Tag Archives: getting dumped

The Plus One

“I’m going to a friend’s for dinner on Friday. Come.”

I should say “No thank you, Toby; it’s only our second date”. I don’t.

“Is there anything you don’t eat?”

I should tell him about my phobia of celeriac and meringues. I don’t.

When I ask “What shall I bring?” and he replies “Nothing, just yourself!” I should listen, but I don’t.

When Toby spies the prosecco I’m clutching to my chest as we arrive and tells me “You can’t bring that; they’re teetotal and Polly won’t have it in the house” I should hang on to it, but I don’t. I leave it by the doorstep.

Polly answers the door and eyes me with the same suspicion a white carpet would afford a dog with diarrhoea. I should scowl back. I don’t.

When Polly’s boyfriend Max sloshes elderflower cordial into my wine glass, I shouldn’t quip that it’s a waste of a perfectly good glass, but I do. Max shouldn’t laugh and wink conspiratorially. But he does.

As Polly serves up every food I’ve ever hated in my life, with the icy glare of a serial killer, I should politely decline the offer of pudding, despite eating nothing of the main course. But I don’t.

When Polly goes on and on about Toby’s previous boyfriends, all of them beautiful demigods who adored Polly and would probably have turned straight for had she asked, I should defend myself, or step up my patter in an attempt to impress her. But I don’t care what she thinks, so I nod politely and play with my napkin.

As I laugh uproariously at one of Max’s jokes and see, out of the corner of my eye, Toby’s face fall, I should tone it down and pay more attention to the date who’s barely said a word to me all night. But I can’t. Why get out of Max’s sleek limousine of a conversation only to clamber into Toby and Polly’s knackered old Nissan Micra chit-chat?

When Max and I are stacking the dishwasher and he confesses to me he’s bored rigid living with Polly, I should act surprised and encourage them to stay together. But I’m not, so I don’t.

Usually when a man tells you his problems, he’s hoping you’ll solve them, so perhaps I should pretend we’re in a film and put my hand on his leg and stroke my mouth suggestively. But I don’t want to turn a horrendous evening into an apocalyptic one, so my hands stay where they are.

When I walk back into the lounge, it is obvious I have been getting an absolute skewering from Polly, as her and Toby redden immediately. I can see Toby running back to one of those holy exes within a month – Polly wouldn’t have it any other way.

When it’s time to leave and Max says he’s looking forward to seeing Toby and me again really soon, I should tell him that’s extremely unlikely, but I don’t.

When Toby makes it clear he’s going straight home and says he’ll call me, I should feel sorry and protest a little, but I don’t. Instead I proffer my cheek and he pecks it politely, begrudgingly, finally.

Perhaps I should feel sad that I’ll never see Toby again, but I do not – I feel a rush of relief or elation. The regret may come later, but it will be brief and I’ll have probably have somebody else close to hand to take my mind off it.

I shouldn’t pick up that abandoned bottle of prosecco from the doorstep and drink it on the bus on the way home. But I do. And that turns out to be the best part of the evening.

Stats: 32, 5’9″, auburn/blue, Newcastle
Pre-date rating: 8/10
Post-date rating: 3.5/10 – that score’s for me, really, isn’t it?

A truncated version of this post originally appeared in the monthly dating column I used to do in Gay Times magazine. I now answer GT readers’ dilemmas and dole out relationship advice. Take a look at the Gay Times website to see when the next issue is out.

A beginner’s guide to breaking it off: The phone call

My recent post on dumping someone by text proved to be pretty divisive. It seems that many people prefer a face-to-face break-up or, at the very least, a phone call.

It’s a common fallacy that bad news like this is better in person, or coming from a disembodied voice at the end of a telephone. Perhaps it seems more personal, or means more, because it’s perceived that tapping in a few digits, then delivering a knockout blow over the phone and waiting distractedly for the stunned reply, in some way takes more effort or is more respectful than sending a carefully worded text (or email if you’re feeling jazzy or are Christopher Ewing in Dallas).

While I believe texting the kiss-off can empower the recipient much more than a surprise attack via a voice call – at least then the dumpee can think about crafting a response rather than blurting out hysterical reactions they will almost certainly regret later – I’ll give the humble telephone the attention it deserves as a device for despatching paramours.

Pick your time carefully
When guys and gals in the ’60s and ’70s used the phone to chuck their lover under the bus, they had to rely on the landline, that dinosaur of the telecommunication age, to deliver the dismissal. That meant having a vague idea of when their future ex would be home and, if they were kind and considerate (which you really should be unless ending a toxic or abusive relationship), whether they would have anyone around them to comfort them. Now, of course, we have mobile phones – or ‘cells’ if you’re reading this somewhere exciting like Manhattan or, erm, Anchorage – so you can get your dump on any time you like.

Even though your unfortunate dumpee is always contactable, keep your head in the 1960s. Nobody wants to be in the supermarket or at a club when they receive the news that the chords of their parachute into lifelong companionship have been severed. Nor do they want to be in the middle of dinner, arguing with their mum, on the toilet, appearing on reality television (my long overdue sympathies to Kevin Federline there) or at work when the news comes through.

Before you make THE call, you need to find out where they are. So, either send a text (see, even the heartless SMS has a role to play here) to see what they’re up to, or give them a short call, before inventing some distraction which means you’ll have to phone back later. You do, of course, run the risk of spooking them if you act distracted or sound ready to deploy your weapons of mass rejection right here and now. Keep this text or call fairly light. Save the plummeting anvil for the main event. No need to stress them out unnecessarily before you end it. Kindness is key.

I don’t know how to say this…
Well, you really should. Starting off by saying that you’re not sure what to say is a total cop-out, because it leaves the recipient in a brief state of frenzy. Are you going to announce a death? Reveal a lottery win? Tell them you have met someone else? Confess to a bank robbery? If you can’t find the exact words straight away, do some stalling – and drop a few clues along the way – with a slightly more telling “Look, I’ve been thinking…” and make sure you say this in a SAD voice and are somewhere quiet, not in the queue for a bar with all your friends.

There’ll then be a brief pause while the cogs whirr in your almost-ex’s mind. You should struggle on, however, and say things aren’t really working out for you and that you think you should both break up. Yes, the ‘both’ is key here, as you need to make it sound like this would be mutually beneficial.

“I want to break up with you” or “I’m breaking up with you” somehow seem colder than “I think we should break up”. While it’s you who’s ruining everything and casting them back out into the kingdom of the singles, by introducing a ‘we’, you are giving the dumpee the chance to consider any doubts they have had about you themself. If you can, lead them to think it’s the right decision – one that may have even been reached mutually were the discussion to go on much longer.

Hanging up on you
So you’ve said the words, but what now? Do you just hang up and leave them to their feelings? Do you let them air their emotions – which could range from a barrage of abuse and grievances to heartfelt, uncontrollable pleas to change your mind? It’s your call, but bear in mind how emotionally charged the response will be. Do you trust yourself not to go back on it if they manage to convince you with tears and tales of all the good times? If you are going to cut the call short, do it kindly. Maybe even agree to talk it over in more detail some other day.

State your reasons for the break up, sure, but at least sugarcoat it to a degree. Nobody wants to hear that their laugh is too loud or their personal hygiene is akin to that of a wild boar. If things haven’t been working out and you haven’t felt fully into it or you want to be by yourself, then just say – put the responsibility on yourself, not them. You’re walking away from it all, anyway; you may as well take the flack (unless they were really objectionable, of course).

And once the call is over, put the phone down and leave them alone. No late-night texts, no drunken regrets. Step away from rants on Facebook and save your saccharine apologies or sincere wishes for the future. Let them get over you. And you, of course, need to get over it too.

So, y’know, get over it.

If you’re really stuck, give this a listen before you call (or, if you’re just plain mean, play it down the phone):

A beginner’s guide to breaking it off: The text

Is there ever a nice way to bid adieu to an affair of the heart? Is the blow any less crushing because you have communicated it via a gift-wrapped box of (live) white doves, after an afternoon of champagne or during a shuddering orgasm? Probably not.

But there are many ways of delivering the fatal thud to the back of the head that so many relationships suffer. It’s just about picking your moment – and your method.

Textual ditching gets a very bad press. When Frasier star Kelsey Grammer fluffed out his hair, primed his best texting finger and sent the SMS which would end his 15-year marriage, the papers and news outlets that still cared about him were up in arms.

How could someone who so charmingly growled about tossed salad and scrambled eggs be so callous as to finish off all those years of wedded bliss with a robotic network message? While Grammer perhaps should have really thought that one over a bit longer, there’s a lot to be said for euthanising your relationship via text.

For relatively short flings, it is perfectly acceptable – as long as you get the language right. When dumping anybody by any method, the one thing to remember – and that so many forget – is: DON’T BE AN ARSEHOLE. As cathartic as it may be to list all your soon-to-be ex’s failings, it won’t help anybody and acting like a piece of shit is bad karma.

What texting does is give you the opportunity to get straight to the point, remain emotionless and, more importantly, get to the end of the dumping without any interruptions – like tears, or screaming, or a wine glass in your face.

Some examples to avoid:

“I’m shagging someone else.”
“You’re ditched.”
“The sex was totes abysmoid. Laterz.”
“You smell like a caged animal, so I’m setting you free back into the wild.”
“Don’t you think I deserved that last Emmy for Frasier? Really?”

 Some better examples:

“I didn’t really feel any spark.”
“I feel we’ve lost momentum after not seeing each other much recently.”
“I think I need some time by myself.”
“I’m not sure we’re right for each other.”
“I think I’d rather just leave it there for now. Can we stay friends?”

It doesn’t matter whether you don’t mean it or are lying or hiding your true feelings. Who cares? That’s not what this is about. You’re done here.

Those who think texting is callous miss the point entirely – they probably deserve to be dumped. Texting that it’s over is a kindness. You’re sparing them the humiliation of a very public break-up. They can put any spin on it they like:

“Oh yeah, we ended it over text; it was no big deal. We weren’t that serious.”

Or, more likely:

“Can you believe the total BASTARD ended it by text? A few short lines? Some bullshit about there being no spark. No spark?! What am I? A fucking Roman candle?! I hope he gets eaten by sharks. I’m better off without him.”

If you’re seen as a bit of a coward, so be it; if you’re merely ending a fling, there isn’t much to be gained by drawing out the whole process over a miserable drink in a pub, where everyone else is having a good time.

A text also helps the dumpee to react however they want, privately: nobody wants to get angry or cry in front of someone they’ve had sex with only two or three times.

When a ditching text is appropriate:

– You’ve been dating a month or two and haven’t been gelling particularly well.
– You’ve been going out for a few months, but seeing each other less and less – a ‘dwindler’.
– The last time you saw each other was an utter shambles and you’re both too ashamed to admit how dreadful it was.

When a ditching text is inappropriate:

– You’re about to jet off on a romantic holiday together.
– They’re waiting at the head of the altar.
– You’ve been together five years.

Use your common sense. Put the boot you’re about to lodge up their backside on the other foot. Would you be devastated if you got a Dear John text from them right now? Oh, you would? Oh. Well, send it anyway. Time is money.

Other reading
How to dump somebody over the phone
How to deal with being ditched by a fling

How to get over being flung from a fling

When you ask someone what they’re hoping for from dating, you’ll get a variety of answers. Some are looking for the love of their life, a long-term relationship which will eventually see them gliding dewy-eyed down an aisle festooned with flowers.

Others have more primal needs: they want drinks, sex, and maybe a bit of dirty texting for a day or two then nothing more. And there are those, whether they want it or not, who get something in between: the fling.

Flings are curious things, usually because at least one of you doesn’t know you’re in one until it’s over. Flings come in all shapes and sizes, whether they’re masquerading as lasting loves or little more than a fuck buddy you don’t mind having a conversation with, but the one thing every fling has in common is that they end. Flings run their course, then everybody concerned carries on their search for the next progression. Continue reading How to get over being flung from a fling

How to be rejected

For most people, dating is a two-way thing.

Unless you’re a caveman bashing his paramour over the head with a club and dragging them back to your dank dwelling or a dodgy pervert – or premiership footballer – with an endless supply of rohypnol, the object of your affection is going to have to like you back before anything can happen.

Although I’d like to pretend that every guy I date falls madly in love with me after two drinks and calls me persistently, begging me to go on another date with them, the reality is that at least 50% of the time, Mr Tonight isn’t really interested in me.

Usually, that’s just fine, as I’m not into them either, but sometimes I’ll be on the wrong end of the dreary dullness that is unrequited attraction. And, oh, how it hurts. It’s the romantic equivalent of a thousand paper cuts.

If it’s any consolation, with a little bit of practice, you get over it really quickly, depending on the method of rejection. Forewarned is forearmed, of course, and most things are easier to deal with if you’re expecting them. Well, maybe. Here’s how to spot when the great big elbow is heading your way, or at least a few ways you can find out if you’re ever going to see his face again. Continue reading How to be rejected