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How to Tell Casual Dating Partners You're Off the Market

Diving into a serious relationship? Check out these tips on how to break the news to more casual partners.


  • Step 1: Be proactive Get in touch with casual partners as soon as you determine you’re in an exclusive relationship with someone else; delays only increase the chance of someone getting hurt -- or of having your love interests cross paths unexpectedly.
  • Step 2: Make a decision Figure out how to break the news. Decide whether your time together merits getting together in-person, a phone call, or an e-mail.
  • TIP: Make contact before posting the news on social networks, which can come across like an unexpected, public slap in the face.
  • Step 3: Communicate directly Be cordial and polite, but be honest about having met someone else to ensure your former lover gets the message. If you’re destined to be friends eventually, they’ll realize your decision is for the best.
  • TIP: Reach out during the day -- nighttime contact can lead to mixed signals.
  • Step 4: Make it brief Keep your contact brief -- the longer the conversation, the more chances for someone to get hurt. When you’re done, walk away and don’t look back.
  • Step 5: Suck it up Having trouble leaving casual relationships behind? Make sure you’re prepared to make a commitment to your new partner; if you are, then enjoy the opportunity for meaningful romance.
  • FACT: Researchers have found that casual sex among college students occurs more often between friends than strangers.

You Will Need

  • Communication
  • Honesty
  • Brevity

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