I met Andrew* while playing tennis. We started spending a lot of time together, going for bike rides, out for dinner and watching movies. It was nice to have a default person to spend time with.
It was obvious that he wanted a girlfriend, which should have seemed great for me, the chronically single, but I found that I rarely initiated conversations with him, waiting for him to contact me and delaying responding to his text messages.
It didn’t feel like I was treating him well, but at the same time I wasn’t motivated to do any better and I couldn’t figure out why. There was nothing specifically wrong that I could point out, but something just didn’t feel quite right.
Old me would have said to stick it out. I should take what I could get because this might be my only chance of a relationship. Plus, it was my first real chance to actually have a boyfriend and finally remove that label.
But my slightly older, slightly wiser self realized that a relationship that doesn’t feel right in the beginning would probably end in disaster down the road, and the longer I waited, the harder it would be to end it. Sooner rather than later, I decided to break it off via email:
I’ve been feeling a bit mixed up lately. I think it’s because I don’t want to be in a relationship right now and it looks like that’s where we’re heading. Strangely enough, I’m actually enjoying being single at the moment. Though I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you, I think it would be best if we ended this here.
Don’t worry – it wasn’t anything you said or did.
P.S. Sorry for doing this over email, but it’s easier for me to get my thoughts out this way.
I thought something might be up. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. You even managed to reject me nicely. No hard feelings.
And that was it.
You know the rare occasion when something just feels right, like you were really meant to do it? That’s how I felt after turning Andrew down. It was reassuring to realize I valued myself enough to not ignore my feelings. I had enough self-confidence and self-worth to not rush into a relationship out of fear of being alone.
In the end, it was a bit bittersweet: I felt strangely proud of myself, but I did miss having someone to hang out with.
Even though he wasn’t technically ever my boyfriend, this was my first-ever experience of a real breakup. At 26!
*name has been changed