We all know the level of anguish that can be caused by ghosting; when someone abruptly cuts off communication with you, and fades away without explanation. It's super rude, and it often leaves you wondering what happened, if they're OK, if you did something wrong — the list of concerns goes on and on.
And yet, however strongly you may feel about the ethics of the fadeaway when it comes to people ghosting you, it's also easy to see why it's become a go-to way to end a relationship. Ghosting seems so much easier than trying to find the right words and letting someone down. When you're the one who wants to call things off, you may just find yourself ghosting, too.
The thing is, in the back of your head, you know it's worth it to do the hard, mature thing and at the very least send a text before parting ways. "Letting someone know shows respect to the other person and also allows you to develop clarity in your relationships," Alex Ly, AMFT, a marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
While it's best to end serious and longer-term relationships with a phone call or an in-person conversation, there are plenty of situations where a text is OK. It's always better than ghosting, and it'll help both you and the other person move on. Here, a few sample texts you can send to end any relationship the right way.
1. When The Date Was Boring/Awkward
Send this: "Thanks for the drinks last night, but this doesn't feel like the right fit for me. I wish you well with future dates!"
If you go out with someone and realize you have absolutely nothing in common, that's OK. The whole point of dating is to meet up and see if you click, so if all you did was sit silently across from each other while picking at your food, send this simple text to wish them well — and move on.
2. When They Were Really Nice But You Had Zero Chemistry
Send this: "You seem like a really great person, and I enjoyed meeting you so much. But, I don’t think that we are a match in a romantic way. I know you are someone else’s soulmate, and I know they are out there looking for you as well. Thank you for your time, and I wish you all the best on your path."
According to Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, this is the perfect text to send to someone you didn't feel any special chemistry with, but who seemed like they were really trying.
3. When You've Been On Two Or Three Dates
Send this: "Thanks for giving me a chance to get to know you better, but I think we are looking for different things at this time. I'm not interested in another date."
Even after a couple dates — though you're still a free agent and owe nothing to anyone — it's still considerate to take the 10 seconds and text something along these lines. According to Bash, all you need to do is thank them for the time and effort they put into meeting up, and continue on your merry way.
4. When They Were Rude
Send this: "I just wanted to let you know that I did not feel comfortable with some of your behavior. It struck me as mean and rude and really did not sit well with me. I don’t think that we are a match. But thank you for your time and I wish you well."
Even a horrible date needs a clean, definitive ending, because the only thing worse than having wasted your time with someone who's rude is wasting your time for days to come as they continue to text and reach out. Bash suggests taking the high road by remaining civil, being honest, and letting them know you're done.
5. When You've Already Hooked Up/Five Dates In
Send this: "It's been so fun hooking up the past few weeks, but I don't see this is going anywhere romantically. I'm looking for something more and I'm sure there is someone else out there, for both of us, who will be a better fit. Good luck!"
If you've done some sexy intimate things, but don't want to see the other person again, it's worth it to send a kind text or two before parting ways. Thank them for all the fun you had — or for their time, at the very least — and make it clear you don't want to continue moving the relationship forward. That way, you'll both be free to move on.
6. When You've Just Been Texting/Zero Dates In
Send this: "Thanks so much for messaging back and forth! I know it's tough to get to know someone via chat, but it doesn't seem like we're a good match at this time. I'm not interested in meeting up, but hope that you find someone soon who is!"
While it's totally OK to just stop messaging someone, if all you've done is chat on a dating app, it is nice to send a quick message if they've been putting in a ton of effort, or have asked you out. That way you won't leave them hanging.
7. When They're Coming On Too Strong
Send this: "Thanks for your interest in getting to know me, but I don't want to meet up or continue to talk."
If someone is coming on too strong — texting you incessantly, begging to meet up, asking for photos, etc. — you need to be straightforward. Don't be vague or hint that you may be down to talk at some point in the future, as that will only keep the door open. Instead, put a stop to it with this text, and if need be, block their number.
8. When You're Too Busy To Date
Send this: "I've really enjoyed going on dates with you, but my schedule is so full right now I won't have time to meet up again going forward. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future, when the timing is better. Until then, I wish you well."
If you have a lot going on, be honest about it with a text similar to this one. Who knows? You may be able to make it work at some point in the future.
9. When It's Obvious They're Still Hung Up On Their Ex
Send this: "After getting to know you a bit more, it's obvious to me that you're not quite ready to date. It may not be my place to say this, but I've been in your shoes and know how important it is to take time to fully recover from a breakup before trying to date again. I hope you can get to a good place soon, and find someone who makes you just as happy."
You don't want to get serious with someone who is trying to a) get over their ex, b) prove a point to their ex, or c) pretend you're their ex. If it's clear their head is stuck in the past, protect yourself by making it clear you're wary about the situation. As Bash says, it's often OK to send some light advice in this situation, as well, by providing a few helpful hints as to why you weren't interested. It's "good relationship karma," she says.
10. When You're Drifting Apart
Send this: "It seems like our paths are going in different directions and I need to put all my focus on my own path. Pursuing a relationship isn't going to work out."
If you've been on a few dates, and can tells things are fizzling out, Jennie Marie Battistin, M.A., LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, suggests sending this text so you can cut ties and fully and officially move on.
11. When They Cheated On You
Send this: "I really wish it wasn't ending this way, but I've lost all trust after learning that you cheated. Our relationship is over."
Battistin says this text works in situations where a partner has lied, cheated, or emotionally manipulated you. Of course, it can be tricky to call things off with a simple text, especially if you've been together a while, or are sharing an apartment. You may need to meet up or make a few phone calls, before truly parting ways. But according to Bash, in many cases, you don't owe a cheater or a liar much more than this.
12. When You Just Want To Be Friends
Send this: "I've realized that my feelings for you are much stronger as a friend than as a romantic partner. Would you like to continue our relationship as friends going forward? I'd love to keep you in my life."
If you're serious about pursuing a friendship, instead of a relationship, this is a good way to get the conversation going.
13. When You're In A Long-Distance Relationship
Send this: "I've realized the distance between us is too great and there is no immediate remedy. I am not built for a long distance relationship. I am sorry, I need to break this off and move on."
Sometimes a text like this one, according to Battistin, is the best way to end a long distance relationship, especially if you've spoken about it at length and they aren't handling it well. Seeing your thoughts written out in plain English may make the message clearer. Consider your unique situation, including how long you've been together, and see if a text like this one feels right.
14. When They Won't Take A Hint
Send this: "While I know this may not feel like the best mode to receive this information, I felt that it was best for me to get my thoughts out clearly and leave you space to digest."
Sometimes, no matter the situation, acknowledging why you're sending a text is key. Say what you need to say in a message, and then offer a chance to follow up. From there, "explain how long you've been feeling this way as well as any feedback you feel is important to ensure a clean break," Jennifer Teplin, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle. "Be sure to clarify how you want to move forward after sending the message to avoid many back-and-forths or unclear expectations."
15. When They're Controlling
Send this: "I’m writing to let you know that I am no longer comfortable or willing to remain in this relationship. Please respect my boundaries and preferences and understand that this is best for us to grow on our own and find individuals who support our needs."
According to Teplin, sometimes a text is the safest way to end a relationship, especially if you're removing yourself from a toxic situation. "I'd recommend sending something like that," she says. 'I ‘d also recommend if someone feels unsafe to have a ‘buddy’ there with them when they send the message for moral support."
In these tough or awkward situations, it can be tempting to ghost someone. But taking the time to send a text is often worth it. Not only will it make it clear you're moving on, but it lets the other person know where your head is at so they can do the same.
Alex Ly, AMFT, marriage and family therapist
Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash, Psy.D., LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Jennie Marie Battistin, M.A., LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Jennifer Teplin, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker