Friday, May 11, 2007

OK to break up via e-mail?

Alisha: I was listening to morning talk radio a few weeks ago, and the station had a female caller who said she received a "break-up text message" from her boyfriend. The radio hosts couldn't believe the boyfriend was so insensitive.
Deirdre: I'm totally with them on that one. Important relationship info delivered via e-mail or text is one of my triggers. It makes me furious.
Alisha: Why does this upset you? Ever happened to you before? ... Oh, and I disagree to an extent. Breaking up via IM/text or e-mail is suitable in certain situations.
Deirdre: No, it's never happened to me, but I believe e-mail is often used as a crutch, or as an easy way to get out of dealing with a difficult situation. It's a route often taken by cowards, in other words. But let's discuss those situations you mentioned.
Alisha: If you've only been out on a couple of dates, and the relationship never progressed past a movie and dinner, then there's no harm in sending an e-mail to say, "Hey, there just isn't any attraction."
Deirdre: I disagree. In a situation like that there should be a phone call. You communicated before the dates and you saw each other on those dates, so an actual phone discussion is not too much to ask for. It's common courtesy.
Alisha: You're too old-fashioned. It all depends on the status of the relationship. I would never suggest using text messaging or e-mail as a medium of communication for a committed relationship. But, geez, if you don't even know the fella's last name, then sending him a text message to say "Adios amigo," is not that big a deal.
Deirdre: I'm OK with being old-fashioned in this case, because I'm all about treating each other with respect. Now, if all you did was e-mail and IM and you met once and didn't click, sure, a text would be fine. But if you normally talk and see each other and then you send a "Dear John/Jane" e-mail to say "I'm just not that into you," it's insulting.
Alisha: What if it's warranted? What if the partner cheated; so then is it OK to e-mail?
Deirdre: HA! Are you kidding? That calls for a confrontation of "Dynasty"-like proportions! If you're gonna send an e-mail, I suggest it be along the lines of, "I know what you did, so don't bother coming home -- the locks have been changed. And here's my lawyer's number."
Alisha: Sometimes I think an e-mail, an IM or a text message can take some of the pressure off. Again, this is all situational. Ending a marriage by text message? Whoever does that should have to answer to his or her maker.
Deirdre: Speaking of situational: I actually ended a close friendship via e-mail. We were so emotional, we couldn't talk without yelling or crying. We're both writers, so we were able to say what we needed to in e-mails. But we weren't sleeping together and didn't have kids, OK? A friendship is way different from a relationship. Write the e-mails if you need to say your piece. But when it's time to end it, look each other in the eye.
Alisha: In the past, when my husband and I bitterly disagreed on something, we wrote each other because like you, we're both prone to communicate our feelings through prose. But I still stick by the fact it's A-OK to text message a break-up - for the most part!
Deirdre: And I say if you're an adult, act like one. See them. Call.

All right, readers, what do you think?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

so explain to me why you would go out with someone whose last name you don't know?

Anonymous said...

I was broken up with over instant messenger 10 years ago, when it was still a relatively new technology. It was a long distance relationship (although it didn't start that way) so we communicated via email and IM often. I sensed it was happening, so I begged him to call me instead of doing it over IM. It was horrible to be reading it on the screen and not even hear his voice. I'm very happily married now, but the fact that I was once broken up with over IM is still with me.

Anonymous said...

It's the coward's way out.

Anonymous said...

GOSH it isn't a coward way out. This is 2007 where people snd/rcv 30 text a day easily. The same people that claimed they wouldnt ever purchase anything online.. It the way of life these days....

Anonymous said...

It is soooo much easier to avoid personal contact, but it hurts the other person soooo much more when it's cold and dry in print. Don't be surprised if it happens more and more, because after all, we are in the "me" generation. Nothing matters except me, and what I want. Screw you if you get in the way.

Anonymous said...

I don't really think telling someone you went out with a couple of times you aren't really interested is "breaking up." Telling them you aren't interested by email/text is lame, but better than my usual (good old-fashioned falling off the face of the earth), and you don't technically owe the person anything more.

Anonymous said...

"Back in the day", there was something called a "Dear John" letter. This was a means by which a person could HANDWRITE a note ending the relationship. The recipient often couldn't call the sender. In the new world of what's next in it form me, a text message is less creative. An email can be written in minutes. A Dear John letters could take hours. However, the outcome was still brutal.

The irony is I never heard of a Dear Jane letter? Are women that mean spirited that they can't talk to the other person. Hmmm...and they say men are poor communicators.

Have the discussion in person or at least over the phone.

Anonymous said...

E-mail, text, IM....it's the cowardly way to end a relationship. It reeks of, "I'm a wimp and I can't tell you to your face what I'm thinking." Of course, with online dating becoming more the standard, people think they can break up with someone the same way they met them...electronically. But if you actually meet in real life and start a relationship, then you break up the same way...in person. Unless, of course, you just met one time and realized there was no chemistry...and you know what? I'd rather just not speak to you at all then.

The Relationship Journalist said...

Breaking up in cyberspace is a no-no. Be mature enough to deliver the news in a delicate way to the actual person. Not on their MySpace page or via text message.

Lisa Steadman
Author, It's A Breakup, Not A Breakdown
www.BreakupChronicles.com

Anonymous said...

I did it, we were in a long distance relationship. He wouldn't call me very often, like a week at a time, and completely ignored and turned down plans to get together. We had recently had a big talk and agreed to call more often and make plans to see each other. Then he still wouldn't call me so we finally texted one night and he wouldn't answer his phone or return my texts when asked him about it. So I wrote the email late the next day. I had been very cool about everything up to this point. But I was so fed up with him refusing to communicate with me. How was I supposed to talk to him if he wouldn't answer the phone, or return my calls and texts, refused to call me or talk about making plans to get together? Tell me your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I was given the exact same treatment by old girlfriend two years ago, over a small fight.

After three long years of courtship, phone calls, moving around, she just sent me an informal email saying that she wants to break up. We were in a long distance relaton at that time, but she did not even have the courtsey to call me, neither she took any call from me.

Its been two years, and I have moved on with my life, but the memory of being mal-treated by someone I loved so much still haunts me.

Anonymous said...

I was broken up with by e-mail - I felt he dishonored me and our relationship. I thought he was a coward and was apparently not the person I believed him to be. I can accept the fact feelings change but to communicate it via e-mail, how tacky. He is in his 50's and shoud be more of a man than that.

Anonymous said...

Funny I found this site, Just last week I celebrated my one year with my boyfriend. he is currently working overseas, and we have lived together before, we are in transition of moving and moving back in together, and all of a sudden he doesn't want the same state and doesn't knwo where he wants to be. Now remember he's over seas, but has called prior to just talk. We broke up over Instant message, and it was the worst feeling, and still is. I've gone from living with him, to picking out my engagement ring, and now it has ended over IM, because it wasn't worth the cost of an international phone call. UGH Men!

Anonymous said...

I just texted this guy I've been out once (but we've known eachother for a while now) that I'm not interested. But I wrote him that we could talk about it sometime. I only did this because we won't have a chance to meet for a few days, and I don't want to raise his hopes... And I think calling someone is worse. But I really am ready to talk to him as well!

Lisa said...

I broke it off with someone by email, but felt like it was okay because he seemed to be addicted to textmessaging and was constantly sending me messages that could have easily been emailed or spoken to me. We were together for only a few short weeks. I think it is different in a long term relationship.

Anonymous said...

After two years of being together every day my ex sent me an email on a Friday to break up and showed up where I was the next night making out with a new woman. We had spoken by phone every day that week as he said he had a cold and I had cooked him dinner two days before but he said he was too sick to come over (but was out drinking that night). Not only did an email break up hurt but bringing someone new in front of me and my friends the next day also showed no respect. And he is 55 years old ... a week later, the new woman brought him out to slow dance inches away from me when no one else was slow dancing... I thought this was hurtful but everyone else seems to think it is OK...think if you live close to each other and see each other for years and are intimate, it needs to be done in person and you don't bring someone new in front of them immediately after...

eliseburrows said...

Whenever I see this man that I intend break up with, I lose my nerve because he's a nice guy and I care about him, even though I know it won't work out between us because of several really big differences between us(deal breakers). I also tend to "break down" and "give him one more try" when I see him, because I do care about him, and he's very persuasive good at promoting himself. And he's a friend. But I know that it could never work out for us. So this is getting dragged on forever. It's not fair to him. I feel like I can only find the courage to break it off via email or hand written letter. But now I'm reading that everyone thinks it's cowardly. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

honestly, i received a break up text once. Since then, I've had a phobia about checking my e-mail and I don't have a cell anymore. E-mail was always fun before that. I don't think most people send negative messages over e-mail, but since that time I have anxiety before opening any e-mail because there is that thought there may be bad news.

Anonymous said...

What if you've already broken up with the person (by phone since it was a long distance relationship) but they don't seem to be getting the hint that it's over, even though you explictily told them that before?