Dear Dr Pam, I’ve just turned 30 and haven’t had a proper relationship for three years now. For the past three or four months I’ve been seeing a guy I’d known for about a year. I know he really likes me but I don’t feel like I can give him any more than what I’m already giving him.

I see him about once a week, we sleep together, I don’t text or call him much. I know he wants more and it’s not right to string him along.
I do like him, I enjoy the sense of companionship, but I really am not interested in having a relationship with him. This whole situation has kind of snowballed and now I feel trapped. How do I stop it? I know I need to end it with him but I’m rubbish at break ups. basically I don’t fancy him enough and I’m avoiding the inevitable, I know it’s not fair on him. Thank you, Sara

Dear “Breaking up is hard to do”,

Let’s clear something up: you and 99% of the population are rubbish at break ups and find them extremely difficult. So you’re in very good company – knowing what you have to do – but soooo not wanting to do it.

The starting point is to put yourself in his shoes and think how he’d feel if he’d read your e-mail. He’d feel pretty darn bad and at the heart of that would be the fact that he’d never want to be a “charity case”.

Of course people often resist breakups and will argue their case. But when they see someone’s real, unguarded feelings in black-and-white it’s a different story.

Try the following:

* It’s definitely worth it to take the time to plan the chat you need to have with him. Think through exactly what message you want to give him. It’s got to be a clear message – that he’ll understand – but maybe not quite as clear as your e-mail.

*Keep the reasons focused on you and include things like you’re simply not ready for a relationship and that you need to be on your own. Also that you feel you don’t have it in you to give him as much as he wants to give you. Don’t tell him the cliche of “he’s too good for you” – no one buys that one anymore.

*Next run it past a trusted friend to see if you’ve got the tone right. Because you feel unsure it’s a good idea to get feedback. If you were clear in your mind I wouldn’t recommend running it past a friend but in this case hopefully it’ll give you more confidence.

*Don’t have a chat with him when you’re rushed or stressed-out after a long day. You need to be feeling calm and confident so it goes as well as possible.

*Now you’re ready to sit down with him, be caring but clear, and definitely stay strong. It’s no good giving him false hope because you feel “bad” about his feelings. It’d be far worse in the long run if you kept stringing him along.

Finally, you say you have “needed his attention” – it’s time to work out what would make you feel good enough about yourself – as a single – not to slip into this type of relationship again.

Good luck, Dr Pam x

Dr Pam’s new book The Emotional Eater’s Diet – Understand your emotions and become a healthy weight for life! Is out now.

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