We’ve all been there. We’ve felt a connection with someone, and as with the majority of dating nowadays, it often occurs online. We’ve sent a few flirty messages on the dating site, exchanged emails and mobile numbers, and the flirty connections have continued, so much so that your phone has beeped at you more in the last week than in the whole of last month!
You’ve had a couple of conversations, and the chemistry is still working. You wish each other good morning and good night, you text at lunch, so now it comes to the crunch: your first date. You’ve imagined the future, the romantic meals, walks on the beach, and a possible wedding. You haven’t even met in person, but the excitement is now at fever pitch. Like a hormonal preteen at a Justin Bieber concert, you’re gulping for air and your heart is pounding so loud your neighbor’s walls are rumbling with the bass line.
Then you meet.
Mmm … Okay, he is who he said he is. You can get over the fact that one eye looks in one direction and the other wanders around the room, but the annoying habit of laughing and his dentures clatter in his mouth is a deal breaker. Your pounding heart has flat-lined. And to just get the thing over with, you gulp down your hot coffee so fast it scalds your mouth. You just want the date to end – quickly, and ideally 5 minutes ago. But he really likes you. How do you say “no” nicely?
Well for a start, rule out the following:
- Clambering out of the bathroom window
- Faking an illness – in his passionate concern, he might call an ambulance
- Pretend to like him, and never call him again
The top three ways of ending a date early are:
- First, before meeting, only arrange a small date, coffee or a drink. Identify a time frame beforehand so you have a finite period of time to be with him. If the date goes well you can pretend to reschedule the next activity you had planned. Don’t go for a meal, as this can be long and drawn out, and ultimately you’d probably prefer to spend money eating a meal with someone you like.
- Second, if it’s not going to work, be honest, and say something. Say you’ve enjoyed the flirting but don’t think the chemistry is right for you. End it with a thank you and wish him well in the future.
- Third, be polite and courteous. You don’t need to be vicious or cruel. You’re not out to crush his heart, and you don’t want to develop a reputation for being a dating nightmare. Be honorable and graceful.
Dating is the only way to get a relationship off the ground, like when you are on a probation period with a job or trying something new. Some dates will hit home immediately and others will not. Don’t be disheartened. The process can be enjoyable if you keep realistic expectations. And always remember to treat others how you would like to be treated.
JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay advice columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.