• Georgie Parkin

How to End it With Someone You Are ‘Seeing’

There's a certain unspoken etiquette when it comes to ending a relationship. Some of us choose to follow it, some of us don’t, but we all know the basic rules: Avoid birthdays, christmas, valentines day and any other notable day. NEVER do it over text. If you’re doing it at dinner wait till the end of the meal, no one should have to sob into their Camembert and avoid the cheesy cop out lines like ‘it’s not you it’s me.’ or ‘I just need to focus on my work right now.’

Breaking up with someone is never easy but at least we have some basic guidance to follow. But how do you end it with someone you are only seeing? Do the rules still apply?

First let's clarify what ‘seeing someone’ means. It’s an annoyingly ambiguous word which describes an equally ambiguous situation. Normally the seeing someone phase commences after a few dates. For some it could be weeks, for others months. You have not yet had the ‘boyfriend, girlfriend' conversation but you message almost every day and see them regularly. This period progresses through several stages which I have categories as follows:

Stage one - Dating/seeing

Stage two- non exclusive seeing

Stage three- exclusive seeing

Stage four - basically boyfriend and girlfriend but you’ve never used the words

Naturally, ducking out is going to look a little different at each stage. At stage one, a text is probably acceptable whereas a stage four ending is essentially a break up and we all know that a break up text is very frowned upon. Here is a blanket guideline to ending it with someone you are seeing.

A text is acceptable up to 5 dates

Beyond 5 dates you have progressed to stage two of the seeing phase, by which point they deserve a little more than a text. When it comes to ending it over text message it’s all about the wording. You have to be firm but kind. Don’t give them false hope and feed them some crap about not having time to date, alluding to the idea that when your schedule frees up you’ll be back on. But there’s also no need to hurt their feelings. There’s a fine line between being honest and being too honest. Tell the truth but cushion it slightly. ‘I hate your lack of ambition’ becomes ‘I’m not sure we are that compatible’ or 'we seem to want different thing.' It’s the truth but not the ugly truth!


I do not support nor do I condone ghosting but I am however guilty of the occasional disappearing act. BUT that being said, once face to face contact has been made it is never acceptable to ghost. Until a real life meeting, they exist only inside your device. You have not yet connected their words to their face and right now they are simply an idea of a person. Nonetheless, ghosting is still cruel, but we all do it and we will all continue to do it as long as we continue to swipe. Once you have met that face on your screen has become a real person. A person whom you share oxygen with and stories of family. Once you’ve walked through that door, ghosting is no longer on the cards.

If you’ve met the family and/or dog it’s got to be face-to-face

Meeting the family, best friends or dog is a definite step into relationship territory. Although you haven't officially crossed that barrier you are edging closer and one of you definitely sees a future on the horizon. If that’s the case, a message is out of the question. This man deserves to hear it in real life. I suggest you meet up for a walk. This is by far the least awkward way to break up with someone. No awkward eye contact across the table or prying eyes of nosy strangers. You can walk and talk until everything is out in the open, and they can even well up a little without you staring at them.

Don’t drag it out

When you have been dating someone a year or two, a few weeks seems like no time at all to deliberate, stall and plan a break up, but when it’s only been a few months, waiting it out only makes things more tricky. Every week that passes the more solidified you become and the closer you get from the ‘seeing’ phase to a relationship. If you already know you don’t see it going anywhere, cut it off now. It will be easier for them and for you if you get out before anyone becomes too attached.

Even after just a few weeks, telling someone you want to end it is never easy, especially if they really saw a future with you. My best advice is, think about how you would want to be treated. There is nothing more frustrating than having no idea why someone has ended things. It makes you stew, worry and stress over it until you conjure up an answer which is normally far more awful than the truth. Be honest with them. It can be tricky to tell the truth whilst simultaneously trying to spare their feelings so pitch somewhere in between. It’s almost impossible to avoid all upset and disappointment but they’ll bounce back eventually so pick a nice park, go for a walk and get it done!