Thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, the phrase, “He broke up with me in a Post-It!” will forever be embedded in our brains. Long-distance breakups, and what happened to poor Carrie — her very serious boyfriend sneaking out in the middle of the night and leaving behind a Post-It note that said, “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” — was brutal. It was the BC (before cell phones) way of avoiding a breakup conversation, and it was, under no circumstances, an OK way to end a relationship.
Now, though, in the age of “hooking up,”there actually are certain scenarios where it’s OK to break up with someone not in person. In a telephone interview with Bustle, relationship expert Susan Winter told me about the best ways to end a relationship without having to curate a breakup outfit and spend the time talking it out in person. “Breaking up with someone over text message used to be so disrespectful,” said Winter, “but that was in a time period when we had relationships.”
Because technology plays such a huge role in the dating world, modern relationships lend themselves to being terminated with the click of the send button. According to Winter, unless it was a really serious relationship, or the person was really in love with you, calling it quits via text (or phone, if youreally feel like you owe it to them) is totally OK. And worth noting: It is neverOK to dump someone on a Post-It. Here are a few other, less harsh, options to consider instead.
Consider the Relationship
With texting (and swiping!) being such a huge part of dating, it’s become more acceptable to use it as a breakup tool. If the relationship was casual, if you haven’t been together that long, or if you don’t really have that close of a connection, it’s totally OK. Likewise, says Winter, if you didn’t feel like you were appropriately respected in the relationship, it is completely fine not to bother with an in person conversation. If they didn’t respect you, you don’t owe them anything.
Resist The Urge To School Them
You may be hurt and angry, but a text message isn’t the appropriate time to rake him or her over the coals for bad behavior. “Leaving is the most powerful statement you can make,” says Winter.
Remember That Once You Send It, They Have It Forever
A text message, unlike a conversation, can be screenshotted, passed along and kept forever. Once it’s out there, there is simply no taking it back. Keep that in mind as you’re composing. “A detailed text as to what they did wrong makes you look…insecure,” says Winter.
Keep Your Eye on The Prize
The reason you’re breaking up if because you want it to be over. As quickly and painlessly as possible. Keep that in mind. “Now’s not the time to start an open-ended conversation or get pulled back into the loop of ‘talking about it,” says Winter. Save the analyzing for later that night, preferably over a glass of wine with your friends.
I know it seems a little bit counterintuitive because breaking up with someone via text can come off as a bit disrespectful, especially if it’s done the wrong way. “Beating them up over what they did or didn’t do is for your benefit, not theirs,” says Winter. “If they could have done better, they would have. Take the high road. And, take your time to craft the right sentiments.”
Plan What You Want To Say
Write a rough outline of what you’re going to say, and ask that your partner let you get through it without interrupting.
Pick Your Timing
Don’t call them while they’re at work, or when you’re drunk, or when someone else is in the room. Pick a quiet, private place and make sure you can give the person on the other line your undivided attention.
If you are choosing to have a phone conversation, instead of breaking up via text, it’s important to take the time to listen to what the other person has to say. If they’ve given you the chance to speak your mind, it’s important you give them the same consideration.
Just Don’t Do It
If you have enough to say to someone to want to write them a lengthy email, suck it up and say it to their face.
Breakups are never easy, and whether a long-distance breakup is easier or harder for everyone involved probably varies from person to person, but in any case, there are ways you can do it respectfully, and you should stick to those.