#789: Rejection never feels awesome, no matter how it’s delivered.

Dear Captain Awkward,

After a very painful marriage breakup and over 10 years of not dating (for many reasons including mental breakdown, SSRI sexual side effects and being too scared to go back into that shark pool – and yes, I’m currently in therapy) I’ve recently started online dating.

At the end of a recent (first meeting) coffee date, the man indicated that he would like to see me again, but then rang a few hours later to say that he had changed his mind. I am totally ok with him changing his mind, but the call made me feel quite uncomfortable because he seemed unable to just say what he needed to say then get off the phone. I assume he was trying to be polite, that perhaps he thought it was more chivalric than sending a text message or email or just dropping off the face of the earth, but I would actually have preferred one of the more impersonal methods in this setting, where I hardly know the man and am never going to see him again anyway.

My question is whether I should be upfront about my preferred mode of rejection while we’re still just emailing or texting, or whether it’s silly and preemptively negative to bring up how we’re going to end things before we’ve even met, and I should just learn live with the fact that all rejection will be at least a little bit painful.

Scared of the Shark Pool

Dear Scared of the Shark Pool,

That phone conversation sounds extremely awkward and all my sympathies are with you for being on the receiving end of it. However, rejection by someone you wanted a chance with is probably gonna sting no matter how it comes, and dwelling on the method vs. the fact of the rejection is one of the lies we tell ourselves about what would make it better.

You *could* put a preferred rejection policy in your dating profile or bring it up in the early emails with someone, but as you correctly point out, it’s kind of a jinx, right? “When this all goes to shit, just rip the bandaid off with a text, ok?” “If you find you don’t like me, feel free to ghost! No, really!” “Just so you know, I’m already planning for our inevitable failure, and I like to keep things terse.” My recommendation is, don’t set yourself up as a supplicant who is planning to be dumped.

I’d like to see if we can’t change the story here, at least a little bit:

After 10 years of not-dating, in spite of a lot of trepidation, you are still trying it out again. You put on a clean shirt and met a total stranger for coffee. That’s brave and cool. Go you!

You had a not-terrible date with someone that you mostly wouldn’t mind seeing again. Hey, that’s something! Maybe there is someone similar to this person on the dating site who will be more compatible with you.

You survived being rejected in an awkward way with your own dignity intact. You weren’t the one making it weird! And you’ve got a great perspective: Someone you hardly know and are never going to see again did something slightly annoying to you. He’s probably reacting to something that happened six months ago with someone who said, “I AT LEAST deserve a PHONE CALL.” You now know that when and if you have to deliver the “no more dates, thanks!” news, you will choose a quick textual bandaid-ripping. I personally like the method of sending a message through the dating site along the lines of “Thanks for meeting me! I’m not feeling a second date, but I appreciate the chance to meet a cool person like yourself and I hope you find someone great.”

There’s no need to change up what you are doing here. This was an outlier.

Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news? Singing Telegram of Nope at your workplace? Running into your mom at the supermarket and delegating the task to her? Having their new partner deliver the news like that really painful “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” scene in Evita? LinkedIn?

512 thoughts on “#789: Rejection never feels awesome, no matter how it’s delivered.

  1. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”

    That would be at the goth club, having a conversation with the dude about anime or something a few days after our first date, and then he says something like, “You don’t read kanji? Well never mind then” and walks away and never speaks to me again. Literally. This is literally true, this actually happened.

      1. Innorite? And I’m thinking, “Maybe if that’s how you feel you should move to Japan, where reading kanji is a little more common? Or at least let people know right away that they have to be down with Japanese to be down with you?”

    1. Based on recent experiences with (I’m making a huge assumption here) white dudes fetishing all things about Japanese culture and being revolting snobs towards anyone who doesn’t, you dodged a massive bullet there.

      1. yeeeeeah. . . that’s definitely a cultural phenomenon, and the guys who engage in it are just as fucking sketchy as you’d expect. (Ask Me How I Know, signed, Woman Who Went to Nerd School and Also Interned in Japan.)

        1. Yip. And I kind of regret making the “white dudes” comment because the last person to do it to me was black. “What do you mean you don’t want to be my compliant geisha-wife who exists only to be a plot point in the Oscar-winning screenplay of my life?! This is why everyone prefers Japanese women!” Yikes.

          1. Yeah – I’ve had a lot of experiences in the past where black guys have somehow also soaked up a lot of erroneous yellow fever ideas and feel the need to perpetuate being gross. Racism – not just for white guys anymore! But that being said:

            Just because you are a minority doesn’t mean you have to take racism from another minority. In the past I felt bad “shutting it down” and confronting other minorities on their racism because solidarity! and all that crap, but no. It doesn’t matter who is doing it; you can shut it down.

      2. This! I married one of these dudes. After our divorce, I became good friends with a professor who had taught him as an undergrad. She remembered him because he used to sit in her class, arms crossed, looking skeptical, whispering to the East Asian girl next to him disparagingly. He would come up after class and correct her whenever he decided she’d mispronounced the Japanese. He took like, 4 years Japanese and assumed that gave him permission to look down on a woman who’s spent 30 years doing research in East and Southeast Asia. He even put it on her review: “Needs to learn to pronounce Japanese words.” He also corrected anyone who said the word “karaoke” to the Japanese pronunciation. MAJOR DICK.

        Anyway, he was into manga before he started taking Japanese. My friend/his former professor shared with me that she always mistrusts white men who became interested in Japanese culture through manga and take her classes. They often have Asian fetishes that they think are flattering to the women they objectify, and/or superiority complexes about how “multi-cultural” they are.

        1. Word. In retrospect this was totally a white dude with a Japanese schoolgirl fetish. I just didn’t realize it at the time. Sometimes rejection is the gods’ protection!

        2. I had a roommate like this except it was Korean girls. Dude was sketch as hell. I mean, if you want to be a regrettable human being, do you, but he went past the line. His rotating series of 3-4 gfs at a time (I don’t know how he did it, he was actually pretty gross in every way) were in and out of our apartment all the time and that was bad enough, but one day I caught him telling one of them to WEAR MY SHOES when they were going outdoors to smoke.

          NOPE. I have so many stories about that dude.

  2. I’m the dumper in this story, but the most awkward break up I ever went through was when a guy was so drunk when we broke up that he forgot and I had to do it again the next day.

    Longer version: He had a pretty serious issue with alcohol and I’d already decided it was over but went to a wedding (one town over) that we’d already RSVPd to. He got very very drunk, was very rude to the waitstaff (dealbreaker) and confronted me on the street saying “I know what you’re going to say so just say it.” I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea because he wouldn’t remember it in the morning, and I tried to just get a taxi back to the hotel room. He got in the taxi too and kept pestering me so I broke up with him in a very nice room in a very nice bed and breakfast.

    The next morning he only remembered fighting but not what about. So I got to break up with him again, and then enjoyed a mostly silent 90 minute drive home with him and his friend.

    1. My husband once got dumped by a girlfriend of 2 years who woke him in the middle of the last night of their vacation in Spain and said she wanted to tell him as soon as she knew because it would have felt dishonest if she’d waited. Which…uh, I can see where she’s coming from, but…no.

      He says the flight home was at least as awkward as you can possibly imagine.

      1. …I’m pretty sure that virtually all news short of “someone is dying” can wait until sunrise. Yikes.

        1. “Someone is dying” with the addition maybe of “there is a fire in our room”. Otherwise… yeh it can wait.

          1. “Dean I’m going to turn around now and you’d better be on fire. You’re standing there in flames and the only person who can put you out is me! Because that is the only conceivable reason that you would WAKE ME UP like this!” – Dr Thaddeus ‘Rusty’ Venture

          2. Well, I definitely didn’t get broken up with via awkward conversation. Or ghosting out either.
            When I was young, I was dating this guy for a few months. Then at an event with our friend group, he was very physically affectionate with another girl.
            I turned around and went home.
            Not a word was spoken.
            He claims that I broke up with him, but the friends who were present all seem to agree that he broke up with me.

      2. If he’s asleep she’s not being dishonest by waiting. She’s not conversing with him and pretending everything is okay. She might as well be completely on her own in the room.

        Though I’d at least wait until after the flight home and probably do it the next day, “dishonest” or not.

  3. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”

    I was in high school the last time that happened. I’d called him after our blind double date (his friend was dating my friend, all four of us went out). His mother answered. I could hear him in the room, declining my call. He asked her to tell me not to call again, so she did. And that was that.

    It stung at the time, because it was high school and it was one of my very first rejections. But now I just look back on it and laugh. Dumped via mom!

    1. Yeah, I got dumped via best friend a few times, but not since I was 13. In one of them I could also hear him in the background. Stung at the time, but it’s funny *coughcough* years later.

    2. Joining the “dumped via Mom” club. My high school bf didn’t show up for my 16th birthday party. On the day of my birthday, before school, I called him again to try and get in contact because I was worried. His mom said “he doesn’t want to talk to you anymore, don’t call again”. Dumped on my sweet sixteen by my boyfriend’s mom.

      1. I had a guy’s mom call me to let me know he was cheating on me- flew to a tropical island for the weekend with some model no less! His dad (mom’s ex) used to lie and cheat on her , and since she liked me and was fed up with that shit, she ratted him out. No third date for us.

        1. Mom sounds like a treasure, I’m sorry her son was a dillweed and you didn’t get to be part of her family.

    3. My friend was on the phone with her bf’s younger sister (they were friends) and bf yells in the background, “hey, we’re over!” and then avoided her after that.

      I can’t decide if that’s more spineless or less than using the mom proxy. At least he used his own voice? But while hiding behind his little sister in a situation that friend couldn’t respond.

    4. I was “dumped via mom” by my very first boyfriend. We’d chatted on the phone the night before, we were going to see each other at a get-together the next day, everything was cool. Then the next day, I was there, he arrived a little late, I went over to say hi, and he turned around and just went straight back out the door. I tried to follow, and his mother was in the carpark – she blocked me and shouted “haven’t you done enough damage already?”

      They both cut off contact completely, I never saw either of them again, and to this day I still have no idea WTF I was supposed to have done.

  4. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”

    I was told after the first date that “I don’t think you’re someone I could ever love”. Sure it stung, but it was also so bizarre and totally had me wanting to should after him “no one knows if they can love me that quickly!!!”

    1. Okay, that was below the belt. There’s awkward, and then there’s total freakin’ lack of tact! My sympathies, but let me tell you, I think you are the one who was lucky to get out of that one, this person just sprung at me as the ‘puts the kart before the horse’ type, I mean telling someone that they are unlovable!?(even if they meant it as solely their own opinion, it’s hard to not let that sting).
      What ever happen to the old “it’s not me, it’s you”? I know it’s bull but… Heck! Everyone knows it’s bull! That’s why it works!

      1. This reminded me of a summertime fling I once had. As autumn came we debated continuing it (one of us was moving away and it was complicated). He ultimately decide that it was not going to work for him but not before several agonized conversations about it. He kept saying it was a difficult decision because he “did think he could L me if we had had the chance” I was “someone he could L.” He could not say the word out loud. He was 38 years old.

        1. I’m sorry, this made me laugh out loud. As I read your story I was thinking this was a middle school or possibly high school thing, and then . . . 38 years old! Oh, my.

          1. Three months later he announced to me he was moving to my city for school. We could get a place together! I said it was great he’d be living so close to where his mom lived and best of luck. He sent me a very, very long poem in response ranking me in the grand scheme of his ex girlfriends (I didn’t do so good 😦 ) He was married 10 months later to someone he (presumably) Ls. The day before his engagement he added me as a LinkedIn contact? The intersection of masculinity and emotional labour/intelligence is a horror show of unknowable depths, I think is the lesson here.

          2. OMG, a poem RANKING you? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the guy, but what a great terrible story!

          3. I’m kinda wondering who the ‘top’ girlfriend was in that poem. And if he ranked like Pokemon where you need a rock type to defeat a thunder type.

          4. Wow. I have (privately) ranked my exes, sure. But not TO them, in a poem, as some sort of quasi-revenge strategy???

        2. Dated a fellow for three months, then he got a new job and moved to Quebec. He invited me up to stay with him there for the weekend, I started taking French lessons. Upon arrival he gave me a bouquet of violets. I noticed things around the apartment that obviously belonged to a woman. And a large bouquet of old roses fading in a vase. He said, “How would you feel if I had someone else here too…..”
          That was a huge NOPE to me at age 25. I left, a bit shocked that I had made the flight for this result, but what rally frosted me was that this other unnamed lady had scored ROSES and while I rated VIOLETS….

          1. Hah – pro-tip. Discuss any non-monogamy *before* anyone buys any plane tickets or starts learning a new language…

          2. Speaking of plane tickets etc. though, a friend of mine got to know someone online and was rather smitten with her. So he booked flights (from the UK to the US) to spend a week with her – and on arrival, it turned out she saw him “as a friend” and he saw it as an established long-distance relationship. I have no idea how much of that was wishful thinking on his part, and how much was bad communication on her part… (for the record, anyway, he’s happily married now, to someone else of course)

          3. Perhaps we should ammend the pro-tip to say – everyone should discuss *specifics* before the purchasing of plane tickets, quitting of jobs, learning of new languages and international moves. You would think that some things are default assumptions and safe to assume if no one says otherwise, but they are not, and many people are bad communicators (and afraid of rejecting others) and wishful thinking creates the most lovely rose tinted glasses…

    2. Wow…that’s “eh, I’m not really feeling any chemistry here” in the most hurtfully-phrased way possible.

      1. It really both was and wasn’t. The fact that it was after one date made it so much more bizarre than cruel. Had he said, “I’m not feeling the chemistry” it would have likely bummed me out in the way that all rejection does, but “unloveable” after that short amount of time has always ranked as a real “wow….ok”.

    3. I had something similar when a guy told me after one or two dates that he didn’t want to date anyone that he couldn’t see himself “spending the rest of his life with”.

      1. It’s one thing to say, inside the privacy of your own head, “I want to get married someday, and it’s not going to be to someone who makes racist comments/reminds me of my ex/can’t pronounce the word rutabaga” or whatever. But FFS, you don’t announce that to the other person. 😦

      2. Hmm… I think I’d actually be ok with that one. I read somewhere (here?) that a good, honest thing to say if you feel that way is: “I don’t think we’re each other’s one and only.” Because it’s a reminder that what we’re looking for really is a pretty damn unique thing, and it’s not even a little bit unreasonable to need to shop around before you find it. I think I like it better than the lie it’s often replaced with: “I’m just not looking to date right now/don’t want a relationship right now/etc.” That’s a face-saver, but I think I’d like the truth more. 🙂

  5. His roommate: “Yeah, Dave said you’d probably call. He told me to tell you he’s moved to Pittsburgh.” (We lived in Canada.)

      1. Well, six months later I did get a letter apologizing (sort of) but after the first sentence it was all about him–his adventures, his search for self-actualization, his new job, etc. It was the most solipsistic non-apology ever. I kept that letter as a reminder that sometimes getting dumped is a good thing. A relationship with him would have been totally all about him.

        1. I got an “apology” letter from a guy I broke up with for cheating on me repeatedly. It was not very apologetic and very all about him. It actually made things worse until my friend’s roommate performed it for me poetry-slam style a few months later.

          Now it is an AWESOME memory. 🙂

          1. That’s a GREAT friend (slash friend’s roommate, but I hope they’re your for-real friend now)! Dramatic readings of dumb poems and lyrics is just the best. I once literally fell off the couch in laughter because a friend and I were hamming up “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift.

          2. That is a beautifully funny way to defuse the awkwardness of that letter. I’m definitely gonna keep that technique in mind.

    1. “probably call” ahahahahaha. “Yeah mate I guess this girl I’ve been [on at least one date with] probably won’t psychically know that I’ve moved away, can you deal with that?”

    2. No, his name was Daniel and he was moving somewhere else. (Almost the same conversation.)

  6. It technically wasn’t a second date, I believe we had gone out a few times.

    We went to high school together and in our mid-20’s worked a couple blocks away from each other. We used to run into each other from time to time, and I always thought he was cute and he seemed like a cool guy, but nothing ever came of it for several years. Then one night we ran into each other at a bar and it seemed like we were really hitting it off. We exchanged #s and he asked me to do something a few days later, but I had plans. Then he disappeared for a couple of weeks, but I went out with him anyway when he finally texted. We went out a few times and everything seemed to be going well.

    One night we supposed to meet for dinner, and the phone rang just as I was finishing putting on my make-up. It was the guy, canceling my date because he didn’t feel well. I wasn’t sure if I believed that, because he’d been ambivalent about me previously. Since he didn’t contact me the next day or week I figured he just didn’t want to go out anymore and figured there was no point in contacting him.

    Six months later he called me piss drunk to tell me the reason he stopped contacting me because I never called him when he was sick to ask how he was feeling.

      1. I only asked because I had a similar thing with a guy who I saw three times. We never spoke on the phone, only by text, but after the third date I never saw him again. We continued texting for a few days, he told me he had a horrendous cold. I tried to sympathise and ask him how he was feeling regularly, but I either didn’t give enough sympathy or he was he was planning to end it anyway. It ended as soon as he failed to reply to one of my texts.

      1. In High School there was a College aged teaching assistant who asked me out, when he came to our house he was dressed in a tall pointed hat and was carrying a staff, and told me he was really a Wizard. At 17 I was a bit confused by this admission and just grinned at him. He took offence and thought I was making fun of him, so decided we were not going to go out after all. He took himself quite seriously.

        Another bullet dodged.

        And this was way before Harry Potter or Gandalf the Grey…..

  7. Does ghosting for ten days and then sending a string of 14 text messages explaining that we could no longer date because he’d decided to return to the (very restrictive) religion he’d been raised in, but hadn’t practiced in 10 years, but decided to go back to the day after our first date because *reasons*, count as strange? Because that is a thing that has happened to me.

    1. I think so. I’m imagining an awkward conversation like “I’m going back to being Amish. No, no, it was nothing you said…”

      1. Your take actually isn’t that far off (although not Amish, but similar in that ex-members are hardcore shunned, like, his own mother wouldn’t acknowledge him on the street shunned). Just add lots and lots of FEEEEEEELINGS.

        On the bright side, “I once got dumped for ::insert diety::” is a really fun sentence to throw around when trading dating-rejection stories.

        1. This happened to me too! I got dumped for not converting to Born-Again Christianity and committing to becoming a minister’s wife. I was 15 and an atheist.

          He is actually a minister now. I am still an atheist.

          1. Oh my goodness, are you me? Except that my fundie childhood sweetheart is now a terrible, terrible artist who sponges off his wife. I too am still an atheist.

        2. It so is. In my case my boyfriend was doing a lot of Bible study with his family all of a sudden, acted weird when I dropped by, and later returned a CD with a note in it under the CD itself, ripped into a circle so it would fit! that read “Jesus’ love is greater.”

  8. In front of me and our 4 or 5 closest friends: “Well, actually, I’m getting really attached to (Girl Back Home).” Followed by a nonpology some six months later in the middle of playing board games.

    Ah, college.

  9. Scared LW, rather than going in with a policy for the people you date on how you prefer to be rejected, I would suggest using situations like these (should they come up again) as an opportunity to practice being direct in the moment. After all, if you stumble a little bit, you’re doing it with somebody you now know for a fact won’t be in your life anymore, right? So the stakes are low. When this guy called you and seemed unable to close the conversation, it wouldn’t have been rude or mean of you to jump in and say: “Let me stop you right there. Thank you so much for letting me know your feelings. I think we can leave it there. It was great meeting you and I wish you the best. Goodbye!”

    And then you hang up. No need to leave him additional time to respond; it’s not debate club, and you get to opt out at any point from conversations that make you uncomfortable, especially once their purpose has already been served.

    Good luck to you! Hope you find some awesome sharks out there.

    1. I have done the “Let me stop you right there” thing, both as the putative dumpee and the person trying to forestall Dude With Issues™ who was getting wildly over-attached after one date. It really is better to be direct and is totally something you can practise. Not easy when you’re not used to it though, so remembering the stakes are low as jo said is something I have found really helpful.

      1. I had to do this when I was being laid off once. “You’re really great and awesome, and we love you, but you know that things are tight, but you’re SO awesome. We think you could do better in X, Y an…” “So, let me stop you right there. Is this the kind of conversation that ends with ‘please go hand in your laptop?’ Because if so, let’s just skip to the end.” And then we did. Being able to skip to the end is a super-useful skill both inside and outside the dating world!

    2. thanks for that suggestion! Cutting people off, even politely, is something I have trouble with (growing up being told it’s rude etc) and I could definitely use more practice at it

  10. You could, until sure, just not hand out the phone number.

    Personally, I would also set up a different e-mail specific to the person in question. That way, if things really go south (or sideways, or upside down) you can make a clean break.

    I think a “nice” person would be fine with whatever boundaries one wants to put on the process of getting to know one another.

    Then again, this may sound too simple an answer, you know, not going into deep ruminations about what it could have meant.

    One last thing . . . it was a phone conversation. Those can be ended from either end. If someone gets uncomfortable on the phone, a simple “Great. Thanks for the call but I gots to feed my pet iguana. Bye.” Click.

    Again, not a professional advice giver.

    1. I had a friend who would tell people he didn’t want to talk to on the phone that he had to go because he had to eat a large sub sandwich.

      He told me that once, and I knew we were no longer friends.

      1. I’m looking forward to the day I remember to say no with “I must decline, for secret reasons”, but I don’t think I’d end a friendship like that!

    2. In general, if you are online dating, you can–and should!–restrict contact to “by means of the site/app” until the third or fifth or tenth date, because then if you need them gone you can just block them on the site. If one is at all an active dater, separate emails for everyone you go out with is going to get unwieldy real quick.

      1. Unless you happen to have your own domain email, I suppose. You can have aliases rather than separate accounts then and filter anything directed at a particular alias into trash. But most people don’t have those so, yeah, unwieldy.

      2. Or just a single email designated for purposes of all dating activities, both spam from the site itself and giving out to people met thusly who want to contact you. That way, in a creep situation, it’s not your real – and inconvenient to change – email you might end up needing to burn to the ground.

        (Bonus! If you’re feeling burned out on dating for a while or just want to take a break, it’s as easy as not checking that particular account.)

        If going by this method, be aware that people *will* ask for other contact info, often before you feel comfortable giving it (say, on the second exchanged message). ‘I don’t text much, email is an easier way to get ahold of me’ and ‘I mostly use facebook to keep up with family’ are my preferred (and conveniently true!) dodges in these situations, your mileage may vary.

        1. I like Google Voice for this. It’s an easy to change phone number, you can block people easily, and it rings your regular phone without you having to give anyone your actual phone number. Oh, and if you don’t feel like talking to anyone from dating sites but you also don’t want to turn your ringer off, you can just set your google calls to not ring.

          It’s an awesome stalking and awkwardness prevention tool, and I wish it was a thing in my early 20s.

          1. The problem there is that’s it’s a voice line. Talking on the actual phone to online dates should ALWAYS be avoided. I actually pre-jected a couple of guys when I was online dating who were like “let’s talk on the phone! no really! give me your number! let’s talk!” UGHHHHH. I hate talking on the phone SO MUCH.

  11. I don’t know if this counts, because I never actually went on a date with the dude. But, I was talking to a guy from OKC recently and he was very up front about being polysexual, which I’m not into at all, but I was totally cool with being friends and he seemed to be as well. We continued to have mutually enthusiastic conversation over the next few days, and then he asked me how I felt about Disney. I said that while I had friends who were totally into it, it wasn’t my thing at all. To be clear, I didn’t rag on Disney in any way…just said I had zero interest. He said that not loving Disney was a COMPLETE DEALBREAKER, that he’d been there 21 times and had secretly scattered his mother’s ashes there, and he was DONE TALKING, GOOD DAY, MA’AM.

    Seriously the most bizarre interaction I’ve had yet.

      1. We had already taken dating off the table, but he couldn’t even be FRIENDS with someone who wasn’t orgasmic over the Disney experience. Whut??

    1. Wait! Scattered his mother’s ashes there?

      My husband wants to keep his mother’s ashes in our house. At least, he did propose that. After all the blood drained from my face, I said, “You know, in my family, that is not how we have done things. And I am wondering if perhaps your mother would have preferred her ashes be scattered in someplace warm? Rather than living on the mantel in the house of that bitch who married her son?”

      1. Yep. And I’m pretty sure Disney actually frowns on that quite severely, hence the surreptitious scattering. I mean, I guess you have to be hardcore into Disney to sneak your deceased relative’s ashes in and scatter them while no one is looking.

        1. Is this listed in the official Disneyland document for behaviours not allowed on the park? Like, “Q: Am I allowed to scatter the ashes of a deceased loved one at Disneyland? A: No, any guest found scattering the ashes of a deceased loved one will be asked to leave the park.”

          I find myself really wanting this to be true.

          1. My understanding is that if you’re caught scattering ashes in a Disney park, EVERYONE has to leave until that particular attraction has been thoroughly cleaned. Human remains and family theme parks don’t mix, kids!

      2. Apparently it happens way more often than you’d think, enough to be a regular issue on the Haunted Mansion, in particular. Which, like. I can sort of see the appeal of wanting to hang out with the other ghosts – hell, the overhead narration even says something about “you” maybe being the new addition to the Happy Haunts. But what actually happens is that the whole ride has to be shut down and cleaners sent in to deal with what is, in fact, human remains on the track of a theme park ride. And while I guess ashes being scattered anywhere have the potential to end up somewhere undignified (e.g. in the ocean, they end up being swallowed by a fish or something), being in the dustbag of an industrial-grade vacuum cleaner an hour after the scattering is done is pretty unromantic.

        1. being in the dustbag of an industrial-grade vacuum cleaner an hour after the scattering is done is pretty unromantic

          I wanted to admire this again. And now I’m wondering whether this technically counts as harshing somebody else’s squee or not. The mind, she ponders.

        2. When I was in the Navy we’d occasionally do burials at sea, which these days means pouring ashes over the side of the ship. The burial detail personnel would end up covered in ashes, the ship would get covered in ashes…

    2. Wow. I mean, we’re allowed to have whatever dealbreakers we like, but at least if you know your dealbreaker is a bit out there, you should not get into it with people like THEY are the peculiar one. For example, if you really just CANNOT with dating someone who doesn’t express emotion through interpretive dance that’s fine, but at least be a little self-deprecating when you break up with them.

    3. Also, ew! Now every time I wander thought a Disney park, I’m going to be imagining that I’m walking over someone’s ashes.

    4. Okay, I feel like (as somebody who’s on-again, off-again looking at dating sites online) I need to do a PSA here:

      If you have a “weird” dealbreaker (or anything just not covered by the site’s questions), and it’s solid to the point where no positive interaction can take place without that criteria being satisfied, LIST IT UP FRONT. No weird asking the question, no time wasted talking to people you will then explode at, no causing the WTFs at the other end of the conversation–better for everybody.

      On the other hand, you got a good story out of it. XD

  12. I went on a first date last week and as we were walking away from the restaurant, he asked me for a second date. I just told him I wasn’t feeling it so there would be no second date. That’s probably the most awkward I’ve felt as an adult. It’s hard to tell someone you think is a nice person that you aren’t feeling it. I’ve also done it via text and that felt weird too.

    That said, don’t be scared and good luck with the process. Online dating isn’t for the faint of heart but I tell myself that each encounter has the potential to be something special or at the very least, a good story. I’ve had a lot of the latter and none of the former but I remain optimistic.

    1. Yeah, I was always super direct: “I don’t see a future for us but I wish you well.”

      Really, it is the most kind thing you can do for a person – not waste his or her time and not leave him wondering.

    2. Online dating is a great way to learn a lot about yourself and what you like, and also to get an amazing fund of terrible first date stories. I ended up meeting Best Boyfriend in another way entirely, and he was a witness to a lot of my online dating hilarity over the years before we started dating, but I don’t regret my time on OKCupid in the *slightest*.

  13. In high school I had been dating someone for a few weeks and decided to break up with them by letter. Like, I typed a letter and mailed it USPS. It was the early 2000s, too – phones and shit had been invented.

    I have NO IDEA why I thought that was the right move.

    1. The fact that you typed it rather than hand-writing it is what makes this story for me. I hope you signed it off really formally too, like “Wishing you the best in your future endeavours, yours sincerely” or something like that.

      1. I believe it did end with a “Sincerely” and I signed my name.

        There was also an awkward period of dodging their calls in between when I mailed the letter and when it arrived.

        1. That’s delicious. I actually have a seal and some shiny red wax that I use to seal letters when I’m feeling particularly Anne of Cleves. I have never ended a relationship that way but now I want to.

          1. Yep, the Anne of Cleves was more a reference to her rocking brocade-and-cloth-of-gold headgear than her relationship status.

          2. Anne of Cleves was not super-keen to marry Henry, but she was pretty keen to get her own house and be left alone in their bargain. A+ Anne of Cleves!

          3. Anne of Cleves was the best.

            Incidentally the story that she was horribly ugly and unhygienic etc most likely was at the very least quite exaggerated. I remember reading quite an involved discussion about this which included the point that Henry never punished the guy who painted her portrait or any of the people who’d met her and talked up the marriage. 😛 Apparently he just… really wasn’t feeling it?

          4. So the best theory I ever heard involved the fact that Henry had first gone to meet her in disguise, and had rudely hit on her without her realizing who he was. He loved going around in disguise, but of course with his own court, everybody knew who he was and played along and flattered this “mysterious stranger” to the skies. But Anne, she doesn’t know any of this shit, and all she knows is that this rando is perving on her, and responds with all the Nope you might expect. At that point Henry’s ego is totally deflated, because he realizes *she* isn’t attracted to *him*, but with her being a foreign noblewoman he can’t very well lop her head off, so he just ships her off to the party castle as soon as he decorously can.

          5. Anne of Cleves

            From Rick Wakeman’s “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”

            (Listened to that a lot a long time ago.)

            and the portrait of Hans Holbein the Younger is fine:

          6. Oh I’ve heard that one too Kelly! Playing silly games and throwing a sulk when they go wrong, always a good way to start a marriage.

          7. Hank was *all about* playing silly games and getting pissed when they went wrong. He’s pretty much the epitome of the Nice Guy ™, with the twist that he could have your head chopped off if you failed to adequately acknowledge his Manpain.

            IMO the only justification for Henry VIII’s existence is that he was Elizabeth’s father.

    2. I think that is officially more awkward than the time my middle school friend handed me a letter his sister wrote, asking me to please date him.

  14. One guy I dated in college had decided that we should break up, but hadn’t had a chance to do so before a house party he was helping to host at someone else’s house. Things were a little off during the party, but then at some point he had quite a bit too much to drink and was getting…silly. He decided that the best thing to do would be to go sit in the shower in the upstairs bathroom and sober up a bit, but he couldn’t figure out how to work the shower at that point, so I went to help him.

    It was the first time we’d been alone together since he had decided we should break up, and…well. Drunk-logic made it seem like a good idea. “I don’t think we should do the whole relationship thing anymore.”

    So my strangest/most awkward is being dumped by a naked, drunk boy in a bathtub at a house party in college.

    But the truly awkward part began when I got back to my dorm ten minutes later and fell into bed, crying, I realized I had his house keys in my pocket…

    I went back (because it was February and I was envisioning him being locked out of his house and ending up in a snowdrift) and he was still in the upstairs bathroom, but now being sprayed with a mixture of whipped cream and shaving cream and all manner of other bath products by four or five girls who were at the party. So I found his best friend (who lived in this house) and gave him the keys instead. However, by THAT point I was starting to feel a bit spinny from a mixture of alcohol and emotions, so I sat down for a few minutes to recover before walking home again.

    During this time, someone threw up INSIDE the couch next to the one I was sitting on, and shower-fun-time upstairs also ended. So the best friend (who was carrying his shirt at this point because of an incident with cranberry juice) was trying to simultaneously direct cleanup of the couch before it got worse and also herd my still-naked now-ex back up the stairs so he wouldn’t come down to where I was sitting and upset me. (His herding technique involved quite a lot of arm-flapping and will stay with me for the rest of my life.)

    Eventually I felt a bit better and walked the few blocks home, but managed to fall on the ice in the middle of a street. It turned out that I’d damaged some soft tissue in my shoulder, which would take years to heal!

    But yes. Naked, drunk boy in a bathtub.

      1. I think maybe one feels the urge coming on, decides it would be best kept a secret, and lifts the couch cushion. Based on my experience with drunken university students, that’s how I imagine that going anyway.

  15. Strangest: Went on a date. Felt good about it. Asked for a second date via text the next day. He texts me three days later having just got back from a different continent and says a polite no.
    Meanwhile I had semi-permanent nerve damage in my hand from multiple marathon Minecraft sessions to distract myself from checking my phone.
    After some space we are now friends and can go for sushi by ourselves without awkward. It took a while though. It’s okay if it takes a while.

    Worst: asked guy out via flowchart because we’re both fucking nerds and his friends said he’d appreciate the humor in it. He says he wants to talk about it then ghosts me. One week no response, I know he’s not into me. Three weeks later no response, he comes back and asks to just be friends.
    We’re not friends.

  16. I got “I can’t go out with you because [long confused ramble about fear of commitment]” and while I feel he was pretty compassionate about it, it was mixed blessings that he broke up with me in a public park.

    I say mixed because while it sucks to cry in public, there was no easy escape, and having a lot of people see it happen caused issues later on when we got back together…

    There was another couple having a very loud and angry breakup about 10 feet away, and commenting that at least we weren’t doing that helped break the awkward tension a bit.

    1. Wait, so there were multiple breakups going on at this park at the same time? Is it a known breakup park or something? Because that would be kind of funny.

  17. Continuing on the Andrew Lloyd Webber theme, an alternate strategy for conveying your rejection policy: link to Tell Me On A Sunday from the musical of the same name.

  18. I don’t have any awkward rejection stories…scary ones, yes, but I’m not going to go all Debbie Downer on what should be a fairly lighthearted discussion! Mostly, I just don’t have that much experience dating, though that is entirely because I no longer have any interest.

    Which kinda brings me to my question for the LW. LW, what are your goals in starting to date again? Do you have a genuine interest in meeting somebody you could conceivably share a life with, or does getting back on the market just seem like a next step in proving that you’re on the road to normalcy, whatever that entails?

    If your reasons are more along the lines of the former than the latter, feel free to ignore the rest of this comment. But if you’re only doing this because it seems like something you should do, well…you’re probably aware of how the Cap and commenters feel about “shoulds.” I just want you to know that it is possible to be perfectly content as a single person, and if you decide this whole dating business isn’t for you right now, or ever, that’s totally cool.

  19. LW, you are doing great. Even though you haven’t been dating in years, you know enough to know that this encounter was awkward and strange. Something that I’ve come to understand more recently in my life is that people delivering bad news often suck at it. One expects the receiver of bad news to have a hard time of it and maybe do/say something awkward. But the deliverer of bad news very frequently does/says something awkward too. good for you for recognizing that when it was happening.

    Awkward dumping story: Got set up on a blind date. Mentioned on the date that I didn’t know anything about a topic I had heard about recently, and went to Wikipedia to just figure out what it was. Yes, guy didn’t want a second date with me because I used Wikipedia, which of course, he was assuming that I believed everything on Wikipedia to be complete and true. So, really, phew, glad that didn’t go anywhere.

  20. Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?

    This is actually “What is the weird way someone broke up with you and then showed up again nine months later wanting to marry you?”

    Dated this guy in Brussels (I am in US). We worked for the same company and he came to the US often. We vacationed together in France. Great times. He was all excited about my birthday, telling me he had something so fabulous planned. (For his birthday, I tracked down a rare boutique bourbon that cost $50 a bottle and could not be gotten in Europe and hand-carried it to France for him.)

    He sent me an e-card.

    Yes. That’s what he was thrilled about.

    A week later, he sent me an email telling me he was not ready for an intimate relationship. (He was in his 40s.)

    OK. I got over him. Whatever.

    Months later, he sent me an email that he would be in the US for work and could he see me and to let him know ASAP because there was only one more cheap seat (he was not paying the airfare) on the plane.

    Because I am super curious and because I am always looking for material for my someday books (and now, for my blog, which is why I no longer care when my father in law gets ugly with me – I just think, “Keep talking, old man. I am taking notes for my blog and my book.”), I said sure, I would see him.

    I picked the most expensive restaurant in town – he was going to pay for this. I met him there. He was all excited, telling me he was getting married.

    I was happy for him. Asked him about the bride.

    “You know her!” he said.

    I was confused, because I do not know anyone in Brussels besides him.

    “It’s YOU!” he said. “I am going to marry YOU!”

    I laughed. Oh. My.

    Reader, I did not marry him.

    1. Hahahaha oh my god. I am fascinated by what goes on in the head of someone who can do that. Is it just a choir of angels singing “ME ME ME ME MEEEEEE!”??

      1. aha ha hahahahahahahahahah this image is the best (the above story that prompted it, also, is the best, let me be clear)

    2. I find it amusing that some men are so caught up in the ‘women desperately want to marry’ stereotype that they just assume that means they only have to ask and they’ll get an enthusiastic affirmative response.
      They either believe that women have no standards and are so desperate to marry that anyone will do, or that they are the perfect catch and any woman should consider herself lucky to be asked.

      1. Yeah, I have considered starting a consulting business where I coach men on how to talk to women after they have ditched the women. Not that I would have said yes anyhow, but I might not have laughed in his face if he had said something like, “Last year, I made the biggest mistake of my life when I broke up with you. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was an idiot. I have spend the past nine months regretting it and wishing I could have a second chance. I know I don’t deserve it, but would you possibly consider dating me again? I don’t think I can live without you.”

    3. “Keep talking, old man. I am taking notes for my blog and my book.” =D Loved This!

      Someday gonna write a blog/book called, “Tales From The O.R.” about all the weird, wonderful, odd and scary stuff that goes down in a Major hospital O.R….. Including how shite runs downhill in the hierarchy, and how Old Nurses treat new Nurses and how all Nurses treat new Resident Surgeons…The Delusions of God that new Surgeons have until pulled up by Old, and how Old Surgeons treat new Interns and are friends with good old Nurses… A world unto itself.

    4. “Looking for material” is epic repurposing of someone’s dysfunction. That guy who did that “**it My Dad Says” had a nicely profitable run. And a TV show.

      1. I’m thinking of the planned series with William Shatner, that launched from the web blog but sadly couldn’t get traction. But it’s a fun meme. What’s the Gaston one?

        1. Presumably Beauty & the Beast 🙂 He knocks on Belle’s door and has the town musicians all lined up and ready for when she “of course” accepts his proposal.

  21. That’s a great line to tell someone you don’t want a second date! I’ve been online dating and while I’ve met some lovely people, sometimes there’s just no chemistry, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to be gracious but upfront about it. This is perfect!


    #1 – Went on date with a guy I met at a party. Went really great, except I said something awkward when we were making out. (It sounded sexy and cool in my head, but…) We laughed about it. When I tried to call him the next day, it was very obvious that he’d told the roommate who answered the phone all about it, because they were like, “You’re Megan? [laughing] Uh, sorry, _____ isn’t here.”

    #2 – Went on a date with a guy. He said some really gross things (while we were eating!) that were a major turn-off to me. He called me later and said how he was excitedly telling his new friends about his “girlfriend.” I said, “Girlfriend?! If I’m your girlfriend, could you please let me know because I don’t remember you asking me.” I must have sounded sufficiently mean because he made an excuse to get off the phone and never called me again.

    #3 – Dated a guy for a month. Last time I saw him, he was really sick (swollen lymph nodes, the whole deal) and he told me that the last time he’d been sick like that, he’d had to go to the hospital so I shouldn’t worry if he didn’t call for a few days. Ghosted me for weeks while I worried that something really bad had happened to him. Then I ran into his mom at a store and she told me he’d gotten back together with his ex. Oh.

    #4 – Dated a guy for a few weeks. Wrote him this long, sappy letter about how I liked him so much and wanted to have him in my life “forever.” He gave the note back to me with many of the things I said circled and numbered, accompanied by several pages of typed notes where he took each numbered quote and gave a very logical rebuttal. I read the first few lines, realized he was breaking up with me, started crying, and called my mom to come pick me up. We were at a church choir rehearsal. I stopped going to that church.

      1. I KNOW! And it was written in the style of “When one feels blah blah blah, one should….” Like he didn’t write it in terms of “you and I.” It was the impersonal, formal “one.”

        1. He rebutted your love letter! I am gasp-ugly-laughing. That’s downright soulless. You are well-rid of that cretin.

        2. This sounds EXACTLY like someone I went to college with…except that churches weren’t his jam. But the combination of the love-rebuttal and the usage of the impersonal “one” is so much That Dude.

  23. A few years ago I was venturing into dating again after a divorce. I dated a guy I had met online for maybe 2 months. Things seemed to be going well from my point of view. One day, I asked him to come over to help me unload a heavy Craigslist purchase out of my car. He showed up, seemed to have a relaxed, friendly attitude, and helped me unload. Then he said, “Oh, hey, I’ve got something for you in my car.” He handed me a grocery bag and said, “Gotta run, I’ll call you later.” and drove away.

    I looked in the bag. It was everything I had ever left at his place, and I knew instantly that I was never going to hear from him again. And I didn’t. It was just this awkward moment, standing in my driveway, going, “Oh. I guess that’s that.”

    1. You know what? Props to the dude for helping you out with your heavy thing. Efficient and with one last act of kindness.

      1. I certainly appreciated the help, and I wasn’t even mad about the impending ghosting.

        It was just a moment where I was going, “Ok, see you soon” *looks in bag* “…or not.”

  24. I don’t quite know whether or not this story counts, because this concerns someone I dated quite seriously, for more than a year. But with time it has become funny to me, so here goes.

    I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and was waiting behind a lot of people. My phone rang. I looked at the phone and saw that it was Boyfriend, so I answered.

    He asked me, very casually, “Have you got a second?”

    I eyed the line and figured I had a few minutes to talk to him before the cashier got to me. “Sure, what’s up?”

    “I don’t think we should be together anymore.”

    I whispered “I am in LINE at the GROCERY STORE” into the phone, hung up on him, and sobbed until I got to the front of the line. The cashier was very nice and offered me a candy bar from behind the counter.

    1. I suppose there’s never a perfect time, but ouch. I am glad that sympathetic cashier attempted to pour chocolate on troubled waters, that was kind.

    2. Oh, bless!

      Yes, I think I would have the exact same reaction–immediately stunned and miserable, later, telling EVERYONE because it really is kind of awesome. I love that all you said was “I am in LINE at the GROCERY STORE”. That is exactly what I would do.

    3. Oh my god, wow. Like Pumpkin, I love that you just stunnedly whispered the fact at him of your location, and like embertine, I love that the cashier gave you candy. I also love that time has given you the humor of that terrible situation.

  25. Most awkward breakup:

    I had been dating this guy for a year. We had been on a downward spiral for a couple of months. I already knew that I wanted out, but I was patiently waiting for him to process that we no longer worked well together (since we were living in a shared space with 2 other roommates and I didn’t have a place to go for the 3 months I needed to be in that city, so I need him to be as okay as he could be) (oh, college).

    Our sexy funtimes were never all that sexy or really all that fun (a fact that I didn’t really appreciate until later, after dating/marrying Mr. SSStar and doing it right). But one night we were in the middle of an attempt at sex. Attempt because it’s really hard to play pool with a piece of rope, so to speak. Both of us are doing what we can to help him out, but literally nothing is working. Frustrating, since he was the one that had initiated the sex due to his overwhelming horniness. There were a few more awkward humps and then he looks at me and says, “This isn’t going to work out, is it?” Nope! He rolls off, we talk about rather inconsequential things for a few minutes, he wants to update the facebook relationship status and I go to my room that I haven’t really lived in much for the last 9ish months. Horrifically awkward but surprisingly easy.

    Commence the next three months wherein the other two roommates decide that I am the evil spawn of evil and ex decides that we broke up not because of our own incompatibility but because I started talking to that guy, Mr. SSStar. I get the silent treatment from everyone in the apartment and ex quickly starts dating someone whose laugh could cut through walls in an attempt to make me jealous. I just felt sorry for the girl.

  26. Ha, I saw a guy I met online for a few months, and things were apparently going very well. He went on a long-planned vacation, and then I went on a sudden one, so we didn’t see each other for a while. At last, we were due to meet again; I spent the whole day cleaning my apartment and making an elaborate dinner for our date. He arrived with presents from his vacation and told me how much he missed me. We put the finishing touches on dinner together, enjoyed the food, then spent some time catching up. After talking for a while, he takes my hand, looks into my eyes, and says, “you’re so cool, you’re so smart; I just really like you. And this isn’t going to work out.” WHUT?! Then he stayed another hour or two, making small talk, while I tried to nicely express to him that it was time for him to leave. Oh how I wish he had broken that news to me BEFORE I spent the day cleaning and cooking to host him.

    1. I was once dating a boy who went home for a month (he lived about 12 time zones away). We were in constant contact by text and IM until three days before he was due to fly back. He kept telling me how much he missed me, how eager he was to get back, etc. It later turned out that when he stopped IMing three days before he left, he had gotten back together with his ex-fiancee and just couldn’t think how to tell me. He broke up with me at dinner in my favourite pub the day after he got back, by slipping “my fiancee” into conversation. I kid you not.

      In his lengthy explanation about how it just didn’t make sense for them not to give it one more go (her argument, entirely based on sunk-cost fallacy), he mentioned that his sister had spent the entire 20 hour flight back telling him what an idiot he was for breaking up with me.

      Three weeks later, he IMed me begging to be “friends again”. I told him we were never friends, we just dated, and I wasn’t interested in having anything to do with him. SO SATISFYING.

  27. [[[[[Moderator Note from Jennifer: I deleted this comment the first time it appeared, no reason to re-cap someone’s transphobic jokes and make other people read it. “Trigger warning, this sucks” doesn’t make the thing not suck! Do not submit it again.]]]]

    1. As it still is the central point of the anecdote (that part that would be considered funny?), I believe this is quite hurtful.

      1. I was pretty sure I’d deleted this from the moderation queue for that reason but here it is again. Hrmmmm.

    2. Hi Captain,
      Thanks for saying this – I had a situation recently where someone told me something quite explicit and unpleasant that had happened to them, and I found it really traumatic. I was wondering what was wrong with me that I reacted so badly, but I realise now I didn’t consent to hearing this information, and I definitely didn’t need the detail she gave.

  28. I’ve never been on the receiving end of a ‘no second date’ message, but this really hit home to me due to similar circumstances: after 25-year marriage with three children broke down I had 19 nervous breakdowns, tried numerous ‘counsellors’ / therapists (which didn’t help) and four different anti-depressants. Been struggling for eight years, have tried online dating on-and-off (mostly off) since then.
    Oh the perils of online dating! Such a minefield. In eight years I’ve only ever ‘dated’ three men. I don’t know why or what I’m doing wrong, but the stories I could tell just about online/textual interaction! I’ve had hundreds of messages but they never seem to go anywhere (most veer immediately to sex). One particularly nice-seeming chap messaged me and after I replied gave me the ‘I don’t think it would work’ speech. After one message! Not sure why he messaged me in the first place. I’ve a theory that men send hundreds of ‘hi’ messages to women without checking their profiles and only check them if they receive a response.
    The default way I’ve been dumped in my life seems to be just no longer messaging me. My first boyfriend was the only one to dump me properly. He just wanted to see other girls and didn’t want to cheat. It hurt but it worked.
    My husband cheated and never told me it was over. I hated the house we were living in (long story) and begged to sell up and move. After trying and failing (2007/8) he suggested I move out with kids to a preferable house. I did and now realise in his mind this meant it was over. Not in mine. Stupidly. I didn’t realise until I found out about the cheating 2-3 years later.

    It’s so hard to meet anyone online that you really feel a connection with, that when I finally did, I asked him out. I get fed up with the constant prolonged messaging with no suggestion of actually meeting (unless it’s them inviting themselves over to my house- cheapskates or cheating?) , so I just thought ‘go for it’. He agreed but when I sent a ‘still ok for later?’ confirmation txt I got no response.

    This seems to be the standard. For some reason they seem to want to get off the website messaging system and straight to texting (why? It’s more expensive). Then just stop texting if they don’t get overt sexual conversation. I couldn’t put my finger on why I found it so offensive (other than ‘would you do that IRL?’) but then I figured it was because discussing favorite sexual activities is implying a consent/agreement to hook up, and I would never agree to have sex with a guy before meeting him.

    One guy I met was lovely, but a very confused transvestite/transgender. Not a problem for me except it was such a big issue for him that he needed someone for whom it was their one and only interest in life. I’m glad he found her.

    Sorry if this is all off topic but the subject really hit home and was enough to stop my long-time lurking and prompt me to actually comment for the first time.

    At the moment I’m avoiding it. Last man I ‘met’ online seemed a catch: tall, reasonably attractive, wealthy, etc. but he failed to answer questions about himself adequately. I worried that a) he was messaging hundreds of other women the same things with standard answers (I got emails with my name in a different font from the rest of the message) b) he was just full of shit (overly desperate not to ‘lose’ me) and c) that he’d actually murdered his wife. His poor English and messaging me from Dubai when he claimed to be from USA (I’m in the UK) just rang so many alarm bells I’m just giving up for now.

    1. ashara, I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time. I don’t know if it helps but I will say that the perils of online dating as you’ve described them are very familiar to me, and I’m not at all in the same case as you are. All of which is to say, IT IS NOT YOU. Some people are just sketchy or weird or think that normal social behaviour doesn’t apply to the internet.

      I offer you the virtual fistbump of UK lasses with internet dating woes solidarity.

    2. I worried that a) he was messaging hundreds of other women the same things with standard answers (I got emails with my name in a different font from the rest of the message) b) he was just full of shit (overly desperate not to ‘lose’ me) and c) that he’d actually murdered his wife.

      That…. escalated quickly. Holy shit!

      1. I was just trying to be concise!

        He told me his wife had died but refused to tell me how. In fact he barely answered any of my questions, he repeated himself a lot and I couldn’t get much info about his parents, birth country, etc. (I was trying to figure out why his English didn’t seem native US/UK/Aus).

    3. >> I’ve a theory that men send hundreds of ‘hi’ messages to women without checking their profiles and only check them if they receive a response.

      Based on conversations with lots of women and a few men, this is ABSOLUTELY how many men use “dating” sites, and it is so, so rude and disrespectful. Especially when they immediately make the conversation about sex: it’s not even about trying to get to an actual physical sexual encounter, I don’t think: it’s basically using women who have not consented as a free sexchat line. They’re getting off on the actual conversation, not imagining that it’s going to lead to more. Getting a strange woman to talk about sex is the endpoint of the exercise, not a prelude to meeting up. They should be phoning a sexchat line and damn well paying someone for their masturbation material.

      There is a guy who messaged loads of people I know with the message, “What would you do if you were going down on a guy and then he farted?” That’s not looking for someone with the same fetish: it’s getting gratification from sending a humiliating sexual message to people who have NOT CONSENTED to be your sex object. It’s disgusting and it makes me really angry how many men think this kind of thing is OK.

      1. I was on a not-really dating site but a lot of people used it that way, and there was a perpetual sex pest who would send people the message “How do you feel about feeding a man so much that he explodes?” I was 16 or so when I got this message and was…very confused, didn’t really even get that it was a sex thing right away…

      2. A friend of mine had this problem, and now somewhere on her profile now is something along the lines of “if you’re interested in getting to know me, when you message tell me about your favorite wild animal” (she’s a wildlife zoologist). The first thing she does when she opens any messages is to see if the response actually acknowledges that part. Spends minimal to zero time on all the other attempts. I think it does a good job revealing something interesting about herself, and works great as a jerk-filter. And If someone is genuinely interested in getting to know her, they can put in the 20 extra seconds to add a line about it.

        (The guy she’s seeing now, despite having very different interests and not being super into animals, put in a strong effort and said he likes watching fireflies in the summer. They seem to get along great).

  29. I went on one date with a guy who seemed nice enough, and I brought him back to my apartment and we made out and it was fairly satisfactory. I wasn’t super into him but it was a nice time.

    A week later, I was on a date with another guy, who I had also brought back to my apartment (I was doing a lot more casual dating back then). We had just gotten to the apartment when I got a text from Dude #1 saying “Call me when you get this.” I was a little worried that something might be wrong so I excused myself and called him right back, only to hear that he didn’t want to date me because HE was afraid of hurting ME. Whatever, dude. Even though I wasn’t all that into it, it was a bummer to get rejected; I’d have been fine if he’d just ghosted, but he was operating under the assumption that I was owed a phone call.

    Luckily for me I already had Dude #2 at my apartment, so I wasn’t sad for long. 😉

    1. “What’s wrong, Sing?”

      “Some guy I dated once awhile back just made me call so he could dump me. Please hold me; I’m so sad.” *giggle*

      [[funtimes commence]]

  30. I’d say my most awkward/strange breakup was the guy who told me in the middle of our first date that he just didn’t see us working out because he didn’t feel any chemistry. Which was disappointing, but cool. What made it weird to me, however, was that (1) he kept saying it and (2) he kept trying to reassure me that he thought I was “a great guy.” He was a bit taken aback when the second or third time that he told me he thought I was a great guy, I smiled and cheerfully said, “Thanks, I know.”

    What also made it weird was that while we were headed back to my car (we had met at one place and walked over a mile to someplace else), he started telling me about this other guy he was totally into who lived clear across the country and that he was seriously considering moving out there because he really thought that other guy might be “the one.” Which I found really weird, considering he had previously mentioned that he had only moved into my area from about five hours away less than six months ago to be with another guy, who he really thought might be “the one” at the time. Part of me wonders how many times he’s uprooted his entire life for some guy he thought really might be “the one” by now. (This all happened…four years ago, maybe?)

    Oh, then there was the one where the whole thing (we never actually went on a date, but were trying to set something out) ended when someone else called me on an out-of-state (and not an adjacent state) phone number to tell me that the other guy wanted me to quit contacting him. I called said guy directly and left a message to ask if he knew what was going on. The mysterious out-of-state caller then called me on said guy’s phone and menacingly repeated his instructions never to call said guy again. Okay, fine. (Sadly, that wasn’t the last time I heard from that guy, either. Though the mysterious caller disappeared from the picture after that.)

    1. Way to segue from breaking up to using you as an emotional sounding board about the due he really likes, Guy #1! Holy weirdness, Guy #2!

    2. I know a dude who has uprooted his life no less than 3 – no, 4 times for different women, 2 within the country and 2 overseas. And every time he texts and interacts with other women on line. You’d think he’d have figured that it’s not a great idea, but no.

      1. How do these people manage this? Like, with the finding of a job in the new city and everything? I would find that so stressful!

  31. Went out with a guy I’d met online. He was an editor at the local alternative weekly paper.

    I forget where we went, but I came straight from work, and I was wearing my nice London Fog raincoat. The place we went was chilly, so I kept my raincoat on.

    After this, he was totally hung up on the fact that I kept my raincoat on during the entire date. And then he sent me a published short story from somewhere (not from him) about this girl who was really smart and liked a guy and did this whole physical transformation dress/hair/makeup thing to make herself more appealing to the guy.

    1. Ugh! So entitled.

      How convenient for him that someone published a story detailing his desired next step in a relationship!

  32. Ghosting + telling a mutual friend he was considering monasticism.

    Monasticism is not incompatible with manners.

    1. This happened to me too! Boy, after a few months of dating, stopped returning calls suddenly one week. Since he was in the Coast Guard at the time, I started to get worried and talked to one of our mutual friends who hadn’t heard from him either. A few hours later, he TEXTS me to say he has decided that he might want to be a priest (he was going through RCIA / aka Catholic 101 classes) and that he needed a break.

      The most awkward part at that point was that I was pretty involved in the church at that point and had mutual ‘friends’ giving me notes of encouragement stating things like how blessed I must be to have brought him closer to God, etc. Thanks, I guess?

      A few months later he decided he didn’t want to be a priest, begged me for a second chance, and we had a couple additional months dating where he’d alternate between really intense dating/contact and complete silence (with a random time in the middle where he prank called me from work three days in a row?) until I finally broke it off.

  33. So one time I was on a dating site, right, and I’m browsing profiles. As one does. (it would be about six months on that site before I met the lovely lady I’ve been dating for a year now)

    Anyway, as I’m looking at this one lady’s profile and thinking to myself ‘those are some dealbreakers,’ she sent me a message saying ‘please don’t bother messaging me. We wouldn’t be a good match.’

    I’m like… pre-rejected!! For looking at her profile!! ooooookay…

    1. Sometimes, when one has been online dating for a while, and the site pops up a “so and so is looking at your profile” box and you flip over to look at theirs, you are just consumed with ennui and rage that yet another man who loves tomato soup is looking at your profile when you say so clearly that you are allergic to nightshades, and you lose it for a second.

      It 100% had nothing to do with you and more than likely everything to do with the last six TERRIBLE messages she got.

      1. Gods yes. Back when I was both a smoker and trying my hand at online dating, I didn’t pre-emptively message anyone who was staunchly anti-smoking in their profile, but I may have opened my reply to their message with “NO I WILL NOT QUIT SMOKING FOR YOU” after a few too many flirty back-and-forths that culminated with, “So….if we were to go out, I’d need you to start making an effort toward quitting, whaddyasay?” I have since quit, and I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to date a smoker, but it is *awfully* forward to ask someone to start making major life changes just so they can get a date with you.

        1. I have a similar story. I had just quit smoking (which I missed horribly) and started match.com. I’d resolved only to date nonsmokers because I didn’t want to be tempted. A smoker messaged me wanting to get to know me, and I politely declined, telling him why. HE WROTE AGAIN AND SUGGESTED I START SMOKING SO I COULD DATE HIM. UGH.

          1. WHAT. IS. THAT.

            “Hi, we haven’t met, but I think you’re attractive in the 1-5 pictures you’ve posted. Please make major changes so that I may grace you with two hours of awkward drinks whilst I explain why my perception of you makes me damn near perfect for you.” Yeah, no. No thanks.

            ::puffs angrily on e-cig::

  34. Generally, I do think the best way to do it is just to be direct, via text message (or OKC message or what have you). “I don’t see this working out, but I wish you the best.” Done. A phone call is too much when it’s only been a date or two–especially when you didn’t know each other beforehand.

    Although to be perfectly honest, my favorite way for this to go (if it’s not going to result in an actual relationship, haha) is to have both of us just never talk again. I guess I am the rare person who likes being ghosted? I mean, not by a person I’m seriously dating or am genuinely friends with, but casual ghosts are great for me. I think back fondly on a guy I casually dated/slept with for about two months. We had a perfectly pleasant time together. Then one day I realized it had been about ten days since I had last seen him, and neither of us had attempted to contact the other in that time. No awkward conversation, just a mutual “yep, that’s all, folks!”

    I realize I am probably not the person to model yourself off of in this scenario.

    1. I had a relationship end by mutual ghosting once too! It was in high school, we’d dated about six months, and then he just . . . stopped calling. I didn’t call him either, and was perfectly okay with the whole situation. Funnily enough, he did call again out of the blue a few months later–I think he was hoping for a prom date but I was seeing someone else–we started talking again and ended up being very close friends through the rest of high school and into our college years. We just didn’t click as romantic partners, but had a great friendship.

      1. The ghost only really doesn’t work if one person *is* trying to contact the other… like, I consider it a valid strategy, but not *the* strategy, depending on communication styles and level of general engagement. If someone tries to make contact, the decent thing is to respond in some way, and the decent way to respond is not a lie. But “no contact” is a valid form of a communication, also.

        1. This is a good distinction. Mutual ghosting = A+ fine. Blatantly ignoring someone who tries to contact you = shitty thing to do.

          1. Yes, IMO “mutual ghosting” isn’t really ghosting. If neither of you get in touch with each other, then no one is getting ignored. Hurray!

    2. Me too! Ghosting is the way to go for those of us allergic to confrontation. I have been on both ends and after 2 ignored texts/emails/calls etc I just assume we’re all done. To me “closure” should really be called “awkward emotional torture” that will just lead to me over-analyzing everything they said and trying to figure what “it’s not you, it’s me” *really* means.

    3. Yes! I had a wonderful friends with benefits who was like that. I actually can’t even remember the exact time when we stopped seeing each other, but it’s been 12 years now so at some point we must have just seamlessly and mutually decided it was done. No drama or awkwardness. Just 6 months later and “Oh yeah, that guy hasn’t been around for awhile”….shrug.

  35. Reblogged this on The Monster's Ink and commented:
    I think it’s okay to have feels about how you want to receive rejection. I have opinions on how people “should” approach the act of breaking up. But realistically? Nobody gets to have a preferred mode of rejection. You can’t control how someone tells you goodbye. What you can control, if anything, is seeing the writing on the wall and preparing yourself accordingly.

  36. When I was in college I met a guy when I visited a friend at a nearby school over a long weekend. We hit it off and a few days later I sent him an email suggesting we meet up for coffee or a meal. He sent back an EPIC missive describing how if he was there in person with me, he would sit down with me and take my hands in his hands and explain gently to me that he didn’t want to break my heart but we were not meant to be. Et cetera et cetera et cetera, for paragraph after paragraph. Like, dude, CHILL. I only asked you out for coffee, I guarantee you are not breaking my heart if you say no. Dial it down a notch or seven.

    1. I don’t know if we are allowed to mention this (questionable) (addictive) website here, but remember when Jezebel had a “Crap Email from a Dude” feature? This one would have been PERFECT. It has just the right mix of clueless grandiosity, self-importance, and “sensitivity”. I’m kind of sad right now for what could have been.

      Can you take my hands in yours, gently?

      1. We can mention Jezebel and that feature was excellent! It’s only Schwoldemort who is off-limits.

        1. So funny fact about Schwoldemort: Because all the blogs I read rightly refuse to mention his name, I have completely forgotten what it is.

    2. Oh man, that’s amazing! I had a similar-ish thing happen; I was seeing a girl long distance and we had (I thought…) decided to break up for various reasons. Then she sent a message a few days later that was basically, a breakup text. I was kind of confused, thinking we had already broken up, and didn’t reply (probably should’ve, just didn’t want to deal)…a few days later she sent me an epic missive about how “she hopes she didn’t completely break my heart” etc etc. I was just like, it’s cool…

    3. Oh, God, that reminds me of the time I gave a boy I’d been seeing a large bar of chocolate for his birthday and he told me “you know I’m not looking for anything serious?” Like. It was chocolate, not diamonds.

      1. The song lyrics write themselves: “She brought me Toblerone from the Duty-Free/I think that means she’s way too into me”

        1. “Was just expecting some “M & Ms” – How can I tell her we’re only Friends? …. Ooooh Eeeh Oooh ahh.. Wall Walla Bing Bang…”

  37. So after seeing this person for a month or so, I spend time with them and can just feel the coldness and distance they radiate. Whine Im ready to leave I try to say something along the lines of this certainty of immant breakup, but they interrupt me and say “I’ll call you.”

    So I patiently wait for the phone call to come.
    They ring me at 3am, waking me up.
    I’m about to yell at them with all kinds indignation, and the first thing they say, crying is “I just got hit by a car.”
    So I made a care package and visited them and attended to some immediate needs, but it was weird knowing that the relationship was still all but formally over.

  38. I once had a first date go pretty terribly awry– my date mentioned two or three different times she’d picked up and moved cross-country weeks into a relationship, with disastrous but un-learned-from results, tried to tell me about creationism when I mentioned being a biologist, and (very alarmingly) complained about the time she’d been banned from a gay pride event for having sex with two minors she claims she believed were over the age of consent. She seemed to think being asked to leave (with no charges filed) was a gross overraction.

    I excused myself politely and texted a friend to say the date had been a mess, and see if he was still going to the concert I’d blown off for the date.

    Except I was texting at a red light, and accidentally sent the message to my date.

  39. I inadvertently gave a “no second date message”. I’d been to a house party on the Friday evening. Met a guy there and there was an obvious mutual attraction between us. Nothing happened, but we did swap numbers. He called me the next day at about 5pm and asked if I’d like to go out that evening for a drink. I said I wasn’t free that evening but I was free the next day (Sunday). He asked what I was doing that evening and I told him that I was in the middle of painting my bedroom, I was covered in paint and I needed to get it finished that night as my housemate was away for just one night and all my furniture was in her bedroom.
    He paused, and then said in the most bitter tone, “Well that’s just great, you’d rather watch paint dry than go out with me” and then hung up.
    I did consider calling him back and reminding him I’d said I’d like to see him on Sunday, but his tone had been so bitter and self pitying I thought that would probably be inviting a whole host of problems into my life and I should just consider it a lucky escape.

    1. Wow…that’s just..wow….

      It also sounds to me like he was specifically asking you what you were doing that evening to look for reasons to get upset over the fact that you said “not this evening.”

      1. Now I’m imagining really rock solid reasons and the ridiculous holes he might try to poke in them.

        1. I know! And what kind of guy calls up expecting a date on the very same evening giving me only a couple of hours to get ready? Has he not read The Rules? (Tough firmly in cheek as I write this!)

    2. I recently may have been this guy? I asked a man out on a second date, he told me he was “behind on emails,” I waited a day and sent a long text telling him he should just let me know if he didn’t want to see me so I wouldn’t get hurt…

      Seemed entirely rational in the moment but after a spell of radio silence I suspect that I may have pulled a similarly over-dramatic “enjoy watching that paint dry, without me!” kind of deal

      1. Oh buddy, that text was not a good idea, but you know that, and everyone can survive a temporary awkward thing.

        1. I will continue to see this person at weekly events, I am not sure whether to apologize in the name of clearing the air or just pretend nothing ever happened. Most Team Me folks (not in the community) are advising the latter.

          1. Let them take the lead – if they bring it up, apologize. If they don’t, don’t. You’ll be fine!

  40. My first love wrote me a letter from college, thanking me for sending a tape of the latest Depeche Mode album, but he had moved on to the Beat Poets and Bob Dylan, and had “grown up beyond [me],” wished me well, etc.

    Oh man. Bless his heart.

        1. hahaha best response.

          Also, I once dated a guy who responded to my love of Nick Cave with “Nick Cave is a child” and then proceeded to play some Leonard Cohen or Jonny Cash (or something like that? It was nearly 20 years ago I can’t remember) for me. At the time I was like… oh no! I have juvenile music tastes! (I was 19, he was older). Now I am older than he was then and still like Nick Cave. And Leonard Cohen. And Johnny Cash. And have this weird allergy to guys who think that one progresses from one level of music to another where their favoured music is a sign of the greatest maturity and taste… :-/

          1. I’m into country music, also known as the most common fill-in-the-blank for people whose musical tastes are described as “I’ll listen to anything! Except THAT, haha”. Frankly, I don’t mind seeing this, because it gives me an easy snob filter. But I also tend to get leery when people diss types of music that I *don’t* even particularly enjoy, just because being shitty and dismissive over something as broad as an entire genre of music sends up its own brand of flags.

          2. This sounds familiar! I was engaged to a guy in my late teens who was all about Metallica and Megadeth. It was quite embarrassing when we went to a concert where the support band had a computer on stage for some of their effects. He stood there next to me with his best snide face on as he watched all the other people there enjoying “inferior” music. I didn’t dare say at the time I thought they were actually quite good (better than the headline act – and in this case they went on to be a really big internationally-known band).

            I’ve met a few guys like this over the years, they seem to be quite common in the UK metal scene. As soon as I get a whiff of such views now I tend to move on as I don’t want to be dating That Guy again.

          3. kinda unrelated but my dad actually grew up in the same town as nick cave! I’m pretty sure one of my uncles was mates with his brother 😛

          4. Nick Cave is an amazing musician. That is all.

            I do love how the Geek Social Fallacies outline this so thoroughly (the whole idea that whoever you’re dating has to be into whatever music/games/video games/cosplay you’re into, and if you’re both into it, you HAVE to be together).

  41. I have nothing to add to the captain’s most excellent advice OP, but we were asked for our stories…

    The most awkward one I ever got was after more than one date. I called him, he picked up the phone and just yelled “FUCK OFF!” totally out of the blue and then hung up. It wasn’t as if we’d argued or anything. We were supposed to meet up a few nights before, he’d cancelled to do something else and although I was a bit put out, I didn’t make a big deal of it.

    I didn’t get the hint though, thinking there was some sort of mistaken identity issue here. I called him again the next day, his friend answered and it went like this (bear in mind this was in the early days of mobile phones)
    Me: “Um…[Person I was dating]?”
    Him: “No no, it’s [His Friend]. I’ve got a new phone and now I’ve got the same number as [date person]! Isn’t that cool?”
    Me: “Er, no. What do you mean, you’ve got the same number? Are you guys sharing a phone?”
    Him: “No, it’s just… [Date person] says he doesn’t really want to go out with you again. The other night when he went out, well, he met someone else and… you know.”

    The rest of that conversation was the most awkward thing ever. That guy could literally have chosen any other method of rejection and it would have been less awkward (and cowardly).

    I don’t want to defend the guy (he turned out to be a dick in so many other ways), but I should probably add that he was only 17 at the time.

  42. College boyfriend #1 on second date – launches into huge spiel about how he’s not into serious relationshipstuff so I shouldn’t get too attached and how he “tries to be honest, but it always hurts them” (ie Gurls that have fallen for his amazingness ). He was a bit taken aback when I laughed in his face and said “what if I decide I don’t like you?” We were not a good match, but he improved a lot and married a good friend of mine in the end!

    College girlfriend #1 broke up with me in a graveyard. That wasn’t quite so amusing.

    1. I first got to be good friends with and then found myself dating a guy from our college gaming club. We “got together” a little over halfway through fall semester, went home for winter break, had a couple nice days together when spring semester started…and then he calls me:

      “This isn’t working, hon. I kind of feel like I’m kissing my sister.” I agreed with the general sentiment of this because yeah he was kind of right (lack of) chemistry-wise?

      And then we went and got Taco Bell in the student union like everything was totally normal. Gentlest and sweetest breakup I ever had. We are still friends 20ish years after.

  43. Oh man, this was ultra awkward but mostly amazing. I’d been on a couple awkward highschool dates with this dude I was not terribly into, but he’d sort of decided we were dating without consulting me and starting using the l-word in emails after date two. I’d basically just been avoiding him (not hard as we didn’t go to school together and I was legit busy) until I had a chance to call and tell him enough, but he beat me to it and “broke up” with me over facebook message, with the reason that ‘My mom doesn’t think you care about me enough’.

    Which, true, dude’s mom. But the way it was worded it was supposed to be hurtful, but mostly I just giggled a bit and was relieved.

  44. I was an Awkward Rejector, back in my first year of college.

    I’d started talking to a local guy a couple towns over on ICQ, and after a few weeks he asked me out. We’d gotten along fine online, so I agreed. He wanted to cook me dinner, which sounded nice, but he had to work that night and lived about a half-hour from my dorm; by the time he started cooking it was around 10:30. And this was a three-course meal! I asked to help but he wanted to take care of it himself; I get that it was a kind gesture but that meant I sat around awkwardly making stilted conversation for over an hour while he made dinner. There was an extra bit of awkwardness where he really wanted to give me some wine but I wasn’t enthused about accepting since I was 18 and didn’t drink at all at that point. I think I took a glass to be polite and didn’t do more than sip at it, but his insistence made me uncomfortable.

    At some point during the dinner-making process, he found out I hadn’t seen Akira, which just would NOT do.
    So we watched it. On a first date. Starting around midnight.
    Now, I just don’t like Akira all that much, but while I know it’s a highly-regarded classic, surely NO ONE thinks it’s a good first-date film. It’s hard to follow and features walking teddy bears and body horror and endless shouting. I was fighting desperately to stay awake while trying to make sense of the film, all the time feeling very aware of this guy’s arm snaking a bit closer along the back of the couch. At least it was late enough when it was over that by mutual agreement the evening was over and he took me home.

    I had a feeling at the beginning of the night that I wasn’t interested, and at the end I knew I wasn’t. And I dealt with it like a complete coward! On the drive home I “fell asleep” in the car so I wouldn’t have to make conversation, and when we got to my dorm I jumped out of the car with a “thanks, byeeee~!” before he could lean in for a kiss. I didn’t sign into icq for a week, and when I did he instantly popped up with some sweet talk. After a short conversation I made some excuses about being busy, signed off, uninstalled the icq client, and never talked to him again. Not my most compassionate dating move ever, to say the least.

    1. Don’t feel too bad, it was pretty creepy he wanted you alone in his place (?) so late drinking alcohol when you were 18 on a first date with no transport of your own.

      And as for your rejection method, when I was 23 (5 whole years older than you were in your story) I rejected a perfectly nice person with whom I had no chemistry by blocking him on Facebook, after realizing that the pattern of our interactions was: 1) he chats me up 2) I respond, to be polite 3) we have conversation which is mutually pleasant 4) he asks me out 5) I go 6) it is nice until 7) I do not like the kissing parts 8) I brush him off for a while and refuse future dates until eventually 9) repeat. Over the course of NINETEEN MONTHS we had gone on THREE DATES, so in fairness to me, I don’t think it ought to have come as a terrible shock to him that I wasn’t all eager and into him.

      Yet still I got an email all “I haven’t heard from you, did I do something to offend you?” I never responded.

  45. Got dumped over Facebook (not awkward, just annoying and heartbreaking because he was my first boyfriend). A few days later, as I’m mourning the loss and crying in my bed, I get a message from a guy I knew in high school (also on Facebook) asking me out. We’d been talking (all platonic) while my relationship was on the rocks and he figured this would be the right time to swoop in. I told him I needed more time (duh).

    A few days later he asks me to come over to his place and hang. I, being 19 newly single and incredibly heartbroken/lonely, decide sure why not. He wasn’t giving off romantic vibes and it would be cool to see him. I go over there. We have a long, amazing talk late into the night and he makes me laugh and listens to me. Things my ex never did. I start to think “hey, this guy seems just as cool as he was in high school if he makes a move I’d be fine with it”. He ends up telling me he really wants to kiss me but he doesn’t want to hurt me. What kind of line is that? He seems to struggle with wanting to kiss me and throws out more lines. We eventually gets up and he walks me to my car. That was that. I was very confused. It was very awkward.

    It was even more awkward when not even two days later I see on Facebook he’s “in a relationship” with another girl. Way to kick me while I’m down, man.

    The moral of the story is: screw Facebook

    1. Nice! Didn’t you also have the story about the person with a power-point presentation about why someone should go out with them?

  46. Moderator Note:

    I’m baleeting stuff. Please don’t tell us about specific sex acts, 2000-word summaries of the entire relationship (that’s for YOUR blog), offensive jokes where bigotry is the punch line, or snarky descriptions of people’s bodies.

  47. Oh, but there are so many. Weirdest early stage breakup was with a guy who I’d dated off and on for awhile. He canceled our Valentine’s Day plans because his sibling had a medical emergency and he felt he needed to be with them while they were in the hospital. I was a little disappointed, but obviously a dinner out isn’t a huge deal compared with health problems. A few days later, I log on Facebook, and my newsfeed announces that he’s now “in a relationship” with a woman who lives in the same town as the hospital. Everyone involved in this story is over 30.

    Most awkward serious breakup was when my husband asked me to move out while he was very drunk and then woke up the next day with no memory of the event and no comprehension of why the living room was filled with cardboard boxes.

    1. Wow to your (assumedly ex?) husband. That’s a whole new level of tactless. Kudos to you for moving that quickly, and Jedi hugs if you want them for having to deal with that.

      1. Thank you for the Jedi hugs! This incident and my ex-husband are both in the distant past. It was an abusive, unhappy relationship, and I had been considering ending it for some time. I think his outburst sort of gave me permission to leave, and I was eager to take it and move onto the rest of my life.

  48. The most awkward was the guy who dumped me by letter. For my (then) best friend. And then denied it.

    I’ve also been dumped on the first day of my school exams (gee, thanks!), and two days before Christmas….

  49. My favorite awkward breakup story comes from high school where I’d been dating one of my best friends at the urge of every other friend we had. It really wasn’t working for either of us and I remember walking down the hall toward him at lunch knowing a bad conversation was about to happen when out of another hallway a friend ran at us shouting “No! You can’t break up! You’re too good together!”

    Cue awkward pause.

    He looked me dead in the eyes and said “Well, I guess you know what I wanted to talk about!”

    We both laughed hard and continued onto lunch and friendship without a break.

    If only every breakup could be so easy!

    1. I had one a bit like that. I dated a college friend for about six months, and we had fun. Until one night we just looked at each other and both said: “We work better as friends, don’t we?”

      And we did. We stayed friends, partied together and even shared a house for a while after we broke up.

      (He always made me laugh – dated women with the same personality type and interests every time, and couldn’t figure out why all his exes got on so well and were such good friends!)

    2. omigosh that’s awesome 😀

      My favourite coming out story is rather similar 🙂 I asked a good friend if she had a minute to talk privately, and when we got to a quiet space she started nervously saying that when people asked that, it was usually because the other person had done something wrong – or because the first person was coming out. I just blurted out, oh no, you haven’t done anything wrong! Then there was a moment of silence. Then I think we both just laughed and that was it.

      My most awkward breakup moment was not the breakup itself. I had decided to end a 3.5 year relationship, but it was right before the guy’s birthday and I had planned him a surprise party, and I felt obligated to go through with it and to not ruin his birthday. Guy managed to ruin his own birthday pretty thoroughly by getting all pissy because I had asked the guests to bring snacks (I could barely afford to get a cake). The actual breakup was pretty anticlimactic.

      Omg every time I think about anything from that relationship, I am SO HAPPY that I ended it. It’s been … huh, over 5 years since I broke up with him. Still makes me smile 🙂

    3. My first breakup was a very civil (if sad) conversation in a center of mass public transit. An inebriated stranger walked by, noticed I was crying, and preceded to berate my boyfriend for breaking the heart of such a sweet girl until I tearfully asked if he would “please fuck off”.

      Extra awkward because I was the one breaking up with him, but it was nice to have a laugh together about it.

      1. This reminds me of a story from a friend. It was post breakup during the awkward splitting up of stuff & moving. One of the moving guys looked at them both and said “wait – YOU are dumping HER?!?!” As if to say the guy must be crazy. Which he was since my friend is awesome.

  50. I’ve never had a break-up, but I have had awkward rejection conversations. One guy, who I had been friends with in my church youth group for a few months, called me to ask me a casual question and ended up telling me he loved me.

    My family of 5 was watching me have this phone call, wherein I politely declined his request for a relationship. “Sorry, I don’t feel the same way! We’ll just have to remain friends.”

    He harassed me for another half hour on the phone (I was seventeen at the time and didn’t know I was allowed to just hang up), and I actually used the words “dude. I don’t love you!” To which he responded, and I shit you not,

    “I don’t believe you.”

    Three days later he told me he would “give me a month to decide.” I practically shouted, “I’ve already decided! Stop asking me!” I did not realize how awful he was being and how dangerous the situation was until I moved 100 miles away 3 months later.

    The kicker: I was villainized for “leading him on” and “friend-zoning” him. Go figure.

  51. After a long flirtation, me and High School Crush were going to see a movie after school (I don’t recall who asked who). He met me in the lobby and said “I think it’s best if [His Friend] just takes you home”. Up next: a 15 minute ride in a van with High School Crush, His Friend and me. His Friend brought his dog along and let it sit on his lap as he drove and I spent the whole car ride suggesting that wasn’t the safest way to drive.

  52. At the end of a second date with a guy in college, he leaned in to kiss me and I dodged… D:
    He was VERY upset. He later emailed me asking me to explain to him in detail why I didn’t want to date him. So awkward.

    1. The first date I went on when I moved here, the guy insisted on taking me “home” (I told him a fake address), leaned in for a kiss (I dodged, he kissed my ear), and then cruised back by in the direction I’d walked when I got out of the car (I know, because I was hiding in a bush halfway down the block). (I’d had a feeling.)

    2. My mother told a story once about a date she went on once where they were sitting in a movie theatre and he turned to look at her and asked very gently, “Do you mind if I kiss you?”

      Very suddenly, she said, she did mind entirely.

      (Which of course shows the importance of personal preference since a lot of people would totally go for that, but the way she told it always makes me laugh.)

  53. He broke up with me on our anniversary because, despite knowing my history of being sexually abused, he gave me an ultimatum over sex and I didn’t cave. Unfortunately I’d been so excited to see him that I’d accidentally locked my keys in my car and spent the next half hour watching Scooby-Doo with him and trying not to cry until my parents could bring me my spare key.

  54. This one’s pre-date, but very fresh: I asked someone I’d been to talking on OK Cupid if she’d like to get hot cider and play board games, and she responded to say she’s kind of busy, since Fallout 4 just came out.

    Readers, the date was not this week.

        1. I’d believe it. One of my coworkers took the whole week off in preparation for the Event. 😛

  55. Okay, so not the dumpee here, but…when I was in college the first time, a (supposed) friend set me up with a guy she knew. (It turned out later this wasn’t an “I think you guys would get along” set-up, but more a “this guy is stalking me and I’m thinking maybe I can scrape him off my shoe on my new friend Novel, who is too new to my social group to realize he’s stalking me!”) We went on one date, and it was okay, but I had sort of a feeling that there was something hinky about him, and also it was midterms so I’d been putting off a second, more fact-finding, date until after midterms.

    Then in the meanwhile, I was talking to Friend on the phone and she said “I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Stalky McStalkerpants, I guess you didn’t want to go out with him?” and I said “What do you mean? We went out a couple of weeks ago and he’s been calling me to try and get a second date ever since!” Turns out he told her that he wasn’t into me and we’d never even gone out, let alone that he was calling my dorm room three times a day trying to reach me. (This probably would have been weirder if I hadn’t A) been gone from my dorm room unless I was actually asleep in it and B) had a roommate who took phone messages ONLY in Mandarin, which I don’t read.)

    Just the next day, he called to push for a second date again, and I asked him if he thought Friend and I didn’t talk? Or what? He tried to deny that he’d been stalking Friend and then dramatically confessed all, said that he didn’t know why he acted like that, and he would totally give up stalking Friend if I would just go out with him again.

    With an offer on the table like that, how could I refuse???

    No, seriously, I told him to take a hike because that shit was creepy, and he fired back “I think I could have loved you!” I hung up, and honestly, every time I think of it, to this very day, more than twenty years later, I still feel just an overwhelming sense of WT actual F about the whole thing.

        1. I once had someone dump me back in college because he always asks himself, “Self, what kind of First Lady will this person make someday?” and he just didn’t see me ever filling that role. #noshit #youdontsay

          1. Also let’s not forget where Warner ended up. Dumped, and jobless. Possibly putting the horse before the cart is a bad life strategy sometimes?
            And now I need to go watch that movie again.

          2. Back before I realized I could use my words, I was stalling on making out with someone I found *incredibly* pretentious. He whispered, as he LIFTED UP MY CHIN WITH HIS FINGER, “What are you afraid of so?”

            It’s still a line that my sister uses to give me the giggles.

          3. That’s awesome, because one of the ways I talked myself out of a bad-fitting-pants relationship last year was by looking at Barack and Michele Obama and affirming to myself how I wanted a real partnership like that, and the dude I was dating was never going to be my Michele Obama. It’s not something I would have actually told him as a breakup reason though!

  56. I don’t know if this has been said, but if the person is fumbling for words on the phone but has said they aren’t interested, just thank them for letting you know and say goodbye.

  57. LW, as someone who doesn’t date but who composes 90% of her friend’s break-up texts, I heartily endorse the Captain’s suggestion for any breakup texts you need to send, and also the advice given above to end any future awkward calls with “let me stop you right there, got the message, thanks, bye!”

    As for awkward break-up tales… I’ve really only been dumped once (due to having a limited number of relationships, not because I’m just utterly perfect to be with), but it is a memory I’ll treasure for a life time.

    I’d fallen into this really intense relationship with a guy from my dorm during first year. Spending every night together, endlessly making out under our classy Christmas light décor, waxing poetic about each other, etc etc. On maybe day seven, I come down to his room, he cues up an angsty cover of ‘Oops… I Did It Again’, and asks me to dance. Just slow dancing in his dorm room to this. Then we go to bed. He puts on The Mission soundtrack “because it’s just so good,” we crawl into his tiny, twin-sized dorm bed, and he immediately turns his back to me and spends the entire night snuggling this stuffed cat that he had. Acted like I wasn’t even there, despite the fact we’re two tall people sharing a mattress only a few feet wide. I lay there awkwardly all night, because I had not yet come to realize that when someone is making you feel unwelcome, you can just leave.

    The next morning when I woke up, he feigned sleep till I left, then just ignored me whenever we saw each other in person. Message received, buddy.

  58. These really are awkward conversations, aren’t they?
    No-one ever teaches us how it’s done, so I guess people learn from past experiences. Personally, I believe if you’ve had one (or two or a few) dates and you’re just not feeling it for whatever reason, either stop calling/texting (seems to work well most of the time) or, if you actually get asked for a further date, use the ‘no chemistry’ excuse.

    I recently read a story about a man dumping a woman after a first (seemingly great) date, who overdid the ‘you are wonderful but.. ‘ with a long speech about how she was too fat. She wasn’t fat AT ALL, I saw her photos, but it was SO unnecessary!

    While I was in the process of trying to comprehend that my marriage was over, I rang my husband and asked him to say ‘right now’ if there was no chance of a reconciliation. He didn’t, so I had three days of wondering. He finally told me ‘in person’ because he couldn’t over the phone. If only he could have told me before he decided to cheat (I believe he decided it was over either when he started cheating or soon after) I could have handled it better. Multiple mental breakdowns ensued due to the lies more than the cheating or breakup. He still lies about his gf, gets angry if I bring her up, refuses to divorce me etc.

    I’ve so many problems re all this I’ve been considering writing my own letter but it’s extremely complicated and hard to categorize. Not just ‘how do I divorce my husband?’

    1. Are you my Mum?

      Ugh. Massive jedi hugs. I’m sorry your husband(/my Dad) is such a cowardly, self-absorbed asshole.

      1. I could be! Does your (real) first name have an ‘a’ and an ‘e’?
        If so, there’s a chance.
        But I don’t think my kids think that about their dad.
        He’s mostly just very selfish, although his parenting has improved 1000% (not much then) since we split.

    2. My father informed my mother a few years back that he believed that the Bible said he could have two wives at the same time, and surprise, he already found the woman who he wanted to be #2, they’ve been together for 6 months or so, and he’s going to go live in her country now (literally halfway around the world). All this from a man who had at one point been a deacon in his conservative-Christian denomination, and married to my mother for 30+ years.

      It still took her a full year to initiate divorce proceeding, as she spent the whole time praying that he would repent and leave her and come back, so I know it’s such a complicated thing to tackle and not so cut-and-dry as “marriage is over=it’s divorce time” … but in case you are looking for motivation (I hope I’m not misreading your last paragraph!), I believe many/most states in the U.S. (again, assuming that’s where you live) will grant a divorce even without the 2nd party explicitly showing up, signing the papers, etc., if it can be reasonably proved that the 1st party made every effort to get the 2nd party to comply.

      I hope you find peace and resolution soon. Jedi hugs if you want them, from someone who knows from awful, manipulative, narcissistic juiceboxes.

      1. Aw thanks! I’m actually in UK, but it’s largely irrelevant. He is very generous and reasonable in many ways, in that he runs and owns half of a family business (diff family own other half), and I’m receiving a living wage salary from said business despite not actually working. His salary is small but he lives through his expense account. As he kept me in the dark about finances and things are definitely shady there’s a risk that a) we could end up in trouble and b) I could end up worse off.
        I think his refusal to discuss it is possibly guilt. I saw a lawyer five years ago and started collecting information she requested, but when I asked him for a specific document he went off on one, ranting that ‘he wasn’t gonna waste money paying a lawyer to read a massive document that she doesn’t need to read’.

        I also fear that his gf will (despite both their statements to the contrary-they’re both proven manipulative liars) scheme a way to marry him and take all.
        She is absolutely a Golddigger, and after only his money/status (despite not actually having millions he’s duped local ‘society’ which includes ex footballers etc into thinking he does with his flashy car etc).

        He’s basically fooled everyone into thinking he’s wealthy when he’s not really. But we will get a pension in five years that will pay off all debt and hopefully means I can finally live in a decent house.

      2. Thanks.
        I wrote an enormous reply to this that just seemed to disappear after ‘posting’. I thought maybe it had gone into moderation, but this is the third time this has happened. I think maybe it’s timing out or something . Or I’ve exceeded allowed length. I need to type it out first then C&P as I don’t feel up to retuning it all.

  59. I wish there was a socially acceptable way to make it known how you prefer your rejections. I just got turned down for a job in a phonecall and I would much rather have done it over email where I could feel my feelings about it in private, especially since there was no actionable feedback — the reason they didn’t choose me is something totally outside my control.

    Some people, though, REALLY LIKE the phonecall thing. My boss said she’d much prefer to be turned down by phone, because she thinks it’s more personal and shows more consideration for her as a candidate.

    1. Ugh, job rejections. So far all mine have been by email because I haven’t gotten to interview stages yet. Many years ago when I was job searching a different time I had had an interview that had gone really well and they told me by phone I think largely because she wanted to explain why I didn’t get it (“remove this reference” was pretty much the gist) which I suppose was nice of her. Generally I prefer email though.

    2. I HATE the phone call because I want to just hang up on them the second they say sorry no but that’s seen as socially unacceptable and so I have to sit though useless minutes of blathering on about reasons that aren’t really reasons. (Never once has a rejection call contained useful, non-generic feedback, such is life as a college intern.)

      I sometimes do just say “cool thanks” and hang up but one of my friends in HR told me that when people do that it’s really upsetting for him to not have the chance to get the “you were awesome I’m sorry don’t hate me” part in there so I dunno. On the one hand, I am not responsible for your need for catharsis, on the other hand, I don’t want to seem rude and burn bridges.

      I think interviewers should ask your preferred method of communication and respect it. Dating sites make that easier because you aren’t mandated to give your number away as part of the “application” process.

      1. I’ve mostly gotten emails but I’ve had one in-person rejection and one over the phone, and in both there was this point where they told me I didn’t get the job and their reasoning, and I said okay, thanks for considering me, and then… AWKWARD SILENCE.

        It was like they were waiting for something. I’m not sure if they expected me to fight for it or what. That seems like bad form. But I don’t know what they expect me to do when there’s that long pause of them sitting there waiting for me to do something! The worst was the in-person one — the person was REALLY rude to me and rejected me five minutes into the interview, and then kept asking if I was okay because I’d gone quite pale from stress/disappointment/humiliation. And no, I was not okay, but “No, you just crushed my spirit and I feel dreadful” is not an acceptable answer, so don’t ask!

        1. Could be a place for “What kind of answer are you looking for?”. Maybe that would make them notice how pointless that question is. But damn, that’s a difficult situation.

    3. Oh, wow, do I feel you on this. I recently got a rejection by phone (it was the nicest rejection too — “You almost got the job! We really wish we had two positions!”) but in my line of work you just DON’T get rejections via phone so when I got the email asking when I was available for the call I got my hopes up and it was REALLY hurtful.

      (I’m an adjunct. Mostly, universities don’t –ing bother to reject me. Or I get a letter a year later. Or maybe a misspelled email from their Human Resources department and I get to fume over whether they BOTHERED to even provide my packet to the department. But mostly, just silence.)

      1. Oh man emailing to ask if they could call you! Ouch. Just explain by email if you’re going to email.

        1. They did that to me too… emailed me at the beginning of the day to ask if he could call at the end of the day, so I was going nuts all day. Luckily(?) I managed to convince myself he wanted to call to reject me so I wasn’t shocked.

          I am a hardcore defensive pessimist, though. I openly admit that I plan for everything to be a complete disaster so I can be surprised and delighted if it goes well.

  60. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”

    I had a friend (in a larger pack of friends) whom I liked very much. We *never* dated! We talked about future things, as college age folks tend to do. Him: a stay at home wife with 8 children (minimum). Me: not interested in marriage at all, work out of the home, and definitely no children. He proposed to me on one of the last days of college! I had to break it to him that I did not want the future he saw for himself. He still kept talking about marriage TO ME. I finally broke it to him that I was bi, knowing that he felt gay people were evil and that bis don’t really exist. He was so confused. I felt terrible. I never hid my bisexuality from him, he just ignored it. But being confronted with it he had to stop talking marriage. I hope he is happy and that he has the life he wanted but THANK DOG it is not with me.

    1. I think there is an entire category of men who see only the parts of you they want and oh so conveniently ignore the rest. These are the people who are *shocked* to find out that you claim you are fundamentally incompatible.

  61. Not really that weird, but once I had an ex that just could not say the words to break up with me. The relationship was already a little rocky, but we had dinner together after he had gotten back from a month-long gig. He broached the topic around like 2 AM but he literally couldn’t say “I’m breaking up with you.” After like 45 minutes of tearful meandering monologue from him I finally was like “…are you breaking up with me?” and even then, he could not get the words out between sobs. At this point I get terribly pissed (it’s late!) and I say something snarky like “I have to do everything in this relationship all the time, apparently, including breaking up with myself because you’re too weak to do it.”

    IT TOOK UNTIL 4 AM FOR HIM TO LEAVE. It was mostly a lot of useless crying on his end (why is *he* the one crying when *I’m* being dumped?! was what was running through my mind for most of it).

    1. I have dumped myself twice on behalf of a pathetic asshole who wasn’t man enough – or respectful enough of me! – to do it himself. One of them had a woman waiting for him in the wings but couldn’t “be the bad guy” with me by dumping me. ASSSSSHOOOOOOOOOOLE!

      1. Is it just men who do this? It seems so common from men. Why? My husband never told me and still hasn’t. It seems to be a ‘burying-head-in-the-sand’ type of response.

        The whole “70% of divorces are initiated by women” spouted by MRAs as evidence of evil wimmin destroying families and fleecing husbands irritates me.

        Is it perhaps because more men simply ignore the issue? I really don’t know.

        I do know that men seem to be more concerned that they ‘could do better’ than their current partner than women; also (in my limited experience) men seem to be less prepared to work on a troubled relationship and more likely to just move on.
        My ex seems to be of the view that he wasn’t prepared to change for me and he didn’t expect me to change for him, so we’re better off apart (speculating here as I never got an explanation).

        1. I agree, ashara. My mum initiated the divorce, after my dad walked out one day for someone else, removed her access to bank accounts, and then refused to take any responsibility for dividing up assets or selling the house. Technically, my mum divorced him but it’s not as though he left her any choice.

        2. “The whole “70% of divorces are initiated by women” spouted by MRAs as evidence of evil wimmin destroying families and fleecing husbands irritates me.”

          Totally. I initiated my own divorce – because my husband didn’t love me anymore, didn’t spend time with me, and we didn’t have sex. But even though I was still in love with him and willing to try ANYTHING to make it work I still had to be the bad guy because he would not do the work of saying he wanted to split. It made me so ARRRRGH!!!

        3. I mean, I assume it’s not ONLY men, but they do seem to do it a lot? I was dating a guy and I gradually realized he was pulling farther and farther away. When I finally had enough and dumped him, he said he “hadn’t wanted to hurt me” and he’d “tried to act like everything was normal”. Complete failure on both counts, well done!

          1. This happened with my first ever boyfriend, although it only went on for a few weeks (the distancing) and he did eventually finish it. (I agonised over seeing someone else and decided against it-big regret!)
            My husband did it for years. “I didn’t want to hurt you” is a lame excuse IMHO. It hurts far less to know the truth. Although I’m fortunate this hasn’t happened to me, and it’s likely far from the truth, at the time I likened it to knowing that a loved one was missing and waiting to find out if they’re dead. It’s horrible limbo.
            I spent years trying to figure out why my husband was so distant. I did end up refusing sex because I felt like I was being used as a cumbucket. I guess that was all I ever was to him.

          2. No more threading but –

            I agree, “I didn’t want to hurt you” is a lousy excuse. In fact, I think it’s a lie; they may be lying to themselves even, but it’s still a lie. If he really didn’t want to hurt me, he would have ended it instead of letting it drag on. What he didn’t want to do is take responsibility, so he forced me into a position where I had to.

    2. Oh god why don’t people just LEAVE after the break up! I had to throw First Boyfriend out of my house after he finally broke up with me. He wanted to talk it out and really help me understand why we were breaking up. Dude, I know why. You know why. Moreover, you are getting in the way of my ‘sobbing and eating all the chocolate in a five mile radius’ time. Out of the fucking house, please.

      1. I tried to leave immediately after dumping my last boyfriend, but was stuck there for over a half an hour while he literally clung to me and cried. Turns out there’s no tactful way to say ‘your touch repulses me; get off so I can go drink wine and watch Golden Girls’.

      2. I got dumped from a pretty serious, long-term relationship by a fellow who at least had the emotio-environmental awareness to say, after, “I should probably go, so you can call [BFF].” Your chocolate + sobbing made me think of it, because those followed closely on the heels of that phone call!

        1. My friend had been mutually flirting with/kinda seeing a guy for a while but it fizzled, and when he told her it was over he concluded the conversation with “well at least ice cream is on sale at Metro this week!”

    3. I dated a girl like this! She was only 18 at the time so I chalked it up to inexperience, but I started a serious conversation about an issue I was having with an aspect of her behavior (long story, but I thought the relaysh was fixable) and then she started talking and talking and talking and… it became clear where she was headed but also that she was never going to get there on her own. I was sitting in silence kind of taking it in and I remember her pausing to ask if I had anything to say and I said “No, I’d just as soon let you finish.” There was an awkward silence for a moment and then I sighed and said “…unless you’d like me to finish for you.” She agreed that that would probably be best.

      Then I broke up with myself.

    4. oh my god my ex-boyfriend did something kinda similar, in that he sent me a massive paragraph (over skype chat bc he’d tried breaking up with me via video call but felt too guilty when I started crying, like thanks dude) and it was just the most rambly thing ever that I actually had to clarify /twice/ if he was breaking up with me, because for some reason he couldn’t just say “I think you’re great but I can’t be with you any more peace”

    5. I had a very late night instant message-based breakup in high school where my soon-to-be-ex did not have the nerve to say the words “I’m breaking up with you.” I finally asked if that was what was happening and when I got the confirmation, all I could say was “I wish you’d gotten this out of the way a few hors earlier so that I could get some sleep.” It was a school night. In that moment, I was more pissed about the sleep deprivation than the breakup.

    6. My ex-husband once called me up to beg me to come over the next time he tried to break up with his girlfriend, because she wouldn’t leave. (The woman he left me for, no less!) Apparently my role in the relationship as the remover of wildlife from the house–mice in live traps, stray bats, the rat in the bathtub that time–meant that I was also supposed to arrange to come over at one in the morning to clear her out.

      Reader, I did not assist him.

  62. One lunch date with a classmate during exchange year, followed by lots of “No mentioning this ever again.” He didn’t even save my number in his phone. Considering I had to ask him out with a note to work up the courage, I think I got over it very quickly.

    Actually, I’m an example of why getting the ball rolling early is a good thing: Another time, it took me 8 months to ask a guy out, (and oh, the ways in which I tried to convey my feels. It hurts to remember.) and then I spend a few more months trying to be cool about it and still come to the same sports club, until he got a new girlfriend and I realized I shouldn’t have to torture myself anymore. Moral of the story: best to get these things out of the way fast.

  63. This is more Minorly Shitty Dude anecdote, frankly, but it still makes me laugh, now that it’s all in the past.

    1) Hooked up with a guy on a first date (it was a good date and overall a nice time! No regrets there)
    2) We text back and forth about how that was fun, maybe we’d hang out again, etc. etc. Finally he reaches down into his soul and says “but I’m not looking to be exclusive right now and am just looking for friends with benefits.”
    3) I go “Okay!”, think about it for a second, and text him back that I’m not really looking to add a FWB dynamic into my life right now, but I wish him all the best in life.
    4) He wants to be friends.
    5) He wants to be friiiiiiiends.
    6) He WANTS to be FRIENDS.
    7) Why am I not offering to just be friends?

    8) … I felt guilty and tried to be friends. HERE IS WHERE REGRETS COME INTO PLAY.

    1. I should add to this that I’d already gone a couple of rounds with people getting upset that either a) I turned them down for a date and then didn’t want to just go as friends or b) didn’t want to date them after three dates and also did not want to be friends. So I’d actually specified in my profile that I wasn’t looking for new friends right now! It was IN WRITING.

      1. Yeah, but if you were friiiiiiends he might get to get into your pants again! Despite you having explicitly said you didn’t want to do that! Because that’s what *he* wanted!

  64. I’d been flirting with a guy at work-we were in different departments- so was thrilled when he asked me out. We’d gone back to his house and he’d set out chips and a very tasty salsa. I’m eating it as we’re talking and he keeps staring at my chest. I get in my car and see a giant tomato-chunk-studded glob of salsa with a spread red stain where he’d been staring, throughly soaked in.

    Another from-work date had been at a coffee shop across the street from a vintage/muscle-car, car show. I’m excited and suggest we go over and we do. We looked closely and I told him that one way to tell if a body panel’s been replaced is the gap between panels won’t match the rest of the car-and I saw him fall out of Like with me, right at that moment.

  65. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”

    We planned a date on a Sunday, then decided we would actually meet on the Saturday. Flexible! Open to new things! He suggested we meet at Ranch 99, which I was told by coworkers was an “Asian Market” – we’re both Caucasian Americans, just for the images for your mind. I’m picturing stalls of flowers, fruit, teas. Nope! It was basically a Smart & Final / Food 4 Less /whatever store that happened to cater to more Asian tastes (dried squid, etc). He thought he could meet there “so we’d have something interesting to talk about.” I am wearing a nice First Date Dress. He is in jeans, flip flops, a tank top under an open plaid shirt, and was doing a full grocery shop. What! The best part of that evening was seeing that this market will sell you a package of “bull pizzle” which is indeed a giant dick in saran wrap. Anyway. We can’t really talk because the aisles force us to walk single file (that and his grocery cart), so I suggest at least sit and have tea. It’s pretty dire, and we have a kind of meh conversation. I feel like we’re both thinking “well, that could have been better” as he politely walks me to my car. I always give a hug at the end because we’re all humans and no one was evil or nasty. So I go in for the Friendly Hug and he locks his hands around my waist and gives me that “now it’s kissin’ time” face. WHUT. So I do the turn and cheek kiss thing, and as I am getting into my car, he’s like, “we’re still on for tomorrow, right?” “Uh, sure!” and I drive away, shamefaced at my cowardice.
    BUT THEN – and this is the answer you actually wanted – the next day I am all remorseful and I decide I just need to nip it in the bud right there. As I am coming up with some kind of white lie to get out of the date, he calls me and says he was totally stung by a bunch of bees and is in the ER and so he can’t go out tonight. “Oh that’s awful,” I said, trying not to sound incredibly relieved, but also sincere that such a thing would be awful were it remotely true, which it so clearly isn’t. “I hope you feel better!” “Thanks! Hopefully the swelling will go down” blah blah blah no plans for rescheduling. THANK YOU, FAKE BEES.

  66. after having a first meetup that lasted a few hours (successful, i thought!), the guy sent me an email saying i made him feel like a monster because of a face i made when we met. yes, i am socially awkward upon meeting people. i get nervous. i don’t know what my face did. but since he stayed on the date when we transferred from the coffee shop to a bar (great opportunity to bail!), i figured the awkwardness of the first 15 min hadn’t been that bad.

  67. I just wanna say to the LW that it was an awesome thing you did, and I would like to offer you hugs. Dating again is one of those small brave things that’s not actually “small” at all. It’s scary, and it’s hard, and it sounds like you rocked a pretty awkward situation.

    Something I have noticed about awkward situations is that it seems like it’s not even possible to feel like you did well. That’s what makes them awkward. And that’s really, really annoying.

    But … yeah. Good jorb. And good luck in the hopefully less-awkward future!

  68. Definitely the most awkward: the guy who was very enthusiastic about a second date, and then I ran into him a few days later with his girlfriend.

    Definitely the most painful: the guy I crushed on and lusted after for years (plural), then he finally decided to ‘give me a chance’, and our first date I was so nervous I threw up on his shoes. And he was all, well, that clearly didn’t work. Ouch.

    But, dear letter writer, you are so very brave. Dating is hard, rejection hurts and you are wonderful and strong for taking the risk to find love.

  69. Strangest/most awkward break-up?
    Telling me he had a wife and son at home did the trick real fast.

      1. In fairness, as far as he was concerned, it wasn’t really a break-up. He wanted to keep sleeping with me. Also, we weren’t that involved. I dived in awfully fast. That was 30 years ago. I have trouble believing I was ever so naive. I learned my lesson and have done considerable reconnaissance work ever since before getting that involved. I found his obituary online recently. It left me feeling old.

  70. Possibly the worst ghosting I’ve ever experienced (and a cautionary tale, dear LW, that sticking to your dealbreakers and meeting them early is wise):

    I decided to jump back into dating! I made a profile and tooled about on the site for a bit, and then I got this nice message (the first such message) from a great guy who seemed perfect. EXCEPT he was on the other side of the country. ‘Well, clearly this will not work, but hey! Why not just chat?’ I thought. (Because you are prone to forming deep emotional connections even when it’s a terrible plan? Because this is the definition of a terrible plan?)

    UNSURPRISINGLY the next few months (months! Why?!) involve me spending a lot of time being like ‘so clearly this is a terrible idea but I really like him?’ and after a while he proposes a trip to my town for a weekend. He buys tickets. We plan. We talk about options if, in person, the chemistry vanishes (because oof was there chemistry) and both get more and more excited. The day before he sends a text all ’24 hours! Can’t wait!’

    Reader, I never heard from him again.

  71. “Readers, what’s the strangest/most awkward way someone has chosen to deliver the ‘no second date after all’ news?”
    Had one date in the early 90’s, then he asked me to meet him at a bar for what I thought was a second date but turned out to be where he delivered the no 2nd date news, in person, after we ordered drinks, with the reason being that he just couldn’t see a future with me since I didn’t shave my legs. When I made me “WTF” face, he said “Yes, I may be shallow, but it’s because if we are lying in bed (there had been NO SEXYTIMES) and I am looking at our legs, I want to be able to tell which are mine.” Yay, buddy, look totally (TOTALLY) fine to not be into my leg hair, but seriously you think you won’t be able to tell which legs are YOURS?!

        1. o_O

          SO MANY QUESTIONS. Did you get the vibe that Mystery-Legs-Man thought you’d rush in with an offer to shave your legs and fix this sad state of no-second-dateness? Like, being a stranger to his own legs was [supposed to be] some sort of neg? Did he seem embarrassed about his [legit!] dealbreaker and like he was trying to paper it over with a joke? Or did he just seem serious about this whole thing?

          (I am probably way too fascinated by this scenario because some of my family used to concern-troll about whether my leg-hair would ruin all my dating/marital prospects forever, but it never actually came up for me.)

          1. i KNOW, I still have so many questions too. I just blew him off and never asked for any follow up, I was pretty dumbfounded in the moment. He didn’t seem very embarrassed, no. I think he was just trying to find something concrete to say about why he didn’t want to see me again, and that’s a culturally acceptable reason to reject an otherwise female-presenting person. Oh well, my husband now couldn’t care less about my hair, anywhere on my body. Haven’t shaved in 1988. 🙂

    1. Wow, does he like sparkly blue pedicures too? Or does he frequently lose track of his limbs?

      … I say as someone who doesn’t shave but likes happy colored toes. it’s a good asshole detector.

    2. Geez, I never thought of this real impediment to LGBT happiness… how do same sex couples tell their legs apart in bed? Because obviously all legs are completely interchangeable except for whether they have fuzz? *facepalm*

  72. 1) This is more like the worst reaction I’ve had to trying to politely break things off. I went out for happy hour with a guy who was fun enough to talk to, but I realized I had NOTHING in common with him. He also volunteered that he was “really kinky,” and it seemed completely out of nowhere (sex had not come up in the conversation at all) so I changed the subject. After a few rounds of drinks he invited me to go back to his place and make dinner. I said I’d think about it for a second; we both went to the bathroom and I left my phone on the table, came back, checked it and pretended to discover I had a voicemail and had to go outside to listen to it. I said my friend had called and was going through a lot of stuff and sounded super freaked out and that I needed to go check on her. He said, “Are you sure, or is this because I invited you over for dinner?” (DUDE. IF YOU HAVE TO ASK.) We parted ways and he proposed we get together again, and I was like, “OK!” Then I texted him a couple of days later and said I didn’t think we had enough in common for me to be interested.

    YES then suddenly I received a string of texts (this is verbatim because I typed them out in an email to a friend, btw): “I have a feeling sorry is not quite how you felt, that’s ok though. In the future, just say you’re not interested. Apt men rarely care for verbage. I’m am sad to hear it though, I would have liked to get to know what we did have in common. Not that it’s really a determining factor in attraction, for me.”

    A bit later I spied on his OkCupid profile and he had added a thing saying he was “through with women who have no humulity.”

    Do I even have to tell you what kind of hat he wore on our first date?

    Anyway. LOTS OF BEES for such a short period of acquaintanceship. I sort of gave up on trying to break up nicely unless I had some interest in trying to become friends with the other person.

    2) Another guy, I met through mutual friends while we were all hanging out at a bar. We flirted, exchanged numbers, and later he invited me to join him at a trivia night at a bar in our neighborhood. I went out, we lost terribly, his friend left and we decided to go back to his apartment and watch a movie, we ended up having sex and parted ways in the morning.

    Sometime the next day I realized I had left my necklace at his house. It was a really cool necklace my friends had given me for Christmas — the pendant was an exposed watch gear. I texted him about it and suggested we could get a beer sometime and he could get it back to me. I know there’s a whole thing in pop culture about people purposely leaving stuff behind to trick people into seeing them again, which I hate because i am just straight-up bad at keeping track of objects, so I kept the tone deliberately light and casual. He texted back, “Your necklace is mine forever more. But beer is delicious, so yeah, let’s hang out again sometime.”

    A week or two went by and I didn’t hear from him, so I texted him again. Same response, basically. Like he used the phrase “forever more” again. A couple weeks later I realized I still didn’t have the necklace and texted him again, and he said the same thing. And I was like, “OK, you know this isn’t really about hanging out again? I’m not against it [NOTE TO PAST ME: WHY ON EARTH NOT?], I like hanging out with you [NOTE TO PAST ME: ARE YOU SURE?], but the necklace was a gift and it is really important to me. Please, just get it back to me. You can put it in the mail, I don’t care, but it’s not yours.”

    AT THAT POINT he proposed we get together for happy hour. We hung out for a round or two and chatted amiably and then he mentioned he had other plans and gave me the necklace. Then he walked me to my bike and…kissed me. Which was a LITTLE CONFUSING considering I had long since assumed he was no longer interested. And then neither one of us contacted the other again. (Well, no, I ran into him a few times around the neighborhood again.) This was all, like, almost seven years ago and while I’m mystified by some of my own choices in this situation, I have zero theories about the guy’s deal.

    1. Apt men rarely care for verbage.

      Truly an aphorism for the ages, milady. For a man so brilliant, I’m surprised he had the humulity to deign to explain to you exactly how sorry you felt. [/sarcasm, in case it wasn’t obvious]

  73. I know I’ve shared this before, but writing the break-up note in ARABIC. “Why, Epiphyta, I did not know you read Arabic!” As a matter of fact, Gentle Reader, I do not! Making it so I would have had to involve a third party in finding out I’d been dumped is a distinctive class of assholery, but 30 years on it is an awesome story.

  74. When I was 14, my boyfriend of one month dumped me at the Renaissance Festival, where he had previously taken me on several dates. Here I was, all dolled up, and here he was, taking me to some semi-secluded romantic wooded hideaway. My heart was ready to flutter out of my chest. Little 14 year old me thought FOR SURE some sort of handfasting ceremony was about to take place.

    NOPE. Dumped. With a fairly routine break up speech, but, just … the setting. When asked later by mutual friends, his logic was “Well, it’s such a happy place, I figured she’d get distracted and not be so sad.”

    Bonus: we re-met 12 years later, laughed about the whole thing, and are now married.

  75. My very first boyfriend when I was a much smaller pakeha, who I will be honest enough to note that I was dating because society said I was supposed to be interested in guys, broke up with me by skipping out on a mutual friend’s birthday party but giving them a rose and a handwritten letter for me. The letter said, basically, we were breaking up because we hadn’t had sex yet. I was 14. We hadn’t kissed, either. Our mutual friends agreed that that was a pretty dick move, and I was then informed that he’d told people I let him put his hand down my pants.

    That was only the first time a guy broke up with me for that same reason before I finally clued in that actually I am not interested in guys. One of them had earlier turned up at my house on our one month anniversary with a bouquet of roses to greet me when I came home from school and I decided to check my email before hanging out with him. (We continued dating for at least two more months after that.) Sorry, boys of my past, I was very confused back then.

  76. I’ve just remembered an awkward rejection. This was many years ago, about 1992. My friend and I were 17/18, the guy was 20.

    I hooked up with a guy when out one night. I knew that he had asked my closest friend out a few months before and she’d turned him down because she didn’t fancy him.
    We went on our date and had a nice time, or so I thought.
    A few days later she brings a letter into school that he had written to her (hand written and posted to her home address -no email in those days!).

    In it, he said that the date with me had made him realise that he still was in love with her and still would like to go out with her if she was interested. Bonus was that he wasn’t going to tell me himself, and could she let me know it was over!

    She just handed me the letter and apologised. No hard feelings. We both agreed he was an idiot. ( She didn’t go out with him).

  77. I have two, but I’m going to go with the more awkward of the two. It was as I was just starting to more seriously date as an adult. Within the first 20 minutes of the first (and only) date, my date asked/told me he didn’t have a car, and would I be cool with driving him home? Cut past lots of date’s self-deprecating talk, meanwhile telling me a breath later that I “wasn’t like the other girls” and I was ready to run. I drove him home because I’d felt guilty about it and he told me he’d had a great time, then asked would I want to do it again? He told me his friends all thought I was cool too because he’d shown my profile to them which just sealed the coffin for me, and I told him “not really, let’s try friends.” I’m sad to say that I ghosted him as soon as I drove away, but I was too creeped out to try being friends…

  78. I have so many funny/weird/awful/sad stories, but I think the worse was this one guy telling me he didn’t find me physically attractive. Geez, dude, you don’t need to spell it out! A “I’m not feeling it” would have been enough. And I wasn’t even fishing for more details — He willingly volunteered that piece of information. Being completely honest is not always warranted, you know? 😉

  79. Not a date, just teenaged making out – but I had someone call me a “drunken mistake” on two occasions (I know, I know “Fool me once…” etc)… They went on to attempt to (drunkely) make out a third time, at which point I was dating another person! Needless to day, a wide berth was offered thereafter! 🙂

  80. I was rejected for a second date by someone with whom I had not realized I was on a first date. I am in grad school and a classmate asked me if I wanted to come over to his place to study. I worked, so he suggested that he would grab some takeout so that I could come straight over. I got there, paid for my half of the take away and we studied bacterial motility over kung pao and Tsingtao. I got up to leave and he said, “I had a great time, but I don’t think we have much chemistry.” Me, being a bit tired and with beer on board and bacteria on the brain, looked confused and blurted, “What do you mean chemistry? Isn’t exam in microbiology?”

  81. Most awkward rejection for second date:

    I was in fifth grade and sometimes this other kid and I would play video games, go to chess club, other nerdy 90s things. He was also one of my only other peers who had email, but we rarely used it because AOL was pay as you go back then.

    I was surprised then to get an email dumping me. This fifth grader said, I shit you not, “the lines of communication are down.” (His parents were shrinks.) As with many of the posters above, I had no idea we were dating. I believe I did call him to go …”what??” And also, “If you thought we were dating, the least you could have done was make a phone call!!”

    Awkwardness compounded as adults when he dated a friend of mine and I pretended I did not think it was a bad idea. (He is very into traditional gender roles.) so so so glad they did not last.

  82. I have so many awkward being-dumped stories, but this one really stands out in my memory. Back in college, I had a short-term hookup with this physically beautiful man. Had a giant, massive crush on him, and I thought we really clicked. He went to another school nearby, so I knew it would be a while before I saw him again. Turns out he totally ghosted me, and for awhile I was really sad.

    About a year went by, and then one day Big Awesome Underground Band was going to play at a venue near my school. I was all excited! Time to lace up my boots and go out! This was back in the days of stage diving and mosh pits, two activities that I participated in with much excitement.

    So I got to the concert. People were jumping up on stage and diving into the crowd. I was drunk. I was high. I was happy. I was up on stage, dancing my ass off, and pretty soon after that, I was airborne.

    I remember that feeling of soaring over the crowd, seeing all the hands lifting up to catch me.
    And then I saw his face in the crowd.
    Time seemed to slow down while I was in the air, so I was able to watch his expression shift from excitement to shock to horror.

    He saw me. And then he put his arms down, and took a great big step backward, so that instead of being lifted up by the crowd, I rocketed to the ground and crashed right into the empty space where he’d been standing a second before.

    The lump on my head hurt like hell for three days.

  83. In highschool (of course) there was this dude I had a major crush on and we would talk on the phone all the time for hours on end. And in one such conversation he asked me out. I was so excited! I have never been so happy to get up and go to school as that next day. And he wasn’t there! He didn’t show up for *two weeks* though we talked on the phone during that time and he said he was sick. And then he called me and said he’d changed his mind. Turns out he changed his mind right away pretty much, and then decided to miss two weeks of school to avoid having to tell me. So that was a thing that happened…

    Afterwards I found out he was saying pretty awful stuff to other people about me, which suuuuucked at the time. But in hindsight… Whaaaaat? Why did he ask me out at all? I think probably because I was very nice and listening to his problems, but also kind of fat and uncool with all the fun social baggage that carries/carried in high school in the 90s.

  84. I’m probably someone’s story. We worked at the same summer job in different departments and since I didn’t know how to reject him nicely, I instead found every way I could, up to and including actively ignoring him and moving from the student table at lunch to a different table with my older coworkers. Sigh. Let it never be said that I am not an idiot! xD;

  85. My embarrassing rejection story is one where I was the rejector. Um. Funny confession, but I’ve always been the dumper, never the dumpee. xD I don’t know what that says about me BUT ANYWAY.

    I was in high school, and this dude I was friends with invited me to the movies with some other friends, who were a couple. Me, being oblivious, was like “YAY MOVIE WITH FRIENDS! 8D” But he, however, was thinking “DOUBLE DATE!”

    The day came, and the other couple couldn’t make it, CONVENIENTLY. AAAAND he came to my house with ROSES. RED ROSES. A DOZEN OF THEM. So that’s when I start to panic internally because uhhh maybe this isn’t platonic??? OMG WHAT DO. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A FRIEND THING AND RED ROSES DO NOT SEEM LIKE A FRIEND THING. WHAT IS GOING ON. So we go to the theater alone to see SHREK of all things, and right when the movie’s starting he reaches out to hold my hand and asks me out.

    I was in total deer-in-headlights panic-mode because WHAT? I had zero interest in this guy on a romantic level and we were new friends.

    And I stupidly blurt out “yes” because I was socialized as a woman and didn’t know how to say no and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. (Barf.)

    I proceeded to keep my arms crossed and ignore him for the rest of the movie.

    He drives me home, and it’s a quiet drive because I’m internally pterodactyl screeching. We pull up to my place, it’s obvious he wants to kiss or something, but I just BOLT from his truck all, “GOOD NIGHT BAI~! 8D” and run inside.

    I panic for another day, BEATING MYSELF UP for what I did (WTF ME?! WHY DID I SAY YES!) until I can track him down at school and awkwardly tell him, uh, jk lol, I gave it some thought and actually don’t wanna date so let’s be friends kbai.

    It was so awkward. |:

  86. Trigger Warning: domestic violence; stalking

    An ex chased me with a kitchen knife, screaming that I was possessed by demons and he had to “carve the evil out.” Then he could not believe that I broke up with him the moment the police arrived and would not give him another chance on account of the attempted homicide. You really cannot un-ring that bell. So he harassed my parents by phone for years, trying every transparent ruse there is to try to get them to give him my contact info. (They changed their number.) He most recently surfaced a couple of weeks ago, when he messaged my best friend on FB, trying to convince her to give him my contact info since I have blocked him on every possible platform. (She did not. She screen-capped it then blocked him.) I last talked to him 17 years ago, when I gave him the old “You tried to kill me; fuck off forever” speech. His reaction: “Nobody will ever love you like I do!” My reply: “I really hope you’re right.” I guess I just don’t appreciate his special stabby, stalky kind of love.

      1. Thanks. I was a teenager with self-esteem issues and he was the first guy I ever dated. That was the first time he was physically abusive, but he’d been very controlling and emotionally abusive before that, so thirty-something me wants to go back in time and tell teenage me to run, girl, run. Nowhere to go but up from there!

      2. Thanks! We were teenagers at the time, so…the thought of anyone spending almost half their life that obsessed with anybody, let alone with someone they briefly dated while that young is pretty disturbing.

    1. Holy hell, jedi hugs and jedi force fields offered.

      I just … 17 YEARS is a long time to be obsessed with someone. I’ll admit, I have fixated on a few lost loves over the years, and sent some FEELINGSmail, but dang. There are entire human beings who have come into existence in that time, who are, right now, maybe even reading this advice column. Wow.

      1. Thanks. Yeah, it’s disturbing. It’s way past the normal “I wonder how Ex is doing, I hope zie is well” and into the realm of Boxing Helena. (Every possible trigger warning for Boxing Helena.)

        1. Boxing Helena Trigger Warnings: stalking, rape, kidnap, misogyny, severed limbs, stockholm syndrome, violence, gore, VERY BAD ACTING, Julian Sands

        2. My oldest sister saw this movie on a first date, she is now married to that guy. She then recommended it (“it’s ah-maaaaaazing!”) to my other sister, who watched it on a first date with the guy ended up marrying. This baffles me.

          1. Wow. That movie is irredeemably horrible — it is the antithesis of a date movie. I think I would run screaming from anybody who likes it, because ALL the red flags.

    2. OMG! I think I dated this guy.

      Backstory: we had lived together for a while in college…until he threatened to kill me and punched me in the face. I moved out while he was at work. Got on with my life.

      EIGHTEEN years later, he calls me out of the blue. I was going through a rough time (my marriage had just broken up, my mother was dying of breast cancer, I had lost my job because I was trying to split my time between two states trying to be there for my mother, my uncle was making a very illegal end-run around inheritance law, trying to get my mother’s estate for himself once she died. Luckily, established beneficiaries trump coerced wills.) Ex-boyfriend claimed to have “Found God”, changed his life, and wanted to see me again to apologize. Stupid me, I agreed.

      The first month or so, he truly seemed to have changed. We had lots of shared interests and he was fun to talk with. We started dating again, between drama, funerals, and lawyers. At first, he was supportive. Then cracks started to show up in his narratives/outlooks.Worst of all, his religion was…very weird. Finally, I had enough and broke up with him. He looked straight at me and said, “Women don’t have the authority to end a marriage.” Ummm…we’re not married!! “Women can’t choose to be married, only men can do that, and I have decided we’re married.” WTF!

      This was about 10 years ago. He STILL keeps trying to contact me.

      1. I am SO sorry. That all does sound familiar; I was hoping there was only one AwfulEx of that particular flavour of bizarre.

  87. We weren’t dating, but there was a cute guy at my job who I hooked up with before I left to return to my home country. I was leaving on Day X. We hooked up on ~Day X+7. A couple days after that I ran into him and was like, “Hey, that was fun. If you want to do it again I’m here until Day X” and then he showed up that night at my flat drunk and crying and basically gave me a breakup speech, and after everything he said I’m just like, “Ok. I just wanted to hook up a couple more times though.” Then we went down to his other job and he woke his boss up to get us beer because the bar was closed.

  88. I’m the dumper in this scenario. A guy I knew in grad school approached me some 15 years later because he worked at the local paper and was writing a story on a subject I’m very familiar with. In hindsight, I’m not 100% sure the story wasn’t a front, because Newsboy was recently divorced and immediately glommed on to me. We went to dinner and a movie one time, and even though I used my words and explained that when it comes to relationships, I’m not slow, I’m glacial, and I like having space and breathing room, he bombarded me with daily long emails and multiple phone calls and mix CDs. I warned him that he was pushing too hard too fast, but he kept going, so I sent him an email to say I was going to leave the DVDs he loaned me outside my front door and I didn’t want to continue our communication.

    Six months later at most, he wrote a story for the paper about how he whisked his girlfriend to some tropical island and sprang a wedding on her. Not a proposal. An actual wedding. To this day, I feel like I dodged a major bullet.

  89. Oh, and in college, a friend of mine wanted to set me up with a guy that she thought would be perfect for me. The three of us met for breakfast at a nice restaurant, and it went pretty well, but I didn’t feel any sparks, so I didn’t see any point in trying again just the two of us. I didn’t give him my contact info when we parted ways, which I hoped would be enough of a clue. Later, she told me he was pissed that I wouldn’t go out with him after he’d paid for my breakfast.

    Looking back, his choice of hat for our first meeting makes sense.

  90. I think my favorite awkward breakup story is this: back in college, I was very much tiptoeing around seeing this guy. He is, to date, possibly the most physically attractive human specimen I have ever seen in person, and I was a very naive 21 years old, so that is my sole excuse for the self-delusion to the point of harm that I displayed in ignoring some major red flags. He was nice, if a bit full of himself, and we had a very nerdy class together in which we were the two most vocal nerds. After some strangely timed near-sexytime-misses and a few awkward coffee dates, we lost power during our shared class – one during which he was absent. I was familiar enough with his schedule to know the blackout might mean he was free for dinner, and so I called him, got his voicemail, and never heard from him again. He moved seats the next class and spent the remaining few weeks ignoring me completely. I later found out that during the blackout, he had actually been breaking into our favorite campus coffee date spot and stealing a tv and other media equipment. Based on the report after his arrest the next month, it would seem that my phone call interrupted him and caused him to drop and break the tv, which was one of the things that helped police identify it as the stolen item when it was found in his possession, along with quite a few other high-dollar electronic items. So although there was no way I could have done it on purpose, I understand why that might have soured our burgeoning relationship for him, and fortunately when I saw him a few months later after having heard the entire story, he seemed to understand why I was less interested than I had previously been. If he had only remembered to turn off his damn cell phone, we might be together to this day…..😆

    Another good one was the guy I had been a little back-and-forth with in grad school while he was divorcing-not-divorcing-no-really-divorcing-for-real-I-mean-it-except-not-actually-now-that-we’ve-talked the woman who eventually became his actual ex-wife. They had a very drama-filled few years, and when they were finally kaput for good, we shared a rather-drunk-rather-high totally lovely first kiss after a party and decided to try dating. During which time his ex showed up at his apartment during our first date, and I left despite his protests that she was “just leaving.” I set a few boundaries the next day with him on the kinds of drama I wasn’t okay becoming a part of, spent the next week hearing him gush about how nice it was that we could be together and it not be tumultuous and angsty, then the following Monday received a text: “I’m very busy for the next few weeks, but when I have some downtime – maybe Friday – we should really talk.” Those last four words are, of course, code for “I’m breaking up with you.” Except….you want to wait till Friday to break up with me but you’re telling me you’re doing it Monday?! I called him and told him as much, and he very angrily told me he didn’t like having his hand forced, but since I was being difficult, yes! Yes he was breaking up with me! He needed a relationship with more spark – ours was boring, there was no passion or excitement. Turns out the lack of drama he thought was so nice? Was not actually a thing he wanted. Sigh. Lesson learned – read the warning signs early.

      1. I know!!!! It was so bizarrely comic that I wasn’t even hurt by his ghosting me, and I was seriously infatuated with this guy.

        1. I’m confused as to why he still took the TV after he dropped and broke it. Maybe I just don’t understand the psychology of crime, but at that point, why wouldn’t you focus on stealing other items that weren’t broken?

          1. I don’t know why he took it in the first place. From my limited memory of the whole thing (more than ten years ago!) he didn’t sell anything and planned on using everything he stole (not just from that place, either) to start his own media company (I don’t even know). He also climbed in through the AC duct, according to the report, so I think it was probably more about getting away with something and feeling like a bad ass than it was about stealing and selling/using the stolen items. I don’t know that for certain, of course, but that’s my guess.

          2. Wow. I think I would be caught between, “I don’t want to date you because you are a criminal” and “I don’t want to date you because you are going to end up featured in one of those rags that publishes stories of *stupid* criminals.”

  91. So this is not my story, but one of my good friends once went on a date with someone and then went home with him. The next morning, the next morning he was all “We should get breakfast and maybe hang out later this week?” and she got all awkward and was like, “I HAVE TO BAKE A CAKE.” and then she left and never talked to him again.

    It is one of my favorite stories.

    1. So there’s this cheesy old song called, “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d Have Baked a Cake.” This story puts it in a whole new light.

  92. Once, a few months out from the slow amputation of my former “soul mate,” I went on a few first dates I didn’t like before deciding I just wasn’t ready. I hoped my fellow first-datees would ghost on me so I wouldn’t have to reject them, but I had to do it myself, and I remember responding to one of them that I wished him “luck in all your future endeavours.” He told me it made him feel like he was being turned down for a job. Awkward. I still can’t believe younger-and-sillier me said that!

  93. Great thread!

    1) I dated my first boyfriend for ~2 1/2 years. We had some great times, but also some dysfunction and ongoing conflicts we could never resolve. One night I did something he didn’t like, and he spent the next three hours telling me in detail all the things wrong with me and all the reasons I didn’t deserve him. I sat there numb and miserable. I was sure he was going to break up with me, and I was actually okay with breaking up, I just wanted him to stop saying mean things. Instead he left without actually going that one more step.

    The next day I thought long and hard about how our relationship had run its course, and how I never wanted to endure another three-hour session like that one. So I phoned him up and told him I was breaking up with him, and asked if he wanted one last date for old times’ sake. He was astonished. I asked how he could possibly be surprised, after the previous night. He said, “I just didn’t think we would break up right away. I thought we could break up two weeks from now.”

    Being young and naive, I didn’t make the obvious connection – he wanted two weeks to try to line up somebody new. I know because later in life, he told me, not seeming to realize it was something to be embarrassed about *rolls eyes*

    2) I was working at a corporation big enough to have its own maintenance dept. A maintenance guy came to fix stuff, and to be friendly I said hello. He bitched about what a long day he’d had, and again, to be friendly, I asked if it was almost over yet. He told me when his shift ended, and asked when mine did. I told him without thinking twice about it.

    That was Fri. I worked Tues-Sat. Next Tues, he approached me and said in a half teasing, half pissy tone, “You sure snuck out of here fast.” At the time, our dept. had flexible hours, and some people had been misusing the privilege. I quickly explained that I didn’t work Mondays. He said he meant last Friday. I said bluntly that I finished my shift in full. He repeated that “I snuck off fast enough.” I asked him in total bewilderment and in a rather pissy tone myself when exactly he expected me to be at work such that I wasn’t at work. (Bear in mind that I’d never seen him before our first conversation.)

    He said, “I was going to take you out for drinks after work on Friday evening.” I stared at him in bewilderment, not wanting to be a jerk but not at all happy about hearing this out of the blue. And really… he was “going to take me?” Not, for example, “going to ask me?” I was still figuring out what to say when he mumbled, “Maybe another time” and left. I never saw him again.

    1. Ugh. Most of the maintenance guys I work with are quite lovely, but something about having a captive audience while they fix your ceiling leak/unplug your sink/repair your door lock makes the creepers feel like they’ve got an open dating pool. I had a similarly off-the-cuff moment with a maintenance guy my first year teaching, when he asked if I was married – I don’t remember the context, but the tone was such that it didn’t feel like a come-on, and I was not married to the now paintedhusband, so I said no. And then he left and the next day remembered that he “might have forgotten mumblemumbletool” and proceeded to ask me out.

      The truly awkward part? His kid was in the production I was directing at the time, and wouldn’t you know it, that afternoon I discovered I had one fewer actor than I thought I would have…..TWO WEEKS TO OPENING.

  94. Re: awkward dumping, I am probably some dude’s MOST AWKWARD STORY. There was this one time in college when I gave my phone number to a guy I met in a coffee shop and pretty much immediately regretted it, and then he kept calling me at midnight (presumably looking for a booty call; I never picked up).

    A week later, I was going up a staircase in a campus building when I heard someone call my name. I turned around, and he was at the foot of the stairs, saying, “Hey, how’s it going?”

    And then, I turned and ran as fast as I could. I was up the stairs, down the hall and out of the building entirely before I stopped to look behind me and see if he’d followed me. (Of course, he hadn’t.)

    It was incredibly awkward, but also incredibly effective!

  95. An ex of mine broke up with me on Christmas Day once. Like, I know there isn’t a ~perfect time~ to break up with someone, but the guy could have at least waited until after New Years. I worked a pretty gruelling shift, too, so it wasn’t like he had to see me all the time. I will say, at least he did it face-to-face and not through text, email, and he didn’t just ghost on me. I handled it pretty good, too, all things considered.

    1. Once I went ice skating with a group of friends and friends-of-friends, one of whom it transpired had invited her boyfriend for the purpose of breaking up with him. During the couples skate.

    2. I was once dumped on April Fool’s Day. I literally didn’t believe him / thought it was a joke, until he started packing… awkward!

      1. I’ve occasionally had the thought that April 1 would be the worst possible day for something horrific but hard-to-believe to happen. Zombie apocalypse gets into high gear, aliens invade, whatever. Because we’d lose hours while people sat around going, “Wow, they’re really going all out for this joke, aren’t they?”

        Not that there’s a *good* day for the zombie apocalypse to start, I guess…

        1. April 1 is when The Gentleman Caller and I went “Facebook official” about our relationship, without thinking about the date, so his wall had a lot of “SURE you are, buddy” comments. Unfortunate but hilarious.

      2. Yeah. Once a company I worked for announced a big round of layoffs April 1st. And I was like, “Ha ha, good one!…. wait…. really?…. oh.” Like, you couldn’t have done it twelve hours later?

  96. My most recent and probably favourite one? I was seeing a guy I’d met online for about a month. To be fair I had already started to have doubts about the relationship, I wasn’t sure we had enough in common. One day I noticed he’d put a remark up on my friend’s Facebook which seemed a little unsavoury, so I asked him about it via text. He got defensive and then didn’t respond to my last text. I began to wonder during the course of the day if I’d overreacted and decided to offer to go over to his place after work to talk it through. Before I did, something made me check his Facebook and I couldn’t help but notice that he’d defriended me. Dumped via Facebook? Really???

    Oh, by the way he was 40 years old.

  97. Went on a silly date with someone during my “what the hell, you never know phase” of setting a low bar for first dates and a high bar for second ones. The guy had insisted on getting a hotel room in my town, 40 miles from his (I know). I pointed out I would not be staying in this hotel room and had to be at work the next day but he said he wanted to.

    Date was not good, he had his shirt unbuttoned to mid-chest and loads of aftershave and described himself as a metrosexual.

    The next day I was at work and got a text saying what a lovely time he had had and when could we do it again.

    I was just composing a thanks but no thanks when I got another text saying he’d just crashed on the motorway and was heading to A&E in an ambulance. Probably because he was texting on the motorway.

    Deleted composed text and established over the course of the day that he had a back injury and would be off work for 6 weeks. I tried to sound sympathetic but eventually we circled back to the question of a second date and I had to still say no even as he returned home injured after forking out for a hotel and writing off his car on the way back. He was a bit put out and tried to argue the toss but I am far too self-serving for that crap.

    A few weeks later he texted me randomly telling me he had had a date with a lovely girl who wanted to see him again, see what you’re missing sort of thing. That’s great, I said. Hope you’re not driving.

  98. OK I have a question. I briefly tried OKC a while ago and had several people, as if they had all attended the same “How to communicate” academy, tell me to sign up for What’s App “so that we could communicate more easily”. What’s app with that? Is it a Thing? I wasn’t comfortable putting an application on my phone just because someone I didn’t know said so … ???

    1. I know nothing really of dating on the internet, but I feel like according to The Media, What’s App gets used a lot for dick picz. But then again, my really sweet ex-sister-in-law uses it to keep in touch with her friends overseas, and I’m pretty sure no dick picks are involved (or if so, only consensual ones.) So I also second your confusion.

      But I feel like communicating through OKC gives you a certain level of protection in case they turn out to be douchenozzles, because it’s easier to report it to the site. Like does the website have some sort of FAQ about that? Like how Craigslist is all “here is how not to get scammed on Craigslist” thing?

      1. Thanks, when I’m ready to try again I will check that out. And I’m now wondering if that was a coded way of offering to send dick pics. I would totally prefer to keep communication on the site for as long as I don’t feel uncomfortable doing otherwise. One of these guys in particular seemed much too keen to get in touch off the site too quickly. Sigh, so many red flags everywhere.

    2. Virtually guaranteed that those were scammers, not actual potential dates. The exact scam probably depends on your particular demographic characteristics (lonely hearts scam if you are an older woman, cam performers if you are a straight dude, etc).

      1. Oh, or! I had totally forgotten about this – if you ever find yourself getting the exact same message over and over, there’s an excellent chance that it has been recommended by some kind of PUA website.

        1. Yep, one of them was 20 years younger than me and seemed excessively interested in my kids. But yes PUA! That could be it. Escalating to a chat app or something.

          1. Yeah, all the PUA people promote elaborate theories that, when stripped of their evopsych and bullshit, and just selecting for the easily manipulated.

            Anywhoo, the usual dating rules are the best defense. Say no to things you don’t want to do, and if they are shitty about it nope the fuck out of there.

    3. I’ve been told that Southern European youngsters have broadly adopted WhatsApp as a more “hip” substitute to Facebook’s messenger. Probably not relevant if you’re over 30 or residing elsewhere in the world, though.

      1. I’m in Central Europe … could well be similar. And very much over 30, hence perhaps the ignorance. (these men were closer to 30 than I. Actually as part of my steep OKC learning curve I applied an age filter after a while…)

    4. That’s weird. There are tons of apps for texting and/or sending dick pics. I would guess bots or PUAs. Like someone commented above me, I also use What’s App for texting friends overseas. It’s awesome for that.

  99. Rejection is awful. Sometimes I tell myself to stop even trying to avoid it. That never really works out. I always feel that it’s better to know someone will communicatie the lack of interest early and in a bad way then later or in a perfect way. Then I have less to get frustrated about. I had to reject someone yesterday. Fortunately he asked me out with a joke, so I joked back thanking him but being clear too.

    I recently had a wonderful date with a guy, only to realize just in time that he is being suspected of all sorts of creepy things and is being watched by the government! If only he had rejected me by text instead! A good situation for a silent rejection! Although I hate those the most.

  100. A whole new level of awkward break up:

    In high school I was a sophomore, and I made friends with a freshman who had recently moved to the school. Long story short, he was a basically nice guy, but EXTREMELY clingy to a stalkerish level (waiting at my locker after class, coming to my softball practice after school, never leaving my side during lunch). One Friday I lost it and told him hat I didn’t want to be his friend any more because he wouldn’t stop following me around and it was making me very uncomfortable. I admit it wasn’t the coolest, kindest way to say it, but I’ve learned a lot since then.

    The AWKWARD started a few minutes later when his mother found me and thanked me profusely for being her son’s friend because he really didn’t know many people and he was so lucky to have me. I was mortified and escaped as quickly as possible. THEN, maybe thirty minutes later she came back and cornered me under the bleachers at the football game (this is real!) and called me a horrible bitch for being so cruel to her son. Needless to say, I burst into tears and literally ran to my mother. It was so, so horrible.

    1. GEEZ, it’s her job to teach her son people skills, not yours. Yes, there probably always is a way to say things more nicely or earlier, but really, cornering a teenager.

    2. When my ninth-grade boyfriend broke up with me, his mother and his younger sister took me out to lunch to commiserate.

      This seemed weird to me even at the time. Looking back — I mean, we were fourteen! Did they thing that relationship was not going to end at some point?

  101. When I was 17 the guy I was dating showed up at my house with a bag full of the books and cds I had lent him and told me he didn’t want to date anymore. So far so typical and my upset was mostly because I had never been dumped before, not because of anything specific he’d done.

    Then it starts getting weird. Practically as soon as I am done being upset (which did not take long, I knew I’d be moving away for university and hadn’t ever considered the relationship long term anyway) he starts asking to hang out again. Sure, I think, why not? He dumped me and I’m over him so we can get on with just being friends. This is not what happens. He starts by telling me about a waitress who slipped him her number and he’s thinking about calling her just to have sex because relationships don’t matter to him. I don’t know what response he was expecting but “Sure, as long as everyone knows what’s up you can do what you like” obviously wasn’t it.

    The next couple of times we hang out everything is pretty normal except he waits until I’m about to head home before dropping “I don’t think I’m capable of love. The only person I’ve ever love is you and I screwed that up. I will never love anybody but you”. Again, I wasn’t really sure what he was looking for with this but I’m guessing that I didn’t give it to him. I was mostly mildly irritated. Like, he broke up with me! Also I definitely had never been in love even when we were dating. I’m pretty sure I told him he should talk to someone who was not me when he started in on what a horrible screwed up person he was.

    I still get the occasional email from him, even though we haven’t spoken in at least 6 years and the last time we did speak was so I could ask him to stop emailing me. I mostly delete the emails without reading them. It became pretty clear early on that whoever I am in his head doesn’t match up at all with my perception of myself and it just made me cranky to read his emails to someone who doesn’t exist.

  102. Oh god, I just remembered another cringy one. When I was 18 I met a guy in Manchester, and a couple of weeks later went on my own to see his band play in London, and spur of the moment at the end of the gig agreed to go back to his in Manchester (it was a 4 hour drive in back of his band van. really stupid decision on my part, no mobile phones then, so didn’t tell anyone I where I was going or who with – luckily I was ok, but wow past me, you were dumb).

    Anyway we spend the weekend shagging, but I was a bit out of my depth, he tried to get me to do poppers and other drugs, and anal, and while I was up for sex, I was really intimidated by the whole experience.

    Halfway through the weekend the phone rang. He asked me to answer it, said if it was a bloke to give the phone to him, but if it was a woman, it would be his ex that was hassling him. Could I make it very clear that he was with me now and it was over between them. No boundaries me did as asked. It was a women, she asked if he was there, I said no and she sounded disappointed and ended the call. Didn’t think any more of it.

    At the end of the weekend he took me to the station and asked if I’d call him. I said no, I wasn’t interested in seeing him again and I wouldn’t be calling. He seemed surprised but was ok about it.

    I got home, and realised that I’d accidentally left some stuff at his house. I left it a couple of days because I really didn’t want to call him. But in the end, decided I wanted it back. Rang him, a woman answered, I said I left some stuff there, could I speak to him to arrange to get it returned? She told me he was with her now and I that I leave him alone.

    So yes, guy has current hook-up dump the previous hookup – then gets next one to dump the current one.
    Oh and I never did get my stuff back.


    1. Really classy.
      What if it had been his mother or sister? And you’d even said ‘no’ to further dates! This smacks of mind games to me, and men accuse women of doing it (at least, ‘no mind games’ is common on dating profiles, never really understood what they were referring to).

  103. My first college boyfriend generously gifted me with the best awkward breakup story ever. We had been dating for all of one week and were walking around campus one evening when suddenly he started looking really down and sighing a lot.

    Me: “What’s the matter?”
    Him: *sigh* “Nothing.” *siiiiiiiiiiigggghhh* *stares at the ground in a sorrowful fashion*
    Me: ……”Are you sure you are okay?”
    Him: *siiigh* “Yes.”
    Me: Okay, well if I can do anything let me know
    Him: *slides down nearby wall onto ground* *siiiiiiiiigh* “I guess I’m feeling down because I’m about to break up with you.”
    Me: “I’m gonna need to get my binder from your room then.”

    It was quite confusing and odd at the time, but I suspect it will continue to be my favorite breakup story for many years yet.

    1. Ugh. What is it with guys who break up with a girl and STILL clearly expect her to do the emotional labor of taking care of their feelings about it?

        1. Yes. He was later very upset with me that I wasn’t more upset. Apparently I was supposed to be Ruined For Other Men Forever or something and comfort him while he sighed. Over a week long relationship.

          It was a good lesson in red flags and where they lead. My dramatic reenactment (complete with every single sigh) never fails to get a few laughs.

          1. The short length of the relationship makes it even more ridiculous, but I really despise that dynamic no matter how long the relationship is. YOU break up with me, and I’m supposed to bend myself into a pretzel taking care of YOUR feelings? Fuck. That. Noise.

  104. My story happened when internet dating was a thing, but texting wasn’t (yet), I went out with a guy for coffee once. It was fine, but I really wasn’t interested so I just didn’t contact him any further. He didn’t contact me either so I thought it wasn’t worth a 2nd date for either of us. Then, like a week later, he sends me a message about how I’m terrible for not just telling him straight up I wasn’t interested and didn’t want to see him again. What? I didn’t respond.

    1. I’ve also been totally attacked for not turning a guy down more forthrightly. We met over Livejournal when I was 19; he was 30something and lived in the city where I was starting University, so I came to a party he threw with lots of people. A while later he sent me this really intense message asking me to go with him to the ballet and also to Go Out with him, and I was intimidated and said something like, “I don’t know if that performance date works for me” and he sent back this MISSIVE about how he is a forthright person and it’s just AWFUL of me not to FORTHRIGHTLY say no to him because he KNOWS he’s often unappealing but I could have just SAID SO… I don’t even remember a lot of that email because it scared me so much I never wanted to read it again, and when I saw him on campus a couple months later I booked it out of his line of vision and hid in a bathroom for half an hour.

    2. Yeah, I’ve had that. And I’ve also had someone write me back and say I was awful and why did I have to tell them I wasn’t into them when I could’ve just not written back?

      Can’t win for losing when it comes to rejections, just as our Captain said.

    3. I’ve had variations on this.

      I had just moved cross-country and made an ill-advised attempt to use OKC to find platonic friends in my new city. I don’t even know why this is an option. No one seems to believe it. So, I end up chatting with a guy who seems like he’s actually interested in me as a friend and not a “friend.” We meet up and hang out for about half a day, and I’m having a great time getting to know my new friend. And then out of the blue he grabs me and kisses me. I don’t kiss back, but he’s enough bigger than me that I can’t actually break the embrace until he lets go. When he lets go of me, I’m shaken and upset and said something like, “OK, I’m gonna go.” and noped the hell out of there and never contacted him again. Two weeks later, I get a message from him scolding me for not telling him that I wasn’t interested. Dude–me being up front and 100% clear that I was looking for a friend and not a date was me telling you I’m not interested. Me running to my car and driving away the instant you let me go after you kissed me was me telling you I’m not interested.

      A few years later, I went on a date with a guy. We had fun, and I was looking forward to seeing him again. At the time, I worked at a place where I wasn’t allowed t ohave my cell phone with me at work. It stayed in my locker when I was working, and I sometimes didn’t even check it at lunch if I was eating at my desk. I also abhor the idea of a digital leash and regularly shut off my phone and forget about it for hours or a day or more. He worked in IT and so he was *very* connected via mobile phone, so I made sure to tell him that partly because of work and partly because of personal preference, I am someone who responds *slowly* to texts and calls. I specifically said that several hours’ delay was commonplace (particularly on a workday), and sometimes I don’t see a text until the next day. The Monday after our date, he texted me just after lunch, so I didn’t see it until I got home from work several hours later. By that time, there were 4-5 texts displaying increasing levels of impatience with the fact that I hadn’t responded. That evening, I called him and reminded him about what I said about my text response time and said, “That thing you did there, with the multiple texts scolding me for not responding instantly? That’s exactly what I was trying to head off when I explained my texting pattern to you. That behavior is not OK with me, so please don’t do it again.” He apologized and we went on to have a nice conversation. At the end of the conversation, we agreed that HE would call ME in a few days. I didn’t hear from him for 3 weeks, and then I got a string of angry text messages about how I had ghosted him because I was broken emotionally and needed to hurt people (Whut?) and that he wouldn’t tolerate it, so I should never contact him again. Sure, dude. No problem. You will NOT be hearing from me again in this lifetime.

  105. I was dating a boy. And I didn’t like him all that much. And he called, and I said “I can’t talk now, I’m reading a boring book.”

    He correctly intuited that we were done.

    All I can say in my defense is that I called it a boring book because it would have bored other people (it didn’t bore me, it was, I think, the Discourses)

  106. I was dating/having sex with a guy who was fresh out of a divorce. I was in an open relationship and not getting any fun sexy times at home. He stopped responding to texts or inquiries to meet up, so I just figured he was busy with his kids/business. We both went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Scavenger Hunt (Yes, it was super awesome) but were on different teams. I noticed at the meet up in the beginning that he had brought a lady friend, so I figured that was what happened. At the end of the night when we all met up to tally points and whatnot he came over and told me he was seeing her and that he’d be in touch if things didn’t work out with her.

    I ended up going home with my current partner’s best friend and his now ex wife for a splendid night of sex. Now ex-wife later suggested I get with current Partner. Never thought being strangely dumped at a group event could lead to so much sex and happiness.

    1. “At the end of the night when we all met up to tally points and whatnot he came over and told me he was seeing her and that he’d be in touch if things didn’t work out with her.”

      Because who doesn’t love being a consolation prize?

  107. My second ever girlfriend, long-distance, we’d been togetherish for about three months, I went London->Glasgow to see her a couple of times – just after the second, things got cold and distant between us. She told me it was OK, she was feeling down, just needed space, and being young and inexperienced (and desperate) I didn’t get the hint. A month and a half later, we were both at a huge fan event, and on the second day, she dumped me by text message. She’d been waiting all that time so she could do it “in person”, apparently.

    Funny story… I’m an artist, I’d taken a marker pen to her back one night, done a design we were both pleased with. Eleven years later, I come across her profile on a dating site… and the user image she’s got there is that same design, complete with my initial.

  108. I had a first date that turned out not, in fact, to be a date:

    I asked out a guy I knew and he said yes! Yay! We went out and were having a reasonably good time, until he decided to tell me in the middle of dinner that he’d only accepted because he hadn’t dated recently and it was an ego boost. And we weren’t compatible anyway because of religious differences. But we can totally still be friends!

    Sure we can. Or, you know, not. And while I usually would have split the check, I figured he could pay for everything for being such an ass.

    1. “And while I usually would have split the check, I figured he could pay for everything for being such an ass.”

      Yeah, that’s what I did when recently I went out with a guy who told me halfway through dinner that sure, he had a partner who wasn’t aware of his other activities. “But I told you that before, and you said it was fine!”

      Reader, I did not. But I did order another course and a drink to go with it.

      1. Yup, we totally went to the nice ice cream place after dinner, too.

        These people, what even.

  109. I really, really love this thread.

    My contribution: I was in my senior year of HS, he was a junior in college. We met at church through mutual friends and had been dating for a couple months – he seemed to like me more than I liked him, which was unusual for me but I was going with it. He was my first kiss. The night before I left on my senior class trip to NYC (from N. Carolina), we met at Starbucks and we were having what I thought was a discussion about how to improve our relationship. He wanted me to be more communicative, like texting/calling, during the week, which was totally fair. One example he gave was that he’d like it if I called him on my NYC trip if I saw anything that reminded me of him. The conversation started out pretty serious – not like break-up serious (or so I thought) but just “this is where I’m unhappy in our relationship.” I shared some stuff with him about my parents fighting more than usual. We resolved things on a happy note, made out in his truck a little, then he dropped me off at home.

    Next day, I’m on the bus up to NYC and shot him a quick text or voicemail at some point. He didn’t return it, but, whatever, he’s at school, I’m having fun with friends, moving on.

    Next day, I call him and get voicemail. He does not return my voicemail.

    Next day, I am getting legitimately worried. I texted him a couple times, called him a couple times, even got my BFF (whose number he didn’t have) to text him, just to make sure he’s alive. Now I’m starting to get mad. So I leave him a voicemail basically saying “You told me to call you. You’re clearly ignoring me. You will call me NOW.” He finally called me back, late that night, and told me that he had been trying to break up with me at Starbucks but I started getting emotional over my parents fighting (?!?) so he just “couldn’t.” So we clearly ended things there, although he didn’t tell me WHY he had wanted to break up.

    I get back a few days later and go over after church to give him back a sweatshirt or something… He runs away like a roach when he sees me coming, so I give his stuff to one of his friends… and then I look down and see his class ring on that friend’s finger. I got the story from her sister later – apparently he had been in luuuurrrrrrrve with her even before we started dating but she’d had a boyfriend. The MINUTE she became single – ~oddly~ the same day as my Starbucks date with him – they started dating.


  110. Jiminy!

    I don’t have any super weird ones, but a cautionary tale for online daters – I had a great, hours-long, I-can’t-believe-how-well-we-connect date with someone, he was super into it, we went out once or twice, slept together, then he went to visit family…and dropped off the face of the earth. Completely. Some real cognitive dissonance there.

    Fast forward almost a year; a friend of his messages my best friend to ask her out via an online dating site, pictures of Ghost Boy are on his profile, and I get the delicious satisfaction of having the last word. Moral of the story: it’s a small damn world sometimes, even among strangers.

    I have also, more than once, have someone ghost on me and then pop up to message me months later to ask me out again. I AM NOT GOING OUT WITH YOU if the last thing I heard from you was asking me if we could get together on Tuesday night…and then Tuesday comes and I never hear from you again.

    I personally do not need to have being dumped be a Big Thing, but can I just make a plug for, especially if you have gotten to the point of sleeping together, actually tell that person you are no longer interested in them? Even if it’s a curt text. I know it’s uncomfortable and ghosting is so much easier…but it can sometimes bite you in the ass.

    As someone who spent about two years online dating, can I also recommend, LW, that you be super gentle with yourself and keep your self-care on point, and also take breaks from online dating if you start feeling mean, burned out, or exhausted? I had to take frequent breaks because I would get to the point where I was going into every date with a huge chip already on my shoulder.

    1. This I don’t understand at all.
      If he’s super into things and you’re both enjoying each other’s company, why would he suddenly just Ghost on you? Why would anyone Ghost in that situation, really; if it’s that great I’d think they’d want to stick around/stay in touch. I don’t think it’s a reflection on you or anything, I just can’t imagine what their reasoning would be.
      I can relate though, I’m dealing with a situation right now involving what I think is a ghosting and some serious cognitive dissonance.

      1. There are always reasons for things people do around how they keep in touch (or don’t) with people who are, let’s face it, pretty peripheral to your actual life. I think in most cases where people ghost when the dates have been going well, it’s because dates are also going well with someone else, and they start date-dating the other person, and they make the calculation that it’s going to be easier this way. Especially when they pop up later and ask you out again, I think they’ve deliberately left space for that in case the New Thing doesn’t work out.

        The nature of online dating is that it can be pretty ephemeral, because you’re meeting people in a way that’s not connected to your friend-network.

        Also…just because you sleep with someone doesn’t mean you’re super into things. 🙂 For some people it does. For some people it doesn’t.

        1. I think people have a tendency to lump online dating into “people I’ll never see again” and treat them accordingly (that is, less kindly then they would someone they’ll see again). I see this a lot in people who have recently moved to my Major Metropolitan City who don’t seem to realize that this is actually a weirdly insular place, especially if you are in certain industries in a certain age group…and there’s actually a very good chance you are going to run into that person again in a social or professional setting.

          Also, thank you for your super helpful advice WRT to how people feel when they sleep with someone! It’s definitely not needed and/or wanted.

      2. IMO there have always been people who fear initiating these conversations, for any multitude of reasons (passive personality, anxiety, weird family baggage, cowardice). It’s just now they are way more likely to date someone who is essentially a complete stranger, not connected to them through existing social groups. It’s a lot harder to just start ignoring someone if you have a bunch of mutual friends and a cousin in common, or go to the same church, or work together.

    2. The fuck? That happened to me too and I just thought the guy was really dumb. Apparently he’s not alone in that!

      Not only did this dude reappear out of nowhere, he tried to claim that I was the one that had disappeared on him. His response to my pointing out that he could scroll up and see the last 2 (unanswered) text messages from me three months prior was asking me out again for that night. I suggested the following week (what can I say, I wanted to bang him) and never heard from him again. Surprise surprise.

      1. Yupppp. It’s actually happened to me several times in the past two years, and each time the other person was like oh, I met someone else/got back together with someone, and didn’t work out, soooo…which would be fine, and some of them I might have agreed to see again, HAD THEY ACTUALLY MENTIONED THAT instead of just vanishing. Seriously, a one-sentence text would be enough.

  111. The worst and most awkward one I have ever heard happened to a friend of mine. He asked out a gal that he had had a crush on for a while. When they were at the movie theater, they ran into her ex-bf, and she introduced them. He thought it was an odd coincidence, but shrugged it off. After the movie, my friend and his date went to dinner. Friend didn’t realize it, but the ex had followed them to the restaurant. When my friend was in the restroom, the ex came up to my friend’s date and proposed. She accepted. So, my friend came back to the table to find his “date” crying and showing off an engagement ring given to her by someone else.

    I have always hoped that she thought they were going out as friends, which would make this awkward and odd, but not cruel.

      1. I know. I have never heard my friend tell that story and not get a jaw-on-the-floor response. Poor guy didn’t ask anyone else out for a couple of years. (Now he tells the story with much storytelling flourish, but holy crap, it had to be horrible and surreal in the moment.)

  112. This thread is bringing back SO MANY MEMORIES.

    More awkward break ups:
    Went on a blind date set up by friends. We meet up at this really cool bar that has great atmosphere and fantastic beer choices. He is wearing cute nerdy glasses, nice button down shirt and jeans and talking about all the nerdy stuff he loves. Great. That was fun. Second date was on St. Patrick’s day, not sure who picked that date. He again chooses the venue, but this time it is at a pizza by the slice place that is where drunk college kids get their greasy drunk food. Weird, but, OK. I get all dressed up figuring we’d go out for drinks after dinner. He shows up wearing a bright green shirt with some trite comment about Irish and Drinking and Shamrocks. He has contacts in and his hair spiked up in a weird bro-ish hair do. He asks why I’m not wearing green and don’t I LOVE ST. Patricks day cause obviously I’m Irish cause I have red hair. I reply that no, I am not Irish, no I was not sad I’m not Irish, yea, I kind of think the whole drinking green beer thing is stupid.
    The whole date the conversation was strained and really awkward. It was like I was on a date with a different guy. After we finished our pizza he is like “OK! Bye! I’m gonna go drink with my friends at [the bar right next door], what do you have planned?” and I said well..nothing really….. He does not invite me to drink with his friends (fair). I get an awkward hug and we basically ghost each other.

    A couple months later I go to the wedding of the friends that set us up. The bride’s well meaning mother placed both me and awkward date guy at the singles table, right next to each other. I heard later it was bc she thought we would be cute together. Awkward date guy quietly delivers a non-apology to me once he sees we are seated next to each other. He then proceeds to dominate conversation with stories about how he is going to be an awesome brain surgeon for the entirety of dinner.
    I ended up chatting with a cousin of the groom & making fun of future brain surgeon with her. We blew that popsicle stand as soon as the first dance was over, even tho there was an open bar, and headed to a nearby bar to laugh about it all.

  113. Don’t know if this counts: A “friend” decided her desire to go on double-dates with me (despite the fact that I was happily single and not interested in double-dating) trumped my feelings about privacy and &c, and she used my (real!) name and personal contact details to respond to a lonelyhearts ad in a local free weekly publication, and I reluctantly accepted a date from a total stranger because I thought it would be rude not to, and it wasn’t his fault that my “friend” thought our lives were like a sitcom where this kind of behavior would be totes hilarz, and that my boundaries were for stomping.

    Turns out I was overly concerned about the feelings of a huge assbadger who would end up behaving like a surly asshole to me for about two hours: I had accepted a date with a new-arrival from Russia who was also a brusque misogynist with frosted tips in his hair and a tiny greasy ponytail. He had also clearly had lied about his age: I was 22, he had to be pushing 40, if not 50, as he was very much so NOT “26.”

    There was no spark whatsoever. In fact, I found him off-putting right from the first minute we met. I was polite and friendly but also horribly shy and (relevant) bone-thin and tall. I ordered a pasta dish, IIRC, but I declined to eat a salad with it because it would be too much food for me and I don’t LIKE salads. Russian tells me I am “too fat” and should eat a salad. Russian grills me about my exercise habits; I worked a job that required me to be on my feet for 12 hours straight carrying up to 50 pounds with one hand while in high heels in carpeted rooms (formal private club dining service). I did not exercise enough for him. There were more rude comments about what I chose to eat. There were rude comments about my living situation (with a platonic female roommate). There were rude comments all throughout the meal, most of them critical of me in some way, but strangers and minorities and poor people weren’t spared his critiques. This was like pre-Internet-dwelling-PUA “negging” in action. I finished my entree because it was delicious, put money on the table to cover it, stood up, refused to allow him to touch me, said “this isn’t working out,” and politely left.

    There was no second date.

    I also dumped my presumptuous “friend.”

    1. To clarify, he shouldn’t have policed ANYONE’S choice of food, whatever their body size, but I could really not have gotten much thinner (at the time, things have changed–but I still refuse to let anyone police what I eat). All I can figure is that he was used to women being painfully insecure about their body size and diets and exercise, and he wasn’t creative enough to try a different script. That is what he decided to lead with, and I can’t imagine it ever being a good opener at any time.

      1. I’ve never actually had the balls to walk out of a date (and also, I have the fatal flaw of the novel-reader, which is that I always wonder How Much Worse It Can Get–I have nursed many a beer whilst making Go On eyes at a dude because the whole situation was so absurd I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next), so I am so excited that you got to do that!

        1. INORITE?! I have to admit, though, I am not this person who does these brave things all the time, and I am a LOT more assertive now than I was back then. In fact, if I HAD been sensitive about my size, and if he hadn’t picked on people who were not me, then I would have, at the time, have been sitting there struggling to “be fair” and come up with a good reason to ditch a date. He made the fatal error of just annoying me with insults that didn’t hit my soft underbelly, and enraging me by being horrible and sexist and racist and so forth about innocent bystanders. I was capable of defending their honor easily, but not so much my own. A narcissist parent trains you to assume everything bad that happens is somehow down to something you didn’t do right or due to some personal flaw on your part, so picking on me wasn’t enough to make me walk out, he had to share the bile by trying to fling it onto other people I didn’t even know.

          Mental illness is a real party sometimes, amirite, but that is one time when the end result (walking out) was the right result anyway.

          1. I’m glad it all came together. 🙂 I slept with a guy a couple of times right before I moved to New City, and I woke up super early the morning after I spent the night at his place the first time and was like “…I would rather be in the La Brea tar pits with a T-Rex than be in this bed when dude wakes up”, so I just got up and left. It felt like the most amazing thing I’d ever done, actually. He ended up taking it poorly, but I still feel great about it.

  114. This isn’t really a “we tried but no thank you” situation, but it is the strangest breakup story I have.

    I had been seeing a guy for about a month when he up and disappeared. I was was very hurt and confused because I had lost my virginity to him and I was young enough to think that meant that we were supposed to be in super-love even though the entire affair was rather uncomfortable and not-awesome. Six months later I got a phone call….

    He had run off with the carnival.

  115. I was in a brief relationship in my teens, and he dumped me by phone after cheating on me while away on a politics trip. Before the trip he’d done that whole “Sarah is there and I kinda had a thing with her but I definitely value you too much to go there!” He went there, which was entirely expected – I was young but not oblivious enough to miss that alarm bell.

    The next day he un-dumped me because he couldn’t find anyone else to go to a comedy festival with. This was very transparent, so I wasn’t too put out.

    Halfway through the day, between shows, he starts launching into another dumping me conversation except this time he rambles on about my many off-putting characteristics, particularly my self-harm scars and my inability to take him as seriously as he took himself. I cut this conversation short because I realised he had rambled us late to the biggest show we had tickets to. Too late to get in. Dumping briefly put on hold, we got last minute tickets and saw three more shows. He kept making jokes about me and our relationship with people in queues but eventually stopped when I drily told basically this story in response. We parted at the train station after he kissed me and told me he loved me. He immediately texted me saying “it’s over, I’m sorry.” I cried for one night and then got over it.

    Six months later we met up because I still had his favourite book. He introduced me to people and went on about how he couldn’t think why we broke up. So I drily recounted this story again. He squirmed. A few days later he told me that girl he’d cheated on me with had dumped him, and basically would I comfort him. I said no, he asked why. After some deliberation I said, “because I don’t like you, Callum.” He just replied “ouch” in a tone like I had just murdered his dearest hopes and dreams, there was some awkward staring, and I left never to speak to him again. Last I saw of him, he was in a feminist Facebook group explaining what real rape was. (He was also really rapey but that bit of the story isn’t funny.)

  116. 1. Went a club with my roommate and got hit on by one of the cage dancers. We schedule a date for the next night. He shows up with a bottle of tequila and orange juice and proceeds to make the strongest tequila sunrise on record. Some painful chit chat informs me that he does not: watch TV, go to movies, read, listen to music, or go out to eat. He only works, works out, and ” seduces beautiful women.” He then corners me in the kitchen, whispers weird psuedo romantic gibberish at me, and then LICKS. MY. FACE. I wiggle away and eventually get my roommate to convince him to “meet us” at another club. I never show up.

    2. A month later I see a HAWT chef working at a restaurant I was eating at. I write my number on a napkin and pass it to him through the waiter’s window. He calls me the next day. He is Brazilian and wants to take me dancing. Except . . . he doesn’t know how to dance and he takes me to a semi-professional dance practice where I can “teach him salsa, the dance of his people.” I remind him that I also do not know how to dance “the dance of his people” and it’s probably best that we not get in the dancers’ way. So we go to the back and make awkward conversation until he tells me he has a secret. I cautiously ask what and he puts my hand on his erection.

    Dating . . . fun times!

  117. I got dumped for a sports car. My fiance and I were together for over three years, then he graduated. He had his eye on this sports car in a garage near his house and was gutted when it was sold. But then his parents revealed it was sold to them! As a graduation present! Joy! Etc.

    We had been spending every other day in the summer holidays together, so next day I rang him to make plans for our next hangout. His mother said she was sorry, he was out for a drive, but she’d tell him I called. (This was before mobile phones.)

    Over the next week or so I called his house. Not too much (one or twice a day) but each time I was told, sorry, he is out for a drive, enjoying his new car. I questioned this and his mum said truly, he was filling his car with a tank of petrol on the family account at the local garage each morning, then driving around the country lanes til night. And she had asked him to ring and told him I was calling, and there wasn’t much else she could do, but there definitely wasn’t another woman.

    I didn’t hear from him again, until a few years later when we reach into each other one evening by chance… He said hi and asked if I liked his orange tartan trousers and his new ear piercing. Er, no.

    So that is how I was dumped for a sports car.

    In retrospect it was a lucky escape.

  118. This break-up is really my friend’s story, but…He was serious with a woman. Pre-marital counseling, families on board, the works. One day, he leaves a message and she doesn’t call back. This continued for a few weeks. One day she answers the phone and tells him she has married another man in the interval! Her children were announcing the engagement publicly, including to his best friends, but no one clued him in! She burst into tears and he wished them well.

  119. My high school boyfriend invited me to spend a week with his family in another state. Dumped me the day we got there. I guess I should have figured out how to get home but his family was just cheerfully, willfully ignorant about the fact that I was crying all the time and I stayed there the whole week and drove home with him.

    Also in high school, I needed a prom date (ended up going alone and it was amazing) and a friend gave her friend my number. He called and we had some awkward conversation and then he said, “I have another call, hold on” and flipped to call waiting and never came back. I stayed on the line for endless minutes because I didn’t want to be rude and hang up.

  120. “I’ve never been physically attracted to you. I love your personality and your mind–I mean, I wish I could just fuck your brain. You know I’ve been talking with [nineteen-year-old underwear model] and we’re going to give it a go. I wish your brain could be in her body, but since I have to choose I’m choosing the body.”

    This after dating for TWO YEARS.

  121. “I love your personality and your mind–I mean, I wish I could just fuck your brain.”

    Did anybody else just go to a really gross place?

    1. Better still, I’ve been streaming iZombie in the background while I grade things, so my visuals are real, um, visual.

  122. Ach. First-time commenter here. I’ve got a couple of stories.

    First: I was seventeen, he was sixteen. We hung out in an IRC channel for our fandom and had pleasant conversation a lot. Eventually I came to the realization that Yes I Like This Guy and told him as much. He was astonished, thrilled, and quite enthusiastically agreed that we should Be A Thing (looking back now, I see the red flags, but at the time? Noooot so much.)

    Then he disappeared. A week went by. Two. A month. Two months. No one knew where he was; no one had heard from him. I, being seventeen and overemotional, was utterly convinced that something Absolutely Terrible had happened! Then he came back, just around the time I was starting to get extremely tetchy about all this, and of course blew my tetchy out of the water. Oh my god, says seventeen year old Kai, I was so worried about you, what happened, are you alright, where have you been?

    I will never forget what he said: “I got over an addiction.”

    …Meaning me.


    (We’re actually very good friends now and I have nothing but happy Feelings for him and his girlfriend. They’re excellent together.)

    Second (which should probably actually be first): Another IRC story. Tender and innocent thirteen year old Kai meets a lovely sixteen year old from the UK in a mutual chat room. Interest develops. Both sets of parents quite frown upon this relationship upon finding out, which you can’t particularly blame them for, but they step back and let us try and figure it out ourselves anyway. Two years of happy times and utterly doting on one another follows…until something Very Strange starts happening.

    You see, I did something very stupid. I will not say what it is, but it was spawned by a combination of peer pressure and a person I did not know from Adam deciding I was a very nice person to mentally torture. So boyfriend – oh let’s call him Zee – is dutifully supporting me through all these shenanigans, which are only getting worse. And of course, this wears on things. Eventually we begin arguing, and fighting, and generally despising one another, which is when a startling revelation comes to light.

    There never WAS any other person. The supposed dude who was harassing me? Zee was using a proxy (so I couldn’t catch his proper IP and unmask the situation) and a different nickname to harass the hell out of me and try to break me. Of course I was thoroughly infuriated, and when I finally managed to confront him about it, he hemmed and hawed and generally tried to avoid the question until, I suppose, I annoyed him enough to tell the truth, which is another thing I will never ever forget.

    “I did it so I could keep you forever.”

    Yes folks, he genuinely thought harassing me while pretending to be a different person, and then comforting me as himself, was suitable to ensure I would never, ever, ever, ever leave him.

    Then he dumped me, because I’d figured out just how full of EVIL BEES that figurative house really was.

    (We are NOT friends. He married, perhaps a year after dumping me, a sociopathic woman who at one time wanted to make it her life’s mission to murder me. These days I suspect he was dating her while stringing me along. I do not hope they are miserable, but I do wish upon them a bit of discomfort and some vague awful Feelings.)

    1. He stalked you so he could support you through being stalked.

      The cake: You might have taken it with this story.

      1. I know…I couldn’t believe it either. It STILL seems so bloody surreal, even fourteen-odd years later. I think everyone else I’ve ever told the story too feels the same way.

        1. …I also want to say, I just sat here and stared at your one-sentence summary for a bit, and it’s just hit me very hard in the Feelings. In a good way, don’t get me wrong. But you have summed up, quite succinctly, in eleven words, what I still fumble with after *years*, in a way that just cuts straight to the quick of it and doesn’t play around.

          Thank you. I needed that very much, Captain.

    2. Wow. Just wow.
      And men complain about women playing mind games?
      Like the cheating partner accusing their OH of cheating, methinks there is some projection going on with that.
      But your story? Easier to get my head around quantum mechanics.

  123. The first time I had Feelings for a boy was when we were both in eighth grade. We skated at the roller skating rink and held hands (quite a sweaty endeavor) during the Couples Skate – basically true love bloomed that night in rented roller skates. He called a few weeks later to ask me to homecoming. My mother took the phone and declined for me. That poor kid.

  124. Oh boy, is is time for rejection stories? Because I have a great one.

    Way back in my first year of college, there was a guy I liked and I decided to ask him out. We hung out a lot, so I knew where his dorm room was, so I decided to go there and ask him. (This was before cell phones, so I couldn’t just call or text him) I actually came across him just outside his dorm, so I asked him if he wanted to go out on a date. He just looked really uncomfortable as he said ‘no’ and hurried inside his dorm.

    I found out later that, in my lovey-dovey, ‘butterflies in my stomach’ haze, I had missed the fact that he had just shit his pants and was trying to get to his room before anyone noticed.

    It’s something I can laugh about now (and we did stay friends throughout college), but at the time I was mortified.

  125. This one is super awkward and not even technically a breakup…I’d been Firthing a college dorm-mate in what I now recognize as depression-motivated limerence. We’d gone clubbing together as a fun group thing but they’d turned me down for a real date, and I of course responded by being all “Yep, me and X are just friends, just friends, yep, totally ok with that…” And then sending them little edible love tokens, ignoring their requests that I back off, complaining to their roommate that “X hates me!!!” and wistfully comparing myself to their tangible personal property. At long last this person sat me down and said, “It’s gotten to the point where I wish you didn’t live here any more. Everything you do irritates me, and when you’re not here the things I know you’re going to do when you come in irritate me.” (I now realize they were quoting the Odd Couple, but at the time I thought it was original.) Anyway, BAD. Really really bad. And the worst part is that I can’t even fault them for being blunt because I was over-invested in a fantasy relationship and Would. Not. Take. The. Hint.

    P.S. *Reveal* The roles were actually reversed here. Firth spiraled into a worse depression and at least one of our mutual friends blamed me, which led in later years to a lot of not-setting-boundaries-for-fear-of-accidentally-destroying-someone’s-selfhood. Now I just wish I’d said what needed saying at the first sign of Nope rather than seething and dodging for weeks until I couldn’t stand it any more. And that’s partly because I’ve now been on the opposite side of that situation: I wish the other person had just told me clearly (but without rancor) that they were annoyed and uncomfortable and to back off before I had a chance to become weird about it.

  126. I went out with a guy several years ago. We went out for hot chocolate, had an okay conversation I guess. We hugged goodbye, and he said he’d like to see me again. He seemed earnest. (He did the same with another friend of mine, around the same time). A few days later, I texted him, mentioning a movie I wanted to go to. I received no response. I figured he wasn’t interested, or had decided to pursue my friend. A few weeks later, I saw him at a party. We struck up a conversation and talked for a couple of hours. I heard that the friend of mine had said “Oh, I guess he’s interested in Gingerspice, that’s why he didn’t pursue me.” At some point in the conversation with him, I realized that it’s possible he didn’t get my text, so I said “Oh hey, by the way, did you get that text I sent?” Him: “Umm…. yes.” *Awkward pause* Me: “oh… okay then. Have a good night.”

    I felt silly for not just assuming that he’d have gotten in touch if he had been interested, but v confused by the fact that he seemed completely fascinated by our conversation for hours to the exclusion of other people at the party. I still don’t really get that guy.

  127. I was once dumped by a guy who couldn’t understand how I could be both religious *and* a sexual person. We’d been dating for about two weeks when he asked me how I could reconcile sex and God, and then said, “I’m sorry, I can’t date anyone I can’t marry.” All after having spent massive amounts of that two weeks trying to get under my clothes, of course.

    I found it both amusing and awkward and disturbing.

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