Nowadays, it might seem like casual relationships are more common than serious ones. You might call it an open relationship or a friend with benefits, but they all amount to the same thing: a relationship that’s usually sexual in nature, but without any form of commitment attached to it.
Casual relationships can be fun and fulfilling. They can provide you with companionship and sexual intimacy, serving its purpose for you during a certain period in your life. However, problems in a casual relationship can arise when one person begins to develop feelings, and the other doesn’t. Your partner may decide that they want commitment, but you don’t (or vice versa); and you’ve decided that it’s time to end the relationship. What do you do?
Don’t Feel Guilty
There’s nothing wrong with not being ready to be in a relationship. If you’re the one who’s caught feelings and have been rebuffed by your partner, there’s no need to feel awkward. A sexual connection can create the illusion of intimacy; your feelings are natural.
Stop Sexual Relations
When it’s time to end the relationship, the sexual contact needs to stop. Continuing sexual intimacy after you’ve realized you need to cut ties with this person will only confuse your partner (or you.)
Don’t Sugar Coat It
When it’s time to break the news to your partner, do both of you a favor: be clear, direct and honest, but kind. Pick a busy, public place to meet for coffee or drinks, and make sure you arrive separately. When it’s time to break the news, let them know that you enjoyed your time together, but that you’ve decided you no longer want to be in this relationship and you both need to move on. After you let them know, make a hasty exit.
If for any reason you feel it’s unsafe to break up with your partner in person, then call or text instead. Your safety always comes first.
Prepare for Negative Reaction
It’s natural for people to react negatively or to be emotional after a break up. Stay calm and listen to what they have to say without interrupting. You can repeat back to them what you heard them say to help validate their feelings, but reiterate that you’re no longer interested in seeing them.
Now that it’s over, it’s time to end contact. No more text messages, phone calls or DM’s. Don’t like their photos or comments on social media. This will only send mixed messages, or make it more difficult for you to break it off.
Are you having a hard time moving on after a break-up? Do you need help deciding if the relationship you’re in is right for you? A licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.