Sex Ed in Bed
Backing out gracefully
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

A decade ago if a guy asked for your number and you weren’t all that interested in him you’d just say, “No thanks,” or you’d take his number and say you’d call him, which was the unspoken message that you probably weren’t going to call him. Today, cell phones make it all the easier to take in an even greater amount of phone numbers that we have no intention of calling... huh? Doesn’t that sound odd? Are we more uncomfortable saying, “No,” to someone than we are lying to their face? Sadly, yes.

Second to the bad feelings of being rejected are the bad feelings of causing rejection. However, both parties uncomfortable feelings can cause a vicious cycle. Yes, rejection hurts, but saying, “no” to someone you’ve just met or have been on a couple of dates with is not the apocalyptic , end-of-the-world kind of event. Unfortunately, if we try to avoid it constantly (giving it or feeling it) rejection has a way of building up and hurting all the more, and then the littlest hint of it seems enormous. But because of this increased potency we try to avoid it all the more. Around and around we go and it just gets blown way out of proportion. If we’d take the bull by the horns and get it over with, little rejections before they build up can be more easily surmounted.

Furthermore, turning down someone is part of the mating ritual. You’re going to meet and say, “no” to a lot of people before you find someone who is really compatible. If you’re a gentleman with any kind of soul, you’ll want to figure out a graceful way to minimize a person’s pain and not leave them hanging, if not for any other reason than you wouldn’t want to be left hanging either. With a little amount of practice you can have a statement or two that is honest, sensitive and works every time.

To start off with, this statement is for backing out at the beginning of knowing someone, like the 1st to 5th date. After that, you’ve started to develop a relationship of some type and it deserves not a statement but a live conversation. So let’s say you’ve hooked up with this guy three times and the spark just isn’t there for you. Unless the majority of your connection has been on the internet, my own preference is to never draw the line by email, that’s just plain tacky! Within the 1 - 5 dates I think a phone call is fine.

You can give reasons why you want to end the connection but reasons can often make it more painful than less, “I’m looking for someone who makes more money.” Besides, when a person is getting dumped every reason sounds lame, “Dude, I just need my space.“ No reason sounds legitimate, “I’m just not over my last relationship.” The interested party just feels bad and no excuse will help, “No really, man. It’s not you, it’s me.” Furthermore, giving reasons can be a trap. If you say that we’re not compatible, I can always say, “I’ll try harder.” If you say we don’t have much in common, I’ll say “Yes, we do.” Ultimately, that’s not the point.

What’s most important is not the reasons why you’re no longer interested, but the simple fact that you aren’t interested and there’s not much that anyone can do about it. Therefore, I have found the cleanest explanations have been the ones that don’t give any reason at all, like when the over-eager suffocator calls a fourth time to schedule lunch, I might casually respond with, “Oh, that’s nice. I think I’m going to pass right now, thank you for the offer.” Then my goal is to wrap things up ASAP because we both feel uncomfortable, and it’s best to let him get over the rejection without feeling exposed in front of me.

If you feel you need to give a reason, the best one is what sexologist Dr. Cathrine Dukes suggests. The next time you need to do a gentle brush off, try saying, “I’m just not feeling that certain something that tells me we should move forward.” This statement is honest, to the point and blames no one.

With these suggestions, I feel like our time here has run it’s course. Ya’ know, I don’t want to hold you back from reading other columns. So I think we just better go our separate ways. I mean, I think we can still be friends. Tell you what, I’ll write you in a couple of week...

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