Women think that men find saying “I love you” difficult. We do not. It is easy to say if it is true. Quite apart from the joy of saying it, there are rewards, both instantly and in the medium term. Like currency adjustment or land reform, it only becomes a burden in the long run.
Saying “I don’t love you” is the difficult one. How do you do it, I am often asked. Love is like an International Monetary Fund loan, I say. The IMF hates rejection and will moan to the world about what a heel you are, but you’ll be glad to be shot of it in the long term. It (or she) will no longer solicit avowals from you, and you will be freed from the guilt of making empty promises in the future.
When should I do it?
There is never a good time, although it is best to avoid general elections. Assuming you know your own mind, the sooner the better, otherwise she’ll “make plans”(usually in the form of a holiday or state visit) that will make it more of an inconvenience.
Somewhere private that you can leave her without feeling additional guilt. Her palace or, at the very least, somewhere you won’t be liable for broken crockery. (I’ll never truly be able to replace the dinner set I was using on the night Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo came round.)
Be direct and apologetic. “You can stick your fiscal tightening up your recessionary gap” worked for me, but equally “I’m not in love with you” has the twin benefits of being honest and terminal. The rest will follow as naturally as stagflation follows productivity decline, just so long as you avoid:
a) saying anything critical about her;
b) being specific about when you made up your mind;
c) any suggestion that there was anyone else involved;
d) being overwhelmed by guilt and retracting;
e) suggesting a supply-side solution.
That’s enough detail for now. Readers hungry for more should look out for my forthcoming book: FAQ Off: Questions and Answers for Aspirant Jilters.