Q. How do I end a relationship with a very nice single mom? I don't know if it is the kid or if she is just too nice but I am not happy. The longer I put it off the harder it is now. So what do I say that won't leave her a wreck? I feel like a jerk cause I have not talked to her in a while and I know women need closure with this stuff. So what do I say? (Peter)
A. As you said, you have not talked to her in a while, which is a pity, as she would have been wondering what she has done you, which makes the situation needlessly negative. She has probably sensed your detachment anyway and perhaps has been sad about the loss of contact. However, not just women, everyone needs closure, even you, to move on to the next stage of their life. Depending on how you are feeling, and your level of courage, choose whether to see her or ring her. But, now that you've made your decision, please do it quickly.
Whatever you do, begin with a sincere apology for not speaking to her for a while and enquire how she has been getting on and then LISTEN. What she says will give you the cue for what you say next. Explain that you wanted some space to think about where you were both going, then very honestly and calmly say something like: “I have thought about us a lot and I think you are a lovely person. Thanks for coming into my life and enriching it with your presence. I have enjoyed your company very much. However, I honestly don't think I am ready for a permanent relationship yet and would prefer to leave things as they are. Naturally, you might feel disappointed with that, which I fully understand and appreciate, but I believe it is better to be honest than to deceive you in any way. How do you feel about it?"
In this way, you give her a chance to express her feelings, while sticking to your statement, politely but firmly. You do not owe her any explanations because people fall in and out of love all the time. That's life. But you do owe her due respect for her feelings. You might find too that she also feels the same, which makes it even easier for you to tell her your decision. If you sense she is hurt by your confession, please DON'T tell her you can be friends. That is a big mistake, and merely prolongs the pain. When people still like us, time away from one another is best. However, you can use your discretion if she feels like you do.
I hope you find this helpful. The main thing to remember is that you have a right to how you feel, and should not apologise for that. But you also carry the responsibility to acknowledge her feelings in the matter, to listen to her side and to treat her with value and respect. People are only upset when they are not heard or they believe they have been treated unfairly. Good luck.
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ELAINE SIHERA (www.myspace.com/elaineone) is an expert author, public speaker, media contributor and lifestyle columnist. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University. Elaine is a Personal Empowerment and Relationships Consultant. Confidential advice is available on the quiz site. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise, among others (available on http://www.amazon.co.uk as well as her personal website). She describes herself as, “Fit, Fabulous, Over-fifty and Ready to Fly!"