I started dating a guy around the end of 2019. The sex was great, but we didn't really click in any other way. I was going to break up with him, but then COVID-19 happened. I stayed with him because I didn't think I'd be able to meet another sexual partner during a pandemic. I feel like that's going to change soon since things are opening up. I want to end the relationship, but he's developed feelings for me and I'm not sure how to get out of it.
Bubble Burster (male, 24)
Dear Bubble Burster,
Leading this guy on wasn't a very nice thing to do. If you had told him back in the beginning that you didn't see a future together but wanted to be "pandemic pound pals," he might have been fine with the idea. At least he would have had the option to bow out. Since you can't go back in time, you need to deal with your mistake and try not to make a mess of the situation.
I usually advise telling the truth, but in this case I recommend a little sugarcoating. Breaking up with him will leave him heartbroken for a while. Letting him know that you were toying with his emotions the whole time will make him feel heartbroken and used. And it likely will kill any chance of a platonic friendship with this guy, if that's even something you want.
Be honest about the fact that you don't feel the same way he does and it's time for you to move on. You can use the old standby "It's not you, it's me." However you do it, you owe it to him to take his feelings into consideration and let him down easy.
Hopefully you'll learn from this. When you do meet someone new, don't play around with their heart. Sex is fantastic, but it's even better when there's an honest and open relationship at the bottom of it.
Good luck and God bless,