You’re Breaking Up

Posted on January 11, 2011


A few months ago, I received an erroneous text message from a complete stranger. With all of the technology we use constantly throughout the day, sometimes these things happen. It wasn’t the first time I’ve received a message that wasn’t intended for me. This message, however, was like none I had received before.

It was a breakup text message.

From what I gathered from the context, a man and woman had been going out for quite some time. He had traveled to see her and she realized, once he was headed back home, that he was not the one for her. The trip, it seamed, had sealed some doubts about the relationship that she had been entertaining for a while. She had decided it was time to end things.

And end it she did.  By sending her boyfriend a 4-lined text message.

From what I’ve recently read in a social psychology periodical, this is not rare. People are ending their serious romantic relationship over text messages and email quite often now.

In the age of always-available email and cellphones, in the consistency of our communications with each other on Facebook and Twitter, most of us have gotten quite comfortable sharing our lives electronically. And I’m certainly not saying that we should not be doing this.

But we should not end serious romantic relationships in a text message.  We shouldn’t do it via email. I’m even going to go so far as to say you can’t do it over the phone. You know why? Because it’s too hurtful.

Ending your romantic relationship is probably going to be very painful for the other person. No matter how you may try to phrase things, no matter how many times you claim the blame, the person you had, up until that moment, been spending your love life with, is going to be hurt. I’m going to go with very hurt. And although that sucks, that’s the reality of the situation.

Don’t make it worse by being the jerk who ends it in the quickest, and oftentimes cruelest, way possible. DO NOT break up with someone by writing them a text message or email.

People get over their broken hearts. People move on after relationships end and put the past behind them. What they won’t get over (and what they will remember about you) is that you didn’t have enough respect to sit down with them and tell them, face-to-face, that you were ending the relationship. That you didn’t give them the opportunity to ask questions, to express their feelings, to see, in person, your own torment about hurting them, that you didn’t, perhaps,  even give them a chance to tell you off.

Breaking up with someone is very hard to do. I’d argue that it’s an incredibly hard thing to do. But,as difficult as it is, it should be done in person. If you shared a serious love with someone else, they deserve to hear about the ending of it, with you sitting there in front of them.

*In my next post, I’ll discuss the 12 steps you can take to end a relationship in the kindest way possible.