“We’re Not Even Together”: Why Talking-Stage Breakups Are Sometimes Harder

It’s 2022: The digital age has re-shaped romance and the dating scene entirely. Whilst heart felt letters and hand-picked flowers were once the currency of love, things are no longer as simple as back when our grandparents were dating. Whilst we may yearn for what we see in black and white films or wish we could do things “the old-fashioned way”, the dating game is now played out through a social media sphere. In fact, so much of getting to know one another takes place online, thanks to the rise of popular platforms such as TinderHingeBumble and many, many more.

Whether a partner is met online or “organically”, there can be tonnes of benefits to tapping away, liking, or leaving a comment to let someone know they’ve caught your attention. After all, if nothing comes of it then what’s the worst that can happen? However, let’s say something does come of it, that this someone does notice and decides to like/follow back, and then you end up striking a conversation…

 Introducing: The talking-stage. 

The talking-stage is not necessarily exclusive to strangers who are swiping through Tinder. You may have already had a face-to-face encounter, you may be using it to touch base in-between dates, or you may be looking for a more sober chat after initially meeting in a night-club… On the other hand, you may have never seen them in the flesh! You’re just dipping your toe in the water, buying some time to ask idle questions like “What did you get up to today?” before you finally take the plunge and go on the first date.

Whatever kind of talking stage you are in, the ability to instantly ping a message, send a snap and natter tirelessly over text means that conversation is constantly flowing. The digital age allows us to pick up where we left off, wherever or whatever time of day. Subsequently, a strong foundation can start to stem and grow, these discussions allow us to discover many funny, endearing or even valuable facts about the person you’re getting to know. The talking-stage offers an opportunity to open up, whether that be in a light-hearted or more vulnerable fashion. 

Therefore, it is understandable why we may feel upset if this talking stage comes to an abrupt halt. It can be a source of solace and cheer to keep up chit-chat or check in on someone most days – for that to gradually fizzle out or suddenly disappear can feel like a definite sting. Friends may reassure us with words like “Well it wasn’t that deep”, lightening the mood with mantras like “On to the next!”. However, this advice doesn’t account for the comfort of an ongoing conversation, or those butterflies when your phone buzzes with a notification from the person you fancy. It may seem a little over-dramatic or as if your feelings aren’t quite valid, since you were only in the early stages of the “dating game”, but this elimination can wound us all the same and take time to heal before we enter the next round. 

It is disheartening to be simply “aired” or “read off”, facing an empty message chat and the eery silence of someone blatantly blanking you, retreating into a state of unresponsiveness. Not only can this seem insulting, but it also makes for a slightly awkward encounter if you do end up bumping into each other in person. By contrast if someone does have the courtesy to end the talking-stage with an explanation, that “Now is not the right time” or “I’m not ready for anything serious”, it is tough to take rejection, especially if you were enjoying their company – online or off-line. You may have felt that there was the promise of it blossoming into something more. 

Ultimately, your feelings are warranted whatever the circumstance. Whether it be a brief burst of conversation, or a matter of months, this blow can still feel like a breakup of its own league, and you have every right to reflect over the time you spent learning and sharing with one another. Though this may be easier said than done, it is important to take time to grow from the situation. We can always put it down to experience. Remember, we may only be one talking stage away from meeting the one whose right for us! 

– Lulu Bullman

Featured Image Source: Via Pexels

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