Like many dysfunctional borderline alcoholics, most of my relationships have not really been relationships. In fact, I only even use the word “relationship” because I don’t have a better word, and “that guy I’ve been hooking up with for a few months, and I don’t really know where it’s going, if anywhere, but sometimes we hang out sober, and we text most days, but not every day, and I think he likes me, but who really knows” doesn’t fit as nicely into a tweet as “my boyfriend.” This is fine. It’s a part of life I’ve come to accept. But with not-relationships come not-breakups, which is when your average not-boyfriend turns into a fuckboy. But is there a “right” way to tell the person you’re casually banging that you no longer want to bang them casually? I don’t know, but some are less terrible than others.
6. Never Break It Off
At a certain point, you’re bound to develop feelings for a guy you’re regularly sleeping with (or vice versa) and that’s normal. When it starts to feel serious, however, you can’t just “keep having fun” forever. You need to either move forward or cut it off. But when guys like you but don’t like you enough, they ignore this common courtesy. They’re not ready for a relationship, but don’t want to lose you, so they just keep the status quo. Welcome to hell, and the absolute worst fucking thing you can do to a girl.
5. Finding Out He’s Seeing Someone Else
There you are, doing your third consecutive lap in the library to see who’s there instead of studying, when out of the corner of your eye, you see it. His favorite baseball cap. But it can’t be him, can it? He appears to be on a study date, and everyone knows that study dates come right before real dates, which come right before posting photos on Instagram together, which comes right before marriage, a baby, and a white picket fence. He could have given you some sort of warning before marrying someone else in the library for all the world to see. Jerk.
4. Third Party Messenger
If a guy lets his “boy” drop you hints that you should stop expecting him to call while he’s having a sleepover with your roommate, that guy is not only an asshole, but also a pussy. He’s making the assumption that you care (which may or may not be true), and making you look pathetic in front of other people, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY BEING TOO PATHETIC TO BREAK THINGS OFF HIMSELF. This guy sucks. At least you no longer have to.
3. Unnecessary Breakup Text
Girls (and boys, alike) think this is the best way to end a not-relationship, because a conversation is the best way to end a real relationship. But it’s not. All this does is allow the guy to feel like a decent person, and call you a psycho when your reaction is disproportionate to the relationship. Well, hello, douchebag. Your breakup was disproportionate to the relationship too. You just told me in plain English that I’m obsessed with you and you don’t like me when you don’t even KNOW what I feel. It’s not only aggressive, it’s embarrassing and awkward, and he gets the “dump” credit instead of being able to pretend it was mutual and have no hard feelings.
Ghosting gets so much flack, but I think it’s really undervalued. I’d prefer a not-boyfriend ghost than almost anything else, because it leaves me with no confusion and minimal hurt feelings. After a week, you can just say “fuck it” and “Whatever. I didn’t text him either. For all he knows, I ghosted on him. Unless of course you drunkenly, just…
“Okay, like, I wasn’t asking you to date me or be my boyfriend or whatever. I like sex. You like sex. Whatever. It was fun. I don’t get why you just disappeared all of a sudden. Unless you have some other girlfriend or something. I don’t care if you’re hooking up with other people. I mean, I’m hooking up with other people too. Not, like, a lot of other people. But you know what I mean. I’m not like obsessed with you or anything, I just thought we were having fun. Whatever. I don’t want to hear it. You’re an asshole.”
And honestly, that’s on you…and vodka.
1. The Slow Fade
This is the number one only way to break things off with someone who isn’t really your girlfriend. Go from texting regularly, to a little less. Shit will “come up,” you can’t hang out, and you’ll both get the message that it’s not working out. The relationship will fade gradually, just like it built up gradually, and everyone leaves on good terms, and with no hurt feelings. This is also the optimal breakup situation that allows you to go home together without feeling pathetic when you run into each other at the bar in two semesters.