How to address a change of heart

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Someone can look very compatible on paper and the first few dates may even go well encouraging you to think there is real potential but then something happens – or doesn’t happen – and we know that, for us, it’s a non-runner. Even if you have only met a few times it can be difficult to break the news to someone, no-one likes to hurt another person’s feelings. Here we suggest some ground rules to keep the damage to a minimum.

Be honest

This doesn’t mean just at the end but all the way through. If someone is jumping up and down thinking they have found the love of their life and you just aren’t feeling it, don’t pretend you are. It can be really tempting to keep seeing someone because they really like you; it’s flattering and you may be tempted to keep dating them until a better prospect comes along. This is unfair if you know in your heart that there is no future and at some point you will have to come clean.

This is not to say you should stop dating someone who doesn’t tick all your boxes right away. It is always good to keep an open mind and an open heart. Someone you don’t initially feel a huge attraction to can seem more attractive as you get to know them.

If, however, you feel that you have given it a fair chance and have come to the conclusion that this person is not for you tell them, face to face if possible. Avoid doing it by text, email or on a social media website, as although this can feel easier for you it is not very respectful to them. Tell them you have changed your mind and that you no longer wish to see them but show appreciation for the time and attention they have given you and wish them well in the future.

Don’t just disappear

This is the coward’s way out. As much of the communication with matches takes place online, it is easy to be lured into this opt out strategy. Don’t do it. It will make you feel bad about yourself and leave the person you were dating with a big space for insecurity and paranoia to grow in. Blocking messages, ignoring emails and texts and barring calls are not the way to give someone the message that you don’t want to see them again. They will get the message eventually but it will have damaged their trust in the dating process and left them with lots of unanswered questions and you will live with the uneasy feeling that you might bump into them somewhere.

Even if you don’t want to see someone again because they behaved in a way you found rude, aggressive or unacceptable and you think they deserve to be stone-walled it is still better to let them know the real reason for your decision as it will stop them barraging you with communication you then have to try and ignore. The chances are that their behaviour will get worse when being ignored, not better. If you feel uncomfortable about telling someone like this face to face because you are scared of their reaction do send a clear, assertive email and if it is a match you met on this website report any inappropriate behaviour to eHarmony.

Is it just a phase you are going through?

If you decide to tell someone it is all off make sure it really is. Getting to know someone takes time and attention and if other parts of your life are feeling particularly stressful it can feel as though you just don’t have the time or the energy to invest. Or it may be that you are facing illness, redundancy or other life problems which leave you feeling unattractive and as though you aren’t very good company. Before you make any big decision stop and ask yourself if everything else was going well would you want to continue seeing this person? If the answer is yes then take time to sit down with them and explain that they may not be getting the best of you at the moment but if they are happy to stick around things will hopefully improve.

The golden rule is to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. Matches you meet online are real people with real feelings even if you never meet face to face. It is far better to be open and upfront if you have changed your mind than to keep on communicating with, or seeing, someone because you don’t know how to say no.


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