Welcome to Ask Eric Anything, a column where regular people like you can ask one of the world’s greatest minds just about anything. Rev. Dr. Eric M. Craig, Jr., Esq. is a prolific scholar on opinions and has an array of experiences that has made many things in life exceptionally clear to him. Want to ask a question? Feel free to drop it off on our Contact Page.
My name is Jared and I’ve been dating Alyssa for the last two months. Everything was great until I met her parents. That night, I learned that I might have made a mistake.
For starters, both her and her family chew with their mouths open. Disgusting. Second, she has an itching ear for country music. Yuck. The thing that pushed it over the cliff? Neither her or her family voted this past last election. How unAmerican.
What hurts is that we shared so much over these past few months: Our favorite colors, mothers’ maiden names, names of childhood best friends, and birthdays. I practically know everything about her, so it hurts to think about breaking it off.
What should I do, Eric? How should I go about breaking this off without hurting her feelings?
P.S. I’m really excited about the United States edition of Starnated Magazine. When I was in Jamaica, I had the opportunity to read every issue of Starnated Magazine: Jamaica. The cover on Usain Bolt is electrifying.
First, thank you for being an avid reader of Starnated Magazine. We pride ourselves in our delivering only the best writing throughout the globe.
Now, onto the advice:
Breaking up with people can be difficult. I know because I’ve done it over 50 times (though, divorce is much more time consuming and expensive).
First, give her your two weeks. In every relationship I’ve had, I always gave the other party a two-week’s notice. Trust me, this works.
When you first bring it to their attention, use the sandwich method. In your case, massage her generic strengths and attributes. Then, tell her that you’re looking for new opportunities to launch yourself forward.
Don’t tell her things she did wrong. You should save your dislikes for personal conversations starters at bars and parties.
Remember to be cordial at the end. Close the conversation with something along the lines of “if there is anything I can do to make this transition easier, please let me know.”
And, of course, this is something you should do in person.
Giving her a two-week’s notice will allow you to cross that bridge again if necessary. There have been several times I’ve broken up with women and dated again. Many of them remembered my notice and were instantly amicable. You never know when you might need a pity date to the movies. It happens.
The notice is necessary to give her time to cool down. The moment you bring this to her attention, she’ll be on the look for someone else. Don’t feel like it’s your responsibility to help train her next boyfriend to fill her void—this is something that she has to do.
This will, however, give her time to reassess the change and make the necessary rearrangements. It’s totally acceptable for her to be upset, but not angry.
There are also several precautions you should take before putting in your two weeks.
Don’t leave the relationship without another viable option. Sometimes we can be so tempted to leave one relationship and go to the next without truly finding ourselves. Before leaving, think about how much it hurts being alone. That can be hard. Instead, move on when you find another partner to take her place.
Understand that this will impact your dating resume. It doesn’t look good to potential dates when you’ve been jumping from partner to partner. In a case like this, you may want to give it at least three months to get used to the learning curve. Partners like to see that.
You need at least one year’s experience to put it on your resume. Too many abrupt moves and departures might make a potential partner hesitant. If you decide to break it off, just pretend like it never happened.
If you are itching for more relationship advice, I have advantageously released a new book on my experiences on relationships, called Love is Not a Mystery, It’s a Journey. You can buy the book directly from Starnated’s official website.