The Break Up Text

“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

The-Break-Up-Text

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When Love Is (Or Isn’t) Enough

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  The story of a couple who meet, fall in love and break up.

Their break up is so painful they both decide to undergo a procedure that erases all memory of their relationship.

After their memories are erased they become strangers and go their separate ways.

But they meet a second time and are instantly attracted to each other, as if meeting for the first time.

The movie ends there, suggesting they fall in love all over again, despite their past.

The whole thing- falling in love, meeting a second time and being given a second chance- is appealing on many levels.

Most people have one person they wish they could have a second chance with.

A past relationship that was electric and exciting and passionate that you wish you could do it all over again. Even if there was some bad mixed in with all the good.

No relationship is ever perfect and every couple encounters problems and misunderstandings. People change, circumstances change and feelings can change, too.

And a history that took months and years to build up, can all fall apart as easily as a sand castle being washed away by the tide.

You might try and save it.  You grab your bucket and add more sand.

And things are good again. Maybe not as perfect as before but there’s still a lot of good left so you both hold on.

But the issues and the tide will reappear again. And unless both people are trying to fix it, you realize you can’t do it alone.

The whole situation can seem impossible and overwhelming. And sometimes it’s easier to walk away when you feel hurt, even if you love someone.

But after some time has passed, you start to miss the other person and maybe even wish you had a second chance.

But what if all your bad memories-  every fight, every lie, every hurtful word ever spoken – were all erased.

What if you met again as strangers without a past.

Maybe this time you would both be different.

Maybe if enough time had passed and if your experiences had changed, maybe you’d both be better.

Maybe. Or maybe erasing the past wouldn’t make any difference at all.

Don’t mistakes teach us what not to do next time and how to be better?

How would we know what to do differently if there were no past to learn from?

Maybe a second chance with someone wouldn’t be wonderful at all.

To go through the hurt and pain of breaking up all over again? No one would ever choose that.

And what if the other person walked away without a fight. Or they treated you badly the first time?

If they really loved you, wouldn’t they have tried harder and treated you better? Would it be any different the second time?

It takes mutual love and respect and the effort from two people, to build the relationship and to protect the sand castle.

These are all just words and words don’t really mean anything unless the person who they are meant for actually reads them.

And even if they read them, there are no magic words that can change the past and make things work. Not even “I love you,” not even “I’m sorry,” and not even “I really wish we could start over again.”

Love isn’t always enough and some things were just not meant to be.

What does matter is finding someone who won’t give up on you. Even after you’ve messed up.

Someone who is as passionate about you as you are about them.

Otherwise, all you end up with is a pile of useless fucking sand.

“If you love something, let it go.

If you don’t love something, definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything, who cares.” – B.J. Novak

 

I Love You, by Banksy, canvas print.

I Love You, by Banksy, canvas print.

 

   http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2954530560/tt0338013