How do you break up when you aren’t dating?

Breakup Day- February 21: Waiting for the right moment to end the relationship? You certainly can’t find any better day, so go ahead and get rid of that toxic person from your life, by breaking up.

How do you do it? How do you break up with someone when you aren’t actually dating? Maybe you said things would just be casual with no strings, or maybe you’ve only ever met online, but you’ve been doing your dance together for years now and it’s time to stop dancing with them. If you are thinking that you don’t have to break up with them because there is nothing to break up, you’d be wrong.

In this world of technology and social media we are connecting to people around the world in ways we never would have thought possible 20 years ago. Before the Internet and smart phones the only way to meet someone from another town or country, or even someone who lives just three streets over, was to physically go out into the world and meet them. Take a vacation, a work trip, or chaperone a school activity and you could meet a handsome cowboy from Texas, a fellow manager from Calgary, or a helpful science teacher.

We are no longer limited by distance or having to meet by chance. We aren’t even limited by having to actually meet them. All we have to do is pick up our phone to meet a fellow foodie from Nantucket or another Depeche Mode fan from London. We can chat with them, bond with them, and grow to genuinely care about them without ever meeting in person.

We can also meet a complete stranger who struck up a conversation after a tweet we made about being domestic that day. What once would have been a one night stand vacation hook up can now become a great love, even if we never meet them in person again.

A one time meeting, or no actual meeting at all, can lead to hours of phone calls and thousands of texts and messages over weeks, months, years. Maybe our paths will cross more than once. Maybe they won’t. But what will happen is that a relationship will be forged, a relationship that isn’t dating but is way more than just friends or acquaintances. We will confide in each other, share our hopes and dreams, maybe even talk of being able to build a life together some day. We will say I love you and mean it.

That’s the thing, you let your guard down and you fall for them because you think it isn’t serious. You aren’t together, you aren’t dating. It’s just a fling or a friend with benefits, or something online that you don’t think is for real for real. But it is for real. You are emotionally connected and invested with this person. Even with no strings, even with being just online, you have passed the threshold and are having a relationship. It may not be a relationship in the traditional sense, but this is a whole new world and we form new kinds of relationships.

We love freely across the expanse because we do not feel as vulnerable as we would with them sitting right next to us. The kicker though, is that we do become vulnerable and no matter what you want to call this dance you are doing with each other it is a relationship and it is love.

So what are we to do when our love for each other isn’t enough to keep the relationships we’ve forged going? Do we just stop cold turkey and ghost them? Do we send them a message, a current day post-it note a la Sex and the City? Do we have a conversation to say, it’s not you it’s me, and tell them we will continue being friends without anything having to be weird between us? After all, nobody needs to move out or return a box of the other person’s things. We weren’t even dating.

February 2021

I had planned on writing a more positive post full of love and promise today, but obviously that is not what happened. Sometimes when the world around me is focused on one thing I will look at the other side of things. It isn’t because I am a negative nelly or because I don’t believe in the romance of Valentine’s Day.

I wrote a little about romance here recently and wanted to write something different. In thinking about what that would be my mind went to all of the people who are sad today, spending the day alone because they were broken up with or because they just hadn’t found a partner yet. It also went to the married man, the road paver, and Him. I may need to do some more self reflection to figure out why I continue to have these kinds of relationships.

3 thoughts on “How do you break up when you aren’t dating?

  1. Even though I know online relationships have been with us for many years now, I wonder if we as human beings (especially the generation(s) before the millennials) are still trying to wrap our heads and hearts around the realness of an online relationship? I like this post, Stella, because it actually voices some questions I’ve had too. I do believe this is food for psychologists 😉
    ~ Marie xox

  2. Funny where reflection takes us. This is actually a really beautiful post, and it hits on some very important points in today’s world. Especially now, when we have less physical access to people, we rely more on the internet for that connection. And you are right, it is easy to let our guard down there. Easier to be vulnerable. I do this as a blogger, for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *