drop it like it’s hot.

Reader M. U. asks:

I’ve kind of been seeing this girl for a while, and she’s nice, and she’s pretty, and she’s smart, and all that stuff you’re supposed to want. But she just doesn’t ring my bell. We’ve kept it pretty casual, and I have no idea if she expects more out of it. Full disclosure: we have slept together a few times, and the sex was fine. But I just can’t envision anything long term.  I know girls tend to want more out of relationships than guys. Should I break it off now?

Dear M. U.:

I fully accept it’s a cultural assumption that women are geared to want totally different things than men, like commitment and a family and all that jazz. It might be true in a general sense — as in, if you take account of all the women in the world, more of them want more commitment and a family than do men — but on an individual level, some girls want exactly what some guys want: an easy physical relationship with no strings attached. (And yes, some guys want commitment, too. And families.) My first point here is that I think you’re generalizing too much. If she hasn’t actually told you she wants a long-term thing with you (or with anyone, for that matter),  and she hasn’t tried to step it up with you from a casual relationship, she may be as non -plussed with you as you are with her, whether she subscribes to those stereotypical feminine desires or not.


This may not actually be what she wants. Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Beyond that, the thing about breaking up with someone is that it’s a formal affair. You can’t throw a formal affair over a casual relationship. Breaking it off formally will just make it more serious than it was to begin with. If you are honestly afraid that you’re going to waste your time on her, or that your own drive towards intimacy is going to thrust you into a relationship you’re not ready for (which is much more important than your fear of her desires), then by all means, quit calling her and let the casual relationship come to a casual end.

If she thinks your relationship is more serious than you do, she may want an explanation. You should certainly give her one, if she asks. It doesn’t have to be, “I’m a catch, and you’re not,” or anything so cruel. It could just be, “I don’t see this going much further.” Please don’t be ridiculous and tell her that you don’t want to hurt her feelings. No matter how true that is, it always comes across as disingenuous from the person doing the breaking up.

Some girls prefer the cut-and-dry method, where you have a nice yelling fit over the phone or throw a drink at him and say you’re never going to see him again. I prefer the “suck up your pride and delete his phone number since he hasn’t called in three weeks” method. It all depends on your girl. If she is as traditional-sounding as you seem to think she is (in the “what I want from a relationship” sense, I mean), then giving her an explanation is the noble thing to do. Otherwise, you’re just stroking your own ego, thinking that you’re the one guy who could make a casual relationship worth having a real break up for.


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