How to End a Dating Relationship That Is Not Exclusive

Ignoring all contact may be one way to break off a casual relationship.
... Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Maybe you and your nonexclusive partner have been dating a few weeks or a few months. No matter the length of time, you no longer find yourself as thrilled with the relationship. The etiquette of ending such a pairing can be a difficult to figure out. Though your change of heart may still come as a surprise to your partner, your knowing how to end the relationship can ease any sour feelings.

1 The Silent Breakup

Maybe something major has gone wrong while dating someone, or you feel it is best for your emotional or physical safety to avoid an in-person breakup. Some daters may choose to avoid contact with the other person in order to break off the relationship, according to Leaving phone calls, emails and other communications unanswered may eventually send the message to the other partner. This tactic may be ideal for those who wish to avoid saying anything that might hurt the other person.

2 End It Face-to-Face

The tried-and-true meeting in person can work even for breakups in casual relationships. Meeting somewhere you can be alone and have privacy, such as in someone's home, may ease any embarrassment, according to the Emily Post Institute. The breakup should be brief, though it is okay to be honest -- not cruel -- about the reasons you are ending things. Since the relationship is not very serious, you may find that your partner shares your feelings about ending things.

3 Opening the Conversation

In a casual, nonexclusive relationship, it may be unclear how each of you feels about your partnership. You can open the lines of communication by asking how the other person feels about this relationship, according to This can then give you the opportunity to talk about the things you enjoyed in the relationship as well as why it cannot continue.

4 The Finer Details

No matter how unhappy your casual relationship made you, you should avoid gossiping or talking poorly of your former partner, according to KidsHealth. Though the match may not be ideal now, your paths may cross again in the future -- possibly even romantically. While you may find it difficult to explain that a casual relationship is over, you should try to be honest as much as possible, according to eHarmony. Indicating that there is a possibility that things could work out in the future, or showing that you are uncertain about ending things, can leave the other person with false hope.

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.