How to break things off with someone in the digital age

It seems like the digital age should have made things easier, and it has in some ways. But it has also made things easier in a bad way: it’s made it easier for cowards to break things off to avoid confrontation.

Speaking from personal experience, I think texting someone to tell them it’s over is very tacky. But it depends on the situation.

If you’ve gone on one date, and then text that you’re not feeling it: perfectly acceptable. Why do you need to see them in person to break it off? Unnecessary drama and there’s very little to the relationship.

If you’ve gone out a few times, and haven’t had sex, you probably can still get away with texting. But if you’re the girl and you’ve been courted, (and you’ve been lapping up the enjoyment of the guy paying) maybe he deserves the courtesy of a phone call. It doesn’t have to be a long explanation, but let the guy know. If you’re the guy and you’re not feeling it, I still urge you to be a gentleman and call her.

She might be upset and it might be difficult but this is what comes with the territory, you’re telling someone they’re not good enough for you for whatever reason. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and put yourself in their shoes. Tell them politely and as nicely as you can, and leave it at that. Let them have a rebuttal, “I thought things were going so well, etc.” And if they get nasty with you, or impolite, hang up/block/move on.

If you’ve been dating for a few weeks and you’re not exclusive but you’ve spent the night and had sex on more than one occasion (this doesn’t mean one marathon hump-athon) then I think you should tell the person face-to-face. At worst, you should tell them on the phone. Texting is out and too impersonal. You’ve been having sex and been intimate with each other.

But I advise people grow up and avoid taking the easy way out. I had been thinking about ending it with a girl I had been seeing but she had been busy and had been blowing me off that week. I wanted to do it in person if at all. We spend an evening texting back and forth about her neighbor’s bush damaging her yard…and all of a sudden she apologizes for being so hard to get a hold of that week.

First thought, great, she’s mature.

Then she says, this isn’t working for me.

On second thought, wait, what isn’t working for you? Us?

She replied in the affirmative.

I was so baffled that 1) an adult would end things so oddly 2) so immaturely 3) and last but not least, without any conviction.

If you’re going to be ending a budding relationship with someone via text shouldn’t you be really clear? Why waste their time with hours of inane conversation about hockey, and building a legal case against your neighbor and asking for advice? Just get to it in a clear and concise manner. Don’t sandwich it around other talk, it doesn’t soften the blow and will only confuse the person getting dumped.

Suck it up and tell the person like an adult. If you’re not mature enough to tell someone it’s over, you’re not mature enough to be dating. Stick to one night stands to avoid entanglements.

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4 Responses to How to break things off with someone in the digital age

  1. JJM says:

    “If you’re not mature enough to tell someone it’s over, you’re not mature enough to be dating.”

    Amen! As you know, I recently had a woman break it off with me over text, and it was indeed very awkward. I texted back “No worries take care” and let her go.

    I wish she had just told me to my face that she didn’t want to see me anymore, but as you mentioned, we live in a day and age where cowardice and avoidance reign supreme.

    Almost ironic, isn’t it? Some women are willing to just sit there and wait for Prince Charming to come find them, and these same women are the ones that don’t have the courage to tell a man it’s over once that great guy finds them (and no, this is not self-referential.)

    Keep up the good work. You are a talented writer and I enjoy your posts.

    • Also, what I meant to say is very few women deserve Prince Charming but a significantly larger number of women BELIEVE they deserve Prince Charming. It creates a massive disconnect between reality and perceived reality which has a lot of people refusing to work on both sides of the aisle.
      We need some bipartisanship, women to work at becoming more attractive (even though feminism is telling them they’re awesome just the way they are) and men to work at being gentlemen (even though society is telling us being a gentleman is a strategy for chumps.)

  2. What’s funny is I feel like women want something from men, they want the gentleman that they’ve always read about. But in no way are they the princesses of the story anymore. I mean, a few are and they deserve the best guy for them.

    But it seems like as a society we’ve changed and not for the better. It’s sad. I still open doors for people, and most people just walk through it without even acknowledging my presence.

    Social media is making us less social. It’s horrifying me. It should only be improving society.

    • JJM says:

      Twitter and Facebook and MySpace can go f*** themselves, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not signed up with any of the companies, and I refuse to do so in the future (although I sadly admit I was on Facebook in college, and no offense meant.)

      I agree with you that there are very few princes and princesses anymore that truly deserve each other. I have met some guys that have made me think, “Wow, he deserves a great girl,” and vice-versa, but they are few and far between, and I’m no prince, for sure.

      I try to be polite, but I have my limits, and they are typically stretched when I see other men intentionally disrespecting women and getting away with it.

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