What to do if you change your mind
To really relax and enjoy the online dating experience you need to remember that you can change your mind about the suitability of a match at any time.
Many people are put off trying online dating because they worry that they’ll end up dating someone they don’t really connect with as they’re not sure how to say no. It’s hard to tell someone you don’t want to see them again, especially if you’re sensitive to other people’s feelings, but unless you’re exceptionally lucky and meet your perfect match on the first date, it’s almost inevitable that at some point you’ll have to break the bad news.
Realising that someone isn’t right for you can happen at any point in the relationship and depending on what stage you’re at, how you communicate this information will vary.
When someone contacts you but you aren’t interested from their profile
This is the first, and most common, situation you’ll have to deal with. There’s a lot of information in a profile and it’s often easy to see straight away if you’re interested. If the answer is no, what’s the right thing to do? Do you reply and say thanks but no thanks, or do you just ignore their communication?
Do what feels right for you – there’s no obligation to respond if you don’t want to.
When you’ve started communicating
Guided communication is there to help you find out more about a match so that you can make an informed decision about taking things further. It’s perfectly possible at this stage that you realise a match isn’t right for you.
It’s good that you gave the match a chance but you’re free to stop communicating and close the match at any point. It’s up to you whether or not you explain the reasons why.
After your first face to face meeting
You can get a better idea about your connection with someone in five minutes of face to face contact than from hundreds of emails. If it’s possible, set up a brief meeting (maybe for coffee during the day) then you can both decide if there’s enough connection between you to want to go on an actual date.
If there’s no connection, finish your coffee and bring the conversation to a close. You don’t need to apologise or explain just thank them for meeting and leave it at that.
In the early weeks/months of dating
If you get through all these stages and start dating regularly you’ll really begin the process of getting to know your match. During those early dates most people will be on their best behaviour and will only give you a limited view of who they are. Further down the line you’ll begin to see their real character, attitudes and behaviour. If you realise that they’re not the one for you after all it can be disappointing, especially if you’ve invested time, energy and emotions into the budding relationship.
Don’t ignore your own feelings and carry on regardless because you don’t want to disappoint the other person. You have to be honest, but also clear and decisive so that they know that you no longer wish to date them. Having strong boundaries is important. Even if you feel they’ve become an important part of your life, don’t compromise and make unacceptable behaviour, values or attitudes, acceptable.
If something bothers you at the beginning and you ignore it, it’s likely to be the thing that ends it. Hanging on in the hope that someone will change is a common mistake. You need to accept someone as they are now or not at all. Remember we teach people how to treat us.
The ABC of letting go
- Acceptance – you need to know for sure you don’t want to see them again, don’t play emotional games.
- Brevity – keep it simple and wish them well.
- Clarity – avoid ambiguous statements which may leave them confused.
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