Internet Relationships: When It Doesn’t Work Out

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by Pip

Internet Relationships: When It Doesn’t Work Out

You met this nice person in an online dating service, or maybe a chat room or forum. You’ve met in person, they like you, they’re really nice and you like them too, but… you don’t REALLY like them. To make things more difficult, you’re starting to get interested in somebody else. What do you do?

Backing off Internet relationships isn’t that different from a more traditional affair. In fact, apart from the circumstances in which you met (online dating), you’re still dealing with the same kinds of men and women, human beings. Making a graceful exit out of an awkward situation is never easy.

Here are some back-off tips for those not-so-happy endings of online dating.

1. Be honest.

Putting it off only makes you more miserable as time goes by. It also makes a fool of the other person. Be truthful. Just how straightforward you can be depends on the temperament of the other person. If they are the frank type, be frank. If they’re the more sensitive kind, break it to them as gently as you can.

2. Use e-mail or chat.

Hey, it’s how you met so there’s no calling you a chicken! Seriously, you can articulate your feelings more clearly in a letter than in person. If they insist on dating with you again, you can agree to meet them, but in a public place and not as a date.

It is their right to be heard and to see face to face the person who just dumped/rejected them. The only exception to this is if it was an obviously casual fling, or else you sense something dangerous about the person.

3. In the first place, don’t commit.

When you agree to meet someone from an Internet dating site, make clear what the limits are. To be safe, just say you’re looking for a friend/acquaintance and “see where it goes from there.” This leaves you free from any commitment or expectation.

4. Hear their side-and be done with it.

It’s important to be honest with them and to let them answer in return. But don’t let them cling to you. It wastes your time and theirs. Being “friends” would often be hypocritical too, especially if you’re already developing an interest in another. Let them talk, and then say goodbye.

On the other hand, if you sense a genuine friendship is possible, tell them you value them as a friend and would like to remain so. But if they are hurt and refuse, don’t push it. It’s their right. If they accept, stay in touch but not like before. Be careful since they can wind up clinging to you. Internet relationships can be harder to break up unless you close all your blogs, e-mails and paid member services (ouch!).

5. Wait a while.

There is nothing more hurtful for somebody who’s been dumped or rejected to see their love interest dating another. Give time for the wounds to heal before you go dating anew, especially if there’s a big chance they’re going to see you again.

6. If necessary, remove some or all traces of yourself.

Sometimes you really have to create a distance between yourself and the other person, even in online dating scenes. Suppose you were in the habit of chatting online with them and several others? Well, you may have to sacrifice using Windows Live or Yahoo Messenger for a while.

Don’t make the mistake of being “invisible” to one and visible to everyone else. Say something like you’re going on vacation. Like we said, it’s not easy.

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