I’m sure you remember that infamous Sex and the City episode in which Carrie’s boyfriend Berger (Jewish, of course) breaks up with her on a Post It note. Besides feeling hurt and disappointed by the actual breakup, Carrie, and just about everyone else in the world, is shocked and devastated by the medium of communication used to convey the message. I think a sensitively written letter, or even a postcard, would have been passable, but three words on a Post It? Come on Man, is your heart made of stone? Don’t you think the woman you’ve been romantically involved with (in the “biblical sense”) deserves the courtesy of a sincere thank you and goodbye?
In today’s world the text message has pretty much taken the place of the Post It, at least when it comes to breakups. Just the other day a woman told me that the guy she had been dating for over two months broke up with her via a one line text message. No it didn’t come following a heated argument and no he wasn’t a sixteen year old (he’s actually a well educated and respected professional) and yes, her reaction was just about the same as Carrie’s.
I understand the need for some men to end a relationship in one swift blow to avoid the drama and pain of a long drawn out affair. I also understand that a person can reach the point where they just do not want to spend even one more moment in a relationship they no longer feel is working for them. But there’s just no excuse for cruelty, and breaking up with someone via a text message is nothing other than cruel.
The “right way” to break up with someone is face to face. It’s also the hardest for the breaker. While no break up conversation is easy, the in person one definitely shows sensitivity and respect to the person being “let go”. It also brands the breaker as a mensch (even if he or she is a jerk for dumping you!).
If the face to face is just not going to happen, for whatever reason, then a phone conversation is required. it doesn’t take the place of a face to face, but it at least gives both parties a chance to express their feeling to achieve a degree of closure.
If you consider yourself skilled with the pen and feel that you can do a better job of expressing your feelings in writing, then compose your masterpiece (not a five line email) but be prepared to receive a phone call and have a serious follow up conversation. Don’t just hit send and disappear.
If you’d like some more insight into how to break up, read this post – 5 Tips to Breaking Up the Right Way.
But under no circumstances should you EVER break up via text message. Is that clear?