How to Break Up With Someone You've Never Actually Dated

It happens to the best of us. We get busy, we set our sights on someone else, or we simply forget—whatever the reason might be (or lack thereof), we find ourselves faced with the cold hard truth: We've ghosted someone. It's not a proud moment. No one actually enjoys knowing that they've left someone hanging—and potentially feeling miserable—whether on purpose or not. 

It's easy to blame our short attention span on the overwhelming number of fish in the sea (or in this case, dating apps); on today's casual dating culture, where the word "official" is scarier than going shark diving without the cage; or on the assumption that if the other person wasn't ghosting you as well, they would have texted. But Joanne Davila, PhD and author of The Thinking Girl's Guide to the Right Guy, has another theory: We actually ghost because of our own fears and insecurities—neither trait being particularly appealing or sexy. 

In the interest of becoming slightly more evolved beings who are actually able to communicate like real adults, we tapped the relationship expert to give us a how-to guide to breaking up—when you've never actually been official, that is. Do three dates warrant a breakup? How do you tell someone you're just not that interested? What do you actually say to someone you're trying to let go easily? Let's vow to avoid ghosting—or its ugly cousin, the casual slow fade (which, let's be honest, is even worse)—once and for all. It's time to fight the fear (of breaking up) and do it anyway.