How to Avoid Awkward Mornings-After

Free dating tips to ensure a smooth morning-after goodbye. Even if you — gasp! — don’t like coffee.

I met a tall drink of water last week while on a business trip—had a great night listening to music, drinking beer and making out (just a little) at his house. The night couldn’t have gone any better. Fast forward to a 5 a.m. alarm going off so he could get me back to my hotel in time for work. On the drive, I absolutely stuck my foot in my mouth when he mentioned grabbing coffee before I left town: I said, “I don’t drink coffee.”Who does that? And I couldn’t recover. Lots of small talk after that, a quick kiss and a “Good luck at your meeting,” and I was out the door almost before he could slow the car down. I’d like to try and save face, and see if this could go anywhere. Five days later, and I am still giddy at the thought of him. Should I e-mail him? If so, what do I say?—Still Cringing

A: Yikes. Maybe you should start drinking coffee, chica. The caffeine works wonders for many a person in taming early-a.m. snappiness.

You’re probably painfully aware that this might be a lost cause. As I’ve said before, the early days of a romantic connection are a delicate balance of timing, chemistry and planetary alignment. A snippy, ill-timed remark like yours can instantly and irrevocably disrupt that balance. But chin up—he sounds like a fairly laid-back dude, and a brief, well-crafted, witty e-mail that strikes just the right mix of apology and interest just might be the e-ticket to smoothing things over.

Here’s my suggestion. Revise as you see fit—and please keep me posted about what happens.

Hey [Tall Drink of Water],

Hope you’ve been well. Things have been good here—except for the lingering taste of my foot in my mouth since you dropped me off.

I guess all that making out the night before scrambled my brain. I’ve been racking it ever since trying to figure out where my rude coffee comment came from—especially after the wonderful time I had with you. More importantly, I’ve been crossing my fingers that it didn’t ruin our chances to listen to music/drink beer/make out again the next time I’m in town.

So. Let me know if that’s a possibility. In the meantime, please know I cringe every time I pass a Starbucks. =)

[Still Cringing]

Q: So I broke up with my boyfriend of seven months just a few weeks ago. It wasn’t easy. But I think we both knew it was for the best, and all that stuff. I ran into him at a costume party recently, and I think the fact that we were both dressed up (and drunk) led to us sleeping together. The sex was really, really good (better than I remember when we were together, which is a little disappointing) and we even went to get breakfast together the next morning. I was thinking the encounter meant something to both of us. But when I called my ex later to talk about it, it was like talking to a stranger. He didn’t say anything about getting together again. Turns out I was the only one emotionally involved. Now I’m sad all over again. What should I do?—Hoping and Heartbroken

A: You’ve learned the hard way that, when it comes to post-breakup sex, more often than not, sleeping together ≠ getting back together. And, sadly, that a breakup can serve as every bit the aphrodisiac as oysters and dark chocolate.

So what should you do? Nothing, except a better job of protecting your feelings in the future. Sleeping with an ex is only permissable if—and, in most cases, it’s a huge if—you’re not harboring the hope that the sex will lead to breakfast, which will lead to dinner, which will lead to a big, flowery “Why did we ever break up in the first place?” epiphany. If you’re gonna do it, you have to be able to get in, get out, get off and get on with your day—no assumptions, expectations or phone calls wondering if there’s anything else to it. Clearly, that’s not something you are capable of at this point, but hopefully you’ll be a little more enlightened next time.

Finally, beware those costumes and cocktails. They’re a great catalyst in dropping inhibitions (and panties).

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