”. Unless you’re dating a 16 year old who’s watched too many Nicholas Sparks movies then trust us on this one – she will not believe you – she is not a moron. Instead, be a man and give a realistic reason that you didn’t steal straight out of Hollywood.
3. DO NOT… SEND AN EMAIL OR TEXT
INSTEAD… DO IT IN PERSON FACE TO FACE
Believe it or not, hearing the words, “I’m sorry, but I’m just not that into you” is a hell of a lot better than reading them on an iPhone screen as you’re rushing out to grab brunch with friends. If you don’t like her in that way then be a man about it and ask to see in her person for a quick coffee and then do the deed then in person so that she can ask all the questions she needs to ask, get the closure she’ll no doubt be after and say your goodbyes – voila!
4. DO NOT… SKIRT AROUND THE POINT
INSTEAD… MAKE THE BREAK
Cancelling last minute dates, suddenly becoming busy, working late nights, increased family occasions on weekends – we’ve heard them all and most will admit to having said them all too. It seems like an easy way out, slowly becoming less available until she finally gets the hint and stops trying to re-arrange that dinner date you’ve been cancelling for the last 3 weeks. But, news flash gents, women want what they can’t have – so you becoming more distant might actually have the opposite of your desired effect. So, to avoid any stalker like out-comes I suggest you man up and let her know that it’s over – you’ll be saving you both a lot of time and energy to come.
5. DO NOT… GO M.I.A.
INSTEAD… MAN UP AND TELL HER IT’S OVER
This is probably the worst of all the ways to end to a relationship – yes it may only have been 3 months in and not official, but missing a Friday date and then never picking up the phone or replying to text ever (yes, EVER) again is about as cowardly and disrespectful as it gets. In fact most women would rather hear a lame excuse ‘a la’ point 2 than have a man go M.I.A. on her. Not knowing why something ended (or indeed wondering if your date has died) is far worse than having to hear to the reasons why. So be a man, not a boy and make the break in the most gentlemanly way possible.