Remember the good old days when someone broke up with you and you at least got a last dinner out of it, or some teary scene in a coffee shop that you could then write about in your diary? Well, those days are gone, my friends. These days, it's all about breaking up digitally -- i.e., by email, text message, or social media. In fact, according to coupon company Voucher Cloud, which surveyed couples who had been dumped or done the dumping in the past year, 56 percent of people end their relationship digitally. The most popular option is by text message (25 percent) and over social media (20 percent). Only 11 percent opt for the slightly less heartless email approach.
While breaking up digitally is generally still looked down on as an act of cowardice (indeed most people say they do it digitally because it's "less awkward" than meeting in person -- plus they don't want a drink in their face), there are some times when it's the only way to go. Here are 10 times it's okay to break up via text message.
1. It's the early days. If you've only been on a few dates, I'm not even sure a breakup is necessary, unless someone is truly confused as to why you've disappeared off the face of the planet. But a text message is okay in this instance. You barely know the person. Three or four dates equal about eight hours together. No need for a long handwritten letter. In fact, you probably don't even know your dumpee's address.
2. The relationship was toxic. I don't care how long you've been dating, if the relationship was much more bad than good, you can get away with doing it via text message since an in-person meeting or phone call will probably just devolve into a screaming match or some other major drama. (Crying is not drama. If you're worried someone will cry and you don't want to see it, that is just being a coward.)
3. He's avoiding you. If he's avoiding you and not returning calls, then you have a right to resort to a text message. He probably prefers it that way.
4. It's safer. If your man is abusive or you feel threatened around him, then a text message is the way to go. In fact, I'd definitely recommend NOT meeting up with him. You may even want to forego telling him altogether and just change your number and stay at a friend's house for a while.
5. He was caught cheating. Dude doesn't deserve more than a text message.
6. Digital relationship. It seems odd, but plenty of relationships these days seem conducted primarily via text message and social media anyway. If that's how you two have been rolling all along, no need to change now.
7. Casual or sporadic relationships. If the relationship was never defined as a relationship, or if you only get together once in a blue moon, text message is acceptable.
8. Liars. People who lied about something major, such as their marital status, or who they are -- where they live, their job, their criminal history -- don't deserve more than a text message. Plus, meeting up could be dicey if you discovered something really awful, like the person has several restraining orders against him, or the single guy is really married with five kids.
9. The person lives far away. If your relationship was long-distance and you hardly ever saw each other, then a text message is probably okay so long as you didn't have marathon phone sessions on a regular basis.
10. Tit for tat. If he once broke up with YOU via text message, then you are welcome to do the same. Let him know how it feels!
This isn't to bless all digital breakups. If you honestly got to a point of emotional closeness, or have been dating for longer than three months and saw each other regularly, or slept together more than once and it was not defined as a "casual" thing -- then you owe that person a phone call or in-person meeting. Just don't make him or her travel too far only to get dumped!
Have you ever had a text message breakup?
More from The Stir:
10 Awful Things That Can Happen After a Breakup
10 Ways to Get Over the Guy Who Doesn't Love You
10 Things You Can’t Expect to Get Back After a Breakup
7 Rules for Having 'Revenge Sex' the Right Way
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