I received the following question from a woman in South Dakota. I include my reply, illustrating how to end a bad kissing relationship. Her question demonstrates how important kissing skills can be for making — or breaking — a relationship!
Q. I have been dating a man for a few weeks. We have been taking our time. Both in 40's with past experiences that helped me to decide to try something different (i.e. taking time, and continuing to pursue a man I was not initially attracted to). We kissed for the first time and I immediately felt I could not be with him. He was a bad kisser. How does one approach a person in telling them they do not want to pursue the relationship? I have thought I could say I was sad because I enjoy him in so many other ways but it was not there when we kissed. I guess I would want to tell him because I imagine he will continue dating others and for the sake of him and the others maybe knowing will help with his potentials. I would appreciate any advice.
A. In my opinion it is simply not a good idea to tell him you're ending the relationship because he's a bad kisser. In fact, in order to be polite (in an age in which civility and politeness may be somewhat of a lost art), simply taper things off and make some other excuse, such as: "I have decided not to pursue relationships at this time because . . . I am thinking of pursuing spiritual studies and prioritizing my philosophical and spiritual studies over everything else" (the way Larry did in Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge).
The reason I suggest that you do not tell him is also because it is always a good idea to keep on friendly terms with men you have previously dated, if you can. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is there is always the possibility that he may inherit a million dollars or win the lottery and that he may then perhaps decide to take you on a friendly vacation to Paris or Rome or some other exotic place you've been hoping to see all your life. Or maybe you'll want to call him up with a question about something in the future. Or perhaps he can introduce you to one of his friends. . . You see, there are a million reasons why it's good to remain on pleasant and friendly terms with past lovers, if you can. But telling him he's a bad kisser would be an insult to his pride. He doesn't need lessons from you, and you have no obligation to tell him of his problem if you leave him (only if you decide to stay with him!).
So, the bottom line: My advice is not to tell him he's a bad kisser if you decide to stop the romantic relationship. Instead make up some other plausible reason, and keep him as a platonic friend or acquaintance.