“He broke up with you by text?” That’s usually the first thing your friends say, soon followed by “What a huge jerk” when they discover a guy sent you a Break Up Text.
Not “Oh, are you okay?” or “I’m so sorry.” Somehow, the fact that he broke up via a text message always takes center stage. Oh the horror of it all.
There’s a very funny episode of Sex and the City where Carrie’s boyfriend, Berger, breaks up with her via a Post-It note. The episode centers around how horrible Berger is for doing it in this way, how insulting it is to Carrie and other equally deplorable methods of breaking up (by telephone, carrier pigeon, etc.).
He simply writes: “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” Then he leaves in the middle of the night and she discovers the break-up Post-it the next morning.
“Don’t hate me”?
First of all, right after a break up, he or she is definitely going to hate you. At least temporarily anyway. Because hating the person is one of the 5 stages of Breaking Up. [Denial, Anger aka: I Hate You, Bargaining, Sadness, and finally Acceptance.]
But the good news is that your ex will almost always un-hate you as soon as they get over you. Which is probably pretty quickly since, if you broke up via a text (or a Post-it note) that probably means you only dated for 5 minutes anyway. And how could you possibly hate someone that you barely knew?
Not too long ago, I dated a guy for 9 weeks (I hate that I know exactly how many weeks we were together, because UGH). Anyway, we never discussed our feelings. Seriously? Who discusses feelings anymore? The New Thing is to pretend you don’t have any. Everyone knows that. (Although he may have said “I like you” once, but we were drinking and the room was very dark, so I could be wrong.)
And we never defined the relationship. Instead, I decided to be the cool and casual Just Go With The Flow Girl.
And I was. I decided not to worry where it was going and to just enjoy it and to focus on the having fun part. So that’s exactly what I did.
And even though I never once brought up the whole “Are we in a relationship?” thing, my friends would occasionally ask me and I admit those thoughts were floating around in my head those last few weeks.
So it’s not surprising that late one night, when I may or may not have had too much to drink, that I may or may not have brought up the word ‘intimacy’ in conversation. UGH, again.
I don’t exactly recall the entire (short) conversation, but I do know it was absolutely nothing like those scenes you see in movies where he professes his love to her and they make love in front of a perfectly lit fire and it all romantically ends with mutual I love you’s. It was exactly the opposite of that.
The next morning things felt a bit awkward, so I came right out and asked him “Are we okay? Are we going to continue seeing each other?” [I should add that it’s not easy for me to be that blunt, but I’ve learned that being honest and straight forward is always best.]
He assured me that we were fine. He nervously laughed, got dressed and then he left. And that was the end of that.
That was Sunday morning.
Three days later, on a beautiful and sunny afternoon, I discovered that things were not “fine” at all when I received The Break Up Text.
Looking back, I knew things weren’t fine on the morning I asked him. And yes, he probably should have just ended it then on that Sunday before he left. But I’m not mad or upset that he waited three days. Or that he ended it via text message.
And here’s why:
1. We were only together for 9 weeks. And even if we did spend 2 – 3 nights together each week, that still isn’t a very long time to really know someone. The truth is, there were probably a dozen signs that things weren’t going to work out. And in 9 weeks, I successfully managed to ignore them all. So it’s partially my fault for deciding not to see them.
2. We never discussed exclusivity and we never defined the relationship. So as far as I know, he was still actively dating other women on tinder, etc. So unless you’ve discussed those things, do you really have a right to be angry if it suddenly all ends?
3. I once had a guy break up with me at 2am on a Saturday after we’d been drinking vodka all night. After a deep discussion (because it’s always best to have a discussion after you’ve been drinking vodka), he abruptly got up and left. Yes, at 2am, and yes, when we were both pretty hammered. As drunk as I was, I distinctly remember freaking the fuck out, because DRUNK. That may be the absolute worst time to break up with someone, ever. So in comparison, receiving a text at 3pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon while sitting at your desk, completely clear headed (and sober) is 100% better than having a guy leave you at 2am on a Saturday night when you’re so toasted it’s impossible to think straight. So, thank you, I think?
4. I used to think – like so many people still do- that breaking up over text is the cowardly thing to do. Why not just tell someone it’s over to their face? Well, as noble as that may sound, I’m not so sure I want a guy breaking up with me in person. Because if I really like him, which I probably do (otherwise, why would I be dating you for 9+ weeks?) there’s a very good chance I might start to cry. And no matter how hot or cute you think you are, no one looks pretty when they’re crying. NO ONE. And even if I don’t cry, I’m still going to be pretty upset/ sad/ annoyed and feeling a myriad of other emotions, and I’d much rather deal with all of them in private. Guys honestly have no idea what to do when a girl gets upset and/or starts to cry, and it becomes very frustrating for both parties. So it’s actually a good thing to break up over text. It gives both people time and space to deal with an unpleasant situation in private. It’s best that we both walk away feeling good (or as good as possible) about the situation as we can. People tend to get upset after a break up, which just adds unwanted drama to the situation and who needs that? Certainly not me.
5. I suspect that in those 3 days that he waited, that he gave his decision to end things a lot of thought. And I admit that I had been thinking everything over, too. I always try to think things thoroughly through before making any major decisions, so I respect the fact that he took a few days to think it over before he made a thoughtful decision to tell me.
6. I needed time alone to think. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having doubts, too. I don’t think bringing up intimacy after 9 weeks is rushing things. It’s not like we had just met yesterday. So if a guy freaks out over that, then he definitely isn’t the one for me. And if the relationship – and more importantly, if I- meant that little to him, then really? What more needs to be said?
Nothing. So let’s just end it and move on.
When it comes to casual relationships, I don’t see why the Break Up Text is really all that bad. It’s not like you were married. You’re not ending a long term, committed relationship where there are children and a mortgage and 20 years of memories involved.
You were casually dating. There wasn’t any commitment. So you know what? Breaking up via text or even a Post-it note may not be the best way to end things, but it’s certainly not the worst way either.
In fact, maybe it’s the most painless and kindest way to go. ♦
Here is the infamous scene from SATC, The Post It Break Up. [Click the link twice to view it on youtube.] Enjoy. Xx