It used to be so simple. Painful, of course, but simple at least. He sent his buddy to break up with you (if you were in grade school), or he did it over the phone. Now the possibilities for breakups are almost endless. IM, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Text, Email… It seems the more connected we are these days, the easier it is to avoid the uncomfortable breakup by hiding behind these technologies.
Drew Barrymore said it best.
Men and women alike are using these technologies to send the message “I’m just not that into you!” But have we gone too far? Are we eroding all sense of courtesy and responsibility by employing these tactics?
I had a friend who was de-friended on Facebook – that was the first inkling he had that she wasn’t seeing him anymore. Ouch. But perhaps it says more about her than it does him. They had been seeing other for about 6 weeks. Surely she could have braved a conversation, or perhaps a less cowardly text message. Wow. I never thought I’d hear myself say that a text message is less cowardly.
Facebook leads to the demise of countless relationships. Pictures, status updates and wall posts from the wrong person can lead to jealousy and lack of trust. Like my friend, it’s even possible to find out you’ve been dumped just by logging onto Facebook! A text is bad, but breaking up with someone on a social network – that’s like making an announcement about it to everyone you know. It’s humiliating! Not to mention you were probably the last to know.
Will we get to a point where I will think a Facebook de-friend is preferable to something else? Where does the degradation end?
For anyone who watched last season of the Bachelor, I’m sure you remember runner-up, Lindzi Cox. On the show, Lindzi shared with viewers that prior to coming on the Bachelor, she was dumped by a text message sent by her (now ex) boyfriend of about a year! The text read: “Welcome to Dumpsville…population YOU!” Lindzi said that the Dumpsville text was worse than being dumped on national TV.
It’s not about the method of technology used (they’re all bad), but the message being sent. Using technology to breakup with someone is like saying ‘our relationship meant nothing to me, so little in fact it’s not worth my time to talk about it, so I’m going to send you a one sentence text and then move on with my life.’ It’s harsh, I know.
When technology is used to end a relationship, there is no sense of closure. Julia, a friend of mine, was dumped via text message. She called her ex to try and get some answers, but he labeled her as a stalker and told all of his friends she was crazy. She’s not crazy; she just wanted a straightforward answer. To this day she doesn’t understand what went wrong in that relationship.
It’s common courtesy people! Breakups are uncomfortable, awkward and painful for everyone involved, but having an adult conversation is still the best way to do it. With a deep breath and little bit of confidence (and maybe some rehearsing) you’ll get through it. In the end, you’ll still have your dignity and your ex will— in time, respect you for it.