We Need to Talk-Or at Least Text: What's Breaking Up When We're Really Not Yet an Item? Ethical Expert Stephen Milioti Explains

By Milioti, Stephen | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), February 2009 | Go to article overview

We Need to Talk-Or at Least Text: What's Breaking Up When We're Really Not Yet an Item? Ethical Expert Stephen Milioti Explains


Milioti, Stephen, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


Q: I've gone on five dates with a guy over several weeks, but we haven't formalized our relationship. Now I want to break up, but I'm wondering if I need to officially do that. If so, I know I probably shouldn't do it via e-mail, but do we have to talk in person?

The short answer is yes, you do--kind of. On one end of the ethical continuum--the cold, dirty end--is the complete unacceptability of just vanishing on someone you went on three or more dates with. This many dates is a collective time commitment, and you should honor both of your investments--not to mention his feelings--by verbally addressing that it's not working.

But verbally addressing that it's not working isn't the same thing as "breaking up," a phenomenon closer to the over-honest other end of the continuum. There's a trend--an ugly effect of eBay or something--toward excessive returned-merchandise feedback. Your parting of ways should be direct and sensitive, without trying to quantify something as subjective as another human. …

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