Van­ish­ing act is not a healthy way to end a re­la­tion­ship

FAM­ILY LIFE

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - GARY DIRENFELD

Q: I have been dat­ing a guy for three months, but I al­ready know he’s not the one for me.

I want to break up with him but don’t know how to go about it. I have been try­ing to avoid him, but he still calls. He doesn’t seem to get the mes­sage. What should I do?

A: There is a rea­son we date. We date to get to know each other to de­ter­mine our com­pat­i­bil­ity. This is a two-way street. Not only must we find our part­ner com­pat­i­ble, but our part­ner must find us com­pat­i­ble too.

That com­pat­i­bil­ity ex­tends to many as­pects of our lives, such as how we view the world, our so­cial pref­er­ences, the role and ex­tent that fam­ily — ex­tended kin — play in our lives, how we view and han­dle fi­nances, our pref­er­ences for so­cial­iz­ing, our views on mat­ters of faith and whether or not we use in­tox­i­cants. Based on these and many other rea­sons, we may not seek to con­tinue or de­velop a re­la­tion­ship.

In the ab­sence of telling some­one you no longer wish to see them, that per­son may be left hang­ing, not un­der­stand­ing what is hap­pen­ing. Your mov­ing on leaves many unan­swered ques­tions as well as am­bi­gu­ity about the sit­u­a­tion. In view of that, the fel­low will be won­der­ing what’s go­ing on. Up­set and anger may set in. Given the cir­cum­stances, these are rea­son­able emo­tions.

For him to bring clo­sure to his sit­u­a­tion, he may con­tinue to try to con­tact you. He is seek­ing to al­lay his feel­ings, not un­der­stand­ing why you have seem­ingly dis­ap­peared.

As­sum­ing he is not oth­er­wise abu­sive and you are not keep­ing a dis­tance for safety rea­sons, it’s com­mon cour­tesy to tell him that the re­la­tion­ship is not work­ing for you.

It may be chal­leng­ing to be forth­right or as­sertive in the sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, by prac­tis­ing this dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tion be­fore­hand, you will de­velop your skills at mak­ing your feel­ings, needs and wants known — and this can stand in your favour should any other dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion arise.

Life be­ing life, other chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions will in­deed arise. Learn to han­dle them di­rectly and hon­estly and you may find your­self meet­ing your own needs more ef­fec­tively, too.

Have a par­ent­ing or re­la­tion­ship ques­tion? Send it in a brief email to ques­tion@your­so­cial­worker.com. Due to the vol­ume of mail, not all ques­tions will re­ceive a re­ply.

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