In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states. In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org- all emails stay confidential. Today, Gynomite takes on how to best brush off an unwanted suitor.
I’ve been going on a bunch of dates with a lot of different guys lately, mostly just one or two dates and then I don’t want to continue seeing them for one reason or another. Instead of just blowing them off I’ve started to actually tell them the reason why- things like me noticing that he’s clearly in love with his female roommate. One guy told me that he didn’t have any dating experience so I thought I would tell him so he would know for the future that that’s the impression he’s giving off. One of my friends said that I shouldn’t do that because I don’t owe them anything and it’s unsolicited feedback but I feel like someone should know the reason why I don’t want to hang out with them again and if they are doing something unintentional, they’ll know for future dates with other women. What do you think?
This is a debate I had with a lot of both men and women back when I was dating, because I tended to do things the way you do- I thought it to be a refreshing departure from the usual excuses, and I hoped that guys would return the favor if they didn’t like dating me. I just always want to know an honest why. But it can sting, so here are some things to keep in mind if you operate this way…
1) It’s okay to not always have a steadfast reason. Sometimes you just don’t click with a guy, don’t keep digging until you come up with some women’s mag-worthy excuse just to satisfy your desire to communicate appropriately.
2) After you tell a guy you’re out, wait for him to express some unhappiness about not dating you anymore before telling him why. Explaining what turned you off when the guy is clearly not bummed about you being turned off is a mistake on a couple of different levels.
3) Men may not thank you for such feedback. In fact, they may hate it and respond vitriolically. Just know that.
4) Make sure your motivations are honest. As a therapist I was taught not to disclose anything personal about myself unless it directly helped the client, and even then, to be wary that I’m not just throwing myself a superiority party. The same is true with dates. Breaking it off with someone puts you in a power position, one that you can easily exploit by pointing out a person’s flaws. When you’re giving a guy feedback, make sure you are doing so because he genuinely wants to know, and because the reason is based around your personal perferences, not some character flaw he has. Make it sound as if it’s your problem and not his, because most of the time, (and this one is tough to swallow), it is your problem and not his. You may think that he’s too into his female roommate, but he may not be- it may be that you’re threatened by your man having female friends. Your opinions are not objective, they are yours and yours alone.
Always always do a gut check when you’re giving anyone advice, just to make sure that it’s not benefiting you more than it is them. But if you keep yourself humble and direct with your soon-t0-be ex-suitors, I see no problem with letting them know why the two of you didn’t click. It’s much more respectful than just ignoring his calls for a few weeks.