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Q: How Do I Break Up With Someone I Met Online?

The Dating Gurus respond to a reader's question about breaking up with someone you met online. Here we take on this awkward situation and remind you to keep it simple!

Q:  I've been going out for about 3 weeks with this guy I met online, and realized he's not really my type, and he's actually become very annoying. He's always sending me text throughout the day, he's kind of immature, and there's a bunch of other things that made me realize he's not the right one for me. I wouldn't mind having him for a friend, but not as a boyfriend.

The problem is that we made some plans to go see a play this weekend.. and today is Tuesday!  I really don't want to go out with him again, but he bought these tickets because I told him I always wanted to see this particular play. Should I go out with him one last time and then break up with him, or should I let him know that I don't want to go out anymore. Also, I want to keep my dating profile up and make myself available, but I don't want to hurt his feelings.  I don't know the right thing to do.

Jen M., Boston, MA

A: While we sympathize with the awkward factor of continuing an online presence after breaking up or ending it with an online date, the actual breakup should follow the same guidelines that you'd (hopefully) follow in "real life".

1 . Once you're sure you don't want to go out with someone again, don't drag it out. Would you want to be the recipient of a mercy date just because your date bought tickets to something? We didn't think so.

2. Let the person know that although you enjoyed spending time with them, it just doesn't feel like the right relationship for you, or that you didn't feel romantic chemistry, or variations on that theme.

3. Don't over-explain. Keep it simple. Wish them luck in their future, apologize if they are upset, and move on.

4. If you've been dating as long as several weeks, you've past the "break up through text or email" period. At this point, you owe your date the respect of direct communication. If you aren't able to do this in person, in a private place, you can have this conversation over the phone, so the dumped person has the space to react in private.  Don't break up with someone in a public place.

5. You cannot be friends with someone you dated, especially to alleviate your own guilt. It gets too messy, and the other person will always want more.

6. Be classy. Don't try to give the person "constructive criticism".  It's bad enough to be dumped.

If they are genuinely asking you for information so they can consider your feedback, that's fine, and you can give them just a little, but be careful not to get into a debate or defensive about it.

7. You are perfectly within your rights to reactivate your dating profile if you've taken it down, but it would be kind to wait a few days, because trust us, they will be watching. If your site has a 'block' function you can use this too, but be advised that some people do create alternate profiles on websites with the express purpose of spying on others, which is another reason that honesty is the best policy, generally speaking.

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