Sometimes life takes a hard left turn into Awesometown, when you least expect it. When that happens in the middle of a uh...period of sexual freedom, there's going to be some cleanup to do.
Four weeks ago I wrote an article about how I was only interested in casual sexual relationships. It was true, I swear. Thing is, shortly after publishing that post, I went on the best date I've ever been on. Not just a date, a date marathon that hasn't stopped for weeks. Things have um, changed.
Lots of times, you hear people who are married or committed say that they don't notice other people anymore, and honestly, I always kind of thought they were full of sh*t. I'm capable of being monogamous, but it's always been a manual effort, from the very beginning. I was always under the impression that when it was time to commit to one person, you made a decision, and worked on it daily. Since I met this person, I haven't noticed anyone else, and I always notice.
However, listen; it's been a busy winter. I've gone on a lot of dates, and also a lot of "dates" (sex), so there's some cleanup to be done. Luckily, this dude and I had a very similar winter, and so it's not awkward when we get texts that we have to "deal with." That openness and willingness to talk and laugh about those awkward conversations (both with people we were kind of "dating" and the 2am Saturday night booty-call texts) is part of why we're getting so close; honesty is the best; it's the freedom to be yourself and to trust other people to love you. Watching him be kind and honest has only made me respect him more than I already did.
I realized I was falling in love when I cared more about making sure that he really knew me, than I did about protecting my vulnerable parts, or hiding my flaws. In a very short amount of time, he knows things that I've never told anyone. Maybe love is the only beneficial kind of psychosis, but I'm fine with that being my legacy.
SORRY, I'm done being gross; now I'll be helpful. If you've recently decided you're ready to commit to someone and have some cleaning up to do, here's a few nuggets of wisdom taken from the immortal Nada Surf song 'Popular,' which should help make the transition smooth and (as) painless (as possible). Click play before reading:
"Don't put off breaking up when you know you want to. Prolonging the situation only makes it worse."
It sucks to tell someone that you like someone else better, and if the Internet has taught us anything (really, it probably hasn't, but...) it is that stalling is a great way to avoid doing things that suck.
Think about the other person; remember that you do care about them, and don't want to see them hurt, and that's why you're stalling. Suck it up and tell them as soon as you know. Don't stall, make the call. (Sorry.)
"Tell [them] honestly, simply, kindly, but firmly. Don't make a big production. Don't make up an elaborate story."
Telling someone that you're "a mess" and "not in the right place to be in a relationship" feels good because it means you don't have to insult the other person, and you take all the responsibility. It's also the biggest mistake you can make.
Why? Because when someone likes you, they hear what they want to hear. If you tell them that you "are a mess," (particularly if they are caring people) they will want to "clean up your mess," and help you. This is not an effective exit strategy. You don't have to insult someone to end it with them. Repeat after me: I met someone. I can't see you anymore. Thank you for the time we spent together, I really enjoyed it, and I wish you luck. See? Easy.
"Be prepared for the [person] to feel hurt and rejected, even if you've gone together for only a short time, and haven't been too serious. There's still a feeling of rejection When someone says she prefers the company of others to your exclusive company."
Getting dumped blows; this person is going to be bummed out. It's okay to bum people out in the short term, because you're not going to give them what they want in the longterm, so why prolong the confusion?
IMPORTANT NOTE: As the person who hurt them, you cannot be the person to comfort them; that does not work. This is what their friends are for. Also be prepared for some of/all of their friends to hate you forever; that's their job, don't hold it against them.
"But if you're honest and direct, and avoid making a flowery emotional speech when you break the news, the boy will respect you for your frankness, and honestly he'll appreciate the kind of straight forward manner In which you told him your decision."
Keep it short and sweet, and let them know you thought about how to talk to them about it. They'll respect you, and most times wish you well, even through their sadness. Everyone wants to fall in love, and it's hard to be mad at someone else for managing to do it.
"Unless [they're] a real jerk or a cry baby, you'll remain friends."
FYI: I never met this dude, he was from OKCupid. He asked me on an actual date once, and I was busy. We never had sexy talk. He texted me 3 days ago and I ignored it, and when he texted again I decided to be nice and address it, ending the ambiguity. I added the the black box, because I am not a gross jerk, but clearly he is. Some people you come across are going to be gross jerks, but the good ones make up for it.