It’s Not You, It’s Me.

We probably have all heard this line from someone, or we have used this line with someone else. Whether it is a relationship breakup, or it’s someone telling us they are not interested in us from the start.

It’s the kinder, more polite way to reject someone, right?

Last week, I wrote about being the person being rejected. This week, I want to focus on the even more difficult position…being the one to reject or turn down someone else’s advances. This could be turning down a dinner or coffee date, it could be turning down a sexual advance, or it could be breaking up a relationship. I have had more experience with breaking up relationships than I have with the first two so I will mostly share my thoughts on that. I want to explain my thoughts on how to turn someone down in a mature, respectful manner.

The reason we hear “It’s not you, it’s me” so often is because it is polite and not threatening. It may also be true. I have found the best way to reject someone is to authentic and honest, but still polite. Starting with “I” statements, just like you would in a conflict”. Examples could be:

“I am not looking for a relationship right now.”

“I am interested in someone else and I am focusing my attention on them.”

If it is a sexual advance, you want to be clear on whether you are giving consent, both verbally and in body language. Step back/roll back from the person if need be. Put your arm out if possible to block someone from giving a kiss. Don’t make eye contact, turn your head. All while saying No if they are coming towards you. Verbal consent is important but we must not forget to look at body language. Some people with disabilities are not able to speak so they will show consent/non-consent in another manner, mostly body language. Our words are best to use, if possible, but our body language is also very important.

When you are rejecting someone at the flirting stage, it is easier than when you are breaking up a relationship, of course. You can simply say “I am not interested”. Relationship breakups require more attention and honesty.

First, you have to be aware of your own feelings. For me, there are signs of a problem when I can’t sleep or concentrate on other things. You want to look at the reasons you are staying in the relationship versus leaving. I know I did the right thing, if I feel a sense of relief after breaking off the relationship.

Breaking up with your girlfriend via text or email is not only inconsiderate, but can be viewed as childish and immature. There may times when a face to face breakup may not be possible, such as long distance relationships, but when possible, please have the break up discussion in person.

When it comes to relationship break ups, you still want to keep the focus on yourself and your feelings.

“This isn’t working for me any longer because I feel…”

This puts the responsibility on yourself rather than on your partner. This is best of you are hoping for an amicable breakup.

Being part of the kink community in my city, it is important to me to have amicable breakups. I will continue to run into my exes, because we have the same circle of friends. This could be the same case if you have mutual friends or co-workers with your soon to be ex-partner.

So being respectful and taking responsibility for your own feelings is important.

I also recommend taking a break from seeing the person if possible. It may or may not be possible to “be friends” with an ex, but it takes some time and some boundaries need to be in place.

When I have had break-ups in the past, I also did my best, to keep the reasons for the breakup private. The reason for the breakup is between you and your partner. Talking about it, or worse yet, trying to ruin your ex partner’s reputation on social media makes you look bad, in my honest opinion. It may end up ruining your own reputation as it is another behavior that can make you look immature. When breaking off a relationship, or turning down a romantic gesture, it is best follow the golden rule and think about how you would want to be treated.

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