No, I didn’t dump her because she slept with me

A fledgling relationship ended, but not before a reader's girlfriend said having sex too soon was the cause. How can the reader set the record straight?



July 5, 2024 - 1:37 PM

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We asked readers to channel their inner Carolyn Hax and answer this question. Some of the best responses are below.

Hello Carolyn: I met a cool woman out at a party with mutual friends. We exchanged numbers and went out a few times. We ended up sleeping together after the third time (by which point we had not discussed anything about any kind of long-term intentions). Around then, I began to gather that she is looking for a boyfriend, and I knew I didn’t want to be him. We’re just not compatible in that way.

Now she is going around telling people (the same mutual friends, including another woman I am potentially interested in) that I cut things off with her because she “slept with me too soon.” That could not be further from the truth; I don’t care about that at all. It’s really just that I don’t like her enough to take things any further.

I feel like I need to set the record straight but don’t want to make myself into any more of a cad than I think she is already making me sound like?

— Setting Record Straight

Setting Record Straight: Count your blessings. An adult who will publicly try to disparage your character because your non-relationship didn’t work out after just a few dates and who would do so based on the extremely outdated and sexist premise of having sex too early into the dating process is one huge red flag.

You are both adults. Your sexual encounter was consensual. And sex can be a deciding factor in figuring out whether one wants to pursue the relationship. There is nothing wrong with deciding not to proceed if one discovers that the potential partner’s view on what sex means is different from one’s own.

You absolutely do not need to set the record straight. If confronted with accusations of cad-hood by friends, you can say you came to the conclusion that you and she were not compatible. That’s all you need to say if you want to say anything. Just shrugging and moving on to a different topic is acceptable as well.

— Constant Reader

Setting Record Straight: My mom always said, “You’re mature enough to have sex if you’re mature enough to talk about it first.” It sounds like you two needed to have that talk and didn’t. From the way you say “around then,” instead of “afterward,” I suspect you picked up on her relationship hopes even before the sex happened. If that’s the case, and you went ahead while suspecting she would have put a stop to things if she knew how you felt, then I’m afraid you are indeed a cad. The way to avoid accusations of caddishness going forward is to be honest at the right time — before the clothes come off.

— The Talk

Setting Record Straight: Speak to her directly. Tell her you’re checking in about some gossip going around and ask her if what you heard is true. If she did say that, then politely disabuse her of her assumption, and say you don’t care about how fast someone sleeps with you. And clarify that you were under the impression she did not care, either. In fact, as soon as you came to understand that continuing to be sexual partners would confer a commitment, you politely stepped aside. If you ghosted her, then own up to it and apologize.

Either way, express empathy for her misunderstanding. Hopefully, you both can find some humor in the misunderstanding. If she’s attached to the drama of being dumped, then be grateful you dodged a bullet and trust that your friends know you well enough to know you are not a cad.

— Scout4Peace

Setting Record Straight: So the truth is you slept with her even though you suspected she liked you more than you liked her, and then dumped her because you liked her enough to sleep with her but not enough to date her? You’re right, that doesn’t sound better.

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