This valuable life lesson is brought to you by my dear friend Rebecca Suhrawardi, a New York-based features and fashion journalist with an expat stint in London. When she is not being a tormented writer, she is busy being a mummy to her mini-golden doodle, Aiko. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram where you will find useless information, links to her work, and pretty images.
In a world full of ghosting and benching, living, breathing humans have become as disposable as that swift swipe to the left. Forget about bloody chivalry; it seems that, when it comes to dating, simple humanity has been thrown out the window. At what point did we forget that those left behind in the wake of rejection are actual fellow humans, with real feelings and attachments? Ghosting isn’t fun no matter what the circumstances, and neither is any method of ending a relationship that doesn’t involve some sense of decency. There has to be a better way.
Indeed, there is, and it is outlined in this handy little post which we shall call “Integrity in Dating 101.” It’s all very simple, you see, there’s – only one rule. Indeed, it has been around for a long time, an eternity in fact. Most of you probably learned it in Kindergarten, or from your mother. It’s called: honesty is the best policy.
Based on all the ghosting and benching and whatever else is happening out there, I have come to the conclusion that the dating world is full of spineless ninnies who completely lack any balls. Because at the end of the day, honesty requires bravery, it requires courage. You need a set of cajones to tell the truth because God only knows what is waiting – on the other side. There may be a nuclear meltdown from the person from whom you are detaching, or maybe the other party has some harsh truths to share themselves. Everything about honesty takes strength.
If you are considering ghosting someone, remember that the other person has feelings. They may have genuinely enjoyed your company or have even gone as far as fantasizing about sweeping you away on a magical honeymoon in the Maldives. Whatever the case, you owe it to them to end things with a conversation. Even if you’ve only been on two dates – just bloody talk to them. Be straightforward. You are not a better person for not telling them the truth because “it will hurt them less,” or however you choose to justify the disappearance. Pick up the phone, write a text, send a carrier pigeon, do whatever works best for you. Just let that other person know what’s up. Same goes for benching.
Or perhaps you are disentangling yourself from a LTR (aka a long-term relationship). Usually, there’s that weird shadow period, or a gray area, during which you are easing your way out of the relationship and things are clear but yet unclear and there are still lots of feelings. You know, perhaps you are still having sleepovers here and there, or having long talks trying to figure things out. Or maybe there are still dates to weddings or family events to be fulfilled. (Btw, big up to those who walk away, block numbers and never look back.) During this ambiguous period, maybe you hop onto Bumble and start having cheeky drinks on the side. Or get set up by a friend. What do you do to keep the integrity? You follow the rule—you are honest. You tell both parties what is going on like a decent human being.
Should ghosting, benching or shadowy gray areas be potential options in your near future, I urge you right now to stop. If it helps, here are some lines that you can use:
“I love spending time with you and appreciate who you are. We’ve had a lot of fun together but I’ve decided to pursue something else. Let me know if you want to talk about it more.”
“My ex just made an appearance back into my life, and he/she meant a lot to me, and I want to explore what this could mean. I genuinely like you, and we have a connection, I just feel drawn to this situation. I hope you understand.”
To the (soon-to-be) ex: “I know we’ve been together a while, and this breakup hurts both of us, let’s figure out an exit strategy that is honorable to us both. Let’s try to be as accommodating – and realistic – with each other as possible. What do you need in this wind-down period? This is what I need..”
Sure, it may sting the other person a bit, and there could even be fallout, but when you are honest, you know with certainty that you will never be the asshole who didn’t keep it kosher, or the jerk who could be accused of cheating while your LTR was winding down. Be clear, be sensitive, and be communicative. Not always so easy to do, but always the right thing to do.
Most importantly – whatever you say or however you choose to communicate – wrap it with love. I don’t mean be lovey-dovey. What I mean is, share the message with loving energy. It makes all the difference.
Grow up. Put your big boy or big girl pants on. Be a decent person, and for fuck’s sake, put the humanity back in dating. Come on, it’s about time.