I asked people I had ‘a thing’ with why it didn’t work out

One of them says it’s because he got a new phone

There’s dating someone, there’s having a relationship with someone and then there’s having “a thing”. You know, when it’s not serious enough to be a relationship, but more than just having sex. Urban Dictionary’s ever accurate definitions claim it’s “where you aren’t quite dating yet, but you’ve both established that you like each other. It’s exclusive, but not completely yet.”

So basically, it can include anything from serious texting, to a several-night-stand, to a relationship that almost became an actual relationship but didn’t.

But why do they end? Sometimes one person moves on to a real relationship, sometimes circumstances get in the way, and sometimes you basically get dumped because they didn’t like you enough to make it official. And of course, there’s the ick. 

Here’s what happened when I caught up with few of my ex “things” to find out why it all came to an end.


Duration: One date and lots of texting

Seriousness rating: 5/10

Who ended it: Mutual

“I think it was the distance thing, and the fact I was unemployed and had no money, you even had to give me a quid to get the bus back to my mates didn’t you! It was a shame though, because you’re really sound and I would have liked to see you again!”


Duration: Two dates and texting

Seriousness rating: 6/10

Who ended it: Me

“It didn’t work out because I don’t like being the constantly proactive side, and if I feel like they don’t really engage unless I initiate it, I wait for them to do something and, if nothing happens, it just dies.”


Duration: One month

Seriousness rating: 5/10

Who ended it: Him

“I guess it just sort of fizzled out between us a bit, probably more my fault really and it’s just because that’s how I was at the time, not a complete man slag but just had one fling and then move on to the next sort of thing. I think I was like that for a bit because I’ve always been in long term relationships and was scared of any sort of commitment ever again.”


Duration: Two months

Seriousness rating: 6/10

Who ended it: Mutual

“I’d finished and left Manchester, and you were still there unfortunately.”


Duration: Less than a week

Seriousness rating: 1/10

Who ended it: Me

“I’d say because relationships (even short, sexually motivated ones) involve not just one person, but two, the reasons for why it fails cannot be attributed to one person. There are factors at play on both sides and you can never know what the other is thinking or feeling, or indeed their motivations. For us, it wasn’t serious and I think we established that from the very earliest moment. Therefore, giving it up was a lot easier. There were no feelings involved. It was purely educational, adventurous and sexual.

“For me, I perhaps felt I bit embarrassed. The last time we had sex, I was too stoned and I felt I let myself down and in so doing, had embarrassed myself in front of you, making it more difficult to see you again. Having said that, I do have issues with seeing someone past the point of it being casual and usually that occurs after the third time sleeping with one another. So subconsciously I feel that I wanted it to end and it’s easier for me if it ends in catastrophe rather than me trying to explain what I’ve just said (i.e. the fear of something more deep and more serious). It was easier to step away if you didn’t want to see me either.

“Like I said, it’s not just about one person. It’s about what both are thinking and feeling and often both are thinking and feeling different things. So instead of looking for your own faults, it’s looking at each other’s underlying faults and the consequences of those faults: your fears and prejudices, your hopes and ambitions.”

(He could have just said we drifted apart though)


Duration: Three months

Seriousness rating: 7/10

Who ended it: Me

“I guess with our situation because it wasn’t particularly serious, I got the impression neither of us wanted to be seen to be trying too hard. So when we stopped messaging neither wanted to be the one to start again. I guess it could be a pride thing as shitty as that sounds.”


Duration: Two dates

Seriousness rating: 1/10

Who ended it: Mutual

“I don’t want a relationship, I got a new phone, didn’t seem like you wanted anything serious.”


Duration: One week and been texting since

Seriousness rating: 3/10

Who ended it: Me

“Distance. You eventually stopped replying. If we’d been in the same city we’d probably still be hooking up.”

So what have I learnt from my experience of “having a thing”? Mostly that you probably just don’t like that person enough to actually be with them, or you’re kidding yourself and they’re not that into you.