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Elizabeth Denham Headshot

The Way Out

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In all of my experiences with bad dates after my divorce, I have realized that one of the hardest things to do is to let someone know that you are not interested in seeing them again, especially if they want to see you. I have friends who will actually accept multiple dates in order not to have to "hurt someone's feelings." I know some people who think that everyone has "issues" and you have to learn to work with what you've got. I am of the mind that if you see a trait that is a deal breaker for you, the deal breaker must actually break the deal.

Shall I say it again? Because this is really important.

The deal breaker must actually break the deal.

To me there is no more dishonest way to lead someone on than to allow him to believe that you are interested when you are not. How would you feel if someone went out with you, not because he liked you, but because he didn't want to hurt your feelings? I'll tell you how you would feel -- pathetic! No one wants that.

I guess this thought process is how I became known as the one-date-wonder to many of my friends. I was good at spotting qualities in a guy that I knew were not for me. Some were obvious ("The Criminal," "Sweeten the Deal," ). Some were less obvious such as people who lacked a sense of humor or the ability to understand sarcasm. The key is to know your own mind and what you do and do not want.

The ability to recognize my deal breakers (because I did actually learn something from my divorce and subsequent dating) prompted the problem of learning how to let someone know that I didn't want another date. I had to find a way of saying it that was benign and kind, but definitely got the message across.

Let me introduce you to my handy little way out.

"Thank you so much for a nice date. I really enjoyed meeting you, but I don't think we are a good fit."

Perfect, right? Early in an online/phone/texting/dating relationship, there is no reason to go into any detail about why you don't want to go out. At this point, all you owe anyone is that the status of your interest has changed. Most people will accept this as a way out. Some will ask for reasons or details about what you are thinking. Do not succumb to the temptation to spill your guts. Making a list of flaws only serves to hurt and belittle. The fact is, just because this person may not be right for you, does not mean he isn't right for someone else. If we all learned to take the fact that someone doesn't want to date us as a decision that we are not compatible rather than a personal affront, then our self-esteem would be in such better shape!