Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
12:30 PM CST, February 13, 2013
I currently am dating a friend’s brother who is a complete sweetheart. Here's the problem: I am not attracted to him. We have been together for three months and only had sex twice, and both times I have not enjoyed it. He's on the heavy side, has tattoos, both nipples pierced, etc., and I know it’s all physical, but emotionally I am not into him either. He works in the freezer in a food store (he is 29, hates school, but after meeting me he wants to better himself within the store) while I work at an accounting firm and have goals. What I am trying to say is, what do I do to let him know that I would just rather be friends without saying, "I am not physically attracted to you nor do I see a future with you, aka it's not you, it's me?”--It’s Me
A dump question so close to Valentine’s Day! That’s rough. But, well, you can save that Golden Nugget coupon for somebody else. Here’s the thing about relationships--they end all the time, for reasons both inane and serious. For instance, I’ve been dumped because I smelled “like a bowling alley” and because I didn’t have a penis, which was something that particular person required to be romantically satisfied. (Little did she know I have several!)
It’s sweet that you’re trying to lessen the blow of having to dump a nice guy; we should all be more considerate of one another’s feelings, but you’re also overthinking things. You don’t have to have an elaborate speech prepared, nor do you have to detail everything that’s wrong with him. A simple “You’re a great person, but I’m not really feeling it, chemistry-wise” works just fine. While the nitty-gritty reasons may have to do with his lack of ambition and nipple rings, you don’t need to mention them as reasons for ending things. You can keep your reasons for dumping him largely impersonal, which they are, in a way. It is you, as you say, and not him.
There are times when telling ugly truths is a necessity--when you cheat on someone, for instance, or when you’re worried an addiction is ruining someone’s life--but all truths aren’t created equal, and sometimes, being a decent human being means omitting and downplaying truths for the sake of the other person’s long-term emotional well-being.
In her book “What You Really Really Want,” Jaclyn Friedman talks about the Buddhist notion of “wise speech” when deciding whether to withhold truthful information from people. The criteria is simple: In most cases, we should omit truths if telling the person would be both unkind and unhelpful. For instance, say you’re dating someone with lots of freckles. You happen to hate freckles. Do you tell him or her how much you hate their freckles? No, because it’s unkind, and they can’t do anything about it, short of expensive cosmetic surgery.
In your scenario, telling your guy that you’re not attracted to him seems both unkind and unhelpful. But like I said, ending a three-month relationship doesn’t require a hefty conversation. Be brief, be kind, but be sure to do it soon. The longer you drag it out, the worse it’ll be for everyone.
For more advice, see my previous column on how to dump someone without being a jerk.
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