The Text Message Break-Up

I was watching an old episode of Sex and the City. Remember the one where Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend broke up with her in a, shall we say, unique way?

“He broke up with me on a post it note!” cried Carrie to her friend Miranda.

We were aghast!  How low! Couldn’t he at least have had the decency to do the dirty deed by cell phone or at least email?!

For the person who shudders at the mere thought of any type of personal contact break-up, be it post-it, email, phone, or text, there is a site that will do the dirty deed for you.

Called iDUMP4U, it operates in the same way a florist does except, instead of getting roses, your significant other gets a dumpU message personally delivered, in person or by phone, by a total stranger!

Their basic fees are: A $10 Basic Breakup, for the person who just isn't interested in being with you anymore. There is a $25 Engagement Break-off for those who have seriously reconsidered marrying you. And, finally, the $50 Divorce Call for the spouse-louse who is already seated in a lawyer's office and is not interested in negotiating a fair settlement.

People have been breaking up through various "not-having-to-be-present" means since the time of the Civil War when women did it through the infamous “Dear John” letters.

Men in the 1800's  also had a way of breaking up that didn't require their presence. They  were known for writing the “Dearest” letters to end unwanted relationships. No matter how kindly the words were written, both types of letters brought an abrupt end to relationships.   

While email was, and to an extent, still is, a standard way to break up, the favored current trend is to do it via the text message. Now an email breakup is bad enough, but a text message? That is taking it a bit far, don't you think?  

My friend received a message while she was on the treadmill at the gym. Her text alert went off, she checked her messages, and there it was: A brief, to the point, “text spelled” adios:

“we r not meant 2 b 2gether, not u, it’s me”

That’s to the point alright!

There seems to be no specific protocol for breaking up in the twenty-first century. Since we’re constantly on the move and busy with our hectic lives, breakups seem to be managed without any personal contact, or feelings, at all. Nothing kind or flowery about the sentiment; just a brief message using electronic devices. Some break-ups have even come through Facebook or Twitter.

Granted, no breakup is ever easy. We all know that. Face-to-face confrontation is hard. We have an abhorrence of scenes, shouting, crying, possible physical attacks, etc. But the simple fact is that because you did have a relationship, you should have some respect for what you had and at least break up in person if possible. It's the adult thing to do after all, right?

If you have ever experienced an email or test message breakup, I’d like to hear from you. Please post your comment at the end of this column. I’ll post your reaction and how you handled it in a future column.

Oops-got to go. My text alert just buzzed!


© 2011 Copyright Kristen Houghton

Kristen Houghton is a Lifestyle writer and the author of the book ranked in the top-selling 100 book of 2011: And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First

Kristen is in the process of editing her new book, © 2011 No Woman Diets Alone due December, 2011.

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  • erikdolnack

    Wed, 07.09.11 at 08:41AM

    This article’s subject doesn’t surprise me.

    We live in a very cowardly age today where people are afraid of confrontation. It stems all the way from the very top. Ours is a world today headed by very cowardly men who hide behind corporate logos and shelter themselves from accountability any way they can. These narcissistic elitists want all the glory and wealth but don’t want any of the work and responsibility that go along with it. This trend flows ever-downward through the rest of society today.

    Ours is a world where few actively take on the adult role of accepting blame for anything. Like spoiled children, we run and hide when confrontations arise. It is very easy to break up in a text message. It is much harder to actually sit down as adults and have a very real heart-to-heart conversation with our significant other about why the relationship isn’t working for us any longer. We see fear as something undesirable and unnecessary. We look to a quick easy fix to solve this problem, because after all, shouldn’t we expect to be happy constantly? The market tells us we should be. Maybe one day some pharmaceutical corporation will introduce a “breakup pill” that users can take to avoid the pain of breaking up a relationship when a better opportunity arises.

  • KristenHoughton

    Wed, 07.09.11 at 03:47PM

    Thank you for your insight and comment. While the article was written with a certain amount of humor,I totally agree with you that too many times most people don’t want to have a face-to-face meeting about anything that might be even remotely unpleasant.Something has happened to society that makes avoidance of issues so common.

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Thu, 08.09.11 at 10:19AM

    Finally!  I well-written interesting article on this blog.  I once broke up with someone by text message.  I let the relationship go on too long and couldn’t stand the idea of being in the same room with him anymore.  I don’t remember the exact words I used, but it was swift, easy, and (importantly) it worked.

  • erikdolnack

    Thu, 08.09.11 at 12:44PM

    Whether breaking up via/text message works or not isn’t the point. The point is whether it’s acceptable or not.

    Yes, you may have gotten rid of a partner by texting him or her. But don’t you think you owed that person a little more respect than that? After all, you did have a relationship with this other person for how long?

    I think it’s more than just mere courtesy. It’s cowardly and cruel to break up via/text message or email. If that’s how one washes one’s hands when one feels one wants to move on, it kinda’ makes me glad I’m not seeing anyone at present and am not in the “dating scene” in this day and age. grin

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Thu, 08.09.11 at 02:44PM

    First of all, I want to express my embarrassment at writing “I well-written interesting article.”  Obviously, I meant “a well-written” etc.

    My anecdote offers an answer as to why someone would break up a relationship via text.  You’re right, though, it doesn’t address whether it’s ok. 

    I agree with you, Erik, that it can be cowardly, but only if the other party doesn’t see it coming.  At least in my experience, the end of most relationships is obvious and the only thing left to do is formalize the understanding that it’s over.  Why bother with the drama of a confrontation when all you want is to free yourself from the “relationship” status?

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