The Lost Art of Breaking Up: Why It's Never Okay To End It Over Text
Whatever happened to a proper breakup?
I'm talking about meeting in a public place, having a polite conversation and finishing with a gentle goodbye.
Where are the breakups you see in movies or on TV? We know the routine: a long build-up, tearful exchanges -- in other words, a proper end to a relationship.
Jackie O wrote letters; the Kardashians filmed a two-hour special on TV. We use different media to end relationships. But texting seems to be a pretty popular one these days.
Why do people break up over text? Well, we’re a generation that would rather type out feelings than say them out loud.
We’d rather watch those torturous ellipses on our phone than hear the awkward silences on the other end of the line.
We’d rather send a sad face emoji than see a true expression of sadness on a partner's face.
The conversation has changed from a mutual exchange of thoughts and feelings to a blue paragraph of calculated words that allow you to never see that person again.
Sending a text is not the way to break off a relationship.
I recently made a simple romantic situation very complicated. I was pushing for something more serious, and this guy was keeping it casual.
That’s something I could have handled -- had this guy simply talked about it. Instead, he slowly started to ghost, and I knew what was happening. Things were ending.
I’m never someone to shy away from conversation or conflict, and I don’t like unresolved business. We’re all adults here, so let’s just put everything out on the table.
After weeks of texting without making any concrete plans, I really wanted to know what was going on. If he was seeing someone else, I wanted to know. I wanted to be able to put this behind me.
After fruitlessly asking him endless times to grab a drink at a normal hour (since I was still getting 2-am booty texts from him), I went for the text that every guy dreads.
“Hey, we need to talk.”
This FREAKS GUYS OUT. They assume you’re pregnant, that you have an STD or that they have to deal with a woman’s feelings (all equally terrible possibilities).
He responded very anxiously, so I assured him it wasn’t anything health-related, figuring he could then do me the decency of agreeing to a beer. I mean, we live in the same neighborhood, for f*ck’s sake.
But he didn't agree to that. He INSISTED I tell him what’s going on. I realized it was getting more dramatic. He was beginning the conversation, and he wasn't waiting for us to meet in person.
I said I was confused about what was happening between us. I told him I just needed some clarity. He told me he “kind of started seeing someone else and wanted to avoid any awkward situations,” (an "awkward situation," of course, would be meeting me in person).
I replied with a simple “See, that’s all you had to say.” I was explaining that my feelings were hurt but understood that I couldn't change his. I couldn't convince him to do anything different in this situation; all I could do was share how I felt.
He didn't understand why he needed to say something to me at all, and he assumed I should have just picked up on his clues and disappearing act.
The result? I now have a written (well, typed) transcript of how this six-month relationship ended.
When there’s only text, there’s no respect.
Communication is so important in any relationship. If it’s too hard to share feelings face to face, the relationship is doomed.
This is especially true if you’re hurting someone else’s feelings. It's completely disrespectful to let someone down so cruelly when that person has invested time, energy and love into the relationship.
More than anything, this breakup affirmed what I already knew and feared: He wasn't into me anymore. He was so not into me that he couldn't even meet me to tell me he'd moved on.
Though this certainly hurt, it helped me to know how heartless this guy could be. I promised not to let a guy be so reckless with my heart in the future.
There’s so much left unsaid -- with so few words exchanged.
Texts are concise. This is good when you're giving directions or confirming plans. It's not good when you're explaining what happened on your side of a relationship.
You're leaving no room for rebuttal. The other person doesn't see you stumble over your words. You've carefully calculated what you’re going to say, removing any emotion from your words in order to make the conversation as short as possible.
You don't get to see the feeling behind his words, and he can't take them back. They're in my text history until I decide to delete them.
Your relationship took time to build, but he's destroying it in a minute.
How long does a text conversation like this even last? 10 or 20 minutes? Maybe an hour or two? All I got was a total of about 100 words over the course of 30 minutes.
It’s unreal how quickly he can wrap up your relationship over text. In person, long silences can fill a room.
When people show you who they really are, listen to them.
Don't get serious with people who can't express themselves well. Love is a shared emotion, and it needs to be expressed on both sides to work.
What would have happened if something serious came up? What if I really did need to talk about something health-related? What if it was more than just an invite for him to tell me it was over?
I’m guessing that a real issue would have led to the same response: a series of open-ended texts with no real emotion behind them.
My Seamless delivery guy texts me when he’s on his way. My Uber driver texts me when he’s at my door. My best friend texts me about the last episode of "The Bachelor."
There's a time and a place for text messages, and this is not one of them. Please don’t text me to tell me that what we had is over. I’m worth a face-to-face breakup and a beer.
You have one new message: GROW A PAIR (insert beer emoji here.)