If you’re in an unofficial relationship or questionable about starting one because you’re unsure about how it will end, we put together a quick how-to guide to make sure ending your relationship with your unofficial lover ends as smooth sailing as it came. We know this kind of thing can get tricky, but no worries! Her Campus VCU is here to save the day! So how do you end an unofficial relationship?
- Ease out of it.
This method of quitting an unofficial relationship is simple and un-dramatic. All you have to do is stop responding to this person as much as you have previously. Take time to text them back instead of texting them back right away — an hour to a day if possible. Do not accept their invitations to events or to hang out alone. You can even give them the hint that you’re not as into them by giving them colder body language and not laughing at their jokes or responding to what they say as often. To ease out of an unofficial relationship, try to limit all interactions and make yourself less personal with them. You may want to start small, for example texting less, and work your way up to larger ways of ending it, for example seeing them in person less. When one VCU student, Cary, ended her unofficial relationship, she “tried to ‘neutralize’ (her) behavior towards him, which became pretty stand-offish. (She) started turning down invitations with reasons of lots of work, which was actually very legitimate at that point.”
- Ignore them- Cut it off.
This method is quick, but will leave the other person confused and possibly angry. Just ignore them completely. Do not see them in person, and avoid being around them ever. Do not communicate with them in any way and be sure to un-friend them on Facebook and other social media. Cut it off. Beware this method may be messy, causing the person being cut off to confront you about your odd behavior. If you use this method in the hopes of avoiding confrontation, it will most likely backfire.
- Bring a friend along.
This method involves your friends. What you have to do is incorporate as many other people into your unofficial relationship as possible. Do this until your unofficial relationship shifts to a friendship. This method was used on Ellie. Ellie, a freshman at VCU talks about when J, her unofficial partner, started friend tagging her relationship- “When J’s Friend started constantly being there whenever we were together, and J made it clear that we were all just bros hanging out together, I got the hint.” When you start bringing other friends to events that you might have gone to with only your unofficial partner, they will eventually get the message that you see them as a friend. Another thing you can do using this method is to mention how you are such good “friends” and that you enjoyed getting this group of “friends” together. The more you use the word “friend”, the clearer your point is.
- Talk it out.
This method is probably the most fair and also requires the most courage and honor. Using this method you have a conversation with your unofficial partner and tell them how you feel and that you want to end your unofficial relationship. When Cary faced a confrontation in her last unofficial relationship she “told him that I think we got along really well, but realized that I was only in the relationship because I was flattered by his affections, and that wasn’t a healthy reason to stay in the relationship for myself or for him.” This method requires courage because it places you in the position of vulnerability where your partner could deny your unofficial relationship, therefore making you look silly for bringing up wanting to end it. Some ways to decide weather or not to use this method include:
A) Considering the character of your unofficial partner. How are they likely to react?
B) What type of person are you? Would having closure in your relationship be worth the risk of rejection?
C) Do you have the support of other friends in the case that something goes badly? Are you a strong and confident person?
Despite the risk associated with this method of ending it, this method has the potential for many positive outcomes. Some of those include clarity between you and your partner, closure for you, conformation of your feelings, and getting your feelings off your chest. You can prepare for this method by finding an appropriate time and place to talk to your partner, writing out what you plan to say, and even role playing your conversation (and it’s potential outcomes) with a friend. Cary feels like confronting her unofficial partner was the right choice for her. “If I hadn’t said it straight forward like that, I don’t think I would be comfortable right now. Being honest about it up front really helped me get it off my chest, rather than having made up a reason.”