You have been on that first date and now you realize that this is not the person for you. What now?
This topic may make any single person feel particularly uneasy and uncomfortable for many legitimate reasons. How you handle such a situation is a good indicator of what kind of person you are and whether you are ready to handle a serious dating relationship.
As Catholics, we have tools that we can utilize to determine how we act in situations such as ending a relationship after a first date.
In this two-part blog post, I hope to convey how Catholic singles can approach this situation with grace.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
This is true even if you have only been on one date. You may feel like you don’t want to hurt the other person. This is only natural.
The truth is that ending a relationship, even after only one date, will likely not feel good for you or for the other person. Yes, it may be a relief to one or both of you, but it is not necessarily going to make either of you feel warm and fuzzy.
On the other hand, learning how to effectively end a relationship is a skill that you will want to practice. Yes, some people fall in love right away and date very few people before they find “The One.”
More likely though you will meet all kinds of different people before you realize who it is the Lord has in store for you.
Learning who is right for you, and who is not, starts by learning how to communicate when a relationship is not going to go further than a first date.
To Ghost or Not to Ghost
Writing from a Catholic perspective, Catholic singles should always remember that each person you come into contact with is made in the image and likeness of God. As we are each a child of God, we each deserve to be treated with respect.
Practically speaking, protecting the dignity of the other person means to always follow the golden rule and treat others how you would like to be treated.
Ghosting to avoid ending the relationship directly may seem like the easy route, potentially avoiding the break-up talk and crying. In reality it is lazy and shows you’re not ready for a real relationship.
The bottom line is that most people will prefer the uncomfortable truth over the disappearing act. As a result, whatever the means by which you communicate I would discourage you from simply ignoring attempts at communication. Here’s why:
- It can be frustrating and painful if the other person doesn’t understand your true intentions.
- It doesn’t treat the other person with the respect that they deserve.
- It leaves the other person hanging.
- The other person will be filled with questions as to what they might have done wrong.
- Ghosting doesn’t close the door all the way.
- There are many reasons why people ghost, making it unclear as to what caused the person to stop responding.
With all that said, if you have said goodbye clearly and directly and the person is still trying to contact you, it then becomes okay to ignore him or her.
Also, if you have been treated disrespectfully, or if you sense that any more communication would actually be harmful, then by all means keeping silent will likely be in your best interest. This is a fine line. Use your best judgment here, but err on the side of being respectful, kind, and honest.
Allow the Lord to Lead You
The Lord will show you whether a relationship is right for you spiritually, mentally, and physically. If it is not, then the best thing you can do is to be honest with yourself and with the other person.
Doing the Lord’s will is sometimes painful, and is not always what we want. But if you know that the person is not who the Lord wants for you, then making a clean break will allow you to open yourself up to what He has in store for you.
Remember, the purpose of dating is to see if this is the person God is calling you to marry. Ending a relationship that the Lord does not want for you is the most appropriate thing to do.
This doesn’t mean that ending the relationship will be easy or without pain, even after a first date, but it can be done with grace.
Some people may think it is no big deal to end a relationship that never even got off of the ground. While this may be true, in this two-part post I hope to highlight some of the potential pitfalls that you may not have even considered and how to address them.
In my next blog post I will go over some practical ways that you can break up after a first date with grace.